It’s important throughout these uncertain times, to keep communicating, continue making and sharing stories. We caught up with Handmade Oxford exhibitor, Jo Mullins of A Heart of Glass to find out how she has adapted to the new everyday.
As a team, how have you been adapting to the new everyday?
I’m not going to lie…it’s been a challenge! As Nick and I run a mobile gallery, we are used to being on the go all the time and love travelling round the country with our glass. So the cancellation and postponement of our shows has certainly meant being more ‘creative’ with how we show the work to a wider audience.
What does your working day look like at the moment?
After a sneaky lay-in, I spend a few hours a day on social media, sharing images of our pieces and more detailed information about the brilliant artists behind them. Although we are unable to trade face to face right now, we do have an online gallery and we’re continuing to receive orders and send items out where we can. Just last week, we sent a piece to America and it was wonderful to receive a photo of it in its new home.
We are also blessed with lots of wonderful countryside round where we live in Norfolk so we’re getting plenty of exercise!
Working with your online customers and suppliers, have there been any challenges?
Sadly, this virus knows no borders and our glass artists in the Czech Republic have also been affected. To this end, production has suspended for the foreseeable and the glassworks has had to close. We have an order outstanding for over 50 new pieces which they will continue to work on once it’s safe to do so.
We did however receive an order from America just yesterday with 8 outstanding new pieces so I have been busy photographing and sharing details with our collectors.
What does it feel like when the gallery makes a sale for one of your artists at the moment?
To be honest, it’s always a great feeling but particularly at the moment given how uncertain things are. Most of our artists are self employed and are unable to work as it’s not ‘essential work’ as such. So to receive the news of a sale and positive feedback is an amazing way to lift the spirits and encouragement for them to keep doing what they do.
As a team we have seen you continue to focus on on your represent artists and future events – what positive comments have your audience given you to keep going?
We are very grateful that our customers are so loyal and we get a real sense that once restrictions are lifted (and its safe to do so), they will be out in force to support the fairs. Although social media interaction is plugging a bit of the gap right now, it doesn’t replace the personal touch you get face to face. Shows like Handmade Oxford provide the perfect opportunity to see hundreds of amazing pieces all in one place. You can meet the galleries and artists, handle the work and hopefully take home a wonderful piece to enjoy for years to come.
How are you thinking of using this time to prepare for Handmade Oxford in September?
We’re very excited to be returning to Handmade Oxford and as mentioned, will have lots of lovey new work to share at the show. We had very positive reaction to our artists work last year and this years selection will be even better.
Image: Geode Purple by Fay Miller (A Heart of Glass)