Friday, 28 March 2014

Selling handmade jewelry at exhibitions ~ From the stalls

The last two exhibitions I had back to back left me no time to breathe forget blog about my experiences at the stalls. Immediately thereafter we headed for the vacation which was no doubt fun but traveling with a toddler is very tiring too. I imagined I will draw some designs while sipping coffee sitting in my hotel window looking over meadows and mountains in the Nilgiris, but no such thing happened. I did not even find the time to think of Koyri or anything remotely close. All I kept thinking was 'Will the curd go bad since there is no fridge?' 'Hope the manager gets the hot water that he promised...'  and so on... 

Anyway, I start with the first exhibition of the year that was held during the premier English theater fest called Pukaar 2014. I will confess it was not a complete sell out because the footfall was not great. It is really sad to think that theatre and performing arts do not get the appreciation and audience they deserve. But I met and saw some brilliant people out there. Some people are so passionate about things they love. There was one gentleman who started playing the flute impromptu in the common area during the intervals between plays. One girl did a mime for more than an hour, she was so good at it that it made me wonder if she is not tired of continuously having those expressions on her face. Does she feel like wanting to take a break or just yawn or relax her arched eyebrows for one? She not only kept us entertained but my son's eyes were continuously following her too. :)

One guy read out a poem in Hindi that he had written. Another amatuer performer did a one act play that had me in tears. All this was in the break out area of the auditorium, not in a hall in front of specific audience you know. I was very impressed by the passion people carry in their hearts. And there was also some celebrity spotting. I met and spoke to Gauri Dange, she had nice words to say about my work. :)

The second exhibition was super super fun. The constant footfall demanded standing up and attending to continous flow of people tired me to the bone but I felt a pang of sadness at the end of two days. I met some lovely lovely people there too. Oh! the things people do. handmade soaps, handmade candles, hand painted dresses, clay artifacts, it was hard for me to resist the urge to ditch my stall and go shopping at other stalls :)
My wire nametags were a hit with the young crowd and I took on-the-spot custom orders and was able to deliver by the time they did another round of all the stalls and came back. Some people stood and watched me work which was a little weird cos I am used to working in solitude but it also flattered me a bit. :)

The venue added zing to the event. Zaika is a party hall covered in mango and coconut trees. The garden was beautifuly decorated with marigold flowers and potted plants. My son who usually hates crowded places had a ball there. 

And my display ideas got many a mention. Almost everyone commented on this idea of displaying earrings on a soop. :)

And this twig also was an eye catcher and it also holds lot of my stuff. 

So all in all, both were good experiences in their own way and I look forward to doing more of these. And that reminds me I have to make a lot of stuff to fill my table again. :)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Looking for space...

I posted on fb yesterday about workshops that I plan to conduct for those interested. I had this thought going in my head for a long time ever since people asked me if I teach to make jewelry. 
At the Summer fest exhibition, many women were quite surprised knowing that I was not a design graduate nor have had formal training in jewelry making. I think that is what makes them feel that even they can do it. Or at least it is worth learning. You know that way there is no pressure of performance or the stress that attending the workshop conducted by 'xyz' big name designer.  Anyway, I made a big mistake of not taking down numbers of all those women then. Instead I passed on my cards to them urging them to check my fb page for updates. As an afterthought, it would have been easier for me to contact them letting them know. Anyway, I hope the timing will be good and those who really wanted to learn will find out.

So it turns out planning for the workshops is more work that I thought it would be. But I am not letting the nitty-gritties bog me down. I am going to make it so very successful and enjoyable for me and for the participants too. :)

The main issue I seem to have is space. So readers, if there is any place near your home/office that you think would accommodate 10-12 people for a jewelry making workshop please contact me. 
I am typically looking at a cafe or a book store or an art studio... I will be glad if you do the ground work for me i.e. speak to the owners of the place and let them know about my intentions. If they reply in the assertive, I will be happy to take it forward from there.

I am mostly looking at Pune but I don't mind Mumbai/Thane either. I'd love to have an excuse to go home. :)

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

This could really be my Oscar speech

Today is one of those rare days when I am feeling very blessed :)  And I am going to thank people for all the effort directly and indirectly they have put into making this madness called Koyri happen.
Before I get all overwhelmed and start writing mushy things about how much I love my family, let me give credits where due.

Thanks Rahul for the superb logo you made for me. all I had to tell you what Koyri meant. People, Rahul is an amazing artist and has many paintings to his credit. Do check out his page here

Thanks Aditi and her team for designing my website. She was the one to tell me that before anything I needed a website when  I had just started out.

My sister Gauri is my biggest critique. She will tell me upfront that I need to have better finishing in some of the pieces. She will email me pictures for inspiration. She will give me plenty of cool ideas. Me being the uncool one will mark all the emails under ‘Koyri’ or note down all her ideas and just sit on them.

Then there is Kanchan, my marketing and strategy person. She comes up with ideas too heavy for me to handle. And she has very high expectations. She wants me to make one piece every day, take a picture and post it on fb. I can hear you all saying ‘Hahaha’

Janaki was the first one to give me the idea hold an exhibition. When I told her that space was an issue, she said I could lay a table outside her bookstore  if I wanted. Who does that? Right? Janaki did. She let me do it without charging a penny. And it was the best exhibition experience ever. Outside a bookstore under the shade of a tree. What more could I ask for?

There are so many people I want to write about here. My friends like Anjali, Trupti who tell me that I am underpricing my stuff and that gives a great boost to my ego. Javed, the one I turn to when I am in my ‘I want to quit my day job and do this full time’ mode. He gives me many brilliant ideas and tells me to think about it seriously. Cousins and aunts who unfailingly introduce me to their acquaintances as ‘the one who makes amazing jewelry’.

My mother who is responsible for all my guilt trip issues. She not only looks after my son when I am at my job during the week but also on weekends when I am doing exhibtions.
My husband who stands at the stall without complaining about his aching back and fondly telling everyone that all the stuff is handmade by his wife.
My dad who calls me from outside a shop selling jewelry and says “Should I go in and ask them if they want to keep your stuff?”  He calls me to wish me luck without fail on all my exhibition days if he is away.

Pallu thanks for coming to the stall that day. Kshitija, thank you for dropping in at all my exhibtions. If I have missed mentioning anyone I am sorry. Thank you everyone for telling people about my work, showing my designs to your friends and sending friends over to my stall. 
A big thank you for all the good karma you all are spreading. I am sure I will send some back. :)

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Summer fest flea market: All Set for Summer, Pune?

It is Kothrud this time. Set in an aamrai (garden of mango trees), this is going to be the most happening place in town this weekend.

Find out who else is going. Here is the facebook event invite:

And as far as Koyri is concerned, there is an entirely new copper collection to watch out for.   You don't want to miss this one...
:) :)

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