Open Studios. 7 Tips for Success + Extras Now it's Getting Close.

I'm on at least my 11th year of Peterborough Artists' Open Studios  so I count myself as an old hand. 

I've had some joyous times, met lots of old and new friends , made many a cup of tea and talked endlessly about my favourite subject, art, my art, the garden and several unrelated topics.

So I was quite pleased and flattered when earlier this year this email pinged into my inbox.

"Dear Mary, I'm thinking of taking part in open studios this year. Have you any advice?"

Well. I don't need much encouragement.

So this is what I wrote: 7 tips for success.

Hi Sarah,
Lovely to get your email. I love giving a bit of advice.
I've been doing Open Studios on and off for about 12 years now , and I would say YES without a doubt DO IT. 

1.It does take over your home and life for the time it's on though, so I only take part 2 weekends (usually the first 2) out of 3.

I've done it alone and with other artists. I like having someone else with me. This year it will be the mosaic artist Shelagh Hope who was with me last year.

2.Advertising I think is key. I usually make up an invitation and print it on the computer, then give it to everyone I know, and I have distributed in the neighbourhood. Any one is fair game.  There's also social media and your email list. I feel quite exhausted just typing all that!

3.I usually open 12 to 5 pm. The mornings I've opened have been slow. I serve tea and coffee and biscuits. Nothing fancy.

4.I say that the garden is open because people do like a good nosey round your plants.

5.I'm sure you know you must have someone with you, if only to make the drinks.

6.Usually my latest, best work goes in the most prominent place. I try to curate so it looks as though I meant to do it. I try not to put anything rubbish up.

7.I do mounted prints too, ideally in a size that fit standard frames. And I do LOTS OF CARDS. 3 for £5 seems to work well, because people often want to buy something even if it's not a painting.

This year I'm thinking of taking plastic payment as there are lots of devises on the market for that, otherwise it's cash or cheque.
Hope that gives you a bit of an idea. It's a lovely experience and well worth the effort in my opinion.
Best wishes

 I wrote this back in February and now it's nearing the end of May.  
Only a few weeks to go.

And this is what I must do now:

1. Become very active on social media. Now!

2. Talk to everyone I meet about my open studio.

4. Order any printing I want done.

5. Buy a machine for taking credit/debit cards.

6. Order, buy frames. In fact that means persuading my husband who is a picture framer to make my frames between jobs.

7. Write a list of people I will invite and plan the digital and paper invitations. Get those out about 2 weeks before the event. Mustn't spam people and remember GDPR.

8. Decide how I want to display my art, and get as much on the walls as early as possible.

9. Find the visitors' book and check I have enough business cards. And a receipt book.

10. Check the lighting in the house is good for a dull day.

11. Week before: you know this one. Clean the house and tidy the garden. 

And when I've done all that perhaps I'll be ready!

Thanks for reading this and if you're taking part this year GOOD LUCK! You'll meet some wonderful people.

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and did I mention PINTEREST?


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