The Markt van Morgen: this is how it was! Finally! :-D

bedankt dat jullie er waren, Mireille en Els (en iedereen die niet op een foto is beland… πŸ˜‰ )

Thank you so much Elizabeth, for giving me this lovely opportunity to write this report! I had a lot of fun working on it. Otherwise I would have been too lazy to do it and this would just have been a couple of pictures and maybe half a paragraph…

The Markt van Morgen through the eyes of a quirky Dawandanian who’s still new at this world of art markets. And what a grand adventure it was…Two weeks later and I finally have somewhat recovered! LOL

This is an account of the day itself, so I’ll spare you the tedious details of the whole preparation & excitement that went on anticipating the market…
I’ll probably go down in history as the one jewelry designer who managed to lose the treasure box with all of her jewelry in it, only to find it back in the nick of time with the help of some wonderful neighbours who deserve statues to be erected in their honor! Or more realistically some custom made jewelry by yours truly… πŸ˜‰
The day itself had its own challenges, as we had been treated to typical Belgian weather the weeks before: showers, winds, all sorts of interesting weather phenomena but the one you’d associate with the usual summer vibe: sun. But miraculously it was lovely, only that sunday! Some clouds, some generous sunny patches…brilliant! You see, we had had to make our own stands (the organization only provided tables and chairs), while I loved styling it I hadn’t found the time to design, let alone make a rain-proof stand!
Now how do you style a stand? Is there a manual?! I didn’t have much of a clue at first. It’s not just finding a practical way to show your art work but also how you want people to perceive it. How to give them an impression of who you are and what your art stands for.
I had sort of wanted people to be intrigued by the look of the bigger items than just the jewelry itself. Jewelry can be kind of abstract if taken out of context -i.e. when its not worn by real people. So I tried to create the atmosphere of my jewelry with items I could drape, hang or hook them on.
And I guess it worked! People were drawn to these “installations” and when they came closer, discovered they were covered with jewelry. (potrait by WALTERito)
I was really happy with how it all turned out -the contrast between the two long winding horns (from that quaint little shop in Antwerp), the smaller ones that carried the ring and some earrings and the pissed-off clay elephant that I had borrowed from a friend: this elephant had the most funny expression on its face (I had filled it with sweets) and on the other hand the funky ensemble of handblown (not by me) vases of different sizes & colors and huge transparant glass rods matching and contrasting the colors of the vases (the ones I use for glass beads are much thinner, these thicker rods are used for glass sculptures and presse-papiers), thanks to my fellow obsessed glass people & suppliers G & Q …even down to the jewelry boxes I had folded myself (with a little help from my KANTL colleagues…!), the little photo album I had assembled and printed (with examples of all my collections and some action photos so people could see this was indeed all handmade) and my address cards.
We arrived one hour before it started, which gave us just barely enough time to build our stand! Officially it started at 12.00h but visitors came flocking towards the market already. We had found a great spot in a corner of a building area, so we could make ourselves a little β€œfort” with the table. And the fence was ideal to put up all the Dawanda posters Elizabeth had sent! It was as if we had found a Wishing-Table because in no time we had it draped with the black cloths, and all horns, vases and elephants were accounted for.
And so it began. Thankfully, I wasn’t alone manning the stand as I received great help from Hilda, my mom! She went out hunting for food when we got hungry and helped out when our stand got flooded by visitors…

Now that was something I hadn’t quite anticipated: so many people! (<= this is Liesbet & me) It was both flattering to receive all that interest as it was overwhelming! Luckily I could refer them to the photo album so they could see how it all was made, and refer them to my blog and website if they wanted to know more. And I also received quite a bit of inquiries on Dawanda -both from artists and buyers. Especially younger people loved to know more, and the Dawanda flyers went flying off the table. Most people didn’t know of its existence so with a bit of luck we opened a new world for them…

However, as I had foreseen, the slightly older generation still has a lot of restraint toward buying things on the internet. If you can’t hold it in your hands, how can you be sure to get what you pay for? They’re scared off by whatever news they hear of internet scams, so I tried my best to reassure them. Dawanda isn’t some faceless company, you have direct contact with the sellers and it doesn’t always require credit cards, especially not from local sellers. They also weren’t sure how to find their way through the site and follow the buying instructions, so I may have to work on a sort of visual manual some time…
But most people were enthousiastic: a perpetual art market at your fingertips! πŸ˜‰
I wasn’t the only Dawandanian there, Ella from Ella since Osix (see picture) who had her stand at the other side of the market came to say hi. She makes these gorgeous, cheerful shoulder bags from vintage textiles. I was impressed at how well she’s been presenting & marketing her art, finding different channels to sell and attracting a wide range of customers! Something I have still to learn a lot about.
Also Nadine from PandoraPearl had come all the way from Dordrecht, NL and paid a visit with her friend -she would have participated at the market if she hadn’t had such a big sale at her 4th of July sale the week before! She makes lovely wire-wrapped jewelry with all sorts of glass, semi-precious and pearl beads. Maybe she’ll be there with a stand next time.
I saw a lot of my friends back as well (I grew up in Antwerp where the market was held, but swapped it for Gent a couple of years ago). There was Mireille (who’s creating handmade stuffed dragons and Pullip dolls’ accessories which she sells on Etsy, and she’s got a jewelry shop coming up there too!) who finally got her lucky, bubbly fish necklace, I saw Liesbet and Tinne back, Jessy and her boyfriend Joris whom I handed my photocamera so he could play a little…and luckily for us we have some pictures now! Dank u Joris… πŸ˜€ You can see them in the Markt van Morgen flickr group!
We got a surprise visit from G & Q (& T & friend, but not E & E…hehe) who discovered a couple of other lampworkers/customers who were there too! And Karen en Els, my classmates from libraryschool and fellow facebook plant throwers (we seem to have a thing for the lil green patch application…LOL). And my Antwerp clan Noor with Phil, Elke and Johan with Elisabeth -we’ve all studied/lived in Leuven… I saw back people I hadn’t seen in forever, like years! So it was wonderful to see my friends and have their support. And meeting new people too: fellow glass beadmakers and Werner Vitt; a master lampworker from Brugge who founded the glass classes I followed there 2 years ago, a metalworker and a photographer, Walter who made some amazing portraits to capture the market’s atmosphere. I even spotted fashion designer Walter van Beirendonck checking out some of the stands! (not mine though -I’m by far not controversial enough for him, LOL)
So was it all a success? It certainly was a lot of superlatives for me on many levels. It was so great seeing my friends, meeting like-minded artists and finding out how people reacted to my jewelry, and pushing my own creativity to meet the art market’s deadline the weeks prior to it… I even made some sales! Hehe. But at the same time it was also quite stressful for someone like me: that said deadline of getting everything finished on time, and dealing with several people at the time for a couple of hours straight is an introvert’s nightmare! It left me dazed & frazzled by the end of the market, and I was more than happy to break it all up and go home. However, after a good night’s sleep I had returned to my normal self again, and knew that all in all it had been a wonderful experience.
Mom & happy customer -portrait by WALTERito
And now two weeks later I feel achieved and that I have really deserved my summer holidays..and guess what, the sun is finally here to stay!
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