In Business: My First Exhibition by Jeanne Pring

I would like to thank Jeanne Pring for being our first guest author and for sharing her experience at her first exhibition! I met Jeanne through the MCAM auction site set up on Facebook. I was not familiar with her work before seeing her name pop up on the auction page, but now I feel like old friends. Jeanne is quick to share her story, images of her work and lesson’s learned. Jeanne’s article will be the first to appear in the category of “In Business”. Our goal with this section of articles is to create a place for artists to share their experiences selling their work and to create a dialogue that will benefit all metal clay artists all over the world.
~Jeannette Froese LeBlanc editor cre8tivefire.com.

In Business with Jeanne Pring ~United Kingdom:
Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is Jeanne Pring of Jkhoo Designs. I started making jewellery when I was not able to find anything suitable to accompany my dress for my wedding … and certainly not to my budget. I therefore decided to teach myself how to make my own jewellery for my special day. I received so many positive comments on the pieces I made that I decided to teach myself more and start a business.

Page_2_Image_1With Trisha Williams – the event organiser

I was recently fortunate enough to be accepted as one of only a few handpicked artisans to show my jewellery at a private view and selling exhibition to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Highgate School in London (where my husband went to school). This event was preceded by an Art Exhibition which my husband and I attended – partly out of pure interest but also to check out the space, the tables, the lighting and the parking. Both of these events were organised and run by Trisha Williams and I am very grateful to her for including me at the event. I was very impressed with the venue – a beautiful Victorian red brick building with high ceilings and large windows. This school was founded on 29th January 1565 by a royal charter of Queen Elizabeth I. It was originally an all boys’ school but it is now co-educational and comprises a number of beautiful old buildings. The event was held in what used to be one of the old boarding houses and is now an Arts centre.

Page_3_Image_1The Venue – The Mills Art Centre, Highgate School

In preparation for this, my first exhibition (I have only previously run stalls and pop up shops), I had great plans for a stunning and artistic display. I was particularly keen to have a number of new silver clay pieces. I created a lovely hand sculpted piece celebrating Chinese New Year which I named Billy the Goat. This piece is dedicated to my brother (Billy) who was born in the year of the goat and has now unfortunately passed away. This particular piece will be going to my daughter who was also born in the year of the Goat.

Page_4_Image_1Billy the Goat – Fine silver, sterling silver and Coral

Amongst other things, I also made two pieces involving cabochons – a necklace and earring set with Onyx which I called Noir and a necklace and earring set which I called Mystic Woodland, inspired by the stunning Labradorite gem itself. I also made a ring to complete my Allium collection.

Page_5_Image_1Mystic Woodland – Labradorite in fine silver

Page_6_Image_1Noir – Onyx in fine silver and sterling silver

Page_7_Image_1Allium ring – fine silver with sterling silver band

These were my first attempts at cabochon setting and ring making in silver clay and I was rather nervous but bit the bullet and went for it – they turned out really nicely to my relief.

I was perhaps rather over ambitious as time was passing and although I was very happy with the work I was producing, these new designs and techniques took longer than I had anticipated as I always tweak and twiddle with my pieces until I am completely satisfied with the overall look. It certainly did not help that I fell sick just before the event and was out of action for over a week – not the best timing! This meant that I was not able to fulfil my intended artistic display – incorporating drift wood centrepiece. Despite this I still received several very positive comments on my stand.

I turned up at the venue on the day of the private view and thanks to having already practiced my table layout at home was able to get everything set up with 30 minutes to spare! I did have to improvise somewhat as I had some display boxes which I had intended to mount on the backboard provided (which was supposed to be just a painted board) but on the day it was covered in paper which would not support the weight of the boxes so I ended up propping them on top of some clear cases – not ideal but it worked out fine. I then had just enough time for a bracing coffee to calm my nerves.

Page_8_Image_1My display

 

Showtime! – and the first guests start to arrive and to my relief there is plenty of interest in my work. The venue starts to fill up and I am delighted that my stand is crowded – I am especially pleased when I make my first sale! It is always a vindication of our hard work when we sell something to a member of the public. The first day was very busy and I not only made a good few sales and commissions but also received a number of very positive comments on my work – I got through a whole box of business cards! As an added bonus, I was especially pleased that a number of my clients attended the private view wearing my designs.

Page_9_Image_1 Page_10_Image_1

The rest of the weekend was much quieter which gave me the opportunity to meet my fellow exhibitors. There was some truly exquisite work on display. I was also pleased that my peers were not only very talented craftsmen and women but were also very happy to provide advice when asked. Like so many of us who handmake our products we tend to underestimate the quality of our work and also its value. Further we often do not know where to go to show and sell our work – being able to ask the advice of those who have been doing this for a number of years successfully was a real boon for me. The creative arts community is made up of truly inspiring and encouraging people.

I was very fortunate to have my glamorous assistant (my husband) helping me especially during the very busy private view. He was able to look after potential customers while I was serving others. He was also very useful helping set up and pack away, organise food and drinks and allow me to take a break now and then without leaving my stand unattended.

Page_11_Image_1With my glamorous assistant/husband

Overall, this was a fantastic experience for me. A lot of hard work went into it and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

In closing, my advice to those of you planning to participate in an exhibition or selling event is:

  • Have a solid plan – gather as much information as you can – know the size of your table, whether you need to bring a chair, lighting, banner etc
  • Be flexible – the best laid plans will often be compromised by circumstances.
  • Be prepared – do not rely on your memory, have a check list
  • Do not under price your work – very important.
  • Bring someone along if you can – having a second person really helps when you have a crowd at your table to answer questions and keep people interested whilst you are looking after another customer.
  • Above all – do not fall sick the week before!

I hope my article inspires you to exhibit your own work. It is a good way to raise your profile and increase your customer base. I would love to hear your thoughts on the article and your own experiences.

Jeanne Pring_Profile1

 

About the author: Born in Malaysia, educated in Australia, living in the United Kingdom, owner/designer of Jkhoo Designs – exclusive high quality hand made jewellery, Jeanne Pring graduated with a double Chemistry degree, later specialised as an instructional designer and now a jewellery designer. Loves to sing and is inspired by all things beautiful. Every person is unique just as is every one of her creations. Contact Jeanne Pring at jkhoodesigns@gmail.com.

For more photographs of the event and my contact details, please visit my website (JkhooDesigns.weebly.com).

If you would like to contribute to this new section, or any other category we published in MCAM…or to suggest something new please contact the editors at Cre8tiveFire@gmail.com. We are more than happy to help you with an article and to hear your ideas!

10 Responses to “In Business: My First Exhibition by Jeanne Pring”

  1. Diane Lee

    I loved this article ! So inspiring and interesting too :)))) Your work is absolutely stunning ! I just loved that table you set up, it had such pleasing, perfect balance…..thank you for sharing your story with us, and for creating such gorgeous art jewelry……~peace

  2. Marie-Ann Coyle

    Jeanne, thank you for your interesting article and showing us your beautiful jewellery. I love the quality and finish which is so important.
    Cheers
    Marie-Ann Australia

    • Thank you Mary-Ann for your kind words. For me a well finished piece is very important especially if handmade. You cannot achieve the same for mass produced work. I love the fact that when I design and make a piece of jewellery I can give it as much attention to detail as I can making each piece unique. This is why I love quality handmade products.

  3. Thanks for sharing this insight into a different culture and your new venture! I have been making a living in the arts in the US for 40 years or more in various mediums. I am relatively new to metal clay and loved your pieces. I read your comment about not under-pricing yourself. I do struggle with that and am not sure how to price my pieces. I have done 4 fine art fairs so far with my jewelry and the response and sales are good but I’m not sure I can make inventory fast enough to keep up as I am booked solid now through next January already! I’m wondering about my pricing perhaps being too low? What are your thoughts on this?

    • Well done Rosie! I would love to see some of your work. In response to your query, not being able to meet up with demands could mean either you have hit a niche market or you have underpriced making it too good a bargain. However not having seen your work and pricing, you could have hit the correct pricing and people are absolutely loving your work. Do you use a formula guide when pricing? There is a lot to consider when pricing but at the end of the day it boils down to if you are happy to part with a piece of your creation which you have worked hours on and that you are not making a loss. It also depends on how you see your business growing and where you want to take it. I am more than happy to discuss this further if you would like to email me directly Rosie at Jkhoodesigns@gmail.com. Keep up the good work!

  4. Brilliant article by the very talented Jeanne Khoo. I’ve had the privilege of having her design and make bespoke pieces for a few of my fashion shows. The intricate beauty and craftsmanship of her work is quite stunning. Great tips for exhibitors as well!!

  5. I am very honoured to be the first guest author of Creative Fire’s ‘In Business’ section. I hope my experience inspires my fellow metal clay artists to partake in their own events and exhibitions.Thank you Jeannette for this fantastic opportunity’

    • Well done Jeanne! You are inspirational! Great display and well crafted pieces that drew a crowd, I hope you sold much more than I witnessed. Thank you for the tips, I shall keep them in mind for when I participate in an exhibition in the future.

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