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Back at the market table

In about me, art, car-free living, children, crafts, folk art, freedom, garden, gardening, good life, jewellery, jewelry, kids, mixed media, my artworks, painting, photography, relationship, sales, shopping, sketch, textile art, Uncategorized on April 16, 2013 at 09:46

So I did it again: for the third financial year I am loosing money (something like 67-350-250 £ a year). This is despite parting with a number of paintings,  cards and prints.

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I am grateful to the people who bought the artwork from me but please be aware that it was local council,  public transport companies,  insurance companies, post offices and art supplies who really got your money: I had to pay them too.

Number of customers at the Market is falling. I only managed to cover my rent for December. The local library sent me a letter saying I have to pay 45 pounds if I dare to put prices on my paintings at my annual exhibition. I had it here for 2 years and earned 20 – 40 pounds each time…

I should admit that the thought of a big bonfire made of the paintings and sketches regulary burns in my mind. But I am not sure I ever can give up. All the money I have to spend on art are the leftovers from buying food and clothes for my family for which my husband gives me some money. I could’ve spent more money on him and kids. Perhaps I should have spent more time on them too.

All the housekeeping: washing, cooking, gardening, tidying and almost all shopping are my responsibilities which I have been partly ignoring for last few years in order to “be an artist”. And I am not even good at it. My conscience is not allowing me to charge sky-high for my artworks and anyway local people wouldn’t be able to pay any more. We haven’t got many millionaires in Newtown. I love doing art but the stress of trying to sell it and to please everyone is getting at me.

So I probably will only have a table on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Newtown Market, I also will exhibit some artworks at Galleries Live in Telford and Shrewsbury. I also will possibly participate in an evening art club at Pen Dinas Community Garden if it won’t eat too much time. But I really would like to claim at least some of my life back as my home, me, the family and the garden are not well attended at the moment. I used to read, write, exercise, do plein air trips and I want to try to go back to this.

Sorry for a bit of whining but I feel I should explain what’s going on – mostly for people who (I think) expect me to be something I am not.

Some thoughts on small towns’ centers decline

In 1990s, city, eco-friendly, good life, politics, powys, russian, shopping, traditions on March 24, 2013 at 08:52

About a year ago I went  to Norfolk and lost my gloves. It was bitterly cold, my hands always get cracked in these conditions so I went to several shops trying to buy new gloves or mittens. They look at me as they never heard about items of clothing like that.  Apparently they wouldn’t sell them till next winter…

Yesterday (deep wet show on the ground) I desperately needed new snow boots and, again, to my surprise, met the very surprised look. Fortunately for me a kind lady working in the shop went to storage and fetched some boots for me. Why there is attitude like that? It is often cold and still could snow in March and April, so why are they not interested in making money and helping people? I often feel that the economic trouble in this country is to some extent to do with apathy.

Many are worried about decline of Newtown  now. People don’t want to buy anything apart from bare necessities. Some blame supermarkets. But I am looking at my neighbours at the market and in the area – small business owners – and supermarkets have nothing to do with their struggle. Tesco don’t sell craft supplies, vine making supplies, handmade arts and crafts, etc. The lady who sells bread and eggs here always has customers despite all supermarkets sell similar food too. Supermarkets help people – me and the family, we wouldn’t survive without their cheep food, home deliveries and large variety of items. So don’t blame them, please. Don’t blame charity shops either – they actually help people on both ends. I lived through a crisis in Moscow in 90s without any charity shops and it was tough.

Because of insecurity people are very carefull about their shopping. And lots of shops are getting closed. But, think about that: who really needed 10 clothes shops in a little town? And mostly selling very similar items too. It is boom which was crazy – not bust. It is getting back to some normality now, in my opinion. People used to buy new items when the old ones were still perfectly OK and that was wrong. It is not realistic to hope for this situation to go on forever. It is not sustainable.

Rather than trying to compete with supermarkets and Internet, I think the town centers should become something completely different to survive. Shops and cafes should be truly unique. Rents should be lower. The council should also partly sponsor all sorts of local groups and clubs to have outlets here – making town centers the places where people came to socialize, not just shop. Benches to sit (protected from the rain) and more playgrounds would help too. More security against vandals, drunks and hooligans. After living in Moscow it surprised me how early everything shut down here – apart from pubs. Because of this town centers are not very nice place to be in the evenings. I don’t think this is right. Longer shop opening hours and the town not being completely dead on Sundays would bring more life on the streets. I think, it could be done, unless we all are just drowned in apathy…

 

Harmful foods

In cooking, ethics, good life, healthy life, organic, religion, shopping, traditions on February 4, 2013 at 11:03

This is weird. This is wrong. Some people think (without any scientific evidence) that some foods will harm them. Contaminated burger is found and there are public apologies on the news, etc. Meanwhile our ordinary food is full of sugars and unnecessary additives, some of which are proven to be harmful.  That’s not worth mentioning by some reason. ..

My Shop Reserving Policy

In about me, art, crafts, Британия, ethics, legal issues, moral issues, my artworks, painting, portrait, relationship, shopping, textile art, traditions, xenophobia on February 2, 2013 at 10:41

Just letting out some steam….

Dear customers,

if you would like to reserve an item from the shop you’ll need to pay a non-refundable deposit of 10 pound a week. Please notice that if you express a wish to come on a particular day I can not guarantee that the shop will be open at that time.

Let me explain the reasons for all this. I am a novice shop keeper.  And a very surprised one. Often people come to the shop, look around and say to me: “I really like this painting” or “I want you to do commission for me. I definitely will be back tomorrow / on Friday / next week, etc.”

I am accustomed to trust people. On the day named I would come and wait till the Market is closed – even if most of other traders are already gone. Usually nobody shows up. Later I see these customers again and most of them say absolutely nothing to me.

On few occasions either I felt ill or cold, or someone from my family was poorly and I would rather be at home. I am not exaggerating.

It is not just me I am concerned about. Probably other small shops and stalls owners who really are struggling at the moment feel the same way. Is it my goods which are not good enough on careful consideration or is it my accent suggesting that I am not around here and could be treated less humanly?

Imagine if you are employed and on the day you expected to be paid your boss ignores you just like nothing happened? The income of small business owners depends on you. We live by hopes your give us.

It is perfectly fine to say “I will think about buying this”. Great!  Nobody needs false hopes, disappointments or later embarrassment.

Yours sincerely.

It’s not what you think it is

In computers, shopping on December 29, 2011 at 08:19

When I buy a device this days its not only a phone, but a computer, an atlas, a radio receiver… If only they figured out a way to add to this list the keys and the bank cards, then there would be just one thing to pick up when leaving home. Well, maybe also an umbrella if its not included…

Yet some things are less than they should be. For years I’ve been buying cheap boots and raincoats which turned up being not waterproof… There is no point in boots or raincoats which are not supposed to be used under rainy condition. They shouldn’t exist, but they are here.

Big freeze…

In about me, car-free living, good life, kids, photography, shopping, traditions, winter on January 8, 2010 at 07:23

We have got a bit of Moscow winter this year. It was about -12 C last night. Heating and gas are still OK, but poor boiler works as hard as it can. We are only partly double glazed, big windows & thin brick walls, but this wasn’t a problem before, and hopefully won’t be again for the next 30 years… Iceland food delivery is frozen to death but fortunately I’ve stock up enough supplies just before the New Year.

I am really enjoying the weather but a bit worried about my subtropical plants in the garden. I covered what I could with juniper branches and snow. It is cold but sunny at the moment but I haven’t uploaded the latest photos yet. Maybe I even venture sketching till the snow melts.

Happy kids went sledging after school first time in their life (!) a couple of days ago – I used to do it almost every day in winter as a child. Other kids came to us asking how to slide down properly. I Moscow we either used our fur coats, or pieces of cardboard boxes, water-soaked and then frozen. In my mom’s time, kids froze a layer of water in a bucket, took it out and slide on top of this.

Here is a collage of kids in the garden. We are such a dynamic family that its impossible to have everybody in the picture at the same time!

I found very annoying that it is difficult to find proper warm clothes (socks, tall snow boots, a coat) for my son. Girls are OK, there is a great choice of stuff. Warm trekking socks of kids sizes ALL have something pink on them… Why couldn’t it be green??? And what about the size 3 boots? Its scares me to see lots of man and boys wearing wellington boots in the weather like this instead of proper cosy winter boots like women. Its just not fair!

Little Shops

In shopping on April 3, 2009 at 15:33

Its a pain to see many little shops closing down. We counted something like 17 last time in the center of Shrewsbury. Yet, I think, one of the reasons for this is their working hours.

Many mothers and fathers, like me, are probably doing their shopping just after taking the kids to school or just before picking them up. Yet lots of little shops are still closed in the morning. There are some without clearly indicated working hours on the window, and ones where the shopkeeper is almost always late… There is a very nice little gift shop in Newtown, Vanilla Rose, but its tricky to get inside. Few days ago I went here in the afternoon and there was a sticker saying on the door “back at 3”. I did some shopping (looking for some presents for my relatives), went back… and found the same piece of paper saying now “back at 3.15”. I couldn’t wait any more and bought everything in another shop… Most shops do close early, even more true to say this about the market stalls – they owners already have packed half of their staff when I go shopping in the afternoon.

Also most of this little places don’t accept card payments. Because of this lots of shoppers will be very careful not to pick up too much items. Its good for buyers but not so good for shop owners.

Anyway, I think last few decades have seen too many people buying things they don’t really needed (like new clothes when old ones were still wearable, or new furniture when old one still was in one piece… yes!). It was unnatural. And I feel it is unrealistic to expect this to carry on forever. So, unfortunately, some shops (and factories) have to go for good.

Shopping trolly

In car-free living, eco-friendly, shopping on March 31, 2009 at 13:17

It would certainly increase the number of people shopping without using their cars if we were allowed to take standard BIG shopping trolleys strait to the doors of our homes.

Christmas Eve

In my artworks, religion, shopping on December 24, 2008 at 09:02

Here is a mixed media artwork of mine I did (and sold) a couple of years ago filling opposed to commercialization and secularization of Christmas.

Christmas Turkey

In computers, cooking, healthy life, organic, shopping, writing on December 5, 2008 at 11:36

Mrs Sad and Angry 🙂 is back: I wanted to buy a turkey in the Iceland shop. But found out they all are “ready basted” with E numbers. Thank you very much, eat your E-E-E yourself! Why can’t they have JUST TURKEY? They never have.

Also my browsers go mad when I’m trying to read other people’s blogs in Google Reader – I guess its because I’ve subscribed to so many of them. I do enjoy reading you, people out there!

I’m into publishing my old poetry on a Russian poetry site at the moment and surprisingly, there are some people who even like it! Amazing

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