Creating items for local or tourism trade?


(Chris Pellow) #1

Good morning :)

Since we moved to Scotland, my dormant creative juices bubbled up and I started dabbling in all sorts of media before finding Polymer Clay. I love working with clay and colour, could not afford a kiln to make ceramics so polymer clay was a happy "medium". I learned as many techniques as I could lay my hand on and enjoyed 8 years of "claying".
Once I thought my stuff was good enough to be sold, I initially attended a few craft fairs: summer ones are geared towards visiting tourists, winter ones are geared towards locals looking for handmade presents.

Tourists wanted typically "Scottish" items, although some did not mind what it was as long as it was "made in Scotland". Locals wanted something different... they mostly had enough tartan, thistles and highland cows.

Potentially having to make a living from this in France, I would like to know how you decide what objects to make, whether you focus on the tourist group or whether you create a tourist line and a local one.

Also, how do you prevent yourself from going stale when having to produce larger quantities of one item? I am more a one of a kind piece person as the creation of a colour pattern is a fluent affair which is sometimes hard to recreate, but I realise that in order to make a living, I will need to embrace the "wholesale" idea.

This is a link to my website - it is a bit outdated as I am now too busy with my full time job and preparations for the move to France: Chris Pellow Designs

I would appreciate your thoughts and experiences on this.

Thank you :)


(neil whitehead) #2

Your work is very attractive and profesional - how were your sales?

From my own experience here in the southwest, I have found it difficult to find galleries to display my work (paintings) as most of the galleries are owned by artists who only display their own work. I therefore attend various local art fairs and put on exhibitions at local vineyards and restaurants as we are not in an area that attracts many tourists although where we live is very attractive - just north of the city of Pau in the Bearn region. Sales to local people have not been very high especially in the last few years. There is the web of course but then every artist in the world has a site. I am on a few on-line gallery sites. I don't think I could make a living out of solely selling my paintings here at the moment but there does seem to be an increase in interest. I have a small pension and I have some design work and produce graphic posters and classic vehicle illustrations as well. Best of luck Chris.


(Debra Lee) #3

Hello, Chris and welcome!

I am not in France yet but I have marketed art in many different mediums. Polymer clay jewelry is one of them. Rather than focusing on tourist trade versus local trade, I believe you should produce whatever pleases you. If you see that certain designs sell better than others, you can do variations on that theme. But I wouldn't try to make exact copies of any of your designs. That would be a quick way to burn yourself out. P

I checked out your website. Your works is superb. Just keeping creating pieces that speak to you. Most likely, they will speak to others...both tourists and locals.

Debra