This was a comment a potential customer made to me at my first Christmas market selling my fused glass. Her eye had focussed on one my strip-cut glass dishes which make use of the selective placement of small voids so the hot glass can flow into the spaces between pieces of glass and add to the pattern. But it can leave a sense of there being holes in the glass. I didn't know this was a thing but apparently some people have a fear of holes - trypophobia - and especially so when the holes are lined up in a geometric or even pattern. So, she clearly wasn't buying anything!
Trypophobia wasn’t the only thing I learned about this year when selling glass. Back in May I took part in Oxford Artweeks for the first time, opening my ‘studio’ up to visitors. It was great to meet people interested in what I create and I learned that I love talking about the process, just how technical it is in terms of watching out for the reactions that can occur between glass of different colours and the complexity of the kiln firing schedule depending on what I am trying to achieve. I also learned that sometimes it is best to stay shtum, to use a phrase I grew up with, and allow people to browse undisturbed by my chatter. I learned too just how different peoples’ tastes are. On the whole I concluded that people tend to prefer glass that looks irregular and free flowing, rather than the structured and disciplined patterns I like, though I was delighted to meet a few folk who love a straight line too.
Challenging myself to ‘go with the flow’ a bit in preparation for the Christmas market I allowed myself to be freer – maybe messier - and made a series of Christmas tree decorations which were, like real life Christmas trees - not symmetrical, quite irregular, even lopsided - and they sold out! Lesson learned.
I plan to be taking part in Oxford Artweeks again next year and maybe have stalls at a couple of fairs. Watch this space.