By February 11, 2013 Read More →

Unusual home working jobs – pottery exhibition organisers

Home working but different!

Work from Home Wisdom - unusual home working jobs - Art in ClayRapid advances in technology mean that home working Andy and Di McInnes can do almost all the organising for two exhibitions held in different locations, while in their home office.

Hi Andy & Di, tell us about your home working routine
We have a home office upstairs in one of the bedrooms, we had this built about 9 years ago as I found it increasingly difficult coming home from work to a house that seemed to be more office than home – now at it’s all in one place more or less, and much more organized,
I worked part-time as a neonatal nurse until last year when I took early retirement. Andy has been organizing the shows on a full time basis for 17 years, with me helping on a part-time basis.
Andy is planning his retirement later this year he reaches 65 and the balance of work will change with me doing more and him doing less than at present.

Apart from actually setting up the shows, how much can you do from home?
We can now do almost everything while home working. The internet has changed the way we run our business and makes sourcing things from stationery to customised T-shirts for our volunteer helpers, so much easier.
Our electronic friends can help us to design our brochures and PR bumf so much better and more professionally than when we first started home working. It’s hard to believe all the changes in communication and presentation in such a short space of time.

How do you find exhibitors?
We’re a well-established event now and mostly exhibitors find us, usually via our website. We also support the colleges and universities with reduced rate stands for their degree shows and have volunteer helpers, usually 1st and 2nd year students studying ceramics.
Only a small percentage can afford to set up pottery and ceramic businesses, but we like to think we give them a helping hand with Newcomer slots at the shows after they qualify, again at a reduced rate. They in return help us set up the shows on the weekend.
We also visit other ceramic and craft shows, maker’s workshops when we’re on holiday, and pick people up from galleries and the internet, but generally we have far more applicants than spaces at the shows, so people are often disappointed. We like to change around a quarter to a third of the exhibitors each year to keep the shows fresh.

You live in Nottingham and your shows are held elsewhere in the UK, what challenges does this present?
Things are so much better now with laptops and mobile phones, we’re never out of touch, so both visitors and exhibitors can talk to us or email us right up to the close of the show (and often beyond). One or both of us will be down at the showground for setting up. It’s hard being away from home and taking the office with you, but it works well for us.

How often are you away from home?
We tend only to be away for the shows, although we do travel to the venues a couple of times for meetings.

Can you foresee a time when you might have to move into separate premises?

No, we don’t have big expansion plans, the two shows are enough work for the two of us and we like to concentrate on doing what we do well rather than just keep doing more.
It’s lovely to be home working with truly flexible hours. There are times when we are very busy and work long hours, but this is only usually at booking time and the run up to the show.
We both love pottery; potters are some of the nicest people you could wish to meet. They are a caring, sharing community, they help each other and share expertise and knowledge. The competitive edge often seen in other businesses is rarely seen here. This makes what we do a real pleasure.

Andy and Di McInnes run Art in Clay Pottery and Ceramics Festivals twice a year at venues in Hatfield and Farnham. Click on the link for information about exhibiting and visiting.

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1 Comment on "Unusual home working jobs – pottery exhibition organisers"

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  1. Su Rogers says:

    Art in Clay is a great show at both venues Hatfield and Farnham, well done Andy and Di for all their hard work! Good luck this year, weather looks good as well.