It's all too tempting, to click your way to re-stocking your studio.
But few pleasures compare to walking into a bonafide independent art shop. Seeing all those gorgeous materials laid out before you and getting excited about what you’re going to take home.
I’ve been chatting to Sharon Noble of Noble Art supplies in Salisbury and I’ve got 10 reasons why you should go shopping there.
1. You get to speak to a real expert!
Online there's no help or advice.
Sharon is experienced and can help her customers. "After the closure of Compleat Artist Salisbury was left with a gap and as there was still an obvious customer base still present I thought I didn't want to waste nearly 18 years in art retail and everything I had learnt about materials". And thus, Noble Art supplies was born.
2. You can do a custom order.
With accounts with the main suppliers and also 2 good wholesale companies, Noble arts are happy to order in special items for you. From canvas to paint, from pencils to brushes.
3. Get up close and personal with texture.
Sharon and I are agreed, there's nothing better than finding a good brush. Nothing compares to selecting that brush in real life!
4. You can browse while making up your mind!
Browsing online is nothing like as much fun! There's been a lot of fuss in the news about an independent book seller in Yorkshire charging people to browse. But Sharon tells me "I am happy for customers to browse. Also someone browsing is a potential future customer". So relax and enjoy yourself!
5. It's a chance to see just how many colours there are in the world! Walking into an art shop is walking into an Aladdin's cave of colour. Take your time and choose well!
6. It's a joy. a social event!
You'll find like minded people. You'll be able to discuss techniques. Art materials are tactile it's great to see the products you are buying
7. Keep your Highstreet vibrant and full of luscious shops!
There's a campaign called just a card which was started based on a gallery "If everyone who walked into our gallery and said it was beautiful had bought just a card- we'd still be open" So, what can we do to make sure Salisbury keeps it only specialist art shop open? The answer to this is simple; shop local!
8. It's a great place to dream! You can imagine your next masterpiece, you can picture the colour palette you'll use. You can plan. You can buy exactly what you need, nothing more.
9. You'll have access to local knowledge.
Sharon knows many of the Salisbury artists and the classes they teach. If you want to find out more about the art scene, she'll more than likely know what's going on. In addition, Plain Arts Salisbury members get a 10% discount!
10. Get some inspiration.
From the shop window displays, the array of paints, brushes and materials and the inspiring people who work and shop there, you're bound to see something that will get your creative juices flowing!
See you there!
Last night I was sitting in a pub discussing art!
Loving art, making art. Buying art, selling art.
The five women I was discussing art with are all local artists and we will be exhibiting, selling and making merry at Salisbury Christmas market starting on Thursday (24th of November - 4th of December).
We were discussing our prices, how many cards to take, what size prints, where to place a print racks and how many originals we might be able to squeeze into our beautiful Christmas chalets. One of the artists, Sally Firino, told us about the "Just a card" campaign and it really struck me how important this is this Christmas.
Just a card began with a simple quote.
“If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought just a card we’d still be open.”
The buying public said they were often embarrassed to make a small purchase as they felt it appeared mean. People always need cards, but any item lovingly created is surely worthy of a purse raid...
Whilst you are doing your Christmas shopping, don't feel embarrassed if all you buy from us is Just a card - you'd be amazed at how that helps.
For an independent, sole trader simply setting up a small market stall is a huge undertaking. It's not just about getting enough stock printed and wrapped but it's about all of the things you have to do to make that stand beautiful, the checklist is endless: fairy lights PAT tested, tool box, exhibition box, card payments, shelves, boxes, cases, tables. Fireproofing your tablecloths! Seriously. There are any number of things, other than the items themselves that we will need to bring. This perhaps explains why some things that you buy from a local artisans might be a little bit more expensive than if you buy it in Tesco's, but I urge you, with all my heart, resist the temptation of buying a print from a big department store this year and buy one from a local artist and if you can't buy a print actually just a card is still appreciated.
I have done several art fairs, agricultural shows, and craft fairs this year and happily it's been a good year. But at every single event, without fail, I will hear other artists waxing lyrical about "if every single person who said they loved my work had bought something this would've been an amazing fair".
I also keep on hearing about people lamenting the loss of independent shops and restaurants, sad that the High Street that they walk down looks exactly the same as the High Street at the other end of the country because everything is owned by huge multinational companies. And how many of us have been very upset to discover that some of these huge companies don't appear to be paying the tax that they perhaps should be?
So this year my challenge to you is to go and buy something from an independent maker. If you're in Salisbury I'd love to see you at Salisbury Christmas market where I can absolutely guarantee there will be some amazing Christmas gifts for you to be able to buy for your close friends and family. But across the country there will be small independent businesses who will be delighted if you pop in and buy from them - even if its only a small purchase. We absolutely need the support of the people around us. There may be a tightening the belts happening this year for a variety of reasons, but whatever your Christmas budget try to make sure a small portion of it is spent in an independent shop, or with an independent artist, or with a local farmer. You might not be able to measure the difference that you make but if every single one of us started with "just a card", some independent businesses will be able to keep going into 2017.
Remember too, if you pick up somebody's business card or postcard please stick it on the fridge for future reference as we would love to hear from you at a later date. I had an email from a lovely couple four months after they first saw a big painting of mine at one of the agricultural shows that I did this summer. They contacted me months later with an email asking if the painting they loved was still available. I was delighted to package that painting up and send it to them. I'm so pleased they kept my postcard so that they could contact me later on.
So start with just a card. And if you really really love the work and you're able to buy more than just a card then all the better.
You'll be making Christmas amazing...for quite a few of us!
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