Orange County Fair - 2017 Experience Report

Photo by Nadia Souetre

Photo by Nadia Souetre

About one year ago, I heard about how Muddy's Studio participates in the Orange County Fair. I was still building fundamental skills on the pottery wheel so I did not feel ready to participate. After a year, the opportunity presented itself again and I decided to join in! I'd like to share a little about how it all went down.

Not really knowing what to expect, we were told to sign up for 2 types of shifts. Demonstrations and Gallery Sitters. As a demonstrator, we were responsible for representing our sponsors, educating the interested, and entertaining our audience. As a Gallery sitter, we were stationed in the sales gallery to help welcome guests, connect with potential customers, and make some sales! I played both roles in the fair and had the opportunity to share my craft, sell my wares and meet some wonderful people in the Orange County pottery community

Photo by Randy Au

Photo by Randy Au

Being a demonstrator was something that I initially felt confident in doing. The first day I was scheduled to do it, I found out I had to do a narration. The entire day leading up to it was nerve racking. I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to talk about and when the time came, I still did not know. I ended up stumbling through my 10 minutes on the mic and felt pretty lame afterwards. I was glad I did it but was not stoked to do it again when given another opportunity. I shy'd away from it and didn't feel ready to talk and 'work' a crowd. I found speaking into a microphone hard to really make a real connection and 'converse'. In my talking experiences I found that my 1 on 1 conversations to be more compelling and interesting for both parties. It was really rewarding when I was able to speak about my own experiences with learning pottery and give others information to enable their own creative exploration. On my last day, I had a group of kids crowd around my wheel as I offered them little lumps of clay to play with. A lot of them quickly lost interest but one kid I will remember for a long time. His name was Justin and once he had the material in his hand he was zoned in. I quickly met his parents of course - his dad was super chill. I could see how much he encouraged and accepted Justin for who he was and what he wanted to do. There was this awesome moment where he saw how into Justin was for molding the clay and he told him .. "Hey I can see you're really into it so i'll be over here for a minute and come back to find you later." I loved seeing that and want to continue fostering these types of people into this world. JUSTIN if ur out there, keep it up!

Photo by Nadia Souetre

Photo by Nadia Souetre

Selling work in the gallery and seeing what people liked was interesting as well. At first I felt awkwardness when talking about my work. But on the second and third day, I started to "own" what I was about. I had a simple message and interest in functional wares. I started to lead with that and people responded in a much more positive manner. They gave me attention and appreciated the aspects that I mentioned. Tactile experiences, balance in the hand, and connection with physical objects. I felt like I was able to call back what got me into ceramics in the first place.

lucas chen