Monday, March 21, 2011

Volounteer My A$5/Bottom Off

The Market runs mainly on volounteers and two staff members that have to really understand the way the whole ship needs to manoeuvre. Vendors set up out of place, show up late, don't book a stall, waste staff time, have hurt feelings at the drop of a hat, don't attend adjudication meetings, bring things that aren't eligible for the market, bring a vehicle in when they aren't ready and block everyone else who is ready to drive out, complain about the vendor beside them smelling funny, leave garbage in the city get the point.
As an aside, I received two lovely compliments last Saturday, about how well I handled the General Meeting a few weeks ago. A small, heartfelt, positive comment can wash away ten ugly rants and for that I am most appreciative.

It is part of leading a huge group like the Farmer's Market, that people will call you at home, email you, write long horrible letters about how their opinion is more correct than that of the board and how moronic all the decisions made three month ago were, and as mentioned call you at home in the middle of the day.

I work at home and put in some serious hours in the studio and during the merger between the two feuding Markets, it got so bad that I was unable to complete enough pots because there were hours of each day lost to these random phone conversations. The old wheel was so loud that I couldn't have the phone on speaker because it drowned out their end of the conversation (which cheeky dave suggested was just fine). So I actually got a hands free earphone set that I could plug in and hang the phone on the back of my apron, put the headphones on and then throw, trim and wedge clay all while listening to the various espoused opinions .

I think it is time to get back to that. Also another part of the stress free studio plan is to turn the answering machine on during the day and then return phone calls when it is convenient for me and possibly when the caller has calmed down.

I have been working a lot with the Market as I am trying to train her to handle a lot of people (last weekend's market was 40ish stalls****our largest outdoor season starter ever****), the physical placement of every stall, the parking place of each vendor vehicle, customers, handling the stall fees and receipts for each person, taking attendance, writing down each concern along with every request for stall changes, and visually reviewing every item for sale at the Market to ensure it complies with our mantra {{MAKE IT/BAKE IT/GROW IT/SELL IT}}.

I am also coordinating tonight's monthly adjudication meeting, inviting each person by phone and email and collecting all the applications, reviewing them and then I will head the meeting and interview everyone that shows up or sends us email photos.

Perhaps my lack of compassion on the phone earlier is because I am a little tired to the bustle of the start of the new Market year.

My gallery was very well stocked a few weeks ago and I was confident with the amounts of each type of pot until I took 35 pots to the Salish Sea Gallery in Cowichan Bay and then packed up two tubs to take to the Market Saturday. When I came home I could really feel the empty spaces and now I have made a new list of pots to make and am working through them.

So it continues, a new season of markets and sales and a new plan for keeping up with my gallery demands. All at once, the number of hours that I spend volounteering seems like a bit extra weight on my mind. I am really looking forward to the time when the Market is running along like clockwork, monthly Board meetings, monthly adjudication meetings and weekly markets with only a few small fires to put out from the comfort of my stall (not running around like a crazed chicken with a huge fire extinguisher, see diagram above) hahahaahaaa

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