REVIEW: Tales of Travel and Trade | Fiery Love | The Nomads Tent

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Art, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Exhibition

Aug 10-15, 17-22, 24-29 | 10am-5pm, Sunday 12pm-4pm | More Info


Having lived in Edinburgh for 5 years from 2007 and spent every summer here since I can’t believe I never knew this place existed!

The Nomads Tent is situated a little off the beaten track tucked away on St Leonards Lane, not too far from the Pleasance Courtyard.

It’s home to tribal art from all over Asia including but not limited to carpets, jewellery and artefacts.

And this Fringe it’s hosting photographic gallery Tales of Travel and Trade and ceramic exhibition Fiery Love from Frances Lichtveld Baird.

Tales of Travel and Trade explores the people and places behind the objects imported by the gallery. It commends the handiwork, commitment and craftmanship from the different cultures and collections you’re surrounded by.

When enfolded in what is essentially an Arabian Bazaar with these images integrated in, an element of immersion is established so you can begin to get an impression of exactly what it would be like to actually be there!

Frances Lichtveld Baird is the perfect pairing for this space as her old studio, Ixora Pottery, was kitted out with rugs and artefacts from founder (and friend) of The Nomads Tent from his travels. The Asian inspiration is clearly reflected in her work. In 2000 she was forced to close her gallery and her artwork has been in storage ever since… until now.

Fiery Love refers to both the high-temperature, high-risk firing process of pottery making and the passionate attitude of the artist. Her work is diverse and beautiful, a highlight being the shimmering fish which lend themselves to ceramics, their shimmering scales glistening in the glaze.

These exhibitions are well worth a visit and the proceeds from Fiery Love will be donated to the Mercy Corps.


The Arts Business Top Tips:

  • When you have a store like this you can really come completely create a life-like environment so integrating photos of where they come from is seriously clever. Everyone loves a behind the scenes look at how things are done which is what The Nomads Tent has done here.
  • Throughout the gallery, there are stories and leaflets to read and learn more about the origins of these exhibits. They have also created tented seating areas to encourage you to take comfort in the shop and ultimately spend more time in there, so if you are lucky enough to have a building think about how you could encourage audiences and customers to spend more time in there, making them more likely to make a purchase
  • Work with who you know. This goes hand in hand with one of my fundamental philosophies: Be nice to everyone you meet in the industry. You never know when those contacts may become opportunities. Additionally, if you know who you’re working with there is already an element of trust, you know their abilities and how they work, so you can be more assured the collaboration will work well.

As if by Magic, the Shopkeeper appeared: Goldmark Gallery

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Art, Education, Marketing

There’s not success or failure…there’s just doing – Mike Goldmark


Deep in the idyllic countryside of the East Midlands in the small village of Uppingham lies an unassuming art merchant: Goldmark Gallery.

But this is not just your average gallery, it’s an art trading, ceramic selling, exhibition hosting, magazine publishing, television producing, gallery shop.

It’s a family run business, founded by Mike Goldmark, which had been going for over 40 years and now holds more than 50,000 items in stock ranging from the affordable to the pricey, but always of the highest quality.

Mike Goldmark started his working life as an employee for Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer learning the art of selling and the principles of business.

The key philosophy? Buy a product that people want and sell it for a profit, pretty simple right?

He moved onto working briefly in fast fashion but felt trends moved on too quickly. Although artistic merit can be found in fashion, he believes it is too fleeting to be widely appreciated as a true artform.

This led Mike to open his own shop. In the 70s, now knowledgeable in all things business, Mike began to trade in second-hand books. His store ran successfully until the rise of the internet when books could be sort out online for cheaper than he could afford to sell them.

In the meantime, however, his book sales’ success meant Mike was able to open a gallery in 1985 and, due to his extensive knowledge of books, in 1986 launched a publishing house. Knowing what type of books work and sell would have lent itself perfectly to this natural business expansion.

Since then, he has expanded his business to include prints and framing, a reference library, an artist programme, a music performance venue, film production and has introduced functional ceramics, all of which is curated with love, care and expertise.

He has spent years unteaching himself the traditional rules laid out to him by corporations, challenging himself into finding products that people don’t want and figuring out how to sell them anyway.

Take his unique method of ‘try before you buy’ ceramics, for example. Ceramics are made to be held so Mike tells his customers to pick ‘em up n’ chuck em’ round, rather than the traditional look but don’t touch method.

He takes artists under his wing like other galleries, however where others may have hundreds on their books, Goldmark Gallery has a small selection of potters, currently sitting at twelve. This ensures a higher quality of artists who have a higher level of attention paid to them by the gallery staff. The more time and effort put into each potter is beneficial for both parties as it creates a wider awareness and understanding of their work, leading to more sales.

Since the start of the pandemic, Goldmark Gallery has also been creating films about potters, artists and the gallery itself. It allows customers to see the gallery action from their homes and improve their understanding of the artwork but allows artists to remain focused on their creative flow and developmental work without distraction.

These films have a huge reach and are all free online. ‘Why no charge?’ I hear you ask. Simply, it’s great PR, and Mike has found the return on investment (ROI) makes it completely worth it.

Mike believes as a society we do our best to put education and selling into different categories. Of course, he isn’t arguing with every child’s right to free education, but he’s saying these shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. You should learn and be sold, kinda like a museum ending in a gift shop.

Additionally, Goldmark Gallery shares the work of artists, using art to maintain a sense of community, which is being lost through the rise of online media and, of course, the pandemic. He is proud of his town of Uppingham which maintains a mainly independent high street. This is thanks to Mike buying up property in the 80s and then renting it to independent shopkeepers.

Customer service remains at the heart of his work. He aims to make people feel welcome and settled in his space. From making customers a cup of coffee to enjoy as they looked for purchases to inviting them from lunch whilst they learn about the artwork around them and the team that’s made it all possible.


But despite all of these great business skills and money-making methods, for Mike it’s not about being rich and famous, it’s about working hard, and utilising any profit to provide gainful employment to as many people as possible which in turn supports all the other goals of the gallery: welcoming customers, building community and educating people.


If you want to learn more about Mike Goldmark and the team then head over to the Goldmark Gallery website or check out his interview on The Practical Creative Podcast

Has your business branched out in unique and creative ways? Tell us about them in the comments!