Monday, 9 December 2013

Things that I have learned

So, I survived!! Two art fairs in one weekend! It was hard work, but worth it. First up, there was the Handmade and Vintage Festive Market in Lancaster.

Here's a shot of the view from my stall, towards the end of the day. I stupidly forgot to take a picture of my own stall at either place, so you just have to imagine all my stuff laid out in this room. I was last but one on the end of the row, and there were people all round the room behind me as well. And there was a second, smaller room to the right of this picture. 
I must say, I think this was the best fair I've been to yet in terms of organisation, number of customers, range and quality of items on sale, and as it turned out for me, sales! I did pretty well, selling a large mounted print and a smaller one, and a smaller framed print, as well as quite a lot of cards and some of Anna's stickers. I also had time for a quick look around and was sorely tempted by some of the things on display, not least some lovely fusion glass earrings a bit like the ones shown below (sorry, that's as big as it can be), from Black Rose Crafts

Or possibly some really cool fashion accessories from Lost Little Soul, for example, this rather fabulous leather necklace:

I also chatted to several fellow stallholders, and it turned out the lady next to me was also from Manchester. She was really friendly, and gave me loads of leads to follow up regarding possible funding opportunities and galleries to contact, which I shall do very soon. One thing I've found really nice about attending these fairs, is the sense of camaraderie with the other stallholders. I imagined that perhaps some people, especially ones doing similar stuff, might guard their territory rather jealously and not want to give away too much info, but I've found the opposite to be true. People are only too happy to swap tips and advice, and to be really fulsome in their praise and encouragement. The general public have also been a constant delight. I guess, if the work doesn't interest them they just pass on by, so in general those that stop will only have good things to say, but the degree to which people have engaged with my work, and offered kind words, compliments and interest has really been fantastic. 

I'm also learning so much each time, so even though sales haven't been so great that I'm making loads of profit, I am managing to usually cover my costs, so I am keen to keep doing them in 2014, even though on their own they are clearly not going to be enough to make my dream of being a professional artist a reality. But I didn't know that a few weeks ago when I started attending them, and I know so much more now, so I consider that progress. I'll be back tomorrow with a report on the Winter Arts market in Liverpool, about which there's a lot to say as well.

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