This time last week I was just getting home after a pub supper and a glorious evening swim in the river to celebrate returning from a sucessful weekend in Thirsk at Art in the Pen.
I'd never done big art fair before, BCTF doesn't count because it's a trade fair so you don't have to worry about how much stock you're going to take or whether your card machine will work ( it didn't, the wifi wasn't strong enough so my iZettle machine has still only been tested by charging Rupert for his tea). Arriving after a ridiculous journey, that took 2 hours longer than it should have done because I tried to be clever and got lost instead, I stumbled out of the car and surveyed the unpromising venue - a recently hosed down cattle market with matching perfume. It took about 3 hours to set up my pen, with lots of help from Rupert (turns out my little arms were too short to reach around the display boards I'd made to attach the cable ties!) but by the time I left the whole place had been transformed - over 100 artists and makers who not only make beautiful things but manage all the set design, logistics, PR., accounting and self motivation that are part of the job. I had a great weekend; sold enough work to justify my existence this month and met a lot of inspiring people, old and very dear friends, artists I aspire to buy from one day and random coincidental connections .
If you missed the Thirsk edition you can catch me at the even bigger Skipton event on the weekend of August 12th. I'm really looking forward to it as it's so nice to actually meet buyers and talk about one's work to interested people- although I have no idea how visitors can decide what to buy; there was so much on offer and all of it created by passionate people with a story to tell. Packing up on the last day I was struck by the enormous effort everyone puts in to these events and I hoped that it had been worth it for all the artists involved - to buy even a small piece direct from a maker is so important, the buyer gets something to treasure and often hears the personal story behind the work or inside information about the technique, while the artist gets the all important boost to confidence and finances. ( For more about this subject have a look at the Just a Card Campaign).
See you in Skipton for more magic and alchemy in the pens when the artists take over and transform the cattle mart :) x