Well, hello folks! Time sure does fly when one is having fun... And fun was had in the past few weeks, I can assure you. Fun... precedented by lots of hard work, long nightshifts in the workshop and endless hours of delightful "business admin" (can you tell that the latter is not my favourite thing to do?). To cut a long story short, I did my first ever three day craft fair, a rather lavish affair at the renowned Glucksman Gallery in Cork.
After my initial feeling of excitement to have been selected, alongside some of Ireland's leading design and craftspeople no less, I quickly started to second-guess myself, as is my very nature. Had I taken on too much, was I really ready? Only one way to find out... Luckily, my determination and courage in the face of adversity (or, in this case, self doubt) came through just in time to save me from dissolving into a panicky mess. So, guess what? I only went and did it. You know what else? It worked out just fine.
I was blown away by the friendly and supportive staff at the Glucksman gallery who ensured hands-on that everything could run smoothly - from setup the day before to the very last moment of packing my bags (and boxes... and displays... and banners... and everything but the kitchen sink) and pulling out of the loading bay once more. Altogether such a positive experience that I can only hope I'm allowed back again next year, fingers crossed...
However, it's not all "just" about me working 24/7 or the helpful gallery staff. It's also down to the people who show up during those three days to support small, individual businesses and who put their trust (not to mention their hard earned money) into emerging makers' hands as well as the established greats. I really was pleased with how many took the time to stop, ask questions about my jewellery, or to simply get acquainted with the new person who often has a hard time getting over her bashful self. Although a born chatterbox, you wouldn't know just how tongue tied I can get in social situations and how I inwardly cringe at my clumsy attempts to be eloquent and informative. Ah well, I did my best and no-one can do any more than that.
I was lucky to have had wonderful stall neighbours who felt similarly and many sympathetic hugs, emergency chocolates as well as restorative laughs were had. It's always refreshing to come across such spontaneous camaraderie and I feel I have made some genuine new friends during the fair. Expect some inspired collaborations down the line...!
Speaking of down the line, now that I have done one fair, there's no stopping me from doing yet another three day event at the end of this month.... (imagine a drumroll here, please) the newly branded Gifted Fair in Cork City Hall! Sister to the well know Gifted Fair at the RDS in Dublin, it's sure to be another cracker of a show, with a varied selection of stalls to keep the discerning shopper happy.
Why should you attend, you wonder, when there's online shopping or the well trodden high street? Why, because craft fairs are an excellent opportunity to meet new makers and talents you previously never have heard of or otherwise never would have discovered, especially if you're stuck in a shopping rut. So be ahead of the crowds, not only in terms of timeliness for your Christmas presents, but also as regards innovative designs and unique, expertly handcrafted items.
Craft fairs are perfect to ask all the questions, try everything on, get a good feel for the quality available and maybe find out about services you never knew existed. I am talking mainly about restyles and commissioned work but the possibilities are endless... as you'll see once you show up! Special treats and offers aplenty, free gift wrapping and that personal touch you just can't get anywhere else... what's not to like?
Come and talk to me, that's what I'll be there for. Support local, shop small and feel good about the choices you are making this season, for yourself and your loved ones! What better gift than sustainability and eco friendliness as a happy by-product!? So really, don't just take my word for it and get up, show up and make the most of these events in the weeks to come.
See my Instagram and Facebook page for extra incentives if my ramblings haven't convinced you yet... For now, it's back to the bench for me but I'll see you soon, won't I?
Warmest seasonal wishes,