Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

All the fun of the fair

Two Christmas Fair's ticked off the list – so, how did they go?

The Linton Christmas Gift Market was a new event, so it was uncharted territory – I was surprised to be directed to behind the back of the main building to a portacabin classroom, the atmosphere was a little tense and not at all jolly and very cold (I now understand that unfortunately a number of stallholders hadn't turned up which had caused all sorts of problems for the organiser). On a happy note I was next door to a lovely lady selling brightly covered felt covered soap – her sales banter was a joy! – and next to her was Nicola, aka Lily Button, with her beautifully made upcycled bags and accessories. There was a steady trickle of customers and to my surprise one introduced herself as Chrissie of niminyfingers, wasn't that lovely! At the end of the day I had lost all feeling in my frozen toes; but, helped by one exceptional sale, my takings were quite respectable.

Last weekend was the big one, The Mayor's Appeal Arts Fair in Saffron Walden Town Hall. I've had a stall at the two previous Arts Fairs and sales have been excellent – particularly at the Fund Raising Private View on the Friday evening. So it was with high hopes that I set up my stall . . .

The central area of the Town Hall is reserved for artists to show their framed pictures, two or three of the people who had expressed interest decided not to attend, so I was allowed to spread out onto two extra display panels for no extra fee.

Rachel had sent a package of more finished pieces in out LANDSCAPE EAST jewellery collection, I'd quickly made a display panel covered with some Sudbury silk I just happened to have in the studio – I liked how the wide black and brown stripes looked like a minimalist landscape.

What happened? Quiet is an understatement, I won't even try to analyse why and this isn't the place to do it. My takings for the whole weekend were just a little less than the Linton Market, and that was mostly thanks to a charming woman who visited twice on Saturday and then came back on Sunday to buy two prints (I can't tell you how much she cheered me up!).

On a positive note, there was a 'let's make the most of it' spirit among the stallholders and we spent a lot of time swapping ideas and getting to know each other which was very inspiring. Gary from Edwards & Todd in Museum Street, London (opposite the British Museum) called in to collect a bundle of unframed prints from me to restock his browsers – and he gave me one of his gallery's Christmas invitation cards which features my Deer sprang form the wood linocut.

I came away not at all down-hearted, in fact just the opposite – I had a list of things to get on with . . .

The LANDSACPE EAST jewellery is gradually being listed in the jewellery department of Magic Cochin's Emporium – the Anglesey Abbey Falling Oak Leaf earrings are there already :-) I think they are my favourite piece – I'd snap up a pair!

Prompted by Caroline on the neighbouring stall, I've started a visual journal, i sketch my day, drawn while I'm out walking, using various drawing apps and posted from my iPhone.

And, thanks to the amazingly skilled maker of decorative papers, Victoria Hall; I've some exciting new printmaking ideas to pursue.

One more Christmas event to go . . . The Withersfield Christmas Bazaar on Saturday 4th December 2 - 4.30pm. It's my local village event, there will be lots of friends there so it's for fun – do come along if you live nearby, worth it for the tea and cake ;-)



  1. Oh how I'de love to attend a Christmas Fair like those. Your collaborative jewellery is gorgeous!

  2. shame about the second fair but you seem quite positive about the whole thing... and inspired too, which is always a bonus! I love your work Celia and may have to treat myself this Christmas... how about making me a special hen print apron I can proudly wear in my kitchen?

  3. How disappointing for you, now is a tricky time to sell, I've got two fairs this weekend I think it's going to be a long haul!

  4. I recently took my crafts to what was billed as a "children's fair." Lots of fun things for the little ones to do, but the parents weren't expecting crafts in the middle of it, and were in no mood to spend money. You just never know with these things!
    I just took a peek at your iphone sketches. I love, love, love them. I think that you should give an iphone art workshop! I'd fly in for it :)

  5. Hi Veg Heaven - what a shame you live so far away.

    Hi Dom - I have to focus on the positive as last weekend was a bit of a drag. Interesting idea... you never know ;-)

    Hi Flower Garden - good luck with your sales, it really does depend on footfall and inclination to buy. Hard to control!

    Hi Terry - impossible to guess how a fair will turn out even if it's a tried and tested one!
    I'm really enjoying the 'i sketch my day' project - I could put together a half day workshop next May perhaps ;-)


  6. I definitely wish I was local to you so that I could come along and see your collaborative jewellery in person!

    Sorry to hear the second fair didn't go so well, but great that you got to exchange ideas with others.

  7. Celia, I'm sorry the fair was poorly attended, I think it's the economy - at least it is in the U.S. Your work is just lovely! I think Dom has a winning idea about the Magic Cochin apron!

  8. It was lovely to meet you at Linton and see all your beautiful things in person. I can't believe it was quiet at Saffron Walden though, what a pity. Your collaborative project is really wonderful, I'm sure it'll go from strength to strength.


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