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Great show!

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I had reluctantly accepted that our family calendar was just too rammed full for me to indulge myself with a visit to the Hobbycraft Show at the NEC, despite reeeeeeaally wanting to go.  And then as if a crafty-fairy God mother was granting me a wish a lady at my work had some spare tickets going cheap decided to sod the to-do-list and go and join the fun.

Anyone who’s been to an exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham will know how exciting…and tiring…that long walk is.  From the train station to the exhibition hall takes about 15 minutes to walk, anticipation building all the way.  You see others speeding ahead of you, eager feet propelling them towards the joys that lie ahead.  The mutual understanding with complete strangers, a kind of geeky obsessive urge to get right in the thick of it.  Just the joy of feeling that atmosphere of being among like minded people, creatives, crafters, addicts.

There was so much to see, so much to get sucked into, card making demos, sculpturing and painting, cross stitch (which I had to try and stay away from for fear of being wooed!)……but most importantly of all, jewellery making and polymer clay.  The main draw for me was visiting the British Polymer Clay Guild stand.  I’d already checked out their website, already knew I wanted to join their website members list but I wondered what kind of people they were, are they welcoming to new members? would they snigger at my feeble attempts at clay work compared to their professional looking pieces of art?

The Guild members I met were lovely.  Friendly and open, willing to share their techniques and tips and most inspiring of all….they had that same geeky excitement about polymer clay that I have.  So that settled that, I’m definitely going to become a member of the British Polymer Clay Guild………..can I get a whoop whoop!?!?

The rest of the Hobbycrafts show was good too, I visited two other clay related stands.  Which gave us two very different experiences.  The first were the new and only UK distributors of a make of polymer clay called Cernit.  The ‘Guild’ ladies had said that since Cernit changed their formula they have started to  recommend the Cernit brand for the type of ‘cane work’ I do, so I was intrigued.  I had a really long chat with the lovely couple and bought some Cernit clay to try out and I treated myself to a new pasta machine for my clay work as the one they were selling had extra wide rollers, something I’ve been looking for for a long time!

The other polymer clay stand we visited was run by a couple of clay artists who sold their jewellery and ran demos and workshops on various clay techniques.  Some of their work was lovely, I was interested in the high gloss resin finish they were using on their pendants.  But I found myself in a very strange situation standing at their table.  Some of their work didn’t seem to be as good as my own.  I couldn’t quite believe it, and looked very carefully at their work.  How can they be at this huge exhibition, visited by thousands of craft enthusiasts yet some of their pieces were, in my humble opinion, of fairly low quality.  The cane work was not very sophisticated, there didn’t seem to be much thought put into the design of the canes themselves, and the finish of some of the jewellery wasn’t as ‘fine’ as I would have expected.  Perhaps I am a perfectionist in my clay and jewellery work, perhaps that’s why I sometimes feel frustration and disappointing.  But having seen the fantastic quality if the work on display at the British Polymer Clay Guild, compared to the other pieces displayed….I know where I would rather be heading.

Lovely Jubilee!!

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Me on my craft stall

Ready to welcome my first customer to Celebrate Creativity Craft Fair at The Waterhall in Birmingham

It took a lot of preparation to get ready for this fabulous Jubilee event, it was such a big opportunity I really felt the pressure to perform.  But all that stress really paid off, my stall looked great, we had a fabulous day, the crowds were friendly, good footfall at the stall and a fair few sales. There were busy times which fill you with excitement and slow times which made us doubt the whole thing, but I’ve found that’s always the way with craft fairs.  I struggle to be organised enough to keep track of sales on the day so counting up the pennies afterwards is always fun.  I took over £100 so I’m really happy with that.  I’ll be donating some of my profit as usual to my chosen charity.  And spurred on by this successful happy day…..I’ve booked another stall at an upcoming event.

 

An olive branch

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3 days left to prepare for craft fair………had a crisis 4 days ago when I discovered my last batch of jewellery glueing had gone wrong and all my pieces fell apart.  I think it was because the weather is so warm at the moment that the glue dried too quickly and became brittle.  So I had to sand the backs down and start again, this time on a ticking time limit…out in the cool evening garden to slow the setting time but before the sun went down so I could still see what I was doing!!

The rest of my prep has been going ok, labels and signs done, stock organised, float money collected……just need to iron my table cloth.

My dad gave me an old bare olive tree stump……I’m going to hang my necklaces off it on my stall…….it looks really cool and has spurred me on a bit.

Can’t help feeling I’ve forgotten something though.

Time will tell.

Craft fair countdown

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Less than 2 weeks to go til the big event.  haven’t done a stall since before Christmas, and not a public market for almost 18 months so feeling nervous and anxious.  I have enough stock, I think, last batch of cufflinks were baked today, will be doing a big glueing session over next few days so they have time to set.  Need to do a big organise of stock so it’s easy to set up on the day, also need to think about props for stall display.  My dad has a couple of old olive tree branches that I feel like I should use but not sure how best to use them.  Also need to finalize prices and labels, get kitty cash and decide what to wear….especially which jewellery to fashion on the day.

Aaaaaaagggggghhhhhhh!!!!

When inspiration is a distraction

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So there’s only 17 days left until my big Jubilee craft stall….and I have such a big list of things to do to get ready, not least of all being to make some more stock so there is a mild sense of time running out that is starting to stress me out.  And yet for some reason my creative brain decided now was a great time to discover the world of cross stitch…..the endless possibilities, the ideas of projects I’d like to try, magazines, websites, kits and threads.  I don’t like to limit my brain when the tangent it’s decided to take off one that it fun and creative but why oh why did it come along now? I can’t really afford to become distracted with less than 3 weeks to go before the big fair but for the last 2 nights I’ve found myself on the sofa stitching with a pile of earring components sitting neglected beside me.  Maybe I’m waiting for the panic to hit me.

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