I am deep in craft fair preparation mode at the moment.
This is usual for the time of year. For the past four years I have had a stall at The Secret Garden Craft Fair, part of Sherwood Art Week, which happens every year in June, just down the hill from me.
It is my favourite craft fair, for lots of reasons…
It takes place in a garden behind a church, tucked away from the main thoroughfare… the stalls are outdoors and the surroundings are pleasant; there is live music; many of the usual stallholders are friends and many more friends usually come along to say hello and buy; the standard is high and people look forward to the event and come with money in their pockets and smiles on their faces. Children run about. There is beer, and cakes, and dancing, and plant stalls (which I love.)
And last but not least, it’s my second-biggest earner all year.
But this year I wasn’t selected.
I can’t pretend I wasn’t disappointed. Even though I had thought quite hard about whether to apply this year, as I hadn’t a lot of stock made up and wasn’t sure I would find time to make enough.
Despite the fact that the weather can be a lottery and it has been known for people to get drowned out by tarpaulin malfunctions. In spite of there being literally hundreds of applicants this year, more than ever before and many more than can possibly be accommodated.
It felt like a step backward to not be selected. It made me question myself and my abilities. I felt second best, inferior, in a minor league compared to the other, first division makers who had got in when I hadn’t.
But then I gave myself a good talking to and got on with making doll orders. What you can’t control you just have to accept – and move on. I told myself it didn’t matter and that brooding over it was stupid. I forced myself by sheer will into a change of mood.
A few days later I got an email inviting me to have a stall at a new Sherwood Art Week event happening a week after Secret Garden: The Courtyard Craft Fair. I accepted. I thought: what have I got to lose?
So now I am making stuff to sell there. I’m not sure how busy it will be, or whether people will have spent all their pennies at the bigger event the previous weekend, or indeed whether anyone will come at all.
I do know some of the other makers who will be there, but I don’t know how much stock to take. Or even what stock to make. I feel like a beginner again.
I had a request recently to make another Grumpy Lion doll like this one I made under similar circumstances a while back…Whilst I was at it I also made a second, slightly more orange grumpy lion, because… well, why not?He sparked off an idea for brooches, because I usually make quite a lot of small things for Secret Garden. People often love to buy a little something, even if they can’t commit to a bigger purchase.
Whilst hunting for wool for his mane, I found a ball of neon pink T-shirt yarn I had picked up a while ago and stashed away. And suddenly, neon lion manes sprang to mind.
This is the result – grumpy lion brooches…Grumpy that is, all apart from one.
I’d tried out a bit of orange wool instead of the neon yarn, but I decided to go with the neon lions after all.
But the woolly one somehow seemed a bit less grump-tastic than his neon-hued compatriots, so I adjusted his expression accordingly, to accommodate his change of mood…
His is the hopeful face amongst the naysayers. The minority who refuses to be downtrodden.
At the time of writing this, on election day, before any results come in, that is me.
I’m hanging onto hopeful lion.
I’m hoping The Courtyard Craft Fair will be a big success and that I will find myself at the start of a new must-visit event. I’m hoping the election will have a positive outcome, despite the naysayers.
But hope can be a fragile thing.
And by the time you read this, there could have been a change of mood. ♥