Sunday, 8 May 2011

A New Concept in Craft Fairs

No sooner have I finished one project when a new one dangles itself before my eyes. An opportunity to organise a craft fair under the banner of a monthly market I've been doing for nearly a year now, Can't Buy Me Love. Jet was asked by the manager of the Boogaloo, the main venue for her market, if she wanted to cover all the Saturday market spots, so she asked me if I wanted to do a craft market. Of course I do! I've been going on about how there aren't enough craft fairs in London, and there is definitely a shortage of unusual ones, for which I hope to fill a small gap.

Aidan presented the name Dandelion after a cool market he used to go to in his punk days in Dublin. It  started in 1970 and finished in 1979. I liked the name immediately, but twisted the spelling, creating a double meaning, initially something wild and natural, but also suggesting a place with a quirky flair and boldness. I find myself wanting to re-create something along similar lines, too. There is a bit of punk, goth, mod, rocker, grunger, etc in me and most of the craft fairs I see don't touch on any of those styles. I want to appeal more to men, who seem to have been ignored, left out of the loop at all the retro, nostalgic affairs that are great, but, come on, what's in it it for them (other than the gorgeous, sexy young women preening about in naughty 40's maids outfits and such? I also want to get more young people appreciating the efforts of handmade, a bit of literature, some healthy food. So, let's see what happens. I have a lot of work ahead of me. Anyone have any good ideas, suggestions, or proposals throw them my way!

Monday, 2 May 2011

BABE: The best one yet.

I did the return journey by train from London to Bristol on Saturday and Sunday, which was a novel thing for me! I also experienced a big learning curve organising my first shared table at the event, with the Facebook group, Artist Book Collective. I expected a good 20-30 people out of a possible 480 to take part, but in the end it was just the 8 of us. But, what a wonderful group of eight we were. The women who took part, Charlotte A Morgan, Kathryn Des Forges, Lina Avramidou, Rosie Kearton, Rose Davies, Caroline Griffiths with Laura Sheldon, and Louise Atkinson all made lovely books and the 3 of those, Rose, Caroline and Rosie who came along to help and support were fantastic. What fun to meet such lovely people.

The fair itself was also excellent, with a diverse range of artists making quality work. I enjoyed seeing and chatting with old aquaintances and friends. And making some new ones, too! The Arnolfini looked after us very well and there was a fun interactive event called World Atlas of Bristol. I joined unwittingly after I clocked the badge being given away. I always like a badge. I was given a sheet of paper with a random country printed on it which I had to draw from my memory, or imagination, if memory failed! The results were all pinned up in their categories on a long wall. Some were quite exacting, but most were funny. I mean what do you expect from a bunch of artists, illustrators, and afficionados? A book or 2 will be made from the results, I was told.
Sales weren't amazing. It was yet another bank holiday weekend, (after what seemed like a month of them). There was a good flow of people on Saturday, but surprisingly fewer on the Sunday. I wonder if the poster couldn't have been a bit more eye-catching. As always, tho it was nice to be in Bristol itself, take a break and sit on the harbor wall in the sunshine, watch the people, motorbikes and boats.