Preparing for Art and Craft Shows
I´m excited to be getting ready for my first Art and Craft show since 2019. From September 7-10, I´ll be at Burley Village Hall in the heart of the glorious New Forest, delighted to be sharing this four day exhibition with my talented daughter, Sam Biddle. During the lockdown, like so many fellow artists, I got used to on-line galleries, social media, and my website to exhibit my work. Thankfully it´s time to move on, and I´m looking forward to meeting people, talking about my passion for painting, making new friends and being out in the world again.
Something I love about Art and Craft Shows is that each venue has its own unique energy and character. Burley is steeped in old customs, Wiccan tradition and has a long association with witches and dragons. White witch, Sybil Leek lived in the village during the 1950s, spreading goodwill, living close to nature, practising healing and astrology. I know the location and local audience here well, and will exhibit my healing paintings, the tree spirits I love to paint and New Forest scenes.
Familiar feelings surface as I begin to plan my exhibition. I try not to listen to the voice that tells me I´ll never be ready on time when I open the shed door to look for my display equipment which I stored neatly in an easily accessible place after last time. Haha! If only that were true! My stands, display boards and easels are at the back of the overflowing shed behind a mountain of stuff that might come in handy one day, including 37 random cardboard boxes, and piles of wonderful things I´d forgotten about, most of which are now at the recycling centre.
The amazing organiser at Burley provides a table and chairs, and I´ve booked a 6ft space against the wall so I can use height to make my space stand out. I´ll position a bench in front of the table to create a step up to the easels for my smaller paintings. My tablecloth is bright yellow to create a sunny environment to compliment my work. I will hang larger works on my display board against the wall, because Art and Craft shows often attract commissions. I´ll bring a browser for my A4 and A3 prints, and I won´t forget to hand out my business cards.
Feeling relaxed, being approachable and available to people who stop to talk is important to me. You can´t make people buy things, so I´m not there just to sell. That aim is too stressful. I´m there to share my passion, the joy of painting. Of course, I want to appear professional, so I won´t eat my porridge in public or get lost in my tablet. At longer exhibitions like Pine Walk, I would do demonstrations. But I often lost myself in my work, time stood still and I was oblivious to the people who stopped for a chat. This happens when I'm working at home too and I suddenly notice that busy Sunny has brought half the garden into the house to play with.
My first show was at Shaftesbury Village Hall in 1987 when I worked as a potter. My mum used to love coming with me to Lacock Village Hall, a favourite venue. I´m looking forward to being there again on September 25 and 26. I´m looking forward to picking up where I left off when the lockdown stopped us all our tracks. On reflection, the isolation and solitude were so valuable in terms of personal growth, professional development, appreciating communication and connection.
A new beginning. Perhaps my most powerful learning has been how precious it is to meet people face to face.
How very special to be sharing this experience with my daughter.
Original paintings and prints available from my website. Commissions undertaken with joy.
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