As those of you who follow me on Facebook and or Instagram will know... I was in London last week! After much deliberation back in February, I decided to take a big risk (and big investment) and go to Country Living Magazine's Spring Fair at Alexandra Palace.
It was a big step up for me from the little village craft fairs and farmers' markets that I usually attend with my artwork and kept me awake for more than a few hours in the lead up to the end of April. But I thought, if I don't try it I will never know, and the 'Country Living' vibe certainly seemed a good fit with my nature and wildlife inspired artwork.. So I coughed up an eye watering trader's fee, collected my biggest ever order from my wonderful printers (Courtyard Framing in Minehead, since you ask), spent many hours stamping and packing greeting cards, and packed off to the big city!
My incredibly supportive boyfy and I left in convoy (with walkie talkies to keep in touch truck driver style) at silly o'clock on Wednesday morning ready to arrive for my assigned 'arrival slot' before 11am at Alexandra Palace.
At 10.40 am I was crying in the car in a rape seed field with no idea where I was, pathetically repeating 'Come in.. rubber duck... over' into my defunct walkie talkie, having lost James (and GPS signal) as soon as we entered London and awful traffic!
However, somehow we made it by 11.01 and luckily had some helpful porters with big trolleys to take my huge mountain of stuff up to the great hall.. There I saw one of the most exciting sights I've seen for a while- an empty shell with 'JINKS ART' written across the top! It was miniscule and rickity but I had a real moment of 'Oh wow... Someone thinks I am a real business/ JinKs actually exists outside of my studio!'
The drive and the ensuing five hours of set up (two of which were spent choosing where to put the first three nails) were definitely the hardest part of the week, as the next day we began trading at a reasonable 10am. Having done my usual trick of getting overexcited the night before an important event with our very kind friends who we stayed with, I was a little dusty, but soon got into the swing of things with a sale ten minutes in and met lots of other lovely traders who reassured me- we are all learning as we go!
I was surprised to find that my ocean inspired images were by far the most popular- although I had stocked up far more on the black and white 'countryside' animal prints.. as my brother said- maybe people in London need a bit of extra colour in their lives! ;)
As usual I was extremely lucky to have a lot of help and support (in all forms) from my wonderful pal, and most of my family came to visit and 'help' on the Sunday too which made for a fun day! As it was so expensive, I wouldn't say it was the most profitable of weeks, but I really enjoyed myself, challenged myself, and learnt a lot.
I drove home on bank holiday Monday to find that in our absence, the wild flowers had suddenly exploded in the hedgerows and there were butterflies and bumblebees busy among the poppies, primroses, pink campion, wild garlic and many coloured bluebells. I lay under our apple tree for a nap (followed by a much needed twelve hour sleep!) and thought... this is Country Living! (sorry!)
Check out the video for a silly overview of the week at Ally Pally x