After what seems to have been a long run up, yesterday, October 25th, finally marked the arrival of the Closer to the Art exhibition and fair in Stone, Staffordshire. It was the second such exhibition organised by renowned dragon sculptor Andy Bill.
I’m no stranger to craft and country fairs. A long time ago in a previous life I both organised the former and represented my employer at the latter. So I already had a good idea how much work was involved.
However, this was the first exhibition where I’ve represented myself, and the butterflies were fluttering in abundance in the hour or so before the doors opened. Together with Carole, my wife, we set up on two tables right next to the main entrance.
There was a very friendly buzz and before the rush we checked out our fellow exhibitors. And what a talented bunch including photographer Noel Bennett, artist Christina Bennett, ceramic artist Jo Hearne, illustrator Emma Joustra, dragon archivist and steampunk afficianado John Webster, watercolourist Hannah Reynolds, faery artist Tamara Newman and Jo Hill textiles.
Once the doors opened the show became very busy, very quickly; there was lots of local support. I had no real expectation of whether or not we would make any sales, but by the end of the show Carole had sold a needlecraft brooch and a beautiful beaded needlecase, and I sold three paintings, all of local landscapes.
All told it was an enjoyable and successful day. Would we do it again? We’d certainly consider it. I think we both learned a lot, although I might take a slightly different tack next time. I’d definitely consider offering more paintings with local interest, and possibly back them up with prints and cards to appeal to all pockets. Buying an original painting at a fairly small show doesn’t really strike me as an impulse buy.
And now it’s all over, I think I’m going to chill for a bit – it’s all been a bit intense. Besides something I have in mind for the Twitter challenge #portraitnovember, I’m going to revisit my Spider-man and Hulk sculpture as a bit of light relief. Heck, it’s about time I finished it…