Steyning Arts Trail – Beeding Chapter

On the verge of Day Three of my first arts trail and I’ve found that time evaporates between chatting to visitors and co-exhibitors, and dashing into the tent to put everything upright again after successive gusts of wind suck the tent sides in and out like a cosmic hokey cokey. As far as I know, it’s all still there so I’ll be off to sit to attention under a camper-van awning and brace myself to take charge of dog, cats, and chickens while Jill goes off to check out some venues in Steyning.


Chuck chucks with fluffy knickers 🙂


New fridge magnets

I have no shame!

I had a batch made earlier using this image. [via Zazzle who do a pretty good job.]

drawing of cat

But sitting in my folders was similar image that needed brightening up a little so it stood out more from its background. Both are made with Flamepainter (an Escapemotions product), but for lifting the light I used Corel’s Paint Shop Pro which gives me more control over the brush. Here’s the result:

drawing of cat

It was originally called ‘Fuse’ because only the end of the tail was truly bright and who hasn’t been on the wrong end of a cat with that fizzing flicking thing going on! Now it’s brighter all round so it needs a new name. Any ideas?

PS There may be lap trays; I’ll post a photo when the first two arrive from Yoosh. 

PPS Another candidate? This was also made in Flamepainter but with some fine detail added in Rebelle3, also be Escapemotions.

drawing of cat

Doing craft fairs


Up till now, I’ve only ever cruised round our village hall craft fairs, nodding at stall-holders and measuring their gaze in terms of potential engagement. If I look too long, will they think I want to buy and start demonstrating the quality of something I’m not interested in? Maybe they’re bored and fancy a natter? Sometimes they’re neighbours so there’s that unspoken contract whereby the value of our conversation will plummet should a punter with cash show up and appear interested in making a purchase. This year I was that stall holder; balancing the welcoming beam against the desperate appeal for custom. How hungry does this grin look? Did I really just switch my smile off the minute that woman moved away? I hate that!

It wasn’t quite my first gig, I’d actually been invited in the summer at very short notice to fill a gap at another village fair. The friend of the friend who asked me was the organiser and found herself with a couple of unclaimed tables. I had almost nothing but I took it, including a couple of my books, in a cardboard box. Sold no art work but shifted two books, go figure.

This time I had four boxes, all labelled with a marker pen, their contents organised and packed with paper to prevent damage, and the car boot cleared to contain them. Then it rained. Suddenly the logistics changed – how to lug this lot into the village hall without suffering collapse due to soggy bottoms? I spotted my nesting suitcases, redundant due to no longer travelling to conferences or traipsing up the motorway to visit elderly parents now moved on, as it were. I had half an hour to transfer everything, assuming it would fit. It did but oh my the weight of those things!

So what happened? I beamed, I glanced, I curtailed conversations with the friend who’d come to help (and goodness me was I grateful for that) whenever an interested-looking party hove into view, I played peekaboo with kids over the top of the art work, and I sold six cat cards and a cheap book. It covered the cost of the table and half a sandwich which is better than a slap in the face with a wet fish – and those sandwiches were gooooood). Friend and I then re-packed the suitcases and lugged the lot back to the car. I owe her, although admittedly the offer of a drive in my new electric car with its hands-off warp button that allows it to steer itself might not feel like much of a reward, at least till I’ve demonstrably got the hang of it by not driving into a motorway flyover pillar.

I think I need now to consider another way of shifting my work. Craft fairs are very social and that’s nice, but there is a physical cost which, with the various limitations I need to take into account, might be a little too much. So, short of achieving fame over night and acquiring a flotilla of helpers, online would seem to be a better bet. Etsy maybe? My own website? This site? What about postage, packing, handling returns (preferably without yelling at people who ‘thought it was blue but it’s actually only blue-ish’)? If anyone has any advice, I’m all ears and inbox. Meanwhile, here’s my best seller:

Mr Woods sketch painted

Mr Woods was, until recently, my keyboard camper. From about 2.30 in the afternoon, he’d be sitting there with that face telling me it was tea time. It wasn’t and he’d shift closer till eventually he had the keyboard locked down with his bum and the screen obscured with the rest of him. I usually gave in by about four. This is a charcoal sketch imported into Rebelle by Escapemotions for a little paint work.

Beeding Christmas Craft Fair

drawing of cat with sculpture of Alien in the background
Detail from a still life for OCA Drawing1 course comprising a sculpture of Alien made from scrap metal, a ceramic cat, and a dragon hatchling in its egg. I’m doing fruit next time.

This is looming fast and denial of the whole business of merchandising is no longer a viable option. If stuff is going to be sold, then stuff is going need costing and pricing, particularly as a friend has offered to come and help out and obviously needs to have an idea of what’s going for what price. Cue flat-out panic with only one resolution – a spreadsheet.

Luckily, I quite like fiddling with spreadsheets so I already have one with entries for everything bought, made up (frames, mounts and the like), and re-purposed as items such as snow globes and fridge magnets. Makes life much easier thereafter, and also brings home the reality of the cost of art work, even when it excludes the actual making of it.

Two hours later and everything in the various boxes has a price on its head (not literally, that will be later in the week with those little sticky dot things). There’s even a printout of the list and individual selling prices. We can’t possibly go wrong, can we? [Yes, yes we can. I don’t know how but yes. It’s terrifying.]

Also terrifying is the realisation I know so little about the history of artistic enterprise that I consider Art History for Dummies a good purchase. It should be here tomorrow then with any luck I’ll know my Matisse from my Matalan in sufficient time to bluff my way through the submission of my first drawing assignment.