Craft in Lockdown
It's been difficult for a lot of independant businesses to continue trading to get through Lockdown, and it's hit the creative industries pretty hard. To combat this and try and keep some income coming in for my fellow makers and artists, I've been organising online craft fairs via Facebook live during the lockdown.
Makers go live from their own page for 2 hours and customers can click backwards and forward from each page, viewing what they're selling, just like ambling round a good old-fashioned 'real' craft fair. But with no cake stall, sorry!
It's been a really great way for us to
- keep in contact with our customers,
- sell stock we'd been getting ready for summer shows and exhibitions
- and introducing ourselves to new customers 'in person'.
For customers, it's a great way to
- buy one-off pieces, samples and new products,
- often make the most of special prices and discounts
- commission one-off pieces live directly from the maker/artist
- chat directly to them, and other customers in the comments thread!
Stallholders taking part donated to our hardship fund to help homeless and vulnerable in Cornwall struggling with food poverty during the pandemic: we've raised over £400 to enable the Foodbank and Daisy Dukes to support people with nowhere to live and notrhing to eat. I think it's really important for us all to be supportive and collaborative at the moment, and to help each other going forwards.
A lot of big shows and fairs are offering similar ways of still accessing good quality craft, art and design from the makers like this as it's untenable at the moment to think about putting on a big, physical show incorporating social distancing rules.
It's been a steep learning curve! And the knowledge of teenagers has been very helpful, but it seems like the world will be changed from now on with the pandemic, in some ways for the better, so it's good to be reactive I think and embrace change.
See you at the next Etsy Makers Cornwall online craft fair on the 19th July!
the new fair I'm organising with my studio neighbour Suzanne Barr
new BIG eroded pebble odd earrings
getting a selection of natural found and recycled jewellery ready for the shows
big boulder opal rings with larimar, sodalite and carnelian
I've had such a busy start to 2019 with loads of orders taken at the trade show Top Drawer to fill thanks to meeting lots of fantastic new stockists there. Nearly caught up now, so I finally can lift my head up a bit, get out and about, swim in the sea (I did last weekend! It was FREEZING but gorgeous) collect more materials and get cracking making cool, new stuff for 2 big fairs coming up soon...
Narrative fair the first one in May, is being organised by me and my studio neightbour Suzanne Barr: we wanted to create an event that is grounded in our local area, representing makers and artists in an affordable, positive way. Art and culture is a bit under-represented in our part of Cornwall, and we wanted to help the people we know who are busily making and creating away to become a bit more visible and able to talk to customers, to get their stories across: hence the title Narrative.
I think there's a general disatisfaction with corporate products and fast fashion: a lot of people are more interested in spending their hard-earned money on quality products that are more uniqe and special and likely to last longer. Buying something handmade that you love from an individual maker is more like embarking on a friendship, rather than just amassing things for the sake of it. So a way of making connections and supporting communities rather than just consuming meaninglessly.
This shift in atitude probably goes some way to explain why the Contemporary Craft Festival at Bovey Tracey goes from strength tot strength: I'll be there in June and I'm busy planning and making new art jewellery pieces to show the appreciative buyers there, as well as my popular eroded pebble eco-silver and brass; and sea-glass collections. Be lovely to see you if you can get yourself over to either of these fairs. Fingers crossed for some sunshine!
come and see my new collections at the fantastic Bovey fair
new asymetrical beach-plastic and riveted eco-silver earrings
statement sea-glass necklaces, rings and brass chain