I've just finished unpacking everything after Friday's market, and to my horror found a wet tablecloth that I'd totally forgotten about! I was immediately transported back to that very exciting ten minutes late in the evening when the heavens opened and the wind rushed through King George Square, causing absolute mayhem and an early exit!
Other than the rain event (mostly deflected by an emergency plastic dropsheet I had in my kit... mostly!) it was a grand evening, filled with sparkling lights, cheery talks with other people-who-like-to-make-things, and some chance encounters with old friends. I shared a table with Sharon from Treble Two, who had a wonderful collection of crochet goodies, appliqued needlebooks and cards, and became an excellent co-conspirator during the Great Flapping Plastic Dropsheet Adventure.
I learned a few things from this market. One is that I am hopeless, HOPELESS! with names. I called Sharon 'Laura' almost as soon as we'd met, and soon after that I directed a fellow stall-holder to 'Belinda'... "that girl down at the end with the glasses on her head."... and then knew it was Rebecca, not Belinda, who I'd meant. Gah!
The second thing I learned is that I am also hopeless at talking about my work. Someone will ask me a question about it, and in my head a clear and interesting sentence will form, and when I open my mouth "Aaaah... errr... it's... er... it's ah (etc)" comes out. It's happened often enough for me to notice it, and it's weird, because I've had to pitch creatively in lots of jobs I've had, and I don't think I came across as such a gumby then!? (or maybe I did! EEEK!) Maybe it's something you fall out of practice with. ("Yes, yes, Em! That's a good explanation!")
The third thing I learned is 'Don't underestimate the power of your Mum coming along and putting on the charm and asking curious questions about your things in order to provoke another customer into buying something'. I never believed that kind of thing worked (having witnessed it in various big cities when some shady dudes are trying to sell something out of a suitcase and they get their friends to crowd around as though they're buying) but last night... proof! and my Ma did buy something too. Thanks Ma!
Definitely a big YES to the 'be making something at your table' idea. For much of the night I carved an ampersand from a piece of plasterboard, and people did stop to watch.
I found it really relieved the tension I've felt at previous markets, the I'm standing here waiting for people to look at my things thing. It's stressful, man! It provokes an intense desire for alcohol! Does anyone else feel like that, or is it just me? Well, on Friday night I was able to just look up and smile every so often, answer questions anyone had, and be demonstrating where the originals of those plaster letters come from. No, I didn't just buy the moulds, thanks for asking!
So, what next? Each market I do gets easier, and more enjoyable. I'm really looking forward to May, when City Hall will re-open after the renovation, and be the venue for a new BrisStyle Indie Market. It'll be on Saturday mornings about once per month, and be inside! No tents! No lighting! NO RAIN! I think they could be fun, and hope to be involved. It's a good incentive to get some new products underway, as I'd really like to (gasp!) have a whole table to myself!
I've put it off long enough... there's a festering tablecloth I must deal with. It may never be the same again - wish me luck!