Back again

So I thought I would update about Hatfield House and probably have a little rant.

Firstly and most importantly thank you to everyone who came and said hello and allowed me to go and get tea (or got me tea) and also have ‘comfort breaks’. It would have been an exceedingly long four days without you.

I am now in the process of unpacking everything and hanging all the tapestries in the studio t0 make sure they are dry and may have to clean them all as well. Why is it that people have to touch tapestries, even when there are signs saying please do not touch? Would they touch a watercolour or an oil painting? The quilters had A5 size quilts with a hand and a cross through it, I wonder if that would work better than small cards? I mean big signs saying DO NOT TOUCH tend to put people off coming anywhere near you so surely there is happy medium. It was interresting that when you asked someone not to touch they then got very guilty and ran away.

So a lot of the exhibitors were very grumbly saying there weren’t as many visitors as in previous years and most seemed to be seriously financially down on what they have taken in previously and it all got me thinking. Are ‘craft fairs’ (because that is effectively what this was) a thing of the past? After all Collect missed a year and all that is is a very high class craft fair (sorry Mr Saatchi but there it is). Also the feeling amongst visitors was that it is all the same old same old. I was approached to exhibit at the Game Fair and the Textile Fair at Landmark House partly because you don’t see tapestry often. I suspect both will be far too expensive and to be honest I know I would not have gone to Hatfield House if I hadn’t been given a free place. Apparently it is usual that next year I will be offered a half price place. Again it is unlikely that I will do it, after all tapestry is not an impulse buy. There were lots of lovely comments and asking the price but I am not sure it is worth it and four days was a long time, even the regular fair exhibitors said four days was a bit too long. I did sell a small triptych and PJ’s ‘encouraging’ comment was ‘that doesn’t even pay for your hotel’. Bless him, but he was right. I just hope some of the cards I gave out about the course I am teaching in September have an effect and I did talk to several people about commissions, rarely does anything come of those discussions but you just never know.

I really think these sort of craft/country fairs have had their day. We rarely go to a fair of any description now. We avoid the West Dean Chilli Fiesta because it is mainly stalls selling chilli sauces, the only stand worth going to is the Monezuma’s chocolate stand and that is because PJ has a loyalty card and their chocolate is out of this world.

At the weekend most of the visitors wandered around with slightly dazed or glazed faces and not much interest at all. There were a few youngsters who were quite engaged, one was standing discussing abstract art with me for some time, I guess (big guess I am not good at giving children ages) he was about 13 years old. One person rushed up and said ‘oh my god tapestry has come into the twenty first century’ and I thought we might get into a conversation but she didn’t want to talk or really look at the work, having said that she rushed off again with her mates.

So that’s my rant. I will leave you with an image of ‘Blue’ which was there and more than one person came up and said ‘it’s a Manta Ray’. Can you see it because I am not sure I can, well, sort of.


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