When I was invited to contribute to an exhibition of local crafts in the next village last summer, I had no real idea what I was letting myself in for!
It all came about when we called into the tourist office in the village and I admired some of the jewellery on display there. I got chatting to the French speaking English lady who was on duty that day and she mentioned the series of exhibitions (expos) that they had planned for the tourist office in the next village later in the year. For two weeks at a time people would display their crafts in the office to show what craft work was going on in the area. This would take place over several months in the summer and she asked me if I would be interested in taking part. I agreed, never thinking for a minute that I would actually be asked to do it!
When the phone call came I was both pleased and flattered and agreed to do it. When I then took stock of how much stuff I had available to display I wondered if I had made a big mistake!
Then when I went along to view the area the exhibition would take place in I really questioned my own sanity. There were several huge display cabinets and I had nowhere near enough to stuff to fill them. Not only that, but I couldn’t find most of my display equipment – about half of my black velvet busts and jewellery rolls were nowhere to be found despite turning the house upside down to search for them.
With a humungous effort I scrambled together all the jewellery I had that I wear myself, borrowed stuff that I had made for other people, finished all the half done projects that were already on the go and made a whole lot more.
I gathered various bits of furniture, ornaments and kitchen ware from around the house, as well as some old floor tiles and bits of rock, to create things that I could display things on and supplement the few real display stands that I could find.
Even with all the items that I had there was still not quite enough to fill all the available space. So Nick and I came up with a great idea for one of the cabinets.
As the whole point of the exhibition was to showcase local crafts, I decided to do a display of “how to make jewellery”, thinking that if I can do it, anyone can do it and somebody might just be sufficiently inspired to have a go.
I made a display of basic tools, a few beads and beading books, to show how you would start to string a necklace. I don’t suppose I’ll ever know if anyone was tempted to try it for themselves, but you never know.
The exhibition took two hours to assemble and about twenty minutes to take apart. I sold a small number of items but that was not what it was all about for me. To be able to show my work and the variety of styles that can be done as a hobby was what I was aiming for. The young lady in charge in the tourist office said it was very well received and she had lots of interest, so it was worth the effort.