I cant wait to return and see what they have come up with in our absence!
When I returned to the Medical Centre from seeing Suubi yesterday, I met with the craft ladies from the villages. Denis had brought us paper bead jewellery back from his previous visits, but we had a great time meeting the ladies themselves, watching them make beads, having a go ourselves and buying more beads from them. We gave them the wooden discs and pens I make necklaces with, to make their unique art on, and also got the knitting needles and wool out! That was great fun!
I cant wait to return and see what they have come up with in our absence!
,So, when I set this website up my soul was feeling overjoyed with being alive again, with having the ability to chose some things that I was actually able to do, after a few years of virtual helplessness caused by the fatigue and pain of M.E, fibromyalgia and poor mental health.
I have painted the beautiful planters and boxes my husband makes, for about a year, but the time has come for me to stop. I moved house about five months ago (yes, again) and with it the path I was taking turned a corner and up ahead was a crossroads.
Excited about the new house, with my own room to work and paint and the pleasure at thinking I would be able to sit downstairs instead of in bed for hours whilst painting, was short lived. After a couple of months I found that I didn't have the energy to undercoat and topcoat the boxes, that just painting one was exhausting. I took on a friend to help me work, to do the long arm movement painting, but still I found sitting down to paint extremely hard and painful and the enjoyment started to leave me.
About eight weeks ago, I was still just about painting but struggling badly. I had so many lovely ideas of what to paint and my painting had definitely improved over the months I had been doing it, but the love of what I was doing stopped ... and then I stopped.
I have waited. I told my friends that I had 'lost my mojo' but that it would come back, ordered new paintbrushes to help me do a better job, but still, nothing. No joy, no energy and no desire to paint.
Finally, over the last few days, having stopped beating myself up and feeling guilty about the few boxes that I had been asked to do but haven't been able to, I gave myself the space to take another peek in my soul to try to see what has happened. I expected to see a dull, drab and colourless soul, because that was how I was feeling ...
... but this is what I saw. MY SOUL LOOKS GLORIOUS! ... in full flower... full of the flowers, hedgehogs, butterflies, birds and bees that I have painted and what's more, they are not just flat paintings but are now three dimensional - they are full of the joy I had when painting them and the happiness of the people I painted them for! After too much time indoors feeling agoraphobic, I had managed to 'get back out there' a little. I have met lots of new people and been to craft shows and fairs selling our planters and taking orders, have loved talking to so many people and have made new friends. I guess this was the purpose of painting, for me. I needed to re-learn how to communicate physically with people and my painting served this need and brought the flowers I had painted in my soul, to life!
I have grown my soul in ways I never dreamed of, not realising any of it at the time. I was just travelling the path. Now I have stopped to look I realise I have lots of 'other' plans and things going on that excite me that could just be possible, despite my disabilities. I still have to be mindful that perhaps I had been doing too much and had 'burnt out' a little again, but stopping at the crossroads for a rest before turning a corner has done me no harm.
So, don't be sad for me. I was sad and disappointed with myself and felt I had given up - but now I know I haven't, I have just moved on, and the experience I have enjoyed of selling again (always loved selling when I worked in retail) means I will now be selling idea's - mine and my friends - developing the market I run with my husband to be even better for the community and trying to make more things happen, all for good and all for Growing My Own SOUL a whole lot more!
Thank you to my friends and fellow stallholders for supporting me and accepting me for who I am over the last few months ... it is what I needed and had been craving, for such a long time. God Bless You x
As a crafter and a lifelong lover of all things crafty, I have joined a
few networking and sharing craft sites on facebook recently, and this was a
question one asked of the crafters.....
"Do you think that Craft Fairs are still viable? Lots of local crafters
attended a Fair yesterday ... it was well marketed and the organisation was
excellent. Even so many did not cover the table cost and they are now talking
about giving up fairs. What do you think?"
After doing traditional markets, running a shop and now doing craft work selling at markets, I have got to know what is going to work or not for my product. I feel sure that people will be coming back to markets soon in this economic climate -because food prices and shop prices are too high, and so, an
old fashioned traditional market is better for me to sell at BUT, people go to the big traditional markets for food and household goods and not crafts so you find yourself in a catch 22 position ...
so, what to do?
I have joined a fledgling/struggling market and am enjoying watching it grow with a whole family of new 'crafters'. We know that to sell our own crafts, we need to make sure that our customers can buy 'everything under one roof!'.
We so far have one fruit and veg stall, one kitchen hardware stall, a deli stall, a tool stall, a takeaway food stall, bread, cake and a sweet stalls, a greetings card stall and a pet stall.
Alongside this, and taking up at least half the market, are craft stalls filled with jewellery, photography, paper crafts, decoupage, painted planters, wood turning, woollen and knitted gifts, glass wear, candles, personalised gifts, paintings, rural arts and many other outstanding and unusual craftwork.
People will not buy crafts week after week. People need to know that at their weekly traditional market (which we now have open 3 days a week) they can buy everything they want, plus 'that unusual but affordable gift' or 'something to treat myself with that isn't too extravagant’ so that when they want one of our lovely products, they already know we are here for them, because they will have seen us and drooled over at least ONE thing they like.
Many crafters would disagree but my personal belief is that craft fair stalls too expensive and because of this, product prices have to be raised, so by slipping craft stalls into a market 50/50 with traditional market stalls, we think we have the balance right. Obviously a crafter will NEVER earn the money for the time it takes to craft, but to cover costs with a little extra should be expected.
Crafters need to see their market stalls as their advertisements - their 'show' of the range of craftsmanship they have, and as a contact point for orders like any shop.
I believe that in this economic climate, this is the only way for us crafters to go. Working together as a group and networking is half a craft workers business ... its good fun too!