23.4.10

My first stall

Another week of getting my head down and getting on with things - this seems like a long time ago now, but it was only last Sunday that I was taxie'd off to Witney at an unholy hour, to set up stall at the
Teddy Bears of Witney 25th birthday party. The team had been setting up the previous day and there were bears and bear-o-memorabilia stacked high.

My little stall was tucked away in a corner, where I could have my back to the wall. I had a couple of hours to sort myself out. The last three of my animals which were brought by the shop last year were waiting to go on display. Nice to see them again.

I set to work and soon had it feeling more like home.

I rigged up an old notice board with a few sketches, and various gubbins pinned to it, including a rare photo of me when I was four, with some of my old toys.

Me looking rather scruffy in my hand me downs and hair cut by dad. I still have a few of these old timers and they came with me to have a special day out.
My precious teddy, Pooh (falling apart now and moth eaten) and little Rupert bear, a bit battle worn and missing an eye. Maisie, who looks a fright but has always been beautiful to me. They sat in the corner, looking after me as they always have done.

My new card rack - I've never seen all my cards together like this and was so pleased at how well they looked. I didn't have any felt animals for sale but I do have a few 'keepers' to show. I'd also spent a whole day archiving about 150 photo prints which I was still assembling when the doors opened and 400 invited guests streamed into the hall intent on bear buying and bear cuddling.

Also out for display, my Moleskine sketchbook, free cards, some merino samples and my felting gear.

The red Japanese bondage rope I found on eBay was just the thing, and I pegged photos to it with rather gaudy plastic pegs which were all I could find at the last minute. It looked a bit like a village fete stall, but it would do. After that the day went by in a blur - several people came over specially to say hello as they had either bought my animals from the last catalogue, or my cards from the shop. It was a bit odd to be greeted by people who already knew of me, but I had never met - I spend 90% of my life in my studio, yet the popularity of the Teddy Bear catalogue has brought me and my work into homes around the world.

They enjoyed looking through my sketchbook and photos, they bought cards and were kind about my artworks. When I started demonstrating I drew quite a crowd of onlookers. I started work on one of the limited editions which will be in the 2010 catalogue. People were intrigued; needle felting is still a little known craft in the UK and I hope I encouraged a few more to try their hand at it.

For several hours I talked and explained until I was losing my voice and was supplied with cups of tea all afternoon. I met some wonderful, lovely people, including a lady who, after admiring my work, asked me if I'd thought of joining the British Toymakers Guild. I replied that I had, but hadn't got round to it and was a bit worried about the selection process. (You have to send in examples of work to be admitted). I almost choked when she reassured me, saying that she was the Chairman of the Guild and was certain I'd get in. So that's next on my list of *to-do's*. As well as learning to drive, so that I can get to the shows!

My first stall - a bit of a jumble sale, completely exhausting and so many nice people. All in all a day to remember.


32 comments:

Sue said...

Glad you had such a positive time. Exciting news about the guild of Toymakers. Feel justifiably proud of yourself and enjoy the weekend :-)

Elizabeth Rhiannon said...

...and you were 'worried'??? Your stall looks wonderful and congrats on the 'British Toymakers Guild' nod of approval...well, 'pre-nod' :) I love that old pic of you! How cute! I'm glad you've kept the 'old gang', that's great. My son Daniel, who is nearly the ripe old age of 12, keeps his childhood stuffed animal friends in a giant plastic trash bag. I'd assumed he'd outgrown them and considered them uncool to be seen by his adolescent friends in his room so I suggested we get rid of them. The look of 'how-DARE-you-say-that' came over his face, you'd think I was denying him food or air! He's kept, named and still loves each and every stuffed animal he's had since babyhood and swears he will kept them until the end. A strong bond between children and their childhood friends and you're lucky enough to still have yours :) I suspect, somewhere in this world in 40 or so years time, some adult will still cherish the friends you've created :)

Decadent Housewife said...

I think the plastic pegs add a joyful note. It all suits. Love your work.

gillianleesmith said...

Gretel congratulations on your stall and what sounds like a wonderful day! I love the personal touches such as the photo and your childhood friends - they show very much how your work relates to your own personal story and I think collectors of your work are so very interested in that. Working on my own in my studio I always find it a pleasant suprise when I meet people face to face who are interested in what I do and create and I am sure you found that too! Hope you are well and getting closer to those deadlines step by step!

Jill said...

I've coveted one of your beautiful creations ever since I discovered your blog. They are really stunning pieces. I'm so happy that your little stall was a success.
How did you get into needle felting in the first place? (and my next question, is it hard to do?)
Hope you don't mind me asking.
Have a great weekend - perhaps you'll be getting some samples of your work ready to send off to the Guild :0)

Over the Garden Wall said...

Congratulations on such a beautiful
and successful day. Wish I was there.
The photo of your well loved childhood toys is so very touching and charming and prompts memories of my own childhood. But as I was the middle child of seven and our Teddy was passed down through the family from child to child I don't know what happened to him eventually.

Natasha said...

Your stall looks fabulous! I wish I had been there.
Love the pic of you when you were little.
I still have 'Big Ted' in my bedroom much to Paul's disgust!

GardenofDaisies said...

Sounds like your stall was a success! How nice that you got to meet the chairman of the toymakers guild! That group can connect you to all sorts of other opportunities. That picture of you as a little girl is so cute! :-)

TaraLarsenChang said...

Good for you. Sounds like it went great. (Did you have paintings for sale there behind your table? Any sales?)

Looking forward to you driving as well! :-) That'll open up a whole new aspect of life that you can take advantage of if you so desire. :-)

acornmoon said...

Happy saint George's day to you. Your stall looks great! I am looking forward to seeing what you have been up to in the illustration genre. Waiting with baited breathe! x

Lorna said...

I wish I had been there!

Claire said...

Woohoo, Gretel, the people you meet, eh!
Your stall looks great and it sounds like everyone had a fabulous time.
The photo of you with your toys is so cute, hand me downs and all. Didn't we all wear them?
I would imagine you have made some more fans and happy customers.
Congratulations

myletterstoemily said...

i bet you had to fight them off! such a
darling stall you made!

Rima said...

I felt very chuffed for you reading this :) Your toys are most certainly worthy of guild membership.
I've done the exact same thing with a piece of rope on a stall too :)
Lots of love from over here x

janet said...

Oh Gretel...I am so very happy that this was such a positive experience for you. Enjoy the adoration because I think quite a bit will be coming your way very soon. I am so pleased to own your cards and four of your felted beauties...with Oscar, of course , being my prized Parker possession. I would have been glued to your table during the needle felting demo!!!!

Southern Lady said...

Your stalls are lovely. Glad it went well for you. Carla

Frances Tyrrell said...

I wish I could have been there. What a perfect event, complete with a good fairy from the Toymakers Guild (very exciting, fingers crossed).
I'm glad you had such a good and rewarding weekend.

That's an interesting piece of art behind Maisie and friends, the poster/wrapping paper with (I think) fairies?

Frances said...

Well, PG, looks as if this will not be the last time you set up a stall. What a debut! Of course, you wisely brought enough of your very own self to that hall, to allow the visitors to have a chance to get to know you.

The photo and teddies are sublime. You had a great way for everyone to take a bit home with them to remember you. Bravo also on the toymakers guild. Please follow up with this within the week!

Hoping that tea and rest have restored your voice (vocal version.) We all can see that your visual voice is very strong indeed. xo

d. moll, l.ac. said...

What a successful venture and that bondage rope looks so festive and inviting LOL. And absolutely congrats on bascially being in the Toymakers Guild, you are as good as in.

Caroline B said...

What a terrific day you had! Your stall looks wonderful, so interesting. Now you HAVE to join the Toymakers Guild, you have the approval of the Chairman!
It's lovely you still have all your old cuddly toys - I just have a rag doll my mum made for me when I was 3, all the rest she threw away one day when I was at school...I was in my teens, but still it made me sad.

Rowan said...

I'm glad the day went well for you. How exciting to have the Chairman of the Toymakers Guild suggesting that you join - I'm not surprised though, your needle felted animals are just beautiful and real works of art.

Jee said...

What an exciting day, Gretel, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I smiled when I saw your toys, we had that Noddy too but I rather think he belonged to my niece - who isn't much younger than I am. I've still got the dog I had for my first birthday - he's nearer 60 than 50 now! There's a picture of him at the top of my blog.
Wish I'd been at the needle felting demo. I'm still persevering in between the knitting, but it would have been nice to see someone else at work.

Emm@ said...

Wow, that looks great.

the casbah kitten said...

How exciting! Your stall is LOVELY and if I had been there I would have poured over every inch of it. I think you are a fabulously talented artist. . . repeat that to yourself every day. Oh and the Toymakers Guild! I just get excited every time I read your blog.....

Twiglet said...

Like so many others, I would have loved to have watched your demo. Your display looked perfect and what an exciting thought - joining the Toymakers Guild!!

Gerry Snape said...

a great stall, it makes mine tosay at Grange look a bit tatty!!

Jessie said...

Well done Gretel! I'd have absolutely loved to have seen your satll in real life! How lovely having the little notice board with the personal touches. You must have been the star of the show! :) xx

Chrissie said...

Ooooh Gretel, that's fantastic! I just knew it would be a success and that you'd draw a crowd!

. said...

Im so glad you visited my blog, thank you for your comment... This way I found your blog, and I just love your felt work, lovely and fun and your illustrations are wonderful.
Happy spring thought your way, cheers

Mari from Colourblob

PussDaddy said...

I thought your stall looked very nice.

PussDaddy

Graceful Moments said...

How funny that you were actually worried about being approved for membership in that guild and said as much to the Chairwoman! How like you to not realize how eager they would be to have a craftswoman with your skill and creativity in their guild! Glad you enjoyed the show. Very nice stall.

BumbleVee said...

enjoyed having a look back at this one...it was one of the little thumbnails that show up at the end of the post..... do you ever look back at those? I often do....