Last Saturday I was a stall holder at the Canine Partners Summer Show. Canine Partners in Midhurst, West Sussex, is a charity that trains dogs to assist people with disabilities.
Since I draw portraits of dogs, and work with young people with disabilities, it felt like an appropriate fit.
It was my first stall of the year. I'll be honest: I felt nervous. Nervous about finding the place, anxious about driving across the field in my car (this is when a 4X4 is genuinely needed), and worried about erecting a gazebo on my own.
Thank goodness a member of staff offered to help me with the gazebo, and thank heavens I'd practiced putting it up in my garden the day before.
Fail to prepare and prepare to fail, isn't that what they say? Well, Bear Grylls says it. That's good enough for me.
As you can see, it was a bit windy. A sudden gust scattered my greetings cards and business cards across the grass. I had to adapt. I abandoned the greetings cards display, gaffer taped the framed portraits to the easels (invisibly), and removed the glass from freestanding frames to pin the business cards to the table.
My stall was very basic, even without the changes. Simple had worked well at indoor craft fairs in the winter when my stall was wedged between others. But here, in the open green space between two arenas, it looked tiny. Anonymous even.
I need a big sign with 'Richard Pettitt Art' on it. And more art on display. And more products for people to browse and buy there and then. But that's OK. The more shows I do, the more improvements I will make, and the more successful it will become.
What went well:
Being a stall holder improved my confidence. It forced me to talk to strangers about my work, and it gave me an opportunity to sketch during quiet periods. So much so that I sketched publicly at a different show today and was happy to talk to people who watched me and give them my card.
I'd best start planning my next show!
Richard Pettitt, cartoonist.