Wednesday 2 May 2012

Up hill & down dale!

Anyone who's ever exhibited their work or products at a retail or trade fair will undoubtedly  empathise with my tales of the pre-show stresses, late night/early mornings and even the odd all night making session before a show.

I expect you'll also have asked yourselves 'Why am I doing this?' too!

For me it's about wanting to showcase what I do, to the best of my ability, to put on a good show. Ultimately the aim, having invested so much time and money, is about getting orders, making sales and securing new stockists - but the driving force for me is a pride in my name, my brand and my work. A definite plus is the friendly and supportive 'family' of fellow makers that grows each time I do a show!

In Yorkshire for the recent British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate, the pre-show up-hill battle was matched by one or two literal ones in the beautiful surrounding countryside! Post show the inevitable cold took hold, but I tried not to let it dampen my spirits after the elation of winning two awards. 

Extending my stay to 'make a holiday of it' gave me time for some reflection on my work and the environment around me.  Staying in a rather lovely lodge on a farm meant that I shared the immediate vicinity with many ewes and their new lambs. Aside from the amusement of watching the playful lambs I was reminded how much my business is dependent on sheep farming - much of my yarn is lambswool, and without it I wouldn't have the raw materials to make my products.  

Another local farm that I marvelled at was a wind farm.  With the fragility of the farming industry in Britain, farmers have had to diversify, be it through Holiday lets, B&B or the installation of wind turbines.  These majestic white giants have replaced their white woolly predecessors, and yet I am just as much in admiration and awe of them as the sheep that provide my wool.

This trip really highlighted the importance to me of our Countryside and supporting British endeavours - be that our farmers, technological developments or buying British made products. We live in a wonderful country that produces delicious food and drink, and many talented makers who create beautiful things - lets celebrate that!