I’m still coming back down to earth as I write this after a wonderful weekend exhibiting at Birdfair for the first time. The past few months have been both exciting and stressful while preparing for this huge event. To date, Birdfair is the biggest show I’ve taken part in as far as exhibiting my art goes. A whole pitch 10 feet wide x 15 feet deep, to fill single handedly with my artwork is no mean feat! With the potential for over 20,000 visitors, I had to get it right.
I’ve been painting like crazy for the past few months, building up my portfolio for the show. I’ve been experimenting with different feathers – in particular, fluffy ones (these are incredibly tricky to paint on) and I’ve been sticking sets of feathers together in order to play about with different compositions. (The long, thin format of a feather can be a bit limiting sometimes…)
A new banner was a ‘must’ and I enlisted the help of my social media followers to help me decide on a final design. Business cards, postcards, greetings cards and limited edition prints all had to be produced…the list felt never ending and stretched my limited cashflow to the limit.
I’m lucky to have the best friends ever, and my ‘Art partner-in-crime’, Hayley Jones agreed to come with me (well, ‘drive me’ in her funky dandelion van). She fulfilled the roles of glamorous assistant, right-hand-man and I’ve now nick named her ‘gadget girl’ after our weekend ‘glamping’ in her van.
With the van close to bursting, we arrived on site at Birdfair on Thursday lunchtime. We pulled up outside the Art Marquee and went to find our pitch ‘Stand 14’. There it was, big, grey and empty….and I had to fill it…beautifully!!!! Eeeeekkk!
I’m not the best at planning so I didn’t have a layout designed on paper – only a rough idea in my head of how I wanted to hang my stand. Together, Hayley and I unpacked, set up tables and worked methodically from the centre outwards, hanging my feather paintings. Before long, the stand was taking shape and all that was left to do was secure my banner across the front – then Ta Dah! We were done!!
We were not alone – there were artists coming and going up and down the marquee all afternoon. At first, it was a little daunting as everyone seemed to know each other but it didn’t take long before we were all introducing ourselves and it was fun to meet artists who I follow on facebook and have admired from afar and even those I’ve seen on TV. The reality of just how lucky I was to be exhibiting here among these artists was really kicking in as a lot of these ‘regulars’ had been exhibiting for anything between 10-15 years!!!
What can I say? Birdfair didn’t disappoint – it was fantastic! At 9am on Friday morning, the visitors started to pour in…and they kept coming all day long!! My feathers definitely created a buzz and more importantly, began to fly off the walls! What a relief, after all the preparation, my hard work paid off.
Over the 3 days, I met so many wonderful people – all bird lovers and all interested in art. New friendships were made and opportunities presented. What was really special was meeting facebook friends in person, in particular, Mary-Anne and the Art Safari team who organised our Zambian safari last year, and Tom from TAG Smith who I’ve followed on Fb for a while now (he makes those beautiful life size feathers from wood).
Here are a few more photos of some of the highlights of our birdfair…
Finally a few thank yous…
Firstly to Shelley Perkins and Alison Ingram for your advice prior to the show – I can’t tell you how much that helped me, Thank you! Hayley Jones, THANK YOU so much for your constant support and for everything you did at Birdfair – I couldn’t have done it without you! To Nic and the girls for holding the fort at home and looking after Chilli for me while I was away. To my Mum and Dad, always supporting me 100%
Last but not least, thank you to Birdfair for giving me the opportunity to exhibit and for inviting me back next year!