Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Just to let you know...

... that I have shut my Etsy shop and am concentrating instead on selling my work at UK venues including Folksy - you'll see a button for that shop on the right hand side of this blog.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Market trading

The two posts below have been copied from the blog I began with the idea of promoting Roman Road arts and crafts market. Sadly last Saturday proved to be such a fiasco with vans parked where our stalls should have been and so on and so forth that I and another trader decided to call it a day and cease trading there.

It's a little sad that this enterprise is now over before it really got going but I made some good contacts and got on very well with some new friends and that is always satisfying. I also got some valuable feedback on my artwork but frankly working outside in the freezing cold soon lost its appeal. I've decided that in future I'll only trade under cover or at a one off event when the weather is better and hey now I have Saturdays free which means we can enjoy weekends away again.

Saturday 3 January

So, the weather was -3 degrees celcius when I left the house and it managed to rise to the dizzy heights of 2 degrees by the time I got home six hours later so the weather forecasters weren't wrong and they weren't exactly right either.

There were great hopes yesterday that there would be more people around Roman Road as the monthly Farmers' Market was also on. It was definitely busier than the Saturday before Christmas had been when the market had been as quiet as a graveyard but only two food stallholders turned up and they looked fairly cold and dispirited. That matched the number of craft stalls we had going which was also two. We decided we would stick it out until 3pm and I made my only sale of the day as I was packing up to go home.

That was my fifth Saturday trading at the market and, apart from the biting cold, I enjoyed the day chatting to Ruth next door and swapping tales and because I did make one sale I intend to be back there next Saturday so long as it doesn't pour with rain.

Forecast for Saturday 3 January '09

This is a photo from my mobile phone camera of my very first stall.

The last few days have either been very cold, or slightly less cold, or windy but I haven't cared one way or the other because mostly I have been inside a nice warm house. But now I am checking the weather forecast for Saturday. This has become a preoccupation of mine since I became a stallholder at Roman Road arts and crafts market back at the end of November.

I've had two weeks away from the market because of the Christmas and New Year holiday and I'm getting prepared to spend the day out in the open on Saturday. Since the forecast is 3 degrees celcius and cloudy I will be wearing thermals underneath and over trousers on top along with hat, gloves and my amazing new Christmas scarf.

This will be my fifth Saturday as a market trader and I'm hoping there will be more potential customers around than there was on the Saturday before Christmas when the market was as quiet as a grave yard. I am an artist and I sell greetings cards based on my paintings and sketches plus some of my original drawings.

Roman Road market has been around for donkeys years but the arts and crafts market only started back in September and a few of the traders have loyally turned up week in and week out since the beginning. Sadly two of our traders decided to throw in the towel just before Christmas and we will miss them around the place. So I am hoping that it won't rain all day or be very windy because either of those eventualities will be driving me back home before too long.

Friday, 2 January 2009

The tale of the damaged vinegar pot

This image is the latest in my series of random domestic scenes. For this sketch I used a Chinese brush and the same black Quink ink you might use in a fountain pen. While I was working on it I was recalling how it arrived in our house.

I am married to an academic and from time to time we have visitors to stay who hail from different parts of the world and are passing through London for some reason: they might be going to a conference for example. Very occasionally we've had the odd visitor who has arrived at our house and clearly can't remember how to leave. This can make me feel as though we have for a short time adopted them and this can either lead to rational negotiations with said visitor to work out a plan for leaving as in: "When is your flight home?" or "Wouldn't you prefer more privacy in a cheap hotel?" or I simply end up losing my temper and feel terrible for the rest of the day. We also enjoy having graduate students around because they are generally a lot of fun. They usually live in London and are only too happy to leave at the end of an evening so don't need to be elbowed out of the door by us.

The vinegar pot arrived by the usual academic route. It was carried to our house by my husband's colleague who lived nearby and asked, since he and his wife were off to far flung places to take up new work, if we would look after it. The vinegar is made from a culture of bacteria swarming around the bottom of the pot and every so often you fling red or white wine into it and it magically turns into wine vinegar over the succeeding days or weeks. We understand that this particular culture has been passed down the colleague's French wife's family and goes back as far as the French Revolution which would make it more than 200 years old. And we have ended up as its custodians. Mon dieu!

I do hope that the terracotta pot is not a treasured family heirloom because since we have had it we have broken the lid, mended it and broken it again. (You can see the remains of the lid in the bottom right hand corner.) We have improvised a new lid with a small ceramic dish. When we took possession of the pot it sported a tap that was held in place with a cork bung. In time the cork perished so parcel tape was wrapped around the pot many times to cover up the hole where the tap had been. This has resulted in a permanently leaking pot so it stands in a dish that we used to use for salad and it's likely to remain like this until we get round to buying a replacement tap with a plastic bung.

Since we have been looking after the pot for several years now it is always possible that this visitor will be a permanent fixture in our kitchen and who knows we may yet leave it in the care of our younger relatives and perhaps it will survive for another 200 years. What a fine vintage vinegar it will be then.