When I booked to do Bath Art Fair last year, it was under the assumption I'd be able to drag my best friend along as long as we spent an evening in Bristol to visit her son who is studying fine art at Bristol Uni.
The trouble with arrangements made way in advance is that often things change and best laid plans....
So on Thursday last week I found myself loading up the car and heading out to Bath by myself. It was definitely getting out of my comfort zone. The driving I didn't really mind too much. The only part I don't like is reaching my destination without know the layout and what to expect. Thankfully, when I arrived there was a parking spot right by the venues front door and I was able to drop off my work. All in, it took me around twenty minutes to unload the car.
That done, I drove over to the hotel (which was a real dump) and parked my car up and unpacked. Time to head out by myself for a night on the town!! Now I love an art gallery cafe during the day for a hot drink and a slice of cake, but heading out to dinner on my own is not something I'm in the habit of doing.
These days though it's not that unusual and the staff at Bill's in Bath made me feel welcome and I really rather enjoyed a dinner without needing to make small talk. I didn't want a late night so I was back in my room around 9 with my book and a cup of sleepy tea.
I woke by 6am on Friday morning. This was the bit I was most nervous of. Hanging my work in my stand and making it look good. We were allowed into the venue at 9am and I was there at exactly 9 to get started.
I felt incredibly self-conscious, but after I got the first three pieces hung and a few more friendly faces had shown up, I just cracked on. Everything was in place by 3pm and I felt ready. This left me enough time to pop back to my room and have a quick freshen up and change into some clean clothes.
This was only the second art fair I've ever done. I'd learned a lot after the first one, so I was armed with a video showing how I make my work, I'd got photographs on the wall showing me in my studio printing. I'd realised at my first art fair that people really don't get what Gyotaku printing is and the easiest way to explain it is with images.
Everyone who came to the fair was lovely, I had lots of wonderful conversations explaining what I do and where the fish and lobster come from. I'm not usually that sociable so I did find the whole thing pretty exhausting. The preview night ran from 6pm-8.30pm and then I headed out for a bite to eat with a fellow artist who was also doing the show on her own.
Saturday was the longest sales day from 10-6 and then on Sunday it was 10-5. As soon as the public left the building the clock was ticking to get the car packed up and head back up the motorways to Anglesey and home. It's just over 4 hours drive so I didn't make it home until 10pm.
Thankfully my work sold well and all the hard work paid off. The best bit? Well that was meeting so many lovely customers and fellow artists. I'll be heading back to Bath next year.