craft fair anxieties are fuzzing up my brain

About 6 years ago, back when I was an actual artist who sold original art and had exhibitions in real galleries, I took part in an art fair. I had a lovely little booth in which I put up white shelves, and lined them with blue ribbon and rhinestones - I just love me some rhinestones, they make everything better. The shelves held lots of framed prints, and the table in front of me had catalogues of all of my pieces, with price lists, a board for contact information and business cards. The fair was a big success, and I made some good friends there, as well as expanding my own art collection through swapsies with other stallholders.

It feels like an age ago, and I'm no longer in a position to be making the same/similar work, mainly as I no longer have access to an etching studio, nor the funds to rent space in one. I've long given up on the dreams of being "a real artist" and I'm more than content to make the work I am currently making: cute illustrations, embroideries of foxes and things made out of all the glitter. OK, it might not be high art or whatever, but doing anything creative is better than doing nothing creative, plus it's just as much a skill to be a craftsperson as it is to be an artist, it's just different, and I'm fine with that.

I'm having a stall next week - this time it is a craft stall. I haven't had a stall at a craft fair since I was about 12 years old, when I used to sell hand-made jewellery and hand-painted mirrors. Those were the days - when it didn't matter about making a profit 'cause it was super fun and your little face lit up with delight every time someone who wasn't a member of your family bought something from your stall. This time, it's all going to be members of the public, no family to keep me feeling safe, just the big wide world...

What if people don't like what I've made?
What if they think I've priced things too high?
What if they think my stuff isn't worth buying?
And what if they tell me so?

anxiety girl by Natalie Dee

It kinda feels like I've reverted back to that nervous 12 year old, but this time it does matter, this time I've paid for the stall and I won't have my mum around to buy me an ice cream afterwards if I don't sell anything or if the whole thing gets too much.

I've not had any proper panic attacks for ages (woohoo for inhalers and steroids!) but I've been feeling the anxiety growing over the last week, and it's completely disproportionate.

Things I need to remind myself when I'm being a worry-face:

This is just one fair in a small hall in South London.
It wasn't expensive to rent.
It's not the end of the world if I don't sell anything.
It's just for practice - there will be plenty of other fairs.
Constructive criticism is useful, that's kind of the point of it.
It will give me a chance to analyse/edit my product range.
I can gauge interest from the public face-to-face, which is way better than online.

I know it's a step in the right direction, business-wise, I just can't get the worry out of my head. Grrr, silly brain.

6 hellos:

Animal Cafe said...

I have been quietly freaking out about the exact same things! but i've been telling myself the same things you have too and I also think it's good to do something that scares you! Also if i dont sell anything it means lots of new stock for my etsy shop!

We shall be nervous together! but i have decided that we will then be confident. If for some insane reason you don't sell anything I will eat one of my cards. And cards are not tasty.


Vixie said...

Thanks pumpkin, I'm so glad you feel the same - it's just scary and nerve-wracking, but it will be great!

And if we don't do very well, we can treat ourselves to tea and cake to cheer ourselves up, and if we do do well, we can treat ourselves to tea and cake as congratulations! Bonus!

Anne said...

Awww... sending hugs your way today.

My anxiety girl is keeping me from even trying out one of these fairs! I know I should, but I'm scared!!

I'm sure yours will be great. And if it's not, tea and cake sounds like just the thing. :)

Oh, and I'm sad that you're talking about giving up on your dreams of being a real artist. :( We should never give up our dreams!

Vixie said...

Thanks, Anne!

It's not so much that I'm giving up my dreams of being an artist, just that my dreams have shifted slightly, and I have a new perspective on them. Deep down, I think I've always preferred crafty stuff to making "art" anyway!

Siobhan said...

I hope you have lots of fun and am sure people will want to buy your pretties.

And if I was not away I would buy you an ice cream/lolly. xx

Vixie said...

Perhaps we could pencil in an ice-cream eating date some time soon instead?

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