Returning to the wild...
A nervous hand pulls the door back and it creaks as it opens, dust and air escaping as the light floods in. Eyes blink in the sunlight and struggle to focus in the bright light of the outside world...
This wasn’t exactly me at the beginning of September, but it is almost how I felt as I stepped out of the studio and towards my first in-person events with Hannah Kate Makes since 2019!
A mixture of excitement, uncertainty and a sense of adventure was very much the vibe as I prepared to step back out into the world!
My first steps were tentative and relatively safe as they only took me to the other side of the village!
The second week-long Great Paxton Scarecrow Festival kicked off with a great hurrah and saw over seventy scarecrows pop up in the village for locals and visitors to seek out on the trail. We even had our very own Scarecrow for people to find!
The opening Saturday also saw garage sales, a street food festival at The Bell pub, tea and cakes in the Church of the Holy Trinity and the arts and crafts market happening in the church yard. Which is where you could find me!
As the pitches were outside, I got to test out our shiny new gazebo and tested it was by the English weather! Between bouts of glorious and scorching sunshine we had deluges of rain so I can confidently say that it’s rainproof!
I approached this event as a little bit of an experiment and trial run for setting up an almost pop-up shop for the day. We filled the space with everything I had! Large original art on easels, sweet jars full of stickers, a box of badges, art prints galore, a basket of bookmarks, miniature art, plenty of greeting cards and even a couple of tote bags!
Great Paxton saw quite a few visitors that afternoon as the Scarecrow Trail led them around the village with the busiest spot being the food market! The church yard had a steady and gentle stream of people wandering around the Arts & Crafts Market and I even had a chance to stop and talk to some of the other stallholders too!
It was a fun and gentle first market back for me, but I was still exhausted at the end of the day!
The following weekend saw Hannah Kate Makes setting up stall at the Milton Country Park Autumn Festival, a well-established event returning to the north of Cambridge city. I had a table booked in the Arts & Crafts Marquee and with entry to site from eight thirty in the morning, it was a much earlier start than I’m used to on a Sunday!
This was a big family fun day with most tickets being sold in advance for a bumper event full of live bands, face painting, flower crown making, arts & crafts stalls (hello!), a ride-on miniature train, country craft demonstrations and food and drinks galore!
I was, in the end, grateful for the early start as it meant we had plenty of time to find our spot, get set up, pop the van away, titivate the stall and then take a breath before the gates opened. There’s definitely something to be said for having time for a cuppa and some breakfast before the show begins!
The Arts & Crafts Marquee was positioned alongside the path that all visitors walked along from the entrance to all other attractions, which meant that there was a steady flow of families browsing all day.
I’d learned from the Scarecrow Festival that it would be a good idea to have something fun and more interactive for younger visitors to check out, and perhaps spend their pocket money on, so I added a Lucky Dip alongside my other wares. It proved exceptionally popular and had sold out by the end of the day!
As I only had a table for this event, I had also trimmed down the products on display for the day. Badges, stickers, bookmarks, and cards remained while I had fewer pieces of original art exhibited. I decided to show my selection of art prints via a Look Book that customers could flick through. It became a great conversation starter as they asked questions about the art, and I got great feedback on what designs were most popular.
My stall neighbours in the marquee were all lovely, friendly and supportive. I finally got to meet the wonderful Becky Convey, who creates beautiful jewellery, in person and give her a big hug! In fact, without the heads up from her, I’d not even have known about the event in the first place! It was lovely to chat to so many other makers, several of whom I’d been talking to in the online world for quite a long time.
The feeling throughout the day was pretty chilled out and fun. It was busy at times but there were enough lulls in the flow of people for us to try out some fantastic flavoursome coffee and an incredibly welcome brownie when I was beginning to flag later in the afternoon.
I really enjoyed this festival and will definitely return if I get the chance.
If you’d like to hear all of the behind the scenes details about these two events and exactly how everything worked out and sales that were made, then you can! Episode #22 of Musings of a Chaos Pixie is live now over on my Patreon page. This exclusive podcast is available to Patrons subscribed to any tier. Click this link for more details.
My next in-person event is happening on Halloween weekend! If you’re local to Milton Keynes, why not come and check out the Stalls From The Crypt market taking place at The Craufurd Arms on Sunday 30th October? It’s the go-to place for rock, punk, goth, steampunk, fantasy, geeky, occult or just plain odd.
I should fit right in…