I would hate anyone to think I ever used my kids as an excuse, but the fact is that the financial practicalities of having four children and all the expense that goes with them is just one of the reasons I have never been on a Mike Abbott ladder back chair course, a Robin Wood pole lathe course, a Ben Orford forging course, a Peter Follansbee jointed stool course or a Barn Carder or Wille Sundqvist spoon carving course. So I have to make do with having a look at someone else's green woodwork and try and work it out for myself.
I have always admired the Sundqvist style scandinavian spoons, but never attempted one before so with a little time on my hands last night, thought I'd give it a go.
Tuesday, 3 July 2012
So, the day of our first craft fair finally came and Saturday morning my daughter, Chloe, and I loaded the car and headed over to Birmingham where we joined Ju and Laura at a hall in Water Orton. it was a small but nice venue with other craft and vintage stalls. We set out our table and after a few minutes of whispered discussion regarding how much we were going to charge for our items, we prepared ourselves to welcome the public.
Pricing was not easy. Unless people are specifically looking for the kinds of items we were selling or have some experience of the time and effort that goes into producing them, they will always seem overpriced. Most people can not help looking at our spoons, for instance (which we were selling for between £5-10), without comparing our prices with those at Wilkinsons and conclude that if they can retail a wooden kitchen spoon for 50p then ours should be comparable.
One elderly lady was interested in a spatula of Julian's, a really nice hand carved cherry number which I informed her was £5 - she nearly choked and while making a swift get away informed me that she had a wooden bowl that she kept fruit in - I think this was her way of apologising for baulking at the price of our spatula.
Anyway, sufice it to say this probably wasn't the ideal venue for selling handcarved woodenware. We enjoyed the experience and sold about £60 worth of goods - we met a particularly nice chap, a fellow bushcrafter by the name of Chris who bought a knife from us and then swaped us one of Ju's handmade crook knives for a length of nice 01 tool steel. Cheers mate! I also sold a spoon that I had engraved with the year of my birth (1968) to a woman who wanted to send it to her son who lives in Wales and collects carved spoons. She liked it because he was born the same year and after a little discussion it turns out I was at school with him.
Perhaps we'll try again, sometime, but be a little more selective about where we do it - hopefully for people who actually know and appreciate what they're looking at.