Thursday, 17 December 2009

Eastbourne Craft Fair - December 2009

Ceinwen is on a mission to raise the profile of reborn art and I have to agree that the only way to do that really is to "get out there" in as many ways as we all can to show people the art and talk about the work involved in creating our dolls. I am so sick of hearing about Channel Four's 'My Fake Baby' programme. It has been a real double edged sword that one and the bad side was not only sharp but tipped with poison. For every 1 person who has said to me 'oh yes I saw My Fake Baby and it got me started in the artform', I can show you another 5 that say 'oh yes I saw My Fake Baby and you women that make these dolls are all mental and need psychiatric help' or something equally insulting and unnecessary.

I don't have a problem with people not liking reborn dolls, there is a reason for the aversion, it's understandable and in a lot of ways seeing someone do a double take because they're not sure or even seeing someone recoil can be a real compliment because it means that the artist has achieved the aim of the art, to make something so lifelike and realistic that the viewer is not sure what they are seeing.

If the art is ever going to shake off the stigma that has been attached by that programme and the other negative and sensationalist press that the artform has received, then it has to be down to the artists to get out there and tell people about what we do and why we do it.

Anyway I toddled off to Brighton to accompany Ceinwen to a craft event she was having a table at in Eastbourne, not a doll show, just a craft fair, but it seemed like a good opportunity to show off our work to some people other than doll enthusiasts... you never know, we might create a few new doll enthusiasts along the way. The room in the basement of the hotel was lovely, very airy and bright and there was a real mix of crafts on show on the various stands, from jewellery, knitting and photography to an amazing stand by a lady who made fabric art dolls which were incredibly detailed and had whimsical poses.

Our stand was on the outer ring of the second exhibition room in a really nice central spot and from the moment we started setting out our display we were busy, there was a constant stream of visitors to our stand, before the show opened it was other stall holders coming over, fascinated by the dolls on display and so it went on all day, we talked to people all day about the art, what was involved in making the dolls, how time consuming the rooting of hair was and how long it took to paint. Ceinwen was on hand with a blank kit to show the starting point of the art so people could see how much work was involved.

I spent most of the day demonstrating rooting and people commented how I must have the patience of a saint. I don't think I do, I just love what I do!

The only downside to this event for me was the lack of wifi and mobile service, something about the building made it impossible to get a signal and unfortunately that meant that we lost out on a couple of prospective doll sales.

Still... our intention in being there was really about showing off the art and getting people interested and we definitely achieved that!


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