Even though Art in Action at Waterperry Gardens happened over a month ago, I still thought I should write about my experience there. It’s the first time I had taken part and what a year to choose…………rain, mud, thunder all proceeded the weekend and the outlook looked dim. On arrival the rain was pouring down and it was a very muddy site that we were met with.
I arrived early and managed to unpack all my stuff at a steady pace and keep things relatively dry. It also meant that I was able to get my car out before the vans and cars started sticking in the mud which began happening a lot after midday.
I had less to set up than usual having had a new stand made that would fit on a table, but still managed to take the whole day to set up (at a very leisurely speed!)
Due to the weather conditions prior to the opening of Art in Action parking for visitors was changed from on site to a relatively nearby abandoned airfield. This meant that no-one would get stuck in the mud though (particularly on the first day) it did mean that lots of people were stuck in queues up to two hours. However, visitors seemed fairly philosophical about this on the whole and as the weather over the weekend except for a few showers was hot and sunny, they were all just happy the event had taken place when many others had been cancelled.
It was the strangest fair I’d ever taken part in because of the way visitors came to the Market tent where I was situated. Art in Action is primarily about demonstrating and classes and so the Market tent is the last place you get to (unless you go there first) in the natural progression of the site. This means that it is very quiet generally until after lunchtime. I found that though I steadily sold small items all day, 75% of my sales every single day came after 3pm, which I have never experienced before. There was lots of interest though when the visitors were flowing and I was really pleased with my first experience of the fair.
I was next to Geoff Hague who makes the most exquisite knives. It was his thirteenth year at Art in Action (you get rested every three years) and though he felt it was quieter he did get lots of interest. He is a lovely man and made my experience of the fair very enjoyable. It was also lovely being opposite Robert Race and his automata – I particularly loved his chattering birds, though I never got around to taking a photo of one. I’m thinking of doing one of his courses at West Dean College in January if there are any spaces left.
All in all it was a good fair despite the weather and I’m looking forward to attending next year. The great thing about Art in Action being I don’t have to re-apply next year as I will be offered a place again…..hurrah!!