I’m just back from Design Show Liverpool which was, as usual, more tiring than I expected. I don’t know why it surprises me each and every time. I’m finding shows less stressful now than in my first year or two. They are still hard work, but I know what has to be done and the timescales now. I also sensibly went up a day early, stayed with friends and had a relatively laid-back set-up day. Unloading the car and setting up the show are always the worst bit, usually compounded by working late the night before getting images, press files, info packs and price labels ready – let alone last minute finishing new work. I’ve only got one exhibition on at the moment so I have quite a good amount of stock, so not too much had to be completed at the last minute. But it still ended up being tiring because the show was open late on 3 consecutive evenings and two of the days were incredibly long – open 10am until 9.30pm. With no exercise and no proper meals combined with a lot of standing around, shows can really sap your energy, even when they aren’t busy. Thursday and Friday at the show were very depressingly quiet. Its better when a show is full and busy and time flies. Time really drags when there isn’t much going on. The weekend went much quicker and was pretty busy.
By Sunday I was exhausted, mainly because of my room-mate accidentally getting up at 5.30am. Packing up was unpleasant – there was a huge log-jam for the lifts and there was a sandstorm whipping up outside. But I had a good quick one-hour drive to North Wales to visit family and get some dog-walking exercise and eat a lot of home-grown strawberries.
Every time I do a show, I take photos of the stand set up. I am never happy with how it looks and my stand display ideas are always changing. I always forget to take a pic of what the bare stand looks like when you arrive, but I think you can probably get the idea. A bare box. Foolishly I decided not to have the stand clad with wood to drill into. I don’t know what I was thinking, so I had to make do with the horribly metal pole down the centre of the display (which hardly shows in this photo, but believe me, its there!). Cladding usually costs quite a lot more than the basic stand at most shows (and the basic stand is several hundred pounds for a 2x1m space), so I tend not to. I’ll review this next time, as I’m fed up with these stands made of wobbly boards. Having said that, my next and only other show for the year is Origin, where the stands are wood and twice the usual size, so it should be easier to work with. (Though getting ready for that one will be mammoth and take at least 6 weeks!)
At least I have done so many shows now that I am prepared for pretty much anything and have a lorry-load of tools, a stepladder (a new taller one, having found my first one wasn’t high enough to reach the top of the stand at Origin!), hanging systems, velcro, double-sided tape, swiss army knife and bubble wrap etc. And lots of food to keep me going!
The show itself was a bit average – some sales, (there are never enough) and some good contacts which should, I hope, turn up trumps for press coverage, exhibitions and some commissions.
I had a productive time with Louise planning my Origin stand, and have now got my work cut out to do everything I want to in terms of display as well as making new work for the show! I knew Louise already from Origin 2006, and it was really nice to spend time with her at the show (apart from the early morning wake-up…). The best bit of the show by far was meeting lots of other lovely people, which always makes a show more enjoyable.