The first stand at the Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair.
Such high hopes for Natural History, in spite of the fact the US was preparing to invade Iraq and very few, if any, of the American trade was traveling. The US and Britain go to war on opening day. Talk about raining on a parade. By the end, I think it fair to say I had had enough.
The following month, a shared stand at Antiques and Audacity.
Doomed from the start. Run by this dreadful little woman who managed to be both odious and mousy all at the same time. Who kept telling the person who I was sharing with "You need to clear the surfaces of objects, if you want to sell your furniture". I was sharing with none other than the Philistine and the objects were mine. I was seething. I am still waiting for our paths to cross again. I want to make her cry (deep gut wrenching sobs), and I will.
The second stand at the Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair
A veiled and half hearted attempt at being commercial. I didn't love it, but managed to make a couple of sales. It needed more colour and pattern, and a better interplay between the objects. It just needed to be prettier. I bought the bookcase with the intention of turning it into one of those painted numbers. In the end I could not bring myself to do it.
The third stand at the Decorative Arts and Textile Fair
I loved this one. It was said to be the most striking stand at the fair. That alone should have tipped me off. One sale in five days. I was rattled beyond belief. How I did not strip someone to the bone I will never know. Only once did I ask someone 'is that is how you behave at home'. Unfortunately for him he would repeat his blunder at my last fair. I hate people who plop onto furniture and do not sit properly. It really irritates me.
The fourth stand at the Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair
I hated this one. Because the last was so dire financially, I decided to tone it down. All I ended up with was a pale imitation of my living room. One sale and no pizazz. Not a happy camper. Still, I would not give up.
The fifth stand at the Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair
This one turned out the best. I followed my instincts. I even hired someone - just in case it was my approach that was the problem. Call me crazy. It wasn't. I made the sales, while the approachable, happy assistant wasted his time with housewives looking for free decorating advice. Idiot.
The sixth and final stand at the Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair
This was the one where I realised the people who attend this fair would never really get what I do. I knew I had gone too far. It was too dark, too real. By the time it was all set up, I had decided enough was enough. Luckily, I was able to teach a couple a very valuable lesson. Even if you are a washed up actress that appeared in The Railway Children , it does not mean your oafish pig of a husband can go plopping himself where ever he likes. They walked away crimson with rage. They don't know how lucky they were to be able to walk away. It could have been the first fist fight in the fair's 25 year history. As big as he was, and he was big, I had no intention of loosing to the likes of that. I will bet money he hasn't done it since.
I have always believed that all one ever needed was an audience and a window on the world. These images chronicle an active attempt to cultivate a new audience. I was happiest when I did as I liked and followed my instincts. While these did not prove to be the most successful, I was at least pleased with them.
Like most things there is a formula that works. I unfortunately was not willing to work to it. I saw each stand as an adventure into something new. A chance to do different look. I was looking too far ahead of myself. I should have concentrated on the look of the moment and given them the fake painted French Victorian rubbish and the mass produced nondescript mid Century tat they were so hungry for. I could also have been nice. I could have also stuck pins in my eyes. Nice on me, would have been the same as paint on that bookcase. It would have just been wrong. What is the point in perpetuating the mediocre?
I haven't done one of these in well over two years. I most likely will never do one again. It's too hard and too soul destroying. However, I still do believe in a window on the world and an audience, I just haven't found them yet. I will.
Now playing: Will Young - Leave Right Now