Thursday, 15 November 2007

Window on the world

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
via FoxyTunes


Things That Inspire said...

Very interesting post...I liked the 5th fair display the best. It looks like SO much work and preparation. I wonder where you will find that perfect connect with your real target audience? Sounds like the clients at the DATF were far from it.

HOBAC said...

TTI - I know they are both out there, though. It is hard being both a decorator and a dealer. Especially if one loves and believes in what one does. It all becomes very personal.

Layer Cake said...

I think they were all amazing. I loved the third one. I would have absolutely stopped in every time and I never sit on furniture in stands. Rude. You have such an amazing eye; I'm jealous I didn't get to witness these beautiful displays in person.

HOBAC said...

Hey you - aww shucks! It was exciting and fun to do and I was always optimistic in the beginning.

Jackie Von Tobel said...

As a veteran of many, what we here in the states call, home decor and interior design shows, I can absolutely commiserate with your pain and anguish. I think all of your stands were beautifully done, the fault is with the crowd not the display. Every time I would do a show I would vow to never do one again, yet there I would be at the next show! Don't despair though, many other opportunities as well as valuable experience came to me through my participation in such events. Some times the payoff is not literal or tangible at the time of the event but grows over time. Keep up the good fight - just don't get into any brawls!!!

katiedid said...

I LOVE the fifth stand too. Your instincts are wonderful. The blue walls with the art, the zebra rug, and maybe my favorite thing: the tree trunk stool! It looks almost like Majolica? Your things are amazing! My Mother was an antiques dealer, so I have inherited her "eye" for the unusual. Ex.: I got a "bouquet" of antlers in a large ironstone tureen for my birthday this year. I love the way you put things together!

HOBAC said...

Katiedid - Thanks. That garden seat is a great thing, I love it (still have it, ha!). Lucky you - it's obviously in the blood!

HOBAC said...

Jackie von T - thanks, very kind of you to say!
I'm confident and stubborn enough to keep going on until I find that perfect fit. I just know it's out there.
Brawls - I just love that word!

Pigtown-Design said...

They are all great! I would have loved poking around to find the one amazing thing that had an incredible past that no-one else would know about!

HOBAC said...

Thanks Fairfax!