Saturday, 2 May 2009


Space: the final frontier

This is a picture of the big fair I did last summer. Because there was 30,000 visitors expected, I purchased my own marquee pitch, which was 4m x 4m. I had three tables and my hanging rail, and plenty of space to spread out. And now, with less than a week until another big fair, with the same number of visitors, I'm bricking it. Because I only have a corner booth in a shared sales tent. With 2.5m x2m. And more stuff.

It is very important when selling at fairs to display vertically, it catches peoples attention even from far away and hopefully lures them in for a closer look. So I've been wracking my brains trying to figure out how I can maximise my tiny pitch and create a vertical feature. My first thought was to build a Japanese style screen to have behind me, on which I could hang things. Like this one:
Clearly, mine would not be as classy, because I was going to fashion mine out of garden trellises and hinges. In my defense, I was planning to cover them in fabric.

Armed with my vision and the ever-supportive Friend Sarah, I trundled down to B&Q last week in search of the components to bring my dream to life. We looked at the trellises, which turned out to be too flimsy to attach hinges to. Thwarted, I said, 'What about two independant expandable trellises? I could hang things directly on them!' God bless Friend Sarah for not saying, 'Yeah, you could, but it'd look shite'. Upon appraising said expandable trellises, it became clear that they would be too short to actually be seen behind my towering 5'4" frame. 'Well, will have to hoist them up on poles,' I said matter-of-factly. Off we went to look at poles. '£7 quid for a bloody dowel, that's £28 on poles alone! Let's go look for other things that are pole-like but cheap...' Bingo! Plumbing tubes, they're cheap! You will know this is because they are made out of plastic. It struck me that the tubes would have to have bases, and what better than some planting pots filled with sand? Just to recap, I was now proposing that I string (yes string, because hinges wouldn't work on flimsy wood) two expandable trellises onto plumbing tubes, sitting in plant pots filled with sand. This was to be my 'vertical display' that would draw people from far and wide to come and marvel. Yeah... at the crazy lady. Finally, I did have the clarity of mind to realise that this plan was a no-go.

But, by jove, I wanted a vertical display and would not leave until I had one! 'Look, Sarah!' I exclaimed, as I spied the mother lode. To non-demented people, the mother lode = bath panels. 'Look, they are on sale at £5 each!' She helped me line up four panels on their ends side by side. I We marvelled at their potential, and hinge-worthiness. But balked at the fact my vertical display would weigh more than Friend Sarah and I'd have to bore a series of two inch holes in order to hang things. Crestfallen, I headed home with only a new hammer as consolation.

But there is a happy ending to this tale. Sometimes the simplest things are the best, so I've decided to hang up a humble washing line between proper (non-plumbing) poles and I bought these fantastic clothes pegs on Folksy to complete the shabby chic look.


  1. I think you need a good cake-and-wining, my dear.

    What is this big fair you're prepping for anyway?

  2. you could string a couple of lines at criss crossy angles to look even cuter?

  3. @ Vonnie: That is totally true, I admit :) It's this fair:

    @Kat: Good idea, I'll play around with it!

  4. Just in case you ever decide to make a screen in the future, I once (looong ago) made one out of these + fabric:

    Good luck with your fair!

  5. Yay, you're back! Hope you had a nice trip :)

    And thanks for the link, that's exactly what I wanted.

  6. LOL Good job you didn't take me to B+Q, we'd be egging each other on with mad ideas!!
    I did actually use some trellis to put my bags and needle rolls on last weekend and I thought it looked ok (now feeling a bit paranoid ;o) ) Its on my blog. My 4yr old chose it and told me that the one I was buying was stupid...we get home, the one I chose didn't work, hers did!
    Good luck at the fair. How is the sewing coming on?

  7. That did make me chuckle! You are very right about the vertical display though, may have to recklessley pinch your idea of the washing line for my tote bags!

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