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  • Writer's pictureTracey Underhill

A Race to the Fair!

No sooner had the kids got back to school after the summer holidays, than I got a relatively last minute opportunity to attend my first art fair. We’re talking 7 weeks notice and there was a lot to be done to get everything ready. There were prints to be printed, my entire inventory to be mounted and bagged and priced, a stall to create, I had to get insurance, a way to take to payments, and to add to that if possible a way of demonstrating what I do at the fair itself. It was to take place on the day of Halloween, and my kids love Halloween, so everything to do to go ahead with that as soon as I walked back in the door on Halloween night had to be ready too and the week before Halloween is half term… the last push had both my girls in tow (but I have to say they were amazingly good all week).…..and breathe…..

Along with the inventory I already had I also made sure I had a couple of Christmas bits done, so my wreath designs I started last year were finally printed up properly, which I am really chuffed with and currently trying to fit on the wall in my own home for Christmas. So ‘Ribbons, Bows and Wrapping’ and ‘Cookies, 'Cocoa and Candy Canes' are done. They are big and bold and festive! I also made sure I had a range of smaller bits in some festive handprinted Christmas cards.

I put together a quick 2 layer demo, thought I’d print some jack o’ lanterns considering the day of the fair and gifted them to a few of the kids that came along to the fair and stopped to watch me print.

I decided to make my own special edition frames for my rainbow nursery prints, decoupaged in rainbow colours, they took longer to make than I expected but my vision was achieved and look fab with the rainbow prints.

and then here’s my stand at the fair, complete with works to sell, cards, leaflets, gift vouchers and examples of commissions (that I had to get my hubby to make me a frame for to hang them at the fair) .

What I didn’t appreciate about art fairs is how utterly exhausting they are, a race to set up, talking to people all day about how they‘re made and what you do, don’t get me wrong it was really enjoyable, but tiring too. Anyway with first fair under the belt i rush home for Halloween, with two excited witches waiting to meet Derek, our surprise new decoration! Derek the 5ft inflatable Dragon, who guards a treasure chest of sweets….take one if you dare….and then some trick or treating to do.

Phew…..I slept well that night, especially after a glass of wine (from my new wine glass from the fair), it turns out they are dangerous places art and craft fairs because if you like that kind of thing all the other stalls are so inviting…..

……and since then I’ve spent the last couple of weeks finding my house under all the stuff that didn’t get done whilst preparing for the art fair. But I’m finally back in the printing frame of mind for a couple of weeks at least, until all the Christmas decorating and preparations begin.

On another note I have finally opened that Etsy shop that was on my New Years resolutions last year. You will find me under my shop name of TUnderhillDesigns (as there is too many letters in TUnderhillPrintmaker apparently). At present I have the Christmas wreaths, Christmas cards, nursery prints, the rainbow frames and a couple of my smaller prints listed, all also available via my website too.

Oh and another big bit of news….I have an Oxfordshire Artweeks 2022 venue, so I will definitely be taking part in May next year, so watch this space for more on that front…’s so exciting!

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