Monday, May 11, 2015

British Craft Trade Fair 2015

Around this time last year, in a small lull within my workshop, when my hammer and piercing saw were resting temporarily, I took stock.  I answered that persistent nagging business issue that comes when you know, as a business, that you are beginning to rely on one income stream too heavily.  I had the good advice from a well respected architect I used to work with still ringing in my ears : "when you are at your busiest, that is when you need to look for new projects", the logic being of course that if you wait till you are not busy, well, by then it's too late!

Lookbook cover, April 2015, Cari-Jane Hakes

And so, in order to diversity I decided I needed to apply for my first trade show.  The British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate ticked all the boxes, I took and deep breath and submitted my application. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

sample opening page from lookbook, April 2015, Cari-Jane Hakes
Fast forward 11 months and I find myself working round the clock preparing samples, lookbooks, exhibition stand pieces and logistically planning how and when everything will get delivered and how I will, single-handedly, get everything in a small car and arrive in Harrogate on set up day with enough energy to construct my stand.
Lookbook introduction pages, April 2015, Cari-Jane Hakes

Turns out, helping the hybrid handmade husband at London Fashion Week over 3 seasons was a good preparation for the rigours of presenting your work, non stop, for 8 hours a day.  Preparing the exhibition stand was not that dissimilar to gearing up for a final year architectural crit with just the small issue of taking orders thrown into the mix.

Lookbook introduction, April 2015, Cari-Jane Hakes

Turns out, nobody is really that interested in taking away copies of your lookbook, however, I found the process of putting it all together rather useful.  I used a relatively new app called Steller to pull all my thoughts and images together.  It really helped to see all the pieces laid out, side by side, each with their linage of inspiration and eventual construction.   You can see the whole book here.

views of BCTF stand, Cari-Jane Hakes, 2015

Creating those paper cut landscapes (and seascape) was my 'reward' for finishing all my samples. Even though by that stage all I wanted to do was sleep, I'm so glad I did them.  They turned out to be the perfect way to display all the pieces and created much needed focal points.

I've signed up for next year.  BCTF 2016, here I come!

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