Saturday, 30 July 2011

Restoring My Confidence

The Stalls, Harrogate

I haven't been making much glass lately, despite buying a lovely new kiln, because I have been too busy with the day job and also organising Handmade events in West Yorkshire.  I have been neglecting both my Folksy and Etsy shops and haven't exhibited at a craft fair in over a year. To be honest, I'm never happy with my table display and I think that the way I show my glass makes it look amateur and a bit "cheap". 
Then last week I gave a talk on glass fusing to my friend's church group and sold lots of glass, which restored my confidence in my product.  So it's time to get back in the saddle and start finding selling opportunities and marketing my glass again. The first gallery to stock my glass designs is The Stalls in Harrogate. Natasha only received the box of glass I posted out yesterday and she has already sold one cupcake dish! This has given me a boost and I am already planning new designs.

Cupcake Dish
As for handmade and designer-maker fairs I am going to start back behind the craft stall. I have been looking at mechandising and window display for retailers so that I can create a more inviting and professional  layout. Having visited the British Craft Trade Fair this year I have studied each trader's stand to decide what works and what doesn't. Less is definitely More so I am cutting the clutter and resisting putting out every piece of glass I make. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

The High Alps

Les Haute Alpes
This year's main holiday was a week away in the High Alps in France with my OH, sister and her OH.
We took the Eurostar to Paris and then the TGV to Grenoble, where we collected the hire car to drive to Vallouise. The trains were so clean and efficient with great views of the passing french countryside and it only took 3.5 hours on the TGV!
The mountains are breathtaking and full of meadows of wildflowers with waterfalls and clean, clear air. We walked high up to 6,000 feet and looked down on the valleys. The cattle wear bells and the sound carries up to the top of the mountains. We saw lots of flora and fauna and even a marmot!
Marmot at Chambran
We stayed in a huge chalet house belonging to our friend and she took us on a few mountain walks, including the village where her ancestors come from, Auillard. We ate at the local restaurant, dining on potato pie and salad.
Les Rhodedondrens
Aside from walking, we also drove to the nearest town, Briancon,  which is a walled medieval ville complete with church, boutique shops and lovely restaurants.  I love the ochre and pink buildings of Briancon that glow in the sun.
The end of June is the ideal time to visit Les Haute Alpes because the tourist season hasn't begun but the weather is warm enough to enjoy being outside. We saw lots of people kayaking and serious climbers in the mountains yet Vallouise is a pleasant, sheltered valley. We sat out on our balcony watching a dramatic storm over toward L'Argentiere that never reached us. The torrent of the l'Onde was a constant backdrop of sound, alongside birdsong.
The Balcony
We really enjoyed our vacances and we were sad to leave at the end of the week, although the drive back to Grenoble was quite spectacular. Meanwhile, I have enough photographs and sketches to begin making art based on my holiday in The Alps. I hope to go back again.

You can see more of my photographs by clicking HERE.