the third print fair

Raspberry and I did a print fair on Saturday, run by the same organizers who did the first print fair we went to. I had somewhat higher hopes for this as the previous two, as twenty-five vendors were slated to be there. I figured that more vendors would likely yield a larger crowd. Raspberry had made a new zine, How Babies Are Made, and I thought it’d be quite the runaway success and had made extra copies just in case. But I was sorely mistaken. I don’t know what it was, maybe the venue, maybe the rain, who knows? But the turnout was dismal. I estimate that maybe twenty, twenty-five people in total stopped at our table. Raspberry sold only two zines (one to someone who’d bought her zines at the previous fair) and three prints, a far cry from her success at the other two fairs. The funny thing is that just minutes before the fair started, she sold two prints and I thought that might bode well for the rest of the fair but obviously I was wrong.

With such a poor turnout, there was a lot of down-time and Raspberry got bored quickly. She wandered around a lot and drew some pictures and read two books. I didn’t really do much in the time, partly because the lighting was quite dim and my eyes are bad enough as they are, and also because I didn’t feel like it. Partway through the fair, a guy whom I think worked at the venue came around to tell everyone that they were extending the print fair for another hour. I was all right with that, since I thought the extra hour might help and it’s not like we had anywhere to be anyway. But a couple of vendors left early because it became painfully obvious that very few people were going to show up in the additional time and as more and more vendors started packing up, I decided we should too, especially since Raspberry was terribly restless. I think she was quite relieved when we did. Thanks to the weather forecast, we’d prepared for the rain; halfway during our walk home, it started pouring and while armed with umbrellas, we still got quite drenched. The hot chocolate we had when we got home certainly helped warm our insides, and our dampened spirits.

Oh, some highlights from the print fair:

– I sold a map! I changed the label to say “embroidered maps” rather than just “maps,” so people wouldn’t think it was merely a print. Anyway, the map I sold is the one of Lebanon. The lady who bought it initially thought it was £5 (despite Raspberry saying “£15, please”) until I showed her the different sizes of maps and explained that the one she picked was considered a large map, not small. I was nervous she’d back out, but she paid the difference. I felt bad that I didn’t have anything she could put the map in, especially since it was raining. She was carrying a Marks & Spencer plastic bag full of stuff and she somehow wedged the map in there. I overheard her at another stall asking again if they had an envelope or anything she could put her purchase in. I’m not sure if they did, but I do hope she was able to bring her purchases home intact. Ideally, I’d like to be able to package my maps with a cardboard backing and in a cellophane bag, but it’s not cost-effective for me at the moment.

– There was a lady, maybe in her forties or fifties, who briefly stopped at our table with her friends. She just glanced at Raspberry’s work and gushed very patronizingly, “WOW! THESE ARE SO GOOD! YOU’VE BEEN BUSY! WOWWWWW!” The whole time she was standing there, I was thinking how she didn’t even really look at Raspberry’s work, so she shouldn’t just say that they’re good. And come on, don’t talk to kids in that patronizing voice (I think Raspberry was a little confused by it, even though she didn’t say anything). And not saying anything at all would’ve been much better than that fake effusive gushing. My kid doesn’t need her ego stroked. Just saying.

– I encouraged Raspberry to point out and maybe offer her business cards to people who stopped by the table and seemed interested in her work. I’m not sure she quite got it. Several times, she physically got off her chair, went around to the other side of the table and offered her business cards to people. At one point, three people passed our table and took a rather cursory look at our work. They seemed only politely interested, but Raspberry took that to mean a true interest and bounded to the other side of the table, business cards in hand and practically thrust them in the peoples’ hands. They took them probably because they felt obligated to and I’m pretty sure the cards probably ended up trashed when they got home.

– Partway through the day, I accidentally popped a zit on my chin. I didn’t realize it until I felt something wet dripping onto my hand and holy shit, it was red! And it kept coming, in these huge, wet drops! Panicking, I fumbled around my backpack for some paper napkins, dripping large drops onto the floor and onto my thankfully black dress in the process. I rushed to the bathroom, where I stayed for what felt like an eternity, waiting for the damn pimple to stop bleeding. When it didn’t seem like it was going to stop any time soon, I left the bathroom to get back to the table, where I’d left Raspberry on her own. For probably the next half-hour or so, I sat with my hand affixed to my chin as I desperately willed the zit to stop bleeding and hoped that no one would stop at the table because I was horribly embarrassed and I didn’t want anyone to get creeped out by the now seriously bloody paper napkins. How is it the smallest wounds are capable of producing seemingly the most amounts of blood?! Oh, in case you’re interested, I accidentally popped the same zit as I was towelling myself after my shower this evening and of course, there was blood everywhere. I yelled for Lucas, who came to my rescue with a bit of toilet paper and my camera (at my request, of course). Trying to photograph blood on your person while not getting the camera bloody is quite a challenge.

The next print fair is in about a month and I’m not sure if Raspberry and I will get a table. We’re a little gun-shy, as you might expect. I’m not really thinking about it at the moment either, as we’re just coming off the one on the weekend. I know that my work doesn’t fit the print fair aesthetic and is hard to sell there (I had a bit of a conversation with the lady whose table was beside ours about this — she does letterpress and she said her work doesn’t quite fit either), but at least Raspberry’s does. Anyway, we’ll decide later. In the meantime, I’ve been busy packaging Raspberry’s new zine to a handful of my Facebook friends who are interested in it, and I’ve been having fun doing so. It’s good therapy for me, especially after the weekend. [Incidentally, if anyone’s interested in a copy of Raspberry’s zine, you can let me know and I’ll get it to you.]

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