A few photos of our stand at the Green Walk Craft Fair in Whalley Range, Manchester, over the bank holiday weekend. The event took place on one very pretty street in this South Manchester suburb; around 30 local artists & craftspeople showed their work inside the houses – ours was in the living room at number 10. A pleasant change as we’re used to being stood in a farmer’s field getting soaked and fighting against the wind to keep out gazebo held down! I’d been experimenting with the forge in the couple of weeks leading up to the event, so we had a collection of hand forged items that people could take away on the day – something we’ve not tried before, as we normally just look to take commissions for our larger products such as weathervanes and swinging signs. I’m pleased to say that it went really well and I should have made more! We sold out of snails and candle holders by the middle of Sunday afternoon, and our boot scraper got loads of attention and was gone within about an hour, which was nice as it was just something I played about with that happened to turn out very well. I have a couple of tweaks to the design in mind, but then I’ll get them straight on the website. The only thing that didn’t sell well was the hand forged hooks – we think they might do better as a set mounted to a piece of wood rather as single items.
We got chance to have a quick look around on Sunday afternoon while my parents watched our stand for us, loads of fantastic work by some very talented people. Could have spent a lot on pottery but was very restrained! Really looking forward to this event next year: https://www.greenwalk.co.uk/
A couple of photos of our display stand from what is probably the last show of the year for us; Stokesley in North Yorkshire. It’s the third time we’ve exhibited at this event, partly because we have done well at it the past couple of years, and there always seems to be a really good atmosphere, plus theres an excellent pub not far from the showground. There’s a carnival going on in the town just a few minutes walk away so is always well attended, even this year when the weather was not the best.. Was really nice to speak to some of our customers from the last two years, they are all still delighted with their Black Fox products which is good to hear! As it was our third time at this event, we made a few new display items, including the witch weathervane shown above, flying against the very grey Yorkshire sky. So was another really enjoyable day out, even if it wasn’t the best in terms of orders taken – quite possibly because people were less inclined to stand around talking in the rain; we certainly gave out a lot more flyers than we normally do so hopefully will hear from some of them in the coming weeks and months.
Some photos from this weekends agriculture show in Newport, Shropshire. It was held at the Chetwynd Deer Park, and was a beautiful, bright sunny day, making a nice change from our recent experience at the nearby Staffordshire County Showground. Had loads of interest and got a few good orders, so well worth coming out to. Also we didn’t forget any part of our stand or display, which is pretty rare for us! I think there were probably about 10 000 people there, and we were constantly busy pretty much all day, so didn’t really get chance to have a look around ourselves. I did manage to get a quick photo of some recently shaven Alpacas, and look at a group of adorable little baby ducklings. The stand next to ours was a lady selling ‘doggy fish fudge’ and ‘liver cakes’ – sounds absolutely disgusting but she seemed to have a crowd of dogs and their owners around her for much of the day so fair enough I suppose – glad she did well! Our stand also was opposite the schools marquee, who for some reason thought it was appropriate for their orchestra to play ‘In the bleak mid winter’ repeatedly thoughout the day…
So we came back into the workshop yesterday with a massive long list of designs to do, the most unusual of which is a very rare bird called a Spoonbilled Sandpiper. So I’m looking forward to spending a day in bed drawing and designing! We’ve also got loads of floral art stands to be getting on with, some for a church in Gloucestershire, but mostly for a florist exhibiting at the RHS Tatton show next week.
Here’s a couple of photos from our first show of the year, the BASC gamekeepers fair in Derbyshire. We’ve updated our stand a little, including a new banner showing some of our favourite swinging farm signs, and also an example of what we can do in terms of laser cut stainless steel wall art. ‘Name’ wall art has been quite popular recently, we’ve had a few ordered in chrome, and we wanted to promote the option of using brushed stainless steel instead, as we personally prefer the look of it. I think its just a bit more subtle and less blingy; entirely a matter of taste though!
So the show itself turned out to be a really good one; the weather was kind to us, we got a few sales, and gave out a loads of leaflets ( in part thanks to a little boy who joined our team for a short time! ). The Hare weathervane design was popular this weekend, as name and number plates though rather than weathervanes. And it helped being next door to a couple selling whisky and sloe gin, who were happily very liberal with the free samples! There were also plenty of dogs to make friends with, and we really enjoyed watching the Gun Dog events, both for the experienced dogs who knew exactly what they were doing, and also the comedy value of those who didn’t. So despite stupidly setting off late afternoon on Friday and spending several hours stationary on the M6, and as a result setting up the stand pretty much in the dark, this turned out to be a really good weekend, and will definitely be on the list for next year.
A few photos taken at the Wasdale Head show in Cumbria this weekend. We stayed a few miles away in Waberthwaite, and first thing in the morning it looked set to be a beautiful day. As we got away from the coast and into the valley however, the wind picked up and as we arrived in the field, noticed the remains of somebody’s gazebo lying destroyed on the ground. Not a good start! So we attempted to hold on to our still quite new gazebo while getting the poles up & ratchet straps on, but could see the poles bending with the wind, and remembering the Arley Hall incident in July, decided that we didn’t want to lose another gazebo. So we packed it away again. Thankfully the organisers were really good about it, and shuffled a few people around so we could set up our stand in a closed off bit of the beer tent. We were a bit hidden away, but despite that had a pretty good show! It’s a really nice event, and was good to catch up with some of our customers from last year. Got some repeat custom which is always nice, and will be doing an Elephant weathervane for the winner of this years beard competition. And the Terrier racing was a highlight as usual. After the final they tried it with non Terriers, one of which was a spaniel who really didn’t get it and ran in the wrong direction.
So for a second year Stokesley Agriculture show has turned out to be a really good one for us! Heres a couple of photos of our stand from the weekend, complete with two medium weathervanes mounted to the roof of our new gazebo. From this angle you don’t get a great view of it but coming from the main entrance towards our stands they really stood out against the thankfully bright blue sky. It was nice to arrive earlier on the Friday this year too and actually be able to see something of the town, and also visit a really nice pub once we had our display set up. The ‘White Swan’ in the middle of Stokesley is an excellent place to get a good pint of real ale!
The show itself was really enjoyable, next year though we will be recruiting a volunteer to come with us; we were really busy all day and neither of us got chance to have a proper look around. It was nice to have loads of interest in our stand, and get a few good orders too! This week we’ll be working on a small traditional style swinging sign with an E type Jag design, and getting a variation of our popular ‘Sheep & Collie’ Farm sign laser cut, amongst several other things.
This photo was taken last weekend at the Hodder Valley Show, in the beautiful Trough of Bowland. We’re off out again this weekend, this time in North Yorkshire at the Stokesley Agriculture show. Really looking forward to it; this time last year it was probably our most successful show to date, and a fantastic event in that it was busy with loads to see, but not so spread out that you couldn’t get round it all. We’ve made a few changes to the display stand too, instead of the weathervanes being in front on tatty looking stands we made last summer, they will be mounted on the sides of our new gazebo ( hopefully anyway, assuming all goes to plan! )
So I’ve neglected the blog a bit over the past few weeks, thought I should catch up a bit! Here’s a small selection of photos from the Chipping Steam rally, where we exhibited over the bank holiday weekend. It’s in the Trough of Bowland area of Lancashire which is stunningly beautiful, and the weather was fantastic for a change. Until the Monday when the rain and wind hit us and we found ourselves holding onto the new gazebo to stop it taking off! The afternoons events were cancelled, still though, can’t complain after two days of sunshine. We’ve had new posters printed showing some of our products in situ which I think is a really nice colourful addition to our stand. It was a great atmosphere, and we got a few good orders including our most bizarre weathervane yet – a vintage lawnmower design. The customer has a collection of over 300, some of which were on display at the show. They’ve just confirmed the design, so that will be getting laser cut later in the week. I also took plenty of photos of the vintage tractors on display – we’d love to expand our range of weathervane designs in this area.
In other news, we’ve been really busy in the workshop over the past couple of weeks, and I have several new weathervane designs to post over the next few days. We’re also working on a design for our first piece of scrap metal wall art for a customer in Sale – really excited about this as it’s challenging and a bit different to what we normally do. I’ll also be working on a swinging sign design today from the Chipping show involving a howling Wolf.
A photo from our stand at the Arley Hall Craft fair. Our pitch was in the hall itself this time, and we were lucky to be in this spot just in front of the bay window. The Saturday especially was a really bright sunny day, we were very warm for the first time this year, and the light showed off our weathervanes and farm signs beautifully. We sold a Cat & Bird weathervane, plus several variations of our Gun Dog design in the form of wall mounted signs and weathervanes, and I am currently working on the design for a piece of wall art based on the Fox and Grapes fable. The only bad thing about this pitch was that we were in the exact spot where couples say their wedding day vows, so we had loads of future brides and grooms coming round and standing completely in the way of our work! We’re back at Arley next weekend for a little Spring plant fair, hopefully will be as sucessful again, if a little colder as we are outside this time..