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My first solo exhibition

I did it! It's been up for a week now and there have been favourable comments and sales! Find out how it all came together amid a roller-coaster of emotions.

In my last blog, written about two and a half weeks ago, I was frantically busy preparing for my exhibition in the Little Gallery, which is part of The Derbyshire Makers' shop at the Peak Shopping Village in Rowsley, Derbyshire. At the time I was worried about not having had my large textile art picture, "Crooked Spire at Night" framed.

After consulting with Sharon, who is the driving force behind The Derbyshire Makers and the setting up of the shop, I decided that it definitely needed a frame. I hurriedly sourced one and framed the picture, a decision that I was pleased with as it looked good hanging in its smart black frame.

The greetings cards that I had ordered hadn't arrived as the date for me setting up the exhibition approached, but an email to Penny Batch Gallery, who were printing them, resulted in my order being prioritised and although they didn't arrive before I needed to go over to Rowsley on 20th May, they arrived later that afternoon.

Sharon was immensely helpful in hanging my pictures and advising me on how best to group the pictures and label them. She also came up with a way of hanging six of my bags which made them look artistic and maximised my use of the available wall space, and also suggested a way to display the art and craft roll as a piece of art in itself. I decided it needed a pictorial notice beside it to show the other, functional, side and how it could be used for knitting needles or paint brushes. I prepared this and took it in the next day, along with the greetings cards.

It felt strange walking away from the exhibition on Monday afternoon, leaving it without knowing what reaction there would be to it from the public and, although I could have left it for the two week duration, I decided to put in an appearance in the shop on Saturday 25th May. This was partly to see whether I needed to order anymore prints and also to be on hand in case anyone wanted to talk to me about my work. I confess to feeling disappointed that the only sales I had had in the first four days of the exhibition were two greetings cards. The shop, which had been busy on my previous visits, seemed very quiet for much of the morning. I chatted to a few people who showed some interest in my work, including a friend who came to look at it, and enjoyed spending time talking to the two Derbyshire makers, Julie Leggett and Sue Wilkins, who were in charge of the shop that day. On Julie's suggestion, I made a slight rearrangement in the gallery to ensure that the greetings cards were more readily visible as I noticed that many people weren't actually going into the gallery, just looking from the entrance.

I left mid-afternoon, and about half an hour after getting home, got a phone call from Julie to tell me that my textile art picture, "#2 The Millpond", had sold. Suddenly, it all seemed worthwhile! Someone had liked one of my pictures enough to want to buy it!

I made a return visit the next morning to take some replacement pictures (a watercolour and an acrylic) to fill the gap, although in the end I decided not to, because the one I thought would go there didn't hang properly or look right. Later that day, Jyoti Hawley who was one of the makers in the shop that day, contacted me to let me know that one of my bags had sold. Again, I felt that surge of gratification and also relief that exhibiting my work in the Little Gallery was turning out to be a worthwhile experience.

The exhibition runs until 2nd June and I will be taking it down on the morning of the 3rd June, making way for the next display there. Before then I intend to have one more visit, partly because I'm currently making another, simpler, textile art collage in my "Walks around Holymoorside" series and, if I get it finished, it can take the place of the one that was sold.

Who knows what else might sell before then, as well? I shall look forward to finding out!

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