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A Maker At A Market November 02, 2018 00:00

I’m at Kamers Market in Stellenbosch this week, which is, as always, an intense and incredible experience.

Preparation for this starts months in advance with applying for a position and waiting to hear if you got in.

Then you get your stall size and dimensions and need to start planning your space, taking your neighbours into consideration.

You also have to start deciding about which styles to produce and how much you think you might need – always a bit of a thumb suck! Depending on where it is plays a big part, but mostly it’s a guessing game.

The set up is always quite fun and involves a lot of moving around of rails and shelves to get the space just right. Then everything needs to be hung up and steamed so it looks beautiful. The set up is done over a couple of days so is really relaxed and peaceful.

Then it’s a case of crossing your fingers and hoping you have enough stock!

My life is set up in such a way that I have very limited contact with humans, except in very controlled environments. I’m not naturally a sociable person so it’s difficult for me to be in spaces like that for a long period of time.

Also, my time is usually my own so I’m flexible with my working hours.

Here, I am surrounded by people all day, every day for 6 days. And I have to be in one place all day, every day for 6 days, except for the odd loo break.

It’s grueling. I spend A LOT of time thinking about my bed.

But it’s also stimulating in a really good way. I’m aware that I’m very insulated, so being in direct contact with customers and designers is invaluable. I love the feedback that can I store away and use for future designs.

 And of course the discovery of new lovely things is a big plus – except I always spend way too much on shopping. In this context I feel justified in supporting small, local businesses. There’s always a way to justify spending!

Then the pack up. Oh my word, THE PACK UP. Those last couple of hours on the Sunday are usually the longest of my life. There are very few people around and those that are there are enjoying the afternoon chatting to friends, having a post-lunch glass of champagne. They’re not much interested in shopping.

But 17:00 hits and it’s like the whole venue implodes. There’s a frenzy of packing and getting everything to your car so you can get into the exit queue and finally get home. 

This is always the worst for me because I often have to do it alone and finding help is just about impossible. Most of my fittings are easy to take apart but occasionally I need another pair of hands to lift one thing onto the other and into the car.

So think of me this Sunday at 17:00, or maybe pop around and help me lift stuff at around 17:15 ;)