Origin is over for another year and in many respects I’m quite happy about that. I’m glad I have taken a few days to calm down and enjoy being back in beautiful Dumfries and Galloway. I drove all night straight after the show and on my way into my wee village at 1.30am I was greeted by two otters frolicking down the road….my welcoming party (never seen a live in the wild otter!)…..and then a even warmer greeting from my two lovely dogs who seemed extremely happy to see me.
I’ll start by saying that personally I had a good show; I was happy with the work I managed to make in the short notice that I had and I have some very exciting news, but more on that later. However, I am so glad that my first taste of the Crafts Council Origin show was last year as there was little to compare it with this years show. I won’t go into all the teething problems as there were too many, the saving grace of the show was the quality of the exhibitors. You would expect that the show would be focused on them and contemporary craft but it felt like we were very far down on the list in the mind of the new organisers Tent London and even the Crafts Council.
My main feeling about the show is that it looked and felt like any other craft fair; there was nothing special about it (except the exhibitors as already mentioned). No extra touches, craft interventions, workshops…nothing to make it feel like the best show for contemporay craft (at a maker level) that it used to be. It looked thrown together with high imposing walls with nowhere for the visitor to sit and relax and enjoy the atmosphere (which was non-existent). I’m really not surprised that in general sales seemed to be lower (taking into account the current economic climate)…it just didn’t feel like a show where collectors would spend big money (saying that all my highest priced work sold and not so much the less expensive!). The only other positive was the visitor numbers; it was packed day to day (with many queues to get in) with a knowledgeable audience but this is because of past history and not due to the current show. If they haven’t sorted out the ‘pavillion’ design by next year I think visitor numbers will drop off.
A positive thing for me personally is that I no longer feel so excited about the show, which means I’ll probably not apply next year and won’t have to suffer the stress of waiting for an accepatnce or rejection! I really hope that they pull it together again next year….if there is a next year!