Monday, 21 January 2013

The Christmas Crafty Bits - And I Promised Her An Owl

Earlier in the year I helped transform Red Door Studios in East Ham into a mid century market place with the aid of some plywood, wallpaper and container load of vintage furniture and nik-naks.
A few months on and the same space needed to become an Enchanted Christmas Forest as a setting for the crafters who were selling at the Christmas Market.

I worked with Dolores, Red Door's Creative Director and over a few cups of coffee down at the Cafe In Central Park we hammered out a rough plan design concept for the main selling space - twigs and branches, lots of them and birch wallpaper. We had a budget of zilch quid but Dolores had boxes of baubles from past events, Christmas trees bought in last year's sales and miles and miles of Christmas lights. I was happy to re-paper the retro backdrop that had been constructed earlier.

humble beginnings

The courtyard area where hot drinks and cakes were served would become a ski lodge, complete with log cabin made from donated scraps of timber (which I painted into), a found window and working fireplace. People could snuggle up on fleece covered benches to drink their hot chocolate and admire the view of the Mattahorn.

Moving from the rustic reds and greens of the lodge area into the magical silver ice cave of the selling area was quite breathtaking.
Most amazing of all were the Enchanted Forest creatures - Jason whose skills as a carpenter in a team of wonderful helpers that enabled us to pull this whole thing off - made twiggy stags that became stages for sellers to hang the wares from.

And I promised Dolores an Owl.

All the weeks we worked together on the event I reassured Dolores an Owl would appear in the birch trees before we opened.
Two nights before the grand opening I sat in my workspace and looked around me, what could give me an Owl. This is what I love to do - this is why my blog is called Make It Up - this is how I work best.

I plugged in my trusty glue gun and threw Dean Martin on the (virtual) turntable. I'd amassed an old hanging basket, curtain rings, plastic hook, circular bag handles, clothes pegs, fabric, card and buttons. I pulled from the shelf my battered 'Book of Animals', looked up 'Owl' and began to wire bits together.
The next day Dolores had her Owl sitting in the trees.

The Christmas Market would have been a great success even if the sellers had simply turned up with their wares and put out a few tables - there were some fabulous crafted things on sale.

But creating a sympathetic selling space is a nifty bit of ammo to have in your marketing arsenal, it added a wonderful ambiance to our event and made the market more of a happening.


It's a good strategy to bare in mind if you're planning an event for the spring - dress the space so that customers feel enchanted, appreciate that extra crafty mile you've gone to and come away with lovely things to say about their visit (hopefully having spent some dosh in the process).

Easter egg anyone?

Photos where indicated were taken by the wonderful Mr Phil Russell, you can find him here.
Red Door Studios in East Ham can be found here.
Thanks to everyone who made the Red Door Studios Christmas Market a huge success!
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