Today I want to tell you all about my trip to the NEC sewing for pleasure show, and how much fun I had.

Why was I there?

Well I’m glad you asked, last year I entered 2 of my dolls in to the National Open Textile Exhibition, that was being held in Cheshire from May to July. And I was lucky enough to win a place for both. It was a lovely exhibit, we, Dr J. and me, took a day trip up there one of the Saturdays it was on and had a lovely time looking around all the fabulous entries, and Chester itself is a gorgeous city.

Anyway, that was last year, so imagine my surprise and delight when I received an email from the organisers asking if I would like to exhibit in the sewing for pleasure show too. Well I sent back a great big YES, and I would be happy to do a bit of stall manning too, whilst doing a little happy dance in my chair. The sewing shows at the NEC are one of my calendar must do events, every year since I can remember I have gone along as a visitor, along with thousands of others (mainly women, but not always). To get a chance to exhibit, be on the other side and have thousands see my dolls, of course I said yes.

And I got in free and had a car park pass, for all the days it was on. Added bonus.

 

I used to have my dolls in a wonderful shop called the Handmade Boutique, with a group of other lovely artists and we all shared the serving side of it, so once a week, I would be in the shop face to face with my audience so to speak, and I had forgotten how lovely it is see the reaction to my dolls. Sadly, the shop closed due to rent increases, and now I mainly seel on-line.

Sewing for Pleasure is a mixture of stalls selling everything you could possibly want in the sewing, knitting and textile industry and artists showing their art and demonstrating techniques; with lots of hands on classes too.

And did I mention the fabric stall, stalls upon stalls all selling fabric, all so tempting. I bought a bit, couldn’t resist and also some practical things too;

like new doll needles, these are extra long and very strong for threading limbs together and the like.

Really thin knitting needles (for knitting really tiny jumpers)

Replacement crochet hooks and the like. It’s the perfect place to stock up on essentials. (I did resist the wool this year, but it was hard)

So, I spent a few very pleasurable days, drifting around the vast halls, and sitting next to my dolls, explaining techniques; giving people tips (like use dental floss for stringing it’s dead strong.) and showing them my tiny, tiny knitting. But especially loving hearing people go ‘wow’ and being so delighted when I would hand them a doll to be able to look closer, we textile people are a very touchy feely lot and most the time it’s look don’t touch, so to be able to hold a doll, examine her joints, turn her round in your hand. Everyone was so happy, and it made me really happy to be able to do that for them. And obviously most need to have a peak up her skirt to see if she has knickers on. You would be surprised the amount of people that want to do that to.

I really want to say a huge thank you to the National Open Textile Exhibition for giving me the chance to be there, if anyone is interested the competition will be every two years, so the next is 2019. And all the details on how, when, where will be going up on the website this June, so why not try, you never know where it will lead you.

www.national-open-textile-exhibition.co.uk

When I have a crisis of faith in the future I shall try to remember this show (that’s one of the reasons I wrote this blog to be honest) and the actual experience of watching the first reactions, the awe and delight, the ooohs and aaarrhs of people at seeing my dolls, their faces lighting up with pleasure and them excitedly pulling their friends around to see.  With so much of my business being online it can be so easy to forget that my dolls are wonderful and special, and I do make people happy. I am very lucky that I have the opportunity and skill to be a doll maker, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.