Art in the Pen 2021
After the disappointment of cancelled events in 2020 (no explanation required as to the reason for this!) it felt wonderful to be back at an art fair and my first experience of the very well respected and established ‘Art in the Pen’.
This event is held annually at the auction mart in Skipton. Usually a busy cattle and livestock market, the gated pens are transformed for the weekend into vibrant, interesting and colourful art and craft stalls – over 200 individual artists and makers under one huge roof.
I was a little overwhelmed when I arrived at the venue as the pen is so bare and it was hard to work out how we could transform it into a welcoming art gallery. Luckily it had been thoroughly washed and was nice and clean – although there was definitely a lingering farm smell, but that’s all part of the atmosphere of the event I guess!
I was very grateful to my daughter who came along to help; she kept me organised and together we worked out how to set things up.
I thought it would take us a couple of hours to unload the car and set up but I think it was closer to five hours in the end!
There was a real buzz about the place with fellow artists and makers all trying to set their stalls up – some simple and others slightly more complex. We saw some artists building temporary walls, display stands and hanging frames.
In the end, I was pretty happy with how our pen looked – I think the art was well displayed and I hope it looked friendly and welcoming. We had a range of original art, framed prints, canvas prints, mounted prints and a few little sketches and unique pieces from my studio. In addition to my animal artwork, I also displayed some of my portraits which received a great deal of attention.
Art in the Pen is a two day event and this year entry was via pre-paid tickets to avoid overcrowding and try and facilitate social distancing. All the tickets were sold (with the exception of the last hour on each day) and the visitor numbers were just under 2000 on each day.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet people and to talk about my artwork in person. People were keen to browse and we did very well on both days in terms of sales – a good mixture of original work, mounted prints and greeting cards. I was also able to answer questions and discuss my inspiration, techniques and materials.
As this was my first time exhibiting at Art in the Pen I also took time to visit other stalls and chat with fellow artists. Everyone was so friendly and I found it interesting to see how differently people had set their pens up. I certainly took away some hints and tips for next year.
So, a really enjoyable event – lots of work, but lots of fun too. I am already thinking about what I would do differently next year and how to simplify the setup so it’s quicker and easier to install. I also think I will apply for a double pen…… 🙂