Tuesday, 29 July 2008


Every year around the third week in July, Forest Gate, in the East End of London, holds it's annual Street Festival. They close a street down to traffic from 9am-7pm and pre-booked stall holders set up their stalls and wares on the pavement, outside a pre-specified house number. I've been selling at this festival for a few years now and the atmosphere is really great. You get to meet such friendly people and sell them stuff in return.

My colourful stall set up and all ready to sell sell sell!

However, there was a noticeable void in the festival this year and that was the absence of any street entertainment. In the past there have been Indian dhol players beating rhythmically on their drums, theatrically costumed street dancers in all their finery gyrating down the length of the street, stilt walkers dressed up as comical Elvis Presley and police constables, snake charmers, belly dancers and singers. This year they had none of that and only had a marquee put up for some singing talents. It was really disppointing and when asked why the absence of all the entertainment, the organisers replied that it was due to cutback in funding. That's so unfortunate and disappointing as the street entertainment really used to liven things up.

A colourful display of all my stuff for sale - mosaics,
decorative tin cans, handmade journals, handmade cards,
Indian beaded/embroidered bags and box frames.

Some of my mosaic plaques. I make the ceramic letters out of clay and then they go in for bisque firing, after which I glaze and put chipping of glass and glass beads on top and it's sent back to the kiln. When my letter have come out the glass has fused into the glaze which intensifies the colours beautifully.

Well, the day started off cloudy and overcast with the threat of rain and sure enough by the time we'd set up and arranged everything just so, down came a torrent of rain and we all desperately clamoured about covering everything with sheets of tarpaulin. Thankfully the rain didn't last long and out came the sun and with it hoardes of potential buyers.

I had a team of little helpers with me, namely my nieces and they were quite the little sales people, walking up and down the street with baskets of my handmade cards and journals, encouraging people to buy these beautiful items - and guess what? - they did! :-) All in all, I ended up doing very well and was pleased with what I'd sold and made.

Yours Truly desperately trying to hold my decorative tin cans down, before a big puff of wind blows it al down!
Selling your handmade items is naturally very important at any kind of fair or venue, but equally important is getting yourself out there and meeting people and talking about your art/work and promoting not only yourself but your work also. That's why I hand out my Moo cards - coz you never know when someone will remember your work and will contact you to have something made especially. I did get an order for a mosaic door number - which although small fry compared to the big commissions I've done, are still just as important as your contact is one to one with your client and how well you produce that piece for them, will reflect on future word of mouth business.


Creative Chaos said...

Hi Lubna , your stall looks gorgeous !! Think you solda lot of your wonderful artwork !! And I just LOVE those bags !!!
Patti xx

bockel24 said...

Oh, I´ve loved reading your post, being a little envious about living in such an interesting place ... hope you´ve sold a lot of your stuff!

Lubna said...

Hi Creative Chaos
I welcome your comments and Thank you for them:-) I did pretty well at this festival and always enjoy meeting and chatting with the people who come to browse and buy. The bags are all hand made in India. I used to have hundreds but they've sold well over the years.

Lubna said...

Hi Marion
So sweet of you to leave a comment - it's much appreciated. I'm so glad you enjoyed reading this post - you know being born in London and having lived here all my life doesn't make me appreciate it any less - and it's only when people outside of London or even UK, comment on how great it must be to live here, that it makes me appreciate it even more:-D

I do hope you'll continue to visit:-)
Lubna x

Stacy said...

Hi Lubna, all of your work is beautiful! Your stall looks amazing and full of wonderful goodies made by you! I'm glad to hear that you did good at the festival - I am envious of where you live as well! How great it must be to live in London!

Lubna said...

Hi Stacy
Thank you for your comments:-) - it's so nice of you to stop by.

I'm glad you like my work. I love colour and am attracted to and gravitate towards colour in Art and design. Also, a colourful stand attacts crowds - so at least they come to look and then maybe to buy:-D
BTW - yes, I must admit, it's wonderful to live in London:-D