The last few years have been very tied up with renovations, Covid, starting my illustration business and struggling with migraines…some things on the agenda had to postponed, but this year I refused to postpone the summer Expo at Crocq, a pretty medieval town near Aubusson, famous for The Black Prince invading and partially destroying during the Hundred Years War. It was also noted for saving many Jewish children, hiding them from the Nazi’s during the war; a dangerous bravery but luckily Creuse is a quiet spot and the locals were prepared to take the risk.
Every year Crocq rubs an exhibition based on a theme. The first was 1001 cows, ten years ago, given this is cow country, and this year it was Reflets…reflections. I decided to stick to my fabrics, rather than prints and given it was a sort of water theme, dug into my stash of old linens and found two sheets, quite course and hemmed them with wool, a little like two sails. Mounted on timber poles, I then, rather laboriously, hand stitched all my printed illustrations to these sheets, added a printed description carefully folded them ready for hanging.
At the expo is also a shop area. I wanted to make an effort and over a couple of weeks beforehand, pulled together baskets, wood boxes, drawers and with chalk paint, thread, ornamental nails and cotton, created a range of retail displays. I love pale eau-de-nil and stuck to this colourway to avoid clashing with my products.
A hectic last few day, I managed to print on canvas alot of my illustrations, get tea-towels and mugs printed, note cards and tapestry canvas kits ready. I found online a really nice set of kraft labels, round with flowers on, bags and boxes. The studio slowly filled with products all now wrapped, priced and ready to journey the two hour jaunt to the town. I had done it! I was ready. Its my first ever exhibition and although I know its not going to be hugely busy, I wanted to see how it was organized, how the displays looked and hopefully do some networking.
We also painted large panels for the street. I have never painted this scale before and decided to go very whimsical, brash and illustrated two middle aged crustaceans heading to the sea, complete with mini polka dot bikini, a la Bridget Bardot! My panel got centre stage and I even got a lovely print from it and displayed this at the exhibition. Later the panel will hang at the attellier, a reminder that an artists should try always to go large or go small in art, the extremes seem to appeal in the market.
The exhibition runs till 14th August and the venue is a beautiful building, with stunning countryside all around, the Plateau de Mille Vache and Puy De Dome a little further south. Aubusson the famous tapestry town is near and here you can visit the manufacturing attelier and the museum, currently producing The Lord of the Rings tapestries, an ambitious, large scale project. Creuse can be a little quiet at times, but there is definitely a buzz of creativity brewing here. ☆