It is 2am my eyes are shutting in front of my laptop screen. I feel sick - it could be tiredness, it could be too many rescue coffees. Who knows, most likely the latter. My husband is down stairs staining wooden posts. Tiredness doesn't seem to hit him like it does me. This is my 5th Mama Meet and Market and I really should know better by now. I realised it isn't because I am unorganised it is because I have taken on more. The last four markets I have created the event signaged for the organisers. I absolutley love getting involved however it certainly adds to my jobs list resulting in these silly late night antics (Not the kind my husband wants unfortunatley for him) I always re-design my stall set up and I seem to design new art prints days before I am setting this all up at the venue. I think the inspiration hits me when I am stressed. Anyway I LOVE doing this event, as much as it doesn't seem like it after all that.
The market is full of lovely bubbly small business holders. Everyone is keen to network and often that networking leads to friendships. One thing we don't have as small business holders is 'collegues' / work friends (as well as christmas parties) it can get a little quiet sometimes. Having this friend base from the market is a life line.
Eventually I pull myself to bed. Obvioulsy I can't sleep, I can't shut my mind down but I can feel my body resting so that will do. Suddenly I am waking up to my 6am alarm. I feel more sick than I did at 2am. Is it nerves now? Panic? Or just tiredness? What ever it is it isn't morning sickness. I don't have time to think about it. I get up washed and dressed. Then I start the make up. God why am I bothering? Well to be honest I know I will massively regret it at 11am.
We never pack the car the night before. The equipment isn't worth the risk. So my husband is packing our tiny Aygo to the inch of its life at 7am. In the winter months it's barely light enough and rather chilly! For some miricle we get everything in. It is like a tardis. We still turn up to the venue 15 mins after we could of been there setting up. The front of the university is alive with people carrying weird and wonderful stall props. You don't have time to think. You unload the car and get everything over to your allocated space. If you don't concentrate on your stall alone you'll be baffled and late setting up. What I've learnt over the years is to block everything out around you and just focus. The noise and hustle can really distract you.
Once I have set up I grab a coffee and take a breather. I have been up most of the night I need hydrating and a calm bubble. You have no idea what is coming for you at 11am (Opening to the public)
The next few hours speed by. I do not have time to keep track of my watch. I am in my element chatting to loads of lovely people. It is the biggest compliment when someone asks if I drew an illustration with amazment on their face. Drawing has been second nature to me since I was little. It doesn't cross my mind that I have a skill not everyone can do. But that is why I sell my prints. Every drawing has a story behind it. Something inspired me. Sometimes I grab a breather and walk round the market hiding amongst the crowd. I see families standing next to my hand painted 'show stopper' signage. They have no idea how long that took. They do not know about the blisters on my right hand from the pencil as I drew it. They don't know about how I had to leave the painting for ten minutes while I picked the children up from school with white paint all over me. How the children had two front room picnic dinners in a row last week while I used the dining room table. They don't even know the artist is standing by watching them feeling on top of the world because they just chose to have their family day out picture next to my work.
By the end of the day I am shattered. It has finally hit my husband who has had less sleep than me. We pack our stall up. There is no specific routine anymore. We just want to get home. We say goodbye to our small biz friends. We get home and like robots we unload the tardis. The house is trashed. I didn't realised the carnage we caused the night before. There is no time to clean we get back in the car and go collect our children. Of course Uncle Carl has given them sweeties. They are bouncing off the walls. No mum guilt here at least they are happy. We get them home. Straight to bed, for them not us. I feed the cat then I go to bed. Wow today total strangers bought my art. They believed in me and have just supported me. Crazy. Lets do it all again in two weeks.
P.S Still cleaning the house from last weekend.