The Guild Alive with Culture & Art is situated in the beautiful Guild Park in Scarborough area of Toronto. There were approximately a hundred booths of varying sorts from paintings, to jewelry to gourmet food sauce. The park itself is interesting as its lovely gardens are peppered with remnants of old buildings rescued from a period of time when Toronto was started to demolish old buildings.
The park used to be former artist colony, and now includes a renovated inn where they hold events like weddings (there were several going on during the weekend). When we pulled up in the parking lot, the grounds were so lush and there was South Asian music playing for a wedding. I felt like a stepped into a whole new world!
Here we are setting up the tend and preparing the walls.
I definitely need my partner to help me do this – not just for setting up, or giving me breaks, but there were times when people would be waiting to buy something, but I’d be engrossed in a conversation with another person interested in my work.
But it also helped to have him around when there was no one at the booth. Ever been to a party or social gathering by yourself where you don’t know very many people well? Having someone with you takes that social pressure off. It makes it less awkward when someone does come up to the booth. People often worry that they are going to be pressured to buy or even pressured to engage. I want to let their moment to be a personal moment, to see if there is anything they connect with without having to worry if I’m going to pressure them to buy.
This time we lay down a tarp to ensure that the interior wall cloth would not get soiled by the ground. We lay down the frames of the first wall, zip tie them together and then push them up to sit just under the tent canopy. The remaining walls we set up and then put the interior cloth over.
We were in a bit of an awkward spot in that the set up of the other tents around us restricted traffic flow to ours. We experimented with where we put various displays to catch the eyes of people. Even if you are not in a great spot, as long as you can be seen, if people are interested in your work, they will come over.
It’s always a pleasure to hear what people will see in your work. I love hearing what it evokes in them. “This one speaks to me” or this reminds me of my childhood, reminds me of this experience or place, or this brings me peace. Some see the colour, some see the light, some see the mood. Some can recognize where I’ve shot it with surprising accuracy, other see different entirely different countries.