Tag Archives: Cavendish Square

display – before and after

At the beginning of May at the Made in the Cape market at Cavendish, I was fortunate enough to find myself with a neighbour I hadn’t met properly before. Her name is Hanici (pronounced like Sean Hannity but with a hard k instead of a t). She and her husband run a shop in Fishhoek and also like to travel to trade fairs and markets to promote their own products. Hanici originally trained in fine art and her husband, Barend, is a chemical engineer.

Display 1

Display 2

Cavendish Square was relatively quiet during the first two days of the market, which is never encouraging for a trader. I muttered something about feeling invisible, and Hanici jumped right into the challenge of how to fix my display. She told me about lines and frames and order, what attracts peoples’ eyes, what is distracting, and how to arrange bedspreads and cushions in such a way that a person would immediately want to riffle through them. We also had to “clean” the air by sweeping and brushing with imaginary brooms and dusters. I felt a bit silly doing this but I figured it couldn’t hurt. Hanici also offered to help Wanda on the other side of her (I forgot to take pics of Wanda’s stand but I wish I had, it was beautiful after H’s magic touch). We redid everything and cleaned the air like professionals. Within 10 minutes (not lying), Wanda had made three sales, and within an hour a customer bought the bedspread that you can see in the top pic draped over the middle of my table, and in the bottom pic folded up barely visible in the neat centred pile. Crazy, huh?!

So, for any market people out there who, like me, have no clue about the theory behind display, think on these things and have a google. And a clean sweep :)

and cats

I’m still stuck on animal cushions. Here’s Cat Cushion #1, finished late on Friday night in time for Saturday’s market. It sold within the first hour.

kitten

I can be clever on occasion, so I knew what to do — make more! Here’s another one:

kitten 2

Another four cats are waiting in the wings, they’ll be finished and stuffed by this evening in time for the Made in the Cape market at Cavendish tomorrow. I’ve made 28 new cushions altogether in the last few days so, as it happens, it’ll also be me who’ll be finished and stuffed by this evening. Cushion collage

PS. The woman who bought the cat on Saturday phoned me yesterday to ask if I could make her another one (in a different colourway) so that she’s not without a cat cushion when the first one is in the wash. Purrrrrrr…..  

All malled out

The ten-day Made in the Cape artisan market ended on Sunday. It was a big success on all levels, but exhausting — obviously to be expected, and this is not a complaint, but I hadn’t anticipated the draining effect that ten days (eleven hours each) in a busy shopping mall would have on me. You may or may not know this about me, but I am not a shopping-mall kind of gal. I will go to one of the smaller ones if necessary but far prefer to stick to my local shops down in Rondebosch village. The post office is also there, and the library, and a superb barista, and the bank. And there’s always parking.

Anyway, hard work never killed anyone and I’ve had three follow-up orders already, so there is also a good long-term effect of being on show, as it were. The patchwork cushions were especially popular.

thurs1thurs2

We also had some drama! A woman had had her cell phone taken out of her handbag as she was coming down the escalator closest to me. The thief ran past my table and slid the phone in between a pile of my cushions. This was captured on cctv so within seconds I had a swarm of security guards “helping” me go through all my stock. We searched in vain, which made no sense, so I suggested that she had probably had an accomplice who had retrieved the phone very quickly and made off with it in a different direction. Further cctv footage proved me right, and a ring of four women was eventually caught and arrested.

I was reminded of something in one of Ben Trovato‘s priceless blog posts about shopping malls and holiday crowds:

And remember that even though pickpocketing and purse-snatching is considered quaint and old school in this glamorous age of state capture, the pilferers and purloiners are still out there practising their ancient craft. Fleet of foot and nimble of finger, not for them the tedious complexities of tender rigging and money laundering. Handbags are their thing. This is why women should keep a small explosive device in their bag at all times. If the bag is stolen, they can detonate it with a remote control. This will not only teach the thief a valuable lesson but will also help thin out the crowds in the mall. 

So, be alert and keep your handbags zipped up tight !

getting stuffed

I seem to be making a lot of cushions lately so I needed to get my hands on a lot of stuffing. My friend Suzette orders her unicurl stuffing from the wholesalers and they deliver directly to her house. I asked her to order some for me; she said “Sure, how much do you want? It comes in 20 kilogram bags”; I said that sounded just fine. Yesterday I drove to her house in Durbanville to pick it up.

Luckily I drive a Hyundai Tucson. It can fit in a LOT of stuff, but even my poor Teddy (the car’s name) got quite a shock at the size of the bag.

Teddy

The pic below doesn’t really do it justice. It took three of us to squeeze and force and wodge it into the car, whereupon it immediately reshaped itself and bits of unicurl started coming out of a small hole on one side. That stuff is nasty, man, and it has a life of its own. The pressure on the stuffing inside the bag forced more and more out through the hole; it was like being in a confined space with an alien form of very fast-growing fungus that attached itself in clumps to the nearest object. Which, at the time, was me.

It was unpleasant: I couldn’t see out of the rear window at all, and couldn’t listen to music because I didn’t want to be distracted. It’s dodgy enough, these days, on Cape Town’s highways with the way people drive … I couldn’t get it out of the car on my own, either, so had to wait for Peter to come today. It is over 2 metres in height, and the circumference is 3 metres.

stuffing

unicurl

a close-up of the foul stuff

Anyway, now I have now taped closed the holes (we managed to make a few more as we dragged it through the house to the back patio) and have been decanting it into smaller bags for easier storage. I also stuffed these:

red 1

three knitted/crochet cushions in various shades of red and purple. I made them years and years ago, and they fell out of a box the other day when I was looking for something else. I figured I could take them to the market (Made in the Cape, starts tomorrow for four days at Cavendish Square fyi), and use them to add some colour to my display, if nothing else.

 

I never said I was an artist…

…but I’ll have a bash at some freehand stuff when the need arises. The need just did, when one of my favourite customers phoned to ask me for a blue bird in flight on the corner of a pillow case for her granddaughter. For tomorrow. Yikes. I don’t have a screen with the right kind of bird to use, so it had to be a quick work-around.

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Print picture of bird. Cut out shape. Add bits of paper here and there where you don’t want the ink to go through, including the background, stick it all together with tape, have a practice run on a piece of waste fabric (actually, is there ever such a thing?) and give it a go! You get this:

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Then you play around with some different shades of blue and a teeny weeny #1 paintbrush…

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Okay, it’s true that this resembles no bird in the real world, but I think it’s fair to say that it most definitely is a bird, and it’s blue, and it’s on the wing.

Right, back to sewing. The October Made in the Cape artisan market opens again on Thursday, so I need to have everything ready by Wednesday night. I never learn, and I always panic…

in my face

The first time I was at the Made in the Cape artisan market in Cavendish, my stand was positioned in front of Wolf Jewellers. Not only could I not afford a single thing in the shop even if I sold my house, my body and my mother, I had this arrogant son-of-a-gun in my face for four days in a row admonishing me not to crack under pressure. Easy for you to say, dude.

crack

Last week’s one was worse. I had to stare at this woman for four days:

bikini

Surely they’d sell more stuff if the models looked like real-life humans, that the rest of us could actually identify with? Oh wait, stupid me – if I buy that bikini, I will look just like her.  I will be her, in fact – young, firm, tanned and sexy with a visible space between my taut thighs, on my way to join the arrogant pointy man from the jewellers for a dry martini at the exclusive bar that overlooks Sydney’s Bondi beach. And I won’t even have to pay for it myself. Which is just as well because the bikini alone wasn’t cheap, let alone the cost of the ticket to Australia….