Unaccustomed as I am….. Yes, public speaking has not been my thing before so it felt pretty amazing to find myself on a stage in the Great Hall at Alexandra Palace, giving a talk about Papershades to an audience of 100 or so discerning ladies from the Women’s Institute. This was the annual WI Fair and it’s a terrific event – there’s a wide range of talks and workshops and hundreds of stands selling clothes, toys, crafts, artworks, food and drink from enterprising entrepreneurs. It last four days; there’s Friday and Saturday to go.
And what an experience! Of course it’s nerve wracking but I had a very strong feeling that the audience was on my side. They laughed at my little jokes, responded to my passionate story telling with encouraging nods of the head and pleasant smiles. I was given the lunchtime slot which turned out to be rather special – time for a sit down and a sandwich and, well, let’s see what this paper lampshade business is all about.
I presented my range of six floral paper lampshades and then, with a metaphorical waft of the hand and imagined fade/dissolve I took my audience back in time to the moment when my passion for art took hold and the need to make collage found form. It’s quite cathartic telling a life story in public and I probably sounded pretty impassioned when talking about my art school experience and the various stages of creative development which have culminated in the creation of Papershades.
So I thank the Women’s Institute for inviting me and feel very honoured that my first experience of speaking about my life and art was delivered to such a sympathetic and delightful audience.