The tenth Bloom festival kicked off on the 2nd of June in Dublin's beautiful Phoenix Park, and Lost Forest was there to take part in this wonderful event. The annual garden show is one of the largest events to take place in Ireland, and showcases the best this country has to offer in terms of horticulture, garden design, food and fashion.
The blissful setting (yes that's a miniature castle!) was perfect; and emphasised the summery atmosphere.
I was debuting my Lost Forest treasures in the Craft Village, which was set up by the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland. Many of the crowds had trouble finding us, but some managed to locate us eventually! Proper signage to the village was very much needed, especially at an event that was so large, with stalls literally around every corner. It was a pity, as I had many people contact me afterwards saying they came to the show particularly to see me, but never found me.
As this was my very first show, it presented many learning curves, and I discovered plenty more as the days went by....
My stand on the first day, pretty isn't it? I was happy with the display and overall 'feel' to the space. It was a tight corner, as I was sharing with another artist, but we managed to make it work. I used paper flowers to decorate the wall and attract passers-by. However, by the second day, I had to unfortunately take them down, as people were too distracted by their colourful festiveness, and wanted to purchase them!
Set-up every morning began at 8am; so as each day passed and I became quicker getting my stall and stock ready; I would venture over to the beautiful show gardens to wander around before the throngs of crowds filled up every inch of space. This stunning wildflower garden was my favourite; just like a field of fluffy candy floss.
The final arrangement of my stall; a lot more simplified and visually easier for the customer to browse around. Success at last!
I also added this colourful hydrangea and homemade sign to the front of my stall to attract people in; as sharing a stand can sometimes be confusing to the customer. This signage worked well, and I left some business cards next to it, so visitors could easily grab a card on exiting.
The Lost Forest ladies were also a big hit, and certainly added extra character and glamour to the whole display. My sister Rachel did a fantastic job in designing and creating them; and it was great to have her talent and vision at hand during the event.
I used floating shelves to create height to my display and catch most eye levels. I filled in any gaps with re-purposed vases brimming with heavenly scented Stock flowers and Gypsophila, which also added a punch of vibrant colour to the otherwise cool white-toned display.
Flowers here, there and everywhere!
This was a special edition set of a necklace and earrings preserving Queen Anne's lace (Cow Parsley) and gold leaf. It received plenty of admiring glances.
These giant test tubes were part of my display, and contained my collected finds from many forests, seashores and gardens. Once again, they had to be put away after the first day as I had numerous customers who wanted to buy them. Another lesson learned!
The copper display boxes were originally resting on the main display table, they too were getting the wrong kind of attention. Alternatively I placed the boxes on a shelf and stood them upright. Curiously enough this simple adjustment completely altered peoples perception, and they began diligently admiring the piece inside, without being distracted by the copper display box.
My miniature 'Puddle Plates' were a big crowd pleaser. I debuted them at Bloom, and it was fantastic to get such great feedback from the public. It was wonderful to witness the expression of delight and intrigue when visitors would tentatively touch the plates believing they were filled with water, only to smile and realise they were solid to the touch.
The surrounding show gardens also fed my imagination even further; and during the long days I would think back to them and conjure up new and exciting ideas for more 'Puddle Plates'.
My larger 'Puddle Plates' were mounted on a wall shelf to add a burst of colour to the wall space. It also kept them away from any 'sticky fingers' or over-excited children passing through.
My amazing Dad built these super functional stacked shelves to create various levels to my display. They were a fantastic addition and were a clear, neat and practical solution that I will be keeping for future markets.
The weather was perfect for the five days we were there; clear blue skies and beams of summery sun were a much appreciated addition to my stall. Pictured above is my signature guinea fowl feather and gold leaf bangle, taking advantage of the glorious weather and hanging out in my hydrangea pot.
Overall it was a wonderful five days. I met some lovely people, and thoroughly enjoyed being out of the studio in the sunshine, and sharing my creations with everyone. Hearing the positive feedback was also a huge boost to my creative confidence. It was a valuable learning experience for me, and if you're thinking of taking part in markets, I hope my experience and advice will help you out. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask below in the comments.