My name is Gail and I run Hampshire Pop Up Studios. This is me with my daughter – I’m the wrinklier one on the right!
Someone said to me a little while ago, “Gail, you run Hampshire Pop Up Studios right? So how come there is absolutely nothing about you on the website or on your social media? Nothing. Anywhere.” I thought “Who’d want to know about me? Surely, it’s the wonderful artists and makers we are promoting that is of interest?” But I guess they were right. Each small business needs a “face” a “personality” so to speak. So I thought I’d rectify that and let you know a little bit about me. I won’t bore you with my life story – I’ll keep it brief!
“Craft Fair” can sometimes be a dirty word (or two words)! It can evoke scenes of a dusty church hall, with chintzy table covers and to be honest, people selling bought in goods under the banner of “handmade”. At the other end, there are many excellent craft fairs and shows – take Handmade In Britain and Craft In Focus as examples – that help promote the work of our very talented UK artisans and do it brilliantly well. These shows are a wonderful celebration of our home grown creatives but can be price prohibitive for new artists trying to make a name for themselves.
My aim with Hampshire Pop Up Studios is to create a good quality art and craft fair that showcases the work of talented local artists and makers and does it in an accessible way – both for exhibitors and visitors alike. All our exhibitors are skilled and passionate about their craft and Hampshire Pop Up’s over riding aim is to give these artists a platform to sell their work. Members of the public can chat to and buy directly from the maker, therefore promoting the makers “brand” and enabling the customer to gain a better understanding of their process. At a Hampshire Pop Up event, visitors can discover unique, quality products that have been expertly crafted – products they won’t find on the High Street and across a broad price range. Our events feature everything from original art to textiles and gifts. To compliment the quality of the maker’s work, I’m also passionate about making the Pop Up’s look and feel great – relaxed, friendly and stylish. And why not? Who doesn’t like to shop in a feel good environment?
So how did I get to here? Well, I’ve worn many hats throughout my life – I’ve worked in the corporate sector, in events and for small local businesses. I took a break to have children and rediscovered my creative side. I’d always been creative from childhood – I was musical and really enjoyed making of any sorts. Back in 2006 I started my own bridal accessories business Glass Oyster and sold to shops across the UK, at shows and through Not On The High Street.
Styled Kerrie Mitchell Blue Cloud Photography Glass Oyster Dresses: Story of My Dress
After 12 years I decided it was time for a change and I took a break to reassess. Although I absolutely loved my time in the bridal industry, my passion has always been for crafts in particular. So when this opportunity came along to try and create a great art and craft event, I knew I just had to go for it.
And so, here I am. Hampshire Pop Up’s first event was in March 2018 – a very small affair with only five exhibitors. We had such a positive response that I’ve been building it bit by bit ever since. We are now on our 5th event (Dec 7th and 8th) and our following and reputation is growing steadily.
It’s still a new venture and we are by no means where I want to be yet. I’m learning all the time – making mistakes – I guess that’s part of the process. There is still a lot of work to be done but I’m striving each day to make it better and better. And as a bonus, I’ve also made lots of lovely new friends – what a wonderfully positive and supportive bunch the arts and crafts community are!
Outside of Hampshire Pop Up Studios, I’m a Mum of two kids, wife to Chris and personal tummy scratcher to our dog Missie! We are so lucky to live in the beautiful Meon Valley within the South Downs National Park.
So, now you know a little bit more about me. If you want to leave a comment and tell me a bit about you, please drop me a note below. And I hope you will continue to follow me on this journey to celebrate art, craft and it’s makers – and to take simple pleasure in beautiful products, skillfully made.
p.s. Don’t forget our next Crafts @ Christmas event is happening on the 7th and 8th December in Stockbridge. Loads of quality, unique art and crafts from talented local makers. A great excuse for a spot of Christmas shopping! Bring your friends for a great day out. Entrance is free!