It’s Friday morning and I’m up earlier than I have been for a long time. I’m stretching out the aches and sluggishness of my chemo ravaged body, yet I feel optimistic about the day ahead as I pack my healthy lunch. Today I will be selling my Bear Oracles at the first Made In Assynt market of the season, and this marks a turning point for me. This week is the first week of my life post chemo and I’m taking small steps to returning to work. So my wares are packed into the car and the bright morning sun is blinding as I drive to the village hall. When I walk through the door I feel the old familiarity of the routine of setting up, seeing friends I haven’t seen all winter, and the mingled smell of coffee and soup wafting from the kitchen.
I’m pleased with the way my stall looks and the pyrography on the Oracles has got much neater. I light my candle and ask Mama Bear for an abundant day. I have new stall neighbours to my right, a woman from Clashnessie who makes jewellery from old buttons and beads, and her partner’s paintings. To my left is a couple who sell prints and paintings of the Highlands. Opposite me is a favourite at the market, Jonny the horn man who makes all manner of wonderful things from deer antlers and sheep horns.
At 10 o’clock the doors open and the occasional member of the public wanders in. There’s a gentle hum of chatter amongst the stallholders who admire each other’s new creations. I overhear a vibrant sharing of ideas and creative techniques interspersed with local gossip and predictions of this year’s tourist season will unfold.
As the day ticks by the burble of conversation rises and falls with the changing flow of dreamy wanderers. There are betrainered tourists, backpack humped hikers, sniffy dogs and rushing locals.
Busy clatter comes from the kitchen where volunteers sell homemade cakes and lunches to raise funds for our local community woodland, the Culag Woods.
I love watching the customers browse the stalls, touching homespun textiles with a sigh of delight. Looking longingly at paintings of mountains they have trecked. Taking tantalising tastes of local produce. Many skirt my stall with a wary glance. It takes some nerve to go public with my beliefs in such a small community. Some stop and ponder or ask questions quietly then move on; these moments of connection are precious. I feel a flurry of excitement when a family stops and thoughtfully chooses and buys a pendant as a gift for their son who couldn’t holiday with them. It’s a joy knowing a little of where my work is going. It’s late in the afternoon and my only sale but I’m good with that because this has been all about emerging from my cave. Steve who organises Made In Assynt markets ( http://www.madeinassynt.co.uk/ ) comes to collect the stall fee and I quiz him for the background . It began about 10 years ago run by a group of locals who shared the workload of running it once a month. It was successful for a while then faded as the group members became busy with other things so Steve took over and now runs it as his own little business. It’s very successful with more frequent markets and 22 stall holders and a waiting list. There is a big Christmas market each November with up to 30 stall holders. Different local charities and community groups take it in turns to run the cafe.
My body is exhausted and pain filled as I pack up, and I realise there is still quite a way to go before I am fully recovered but my spirits and creativity have been fed by today.
My thoughts turn to the future, I have ideas of other ways to use the Oracles in new magical and altar items, I would like to be selling them further afield and in a wider variety of shops and markets. Do you have a shop or market in your area which would be suitable? I’m looking for magical/ spiritual/holistic type markets and shops as well as traditional craft markets like this one. I’d love to hear from you if you have any ideas for place I could sell, starting Samhain 2019 and beyond.......
Big Bear Blessings