I have just returned after participating in the week-long Art and Wine festival in the medieval village of Chatillon en Diois, in the Drôme region of France.
I was a really good experience, and a very full and busy week. 80 participating artists, exhibiting in 52 'galleries'. The galleries are the ground floors / basements of houses that are graciously lent by the village inhabitants. Along with the wide variety of art exhibitions (painters, sculptors, photographers and artisans), they had also organised various activities and performances durin the week.
I was sharing my gallery with a water-colour artist specialised in on-site paintings of mountain scenes.
Luckily, I was able to do demonstrations and work on a few small batiks during the festival.. the week would have seemed a little too long otherwise; during summer holidays, people don't usually do 'cultural' activities in the mornings :) ; and the act of sitting around 'waiting' is not something I'm comfortable doing.
Generally afternoons and evenings were much busier; and we had a couple of nocturnal days - open until 11:30pm.
Most people don't know of what batik is, or if they do, in France atleast, they know it as a clothing fabric from Africa. A few people who have travelled to Indonesia have visited the batik artisans there. But almost everyones main reaction was 'we didn't know this kind of work was possible with batik'.
Ofcourse, I also spent a lot of time explaining what batik was.. over time I settled on a basic explanation, which would then be detailed more for those people who showed more curiosity. It helped that I had made the explanatory board, with the samples.. I realise that people like reading.
So, 2 new experiences for me - I had to talk; and I had to work under the scrutiny of many eyes.
I also managed to sell several batiks, including 3 of the demonstration ones made while I was there. So, that in itself is also gratifying. As is the fact that I won second place in the competition for the partipating artists. See the next post!
Overall - an event I will happily participate in next year, if things work out!