Forgive me people for I have been very lax in my updates; it's been 10 months since I last made contact. I will try harder in future...
I do not know if the phrase 'may you live in interesting times' was supposed to be a curse or a blessing. But we've had one or the other wished upon us, for these are exciting times indeed! One development is still in the pipeline, but I can bring you up to date on what else has been going on for us here on our beautiful island.
Steve and I have both briefly had other jobs, me in the local Co-op and him in the local brewery. When you work for yourself, there are sometimes quiet times, and then everything has a habit of happening at the same time - so we had to leave them both to concentrate on the engineering business once again. Steve's time in the Brewery was a very useful learning curve, as his own brewing efforts are doing very well. He has progressed from the kitchen stove and several demijohns, to three fast-fermenters and a Hopcat brewing machine.
We took some of Steve's beers to Belgium with us on our Christmas 2017 trip, and they were very well received by people we hugely respect, who also gave him some useful and constructive advice. This has been taken on board and some new experimental brews have grown out of that. He has also received confirmation that he has passed the test for a personal licence.
As of March this year, I am able to state that my soft toys are legally proven to be safe as toys, as we went through the ordeal that was CE Testing. It's quite traumatic to see your makes with heavy weights hung from their limbs and attachments, and then to have to attempt to set fire to them! Not only that, but they then have to be washed, and go through the whole process again :( All six of my range passed with flying colours however, and I am now proud to be able to display the CE logo on all of them. Any new additions to the range would have to go through the whole process again, and for the moment I don't think I'm up to the challenge, which is why I tend to turn down requests for new characters.
Steve has also been exhibiting his photographs and canvasses - as Scenes of Arran. He has an informal display at a local restaurant, and has confirmed exhibition space in the library for next May. We hope to have them on display in other places soon. He is offering free delivery and a 'try before you buy' service throughout the island - search for Scenes of Arran wix.com on the internet, or for Scenes of Arran on Facebook.
I organised my first major craft fair in July, as part of the Lochranza Gala. This came about because the Gala this year was Viking-themed and at an early meeting, yours truly opened her big mouth and asked if there was to be a craft fair - and promptly talked herself into organising it! All crafters involved were kind enough to say that I'd done a great job, and many have signed on for my next one.
I had of course already organised a small fair for last year's Santa's Sparkle Arran (which I mentioned in the last entry). This went well and gave me the confidence to organise the Gala fair. I'm organising the fair again for this year's Sparkle, and have potentially gathered enough interest to fill all tables (confirmation of spaces pending). We expect this year's event to be bigger and better than last year - especially since it will, for the first time, be held entirely inside - so it doesn't matter what the weather does!
Steve and I have applied for a market trader's licence for Brodick Hall, and our first craft fair there will be on 29th Sept, with all spaces already sold. A Christmas fair is to be announced very shortly, and if they both go well, we hope to confirm a series of them into 2019, and beyond.
Crafting on Arran seems to be going through something of a small transition. Some ventures are not continuing, some are moving focus, some may be moving entirely (a great opportunity for all), and there may also be one or two new additions in the coming months. We have several plans in the pipeline, which involve developing Katsock Crafts, Scenes of Arran, and Seagate Brewery even further. All other developments are either someone else's baby, or not far enough down the road to be able to announce yet, so watch this space - and I will try to make another update within a month or two (instead of 10!)