I'm really grateful to everyone who so very generously took the trouble to share their own experiences of 'craft fairs' and to help me clarify my thoughts about the meaning of (crafting) life! You're all so kind and it was genuinely helpful.
As with most of you, 'making stuff' has always been a part of my life. One of my earliest memories (maybe I was about 5) is of constructing little gardens in the mole-hills on the village football pitch. Then I'm sure I got badges in the Brownies for knitting or somesuch thing! My mum showed me how to embroider and I've still got a tablecloth I decorated with satin-stiched flowers when I was about 10 - goodness that would certainly qualify as 'vintage' now.
And over the years I have dabbled in all sorts, loving to make things for my home and for presents. Kind friends and relations encouraged me to make-and-sell, which I did in a very small way. When I gave up my proper job I had more time to indulge my creative side and opening an Etsy shop seemed to be an easy way to answer the often-posed question, "Have you got a website?". The shop wasn't ever meant to be the main focus of my crafting, just somewhere to refer people to see the kinds of things I made. The selling thing was a handy way of financing my new-found love of felting and bought me the freedom to 'play'. But I can see now, with your help, that the cart is now before the horse, as the old saying goes. I seem to be making simply to keep my shop 'shelves' filled and to try and make things that will appeal to people at these 'craft' fairs.
So the New Year will bring a different approach. I hope to take part in one or two strictly handmade fairs next year, in the expectation that visitors will have been attracted by that title and will have a realistic vision of what will be on show. And I want to spend more time experimenting with felt, perhaps creating natural dyes and doing more three-dimensional work and nuno felting.
So I'm sorry this is such a droney post, but I wanted to say a big thank you and demonstrate that I had used your kind input to help me make up my mind where I go from here.
The next few days will be a bit of a write-off on the crafting front, because, (as you do in the cold depths of winter) we're having a new central-heating boiler installed and my workroom is now scattered over several spare bedrooms while the floorboards are up, the water is turned off, every outside door is wide open and it's perishing! Oh dear, I don't do cold ....