#UHLB17

Last weekend I took part in the two-day Upcycled Hour Live event (#UHLB17) at the Unitarian Church in Brighton and where better to stage such an event than a city that boasts the country’s only Green Party MP.

The Upcycled Hour, created by the inspirational Chris Billinghurst, started life as a weekly Twitter forum for professional upcyclers around the UK giving us a platform to exchange ideas, advice and information.

Since its inception, the group has steadily grown, going from strength to strength and this year’s Upcycled Hour Live on the 16 & 17th June aimed to build on the success of the 2016 maiden event.

Footfall was a little disappointing, particularly on the Friday evening. Although there were an estimated 600+ visitors on the Saturday, a venue just off Brighton’s famous Lanes has the potential to attract an even bigger crowd. It was the hottest Saturday of the year and I suspect this did not particularly work in our favour. Days like that are rare and I don’t blame people for heading to the pub, beach and green spaces rather than browsing the shops.

In addition, despite the organiser’s best efforts to direct shoppers through to the back room, those of us with stands there noticed a marked difference in visitor numbers with only one major sale in the back room all weekend. However, Upcycled Hour Live was not just about sales; it was an opportunity to raise the profession’s profile, network with our peers, encourage increased upcycling and discuss potential commissions.

It was great to finally put a face to the furniture – pieces that were so familiar through social media – and to share our experiences.

UHLB1710Siren Designs (in the backroom) produce amazing decoupage statement pieces that attracted a lot of interest and a group of us discussed the pros and cons of playing it safe with neutral colours versus letting our imagination go wild. Most of my work is commissioned pieces but I do sell at a monthly market and at my own quarterly artisan’s event, so my on-spec furniture usually falls into the neutral category. However, looking at the other stands at UHLB17 I realised that whilst my work is well executed and tasteful, it is not particularly vibrant. Watching visitor browsing habits as they entered the room, I could see that the majority made a beeline to the more colourful items and I have decided that I need to create a wow-factor piece that possibly won’t sell but will attract attention, hopefully causing punters to stop and check out the rest of my stock.

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Chalky Chic’s Upcycled Crates and Bottle Lamps

All things considered, I’m glad I took part in the Upcycled Hour Live and believe the experience has encouraged me to raise my game. Click on the following links for further information about both the Upcycled Hour and the Upcycled Hour Live.

 

The Upcycled Hour

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© Miskosvk

I recently joined a professional upcycling association The Upcycled Hour and one of the membership conditions is to take part in the weekly twitter forum #upcyclehour. I am a twitter newbie so I took the bull by the horns, set myself up with an account @chalkychic and at the allotted time, dived in. My first tweet announced that I was a first timer and didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Within seconds several helpful members instructed me to make sure I was on the live link and then just go with the flow…

What a stressful 60 minutes – I can only liken it to arriving in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and don’t understand the culture!

The conversation was in full flow but I didn’t understand it – tweets flew across my bow at a fast and furious pace, often responding to streams that I didn’t see the beginning of and couldn’t grasp the meaning. It was clear that many of the members were old hands at this lark and had already formed a virtual relationship with each other. I found myself wondering whether this was what the early stages of dementia was like – not being able to keep up with the conversation or recognising the participants? Blink and you missed something, leave the screen to make a cuppa and you were a goner.

Eventually a couple of other newbies made contact and we all confessed our mutual bewilderment. Eventually as the clock ticked on, I summoned up the confidence to contribute and tweeted about my experience of using Annie Sloan’s white wax for the first time. People responded, even asked me about it and whether the product was easy to use? Finally the hour was up and with a huge sigh of relief I bid my farewell and left the platform.

I guess that taking part will get easier with the passing weeks and now realise that I need to be prepared and take something to the forum each week if I want to make the most of the experience. Only time will tell whether Twitter becomes my friend, but like every relationship you only get back what you put in!