3 hot takes from my market days
Although I've only been to two markets so far, I now present to you three (maybe not surprising) things I've learned:
1. You're gonna spend all your money!
Hot DAMN but if there isn't a whole bunch of cool stuff at these markets. I got a shell necklace, a preowned watch, a chicken ornament, CHOCOLATE, a fancy antique brooch, a crochet DUCK (hereby known as James Pond), and bracelets made by women in Herat.
Whatever money you bring, bring more. You're not gonna want to feel the regret of leaving that rooster-made-of-broken-china picture behind.
2. You'll meet the most interesting people
Seriously. I consider myself to be an introvert with a keen interest in people. I love hiding out in my cabin, but working on your own can make you loopy after a while, so it was a downright novelty to get to talk to people in the real world.
My table was right beside the master chocolatier behind Jo's Chocolate. My god, you've never tasted anything as DELICIOUS. I got the distinct feeling that I'd discovered this hidden treasure of a business that absolutely must become some kind of global sensation because his chocolates were that out of this world.
And that was just the business right beside mine!
Every single one of the people I got to speak to was as fascinating, inviting, passionate, and thrilled to share their creations, knowledge, and camaraderie. I left the market feeling like I'd gained so much more than a good day of sales - I gained a whole, thriving community.
3. You may just discover something about yourself
You know, I'm 28 years old. I'd pretty much accepted that I knew all there was to know about myself.
I'd built up this idea in my head that I'm a fairly quiet person, who can be overwhelmed in a crowd, and who needs to retreat from the world for a bit after being a social butterfly.
And maybe that was true for me at one point in time, but the most incredible thing about being human is that we are free to grow into new shapes, to become something we never thought was possible for us.
I loved every single second of being at the market, of helping others set up, of being helped in turn, of getting to interact with all the fascinating people. Maybe it's because I'm also a writer -- my life is lived in the small details. I hoard a hitching stride or a discerning smile like a magpie its silver treasures, tucking them away for future use. People watching is truly the writers drug of choice.
I also loved that I found myself unable to pass any item with a chicken on it -- my kryptonite, if you will. A year ago I'd probably have run the opposite direction if one of my fat chickens came a-flapping towards me. Now, you'll find me scooting round a market in search of anything vaguely chicken-esque to add to my collection.
I fell in love with all things handmade. Like the jewellery, the ones that have entire stories hidden up in them. The shell now around my neck, created in the depths of the Atlantic, lived in, vacated, washed ashore after time indeterminate, picked up and dusted off by someone who trawls the beach and cares about every grain of sand on it. I'm not just buying an item, I'm buying a piece of history and a passion and a whole world if I care to look close enough.
So, if you're an archaeologist of your own soul, chipping away at the rocky layers in search of the unknown, I highly recommend you delve into the world of craft markets.
Who knows what you just might find?