Monday, 10 December 2012

Next Stop Harrogate

After Alexandra Palace we both escaped to Islands in the sun for some much needed recuperation, Hazel to Sri Lanka and Felicity braved the Isle of Wight. Hazel had less then 30 hours between leaving Mumbai and arriving in Harrogate with a car full of stuff which was a bit of a culture and temperature shock for her!
We arrived in Harrogate excited to see another fabulous exhibition space for TOTU in the Royal Theatre in the middle of Harrogate's International Exhibition Centre. Setting up was a little nail-biting as there was a performance in the theatre on the Tuesday evening and so we couldn't start the build until Wednesday. Even then we had to wait for the seats to be removed and lurked anxiously unpacking stuff in the corridor until this was done and we could set to.  Fortunately we were given special dispensation to stay late and so were the last to leave the premises around 10pm. But the long hard day was worthwhile as we we were fully set up for 10am the following morning and had people arriving to visit us even before the Show officially opened.
 And so we settled in to a delightful 4 days of non-stop talking, meeting project contributors, friends, supporters as well as new visitors whilst everyone shared their personal stories and experiences. 
We'd decided that because we didn't have the time to capture all the lovely comments and feedback at the Ally Pally exhibition, at the Harrogate Show we introduced a Comments Book for anyone to write in if they wished.  We have now collected hundreds of lovely comments --'Inspirational', 'Fabulous' and 'Emotional' being frequently used words. One of our favourite comments was signed from 'Deirdre' who came straight back to visit us again the day after her first visit, having bought and read our 'Tales of the Unfinishable' book overnight. This is what she wrote....
' Wonderful Experience - so interesting and moving to see and read people's life stories through the work they contributed to the exhibition. Sounds were magical. I hope it continues to be shown nationwide. Thank you to everyone who allowed their 'unfinishable' projects to be shown.'

We were very excited to discover that the Beatles had performed in this very same Harrogate theatre, and Sarah Bernhardt too (not at the same time of course). We felt very honoured to be exhibiting in the same space, but this was perhaps always destined to be as one of the contributions to the TOTU project was an Unfinishable beetle! This was created by Genevieve Brading of Floss and Mischief for her range of cross-stitch insect kits, but unfortunately, didn't come up to her exacting standards and so has remained legless and now proudly adorns the Extravaganza.
The next stop  on the TOTU Tour is East Anglia. We will be exhibiting in the Forum in Norwich from 13th to 20th January. Whilst there we are planning to organise a Group Event where a few project participants can join us and talk about their Unfinishable contributions and tell their stories in their own words. We are hoping local radio or TV might be interested in this too.  If you are a project participant and would like to get involved in this, please email Hazel - or call her on 07973 224698. We'd love to see you there.

                                                         (Picture of Genevieve's Beetle)

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