myBearpaw Blog by Jo Avery

Surviving the Country Living Fair

Yes I’ve survived! As I mentioned in my last post, not only did I have a stand at the Scottish Country Living Fair last weekend, but I also had to do a demo in the Craft Theatre every day!
The CL Fair was held at the SECC in Glasgow from Thursday to Sunday and I was giving a half hour demonstration on this little felt robin above. You can find the tutorial for him here.

Part of the deal was that we had to supply all the materials required so that 35 – 40 people a day could make a robin along with me. So that meant making up a lot of kits! My very supportive husband, Jonathan, stepped in to the breach and made up 172 kits. Thank you so much Jonathan! This is our dining room table a week or so a go when he was in full ‘outworkers’ mode.

I have done a lot of teaching over the last 18 months but nothing like this – 35 plus students in a very public place, with a camera zoomed in on my hands and a microphone attached to my head – I have to say I was pretty terrified! The demo was at noon each day and Jonathan was there on the first day to get some photos. This is the crowd waiting patiently for me to start – yikes!

Here I am waiting for Alan, the AV guy, to come and hook me up to the mic. Can you see the Robin on the screen? I am probably quite close to disappearing behind that desk and running away at this stage!

 But somehow I managed to get started and get through it.

 Here are the students busy with their robins.

And here are a couple of ladies at the end, looking very happy with their new robin pals!

Yes, every day my lovely students managed to make a robin each. Though on the first day there were a couple of square robins! So on subsequent days I managed to emphasise the crucial ‘square to triangle’ phase more and that didn’t happen again.
And after that initial shaky start (though apparently you couldn’t tell that I was nervous!), I got better and better every day and by Sunday I was absolutely loving it!
I loved it so much I want to do it again and have volunteered myself for next year.
I got some great feedback and the demo was so popular that poor Matthew, my lovely Country Living assistant, was constantly being harangued by people who couldn’t get a place!

At the end of the demo I showed them this cute little chicken fella and explained how to transform their robin for Easter.
And that’s the only new craft project on offer here this week as I have not had a moment to spare for makes!
It was lovely to meet so many old and new friends at the Fair, especially Jo and her very talented daughter Emily, who was exhibiting her landscape photos at the fair. Jo even helped me out during one of the demos, thanks Jo!


  1. Love the cute little birds! I always found it fun to talk in front of people like that. The first minute or so I'm nervous, but then after that it's just like talking to friends.

    How exciting!

  2. WhoooHOoooo! Look at you…you were on the telly…or at least your hands and voice!;) Hahaha! Congrats and pats on the back for Jonathan for helping out and taking photos so we could live vicariously through them!

    I think I am going to have to make some robins for wee presents!

  3. Hi Jo – I was one of your students on the first day – the lady who hade some missing eyes & thread in her kit!! Can I just say what a briliant workshop and I am very proud of my little robin who is waiting to go on the Christmas tree when it goes up. Well done and look forward to another "make and take next year"! I would recommend to anyone who didn't make the fair this year to go along next year.

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