As a new member of the Guild Society of Artists I was rather nervous on the long drive from Pembrokeshire to Stratford Upon Avon.  I was very unsure about what to expect: who would be there?, would they be friendly?, would I fit in? or, was I just getting way out of my comfort zone for a weekend trip to an ‘old boys club’ that I didn’t have the right tie for? 

I had even taken my friend Jane for ‘moral support’, but I needn’t have worried. Everyone was welcoming and approachable, and there was a tangible sense of camaraderie. Old friends and new all mucked in to get the exhibition hung and everything looking great ready to open to the public. 

On the afternoon of the opening there was an ‘Artist’s Forum’ which I found very interesting and informative. Artist’s of considerable combined experience generously shared their knowledge of the industry as we discussed the ‘business’ of being an artist. 

After a wave of the Fairy Godmother’s wand (a quick change, the donning of some heels, and a fresh layer of war paint), Jane and I descended glamorously from our hotel room to the ‘Grand Ballroom’.  

The Fine Art Trade Guild Awards and Masters Dinner, sounded (if I’m honest) like it might not be a huge barrel of laughs, however once again I needn’t have worried. The atmosphere was buzzing, the food delicious, the company varied and interesting and the formal proceedings didn’t really take themselves too seriously. It was actually great fun. 

When we left the following morning I felt that, having made the effort to attend the event, I had gained not only an insight into the ‘institution’ that is the Fine Art Trade Guild, but also gained valuable knowledge, useful contacts, and a whole new support network. At the end of the day it seemed that the ‘old boys club’ was actually not so scary after all!

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