Thursday, 28 April 2011

every saturday

Every Saturday morning I have a stall at the Arts and Craft market above the Farmers' Market.
Like everything in Canterbury, the market has been affected by the earthquake.
Both markets were closed for 5 weeks after the earthquake but have since started up again.

To a new visitor the market looks the same; small but vibrant, but as a stallholder I notice many differences. Often the most far reaching changes are those that are not obvious to the naked eye. Changes running like undercurrents, invisible but deep.

I love making and selling photoblocks, mainly of Lyttelton.
It gives me a thrill to produce something from scratch and see the joy people get out of them.
Before the earthquake some of my best-selling blocks sported stencils by
an anonymous Lyttelton artist. People liked the cryptic quotations - "I am part of all that I have never met" - and fun portraits of Max Groucho and Sir Edmund Hillary.
Every week I ran out of stock, but since the earthquake I have not sold a single one of those.
When people come to the stall now they look at the photos to find safe and
unbroken images.
Photos that remind them of 'before.'
Photos that will start stories:
  • of old Lyttelton stone churches where they worshipped and got married.
  • of restaurants and bars like the Loons and Volcano where they shared meals with friends and celebrated.
  • of historical places like the Timeball and the Harbour Light which connect them to their heritage.
Post-quake bestsellers are also photos of the hearts and banners that our Lyttelton Stitching group  produced and gave away to strangers and friends, and with which we decorated the security fences surrounding the condemned buildings.
Buyers comment that those hearts represented the mood in Lyttelton in the weeks
after the quake - sitting with friends, laughing, crying, talking, looking after
each other, sharing food, coffees and hearts.
I especially remember one group coming to my stall - a Christchurch St John Ambulance officer
with two Australian collegues, who were returning to Australia the next day.
The Christchurch man offered to buy a photoblock for each of his Aussie friends as a momento and after
looking at photos of the Christchurch Cathedral, the harbour views and heritage buildings
all three choose heart photos.

What will my bestselling photos be in one year's time? I hope they will be
photos of new houses; houses to fill the gaps the gracious old buildings have
left. I hope those houses will be 'green' buildings, funky, safe and as
photogenic as the old buildings that have buckled under the earthquakes and
been finished by the diggers.
I will be back at my stall in the weeks to come to enjoy the easy
cameraderie with the other stall holders, the musical ambience provided by
Volcano Radio and the many talks with my customers.
But I will also always remember a young woman who sold beautiful handmade children's smocks and
She was in the CBD when the earthquake hit and died there.
Four days before the earthquake her stall was next to mine.
Now there is an empty square of grass.
May she rest in peace.

written by Bettina Evans.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this is a sad but beautiful and inspiring post! It is touching to read such a personal account of the quake and I think your community is lucky to have you and your hearts.