Running workshops at this year’s Handmade Fair was an amazing, exhausting, inspiring experience. On day one I barely left the VIP tent to explore beyond buying delicious curry from The Peckish Peacock! However across the weekend I managed to fit in a few workshops, meet up with some awesome bloggers and makers, and trawl the shopping tents drooling over beautiful handmade goods, crafty kits and gorgeous materials, and even pick up a prosecco here and there. Bliss.
My gal pal Justine had offered herself up as my Crafternoon Assistant for the weekend – we have a lot of geeky craft chats when all our other friends have got bored/wandered off during our extensive discussions on papercut and knitting ventures. Both of us love trying out new skills and we were really keen to make sure we picked up something new this year.
On Saturday we took part in Poppy Chancellor’s Wedding Cake Topper workshop – we had taken part in her workshops at last year’s fair too and it was perfect for the end of a long long day. I love papercut and find it completely absorbing and relaxing. We each made a pretty flag that said ‘Love’ and Poppy gave us some great ideas about using similar designs to decorate plant pots and vases.
On Sunday we ventured to the wedding fascinator workshops where we learnt to make birdcage veils! I loved this workshop as I had a birdcage veil for my own wedding and I really enjoyed finding out how it had been put together. It was quite hard going – with a lot of repetitive sewing to get through in the time and we barely got onto decorating our fascinators, other than a tiny ribbon rose I whipped up in the last minute. BUT we both left with bases that we can add to later and lots of ideas for future makes.
I managed to meet up with some lovely crafters across the weekend including Fizzi Jayne and Claire from Claireabelle Makes. It was so lovely to meet them both as we’ve chatted loads online. I also managed to drag (ahem – drag may be an understatement!) Jayne into the prosecco van PHOTOBOOTH for some silly snaps too!
We didn’t make it into the shopping village until the final day. probably for the best as I do have a tendency to get over-excited and try and buy the world in these situations! I spotted a completely gorgeous rag rug wreath about 5 minutes in and had to buy it! Ragged Life is a brand I’ve been aware of and admired from afar but it’s really only when you see the work up close and personal that you realise how much detail and design has gone into each piece. Justine bought a cushion kit so I can’t wait to pick her brain on how she finds the process.
The stalls are always so beautiful to gaze at – both in contents and design but the stall for Art Sea Craft Sea stuck out a mile for me! It was so eyecatching and the lovely Stacey who creates the work was also rocking an awesome vintage dress (my favourite!). Her work is amazing – I’m hoping to interview her soon for a more in depth look – but in short she creates embroidered animal portraits and artworks where the detail is so fine that they could be paintings. They are truly stunning and each piece takes a month – now that’s luxury handmade!
The fantastic Jessali Handmade was another stall to die for with stunning embroidered soft furnishings INCLUDING what I think must have been the most instagrammed pic of the weekend – a cushion with the full Handmade Fair logo!
On my wishlist for Christmas now is anything from Silverdashery (or ideally their beautiful silver knitting ball and needles necklace). Stunning contemporary takes on traditional crafts cast in precious metals – what’s not to love! .
My one that got away was wooden block stamps from the bazaar. Why oh why I didn’t buy a few I don’t know – sometimes the sheer volume of amazing makers in the shopping tents can be overwhelming and you either buy everything, or nothing but with a head full of dreams!
Wandering around the fair there were so many photogenic spaces and setups (an instagrammers dream!)- it was really eyecatching, colourful and full of detail . I loved the Annie Sloan paintpot tower and their gorgeous furniture installation.
All in all the weekend was so much with so so much to see and do! It’s a fantastic event trying new skills, buying up supplies for your favourite crafting hobbies, and basically geeking out on craft chat! We ate, drank and made merry and I’m really excited to see how next year’s Handmade fair will build on it’s success!