If you’re into crafting and you weren’t at the Handmade Fair earlier this month, then where were you?!
As you’ll know from my previous post, this is the second time I have ventured to the Handmade Fair, but this time I was invited as press.
Me and my friend (and future sister-in-law) Sophia got there early with hopes of interviewing Kirstie before the fair opened to the public, sadly for us she was so busy running around getting things organised for the day that we didn’t get a chance to have a chat.
What’s it all about?
If you’ve never been before, the Handmade Fair consists of many marquees with stalls inside, selling crafting materials (think wool, fabric, scissors, findings etc), as well as small businesses who craft, create, design and are selling their handmade wares. There are also marquees which include skills workshops and ‘The Grand Make’ where you have to pre-register for your place; you can then go in and take part in some wonderful crafting activities such as cupcake decorating, tote bag transformation, origami trinket boxes and much more.
The Handmade Fair also has the added bonus of the super theatre, where you can sit down and enjoy 45 minute talks from experts in the trade, such as the wonderful Annie Sloan, Cressida Bell and Holly Tucker of ‘Not on the high street’ fame. Some super theatre sessions also include live demonstrations, this year Kirstie got involved in a live pottery lesson on stage and also some live cooking sessions.
There was also a marquee dedicated to food and drink with companies such as The chuckling cheese company, Rolla Granola, Grown-up Marshmallows, Pinkster Gin, and Norton barton artisan village selling their delicious treats. There were also plenty of places to buy food and drink around the site and many tables and chairs so you could have a sit down and talk to your fellow craft enthusiasts about the day over lunch.
My top picks from the weekend
There was so much to see at the fair, though there were certain companies that really stuck out for me which I just adored. Here they are and here’s why:
Azra was a fireball of energy and enthusiasm which really showed, from her warm and welcoming approach to her amazing talent for creating the most beautiful paper flowers. She worked in fashion previously for a long time and even trained at savile row; after having her child she wanted to do something from home which was also creative which is where Azra’s attic emerged. Flowers can be bespokely made for your home, weddings and special occasions. She is currently running a kickstarter campaign and there is only 14 days left! Go show her some love and get a treat in return.
I think The Workbench was one of my favourite innovative ideas of the whole fair. The concept is simple, personalised and exciting. You order a box from The Workbench which contains everything you need to make a casting for a ring. You can make this for yourself, or perhaps you want to make a ring for someone else? When you’ve finished making the casting of your ring, you send in back in the box provided and The Workbench then cast this in silver or gold and send back to you. Tada! You’ve just designed your own bespoke ring! They also do commissions, wedding bands, party packs, hen dos, signet ring making and more. Love it!
Claire of Fairymade paper art makes the most stunning papercut creations I think I’ve ever seen. She also works with ink and pen, and had some beautiful prints for sale. I really liked some of her pieces she did on wood, as well as her colourful and beautiful papercuttings. A very talented woman who most certainly needs to be acknowledged.
Gabrielle Vary – Luxury British Knitwear
Gabrielle had the most gorgeous knitwear with a delicious combination of colours. She’s pretty local to me in that she studied in Winchester, but now lives in Brighton designing her knitwear collections. She has a small team of talented knitters who work on vintage knitting machines to turn her beautiful designs into tangible pieces. I wanted everything and will most certainly add a piece to my Christmas wishlist!
Holly, the creator of Tillybob bunny has been making and sewing since she was very young. She made her first bunny for her daughter Tilly, which obviously her little girl adored as did friends and family, thus Tillybob bunny was born! What I loved about her handcrafted bunnies was the quality of the fabric, bright and exciting colours, and the high standard that they are made too. These would make a wonderful gift not just for children, but for adults too.
I was delighted to see a newbie to the scene in the form of D’Lish Nails. Based in London, this small business makes vegan, cruelty free nail varnish which is also free from 5 nasty chemicals (carcinogens) you may get in some of the regular high-street brands! The quality is high and their ethos is something that I can really get behind.
Wow. That’s all I can say about Sarah’s business. She makes the most beautiful pieces of art which you can have as prints, wall runners/ table runners, silk scarves, cushions etc. and she does this all by using flowers and a hammer. What Sarah does a lot of is bridal bouquet preservation. Post-wedding she will receive the brides bouquet and then hand stamp (using a hammer) the flowers onto high-quality fabric either in an abstract way or so it looks like a bouquet. She also does prints of flowers which are just as stunning. You can use her bespoke services or you can buy items already made from her online store.
Liss makes really fun and creative wearable art pieces which are bright, quirky and most certainly a conversation piece. They’re all made by hand by Liss and are layers of fabric, hand and machine stitching and inspired by nature. I could’ve bought a few pieces at the Handmade Fair. Another one to add to my Christmas list!
Shona started her small business at her kitchen table. She was fed-up of having to use so much tin foil and clingfilm for her three children’s packed lunches due to the environmental impact, that she wanted a more green solution to combat this which is where ‘re-wrap-it’ started. What I love about this product, as not only is it more green and sustainable, it also acts as a regeneration project. The regeneration side comes from Shona outsourcing the manufacture of the products to inmates from Kilmarnock prison. Therefore the inmates learn a new skill, which could help with future employability.
I’m a big fan of handmade soaps. Not only do they smell amazing, they also cut down on plastic waste which signs to my eco heart. Emma decided to make her on soap as she was sick and tired of the amount of unnecessary palm oil you would find in soaps on the high street. These are lovingly made with ingredients such as organic shea butter, avocado oil, rosehip oils and beautifully wrapped in coloured cloth. Sustainable and environmentally friendly.
More details about the Fair
The next Handmade Fair will be taking place in Warwickshire in May, 2018. You can find more details about that fair and other upcoming events on the Handmade Fair website: https://www.thehandmadefair.com/