It’s the middle of August and I’m looking forward to a very busy Autumn/Winter season of fairs and events including Affordable Art Fair Bristol (exhibiting with the Rostra Gallery), Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Manchester, Made by Hand Wales in Cardiff, Handmade at Kew (exhibiting with the Rostra Gallery) and MADE Brighton. However, its also a time to look back at the first part of the year.
I did far fewer shows this year – just two Affordable Art Fairs and Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey in Devon and West Dean Design and Craft Fair featuring MADE at West Dean College in West Sussex. There was so much to see, so many exciting makers producing wonderful work that the images below only touch on what was there. I have far more images of the Bovey show because the photos I took there were so much better and I didn’t want to include bad photos of good work that didn’t do them justice. So, below are a few photographs to give a flavour of the shows, both of which should be returning in 2016.
The Contemporary Craft Festival is so much more than a fair it’s a destination for everyone interested in creativity. Among the work on show was a selection of Associate Member makers of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen
In no particular order here are some other makers who showed their work at Bovey.
Bonner Leather Studio’s 45 case impressed me so much that I commissioned one to be made with a long strap so that I could use it as a shoulder bag to carry tools in. It arrived the other week and is great.
This detail of cushions comes from the luxury embroidered home accessories collection by Hilda Living. I had to include these not just because I loved the colours, but because I have two great aunts and two second cousins called Hilda!
These hand built porcelain ceramics by Justine Allison are so delicate and were beautifully arranged on the stand (as they were at West Dean fair too).
I love these ideas etched in glass from Vinegar and Brown Paper. At the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair a couple of years ago I bought the pint of milk bottle with the words ‘Very nearly an armful’ etched on it after comedian Tony Hancock’s famous Blood Donor sketch line.
These contemporary pieces by Charlotte Anne Duckworth under the name of The Silver Duck are perfectly formed and balanced using silver and holly wood. I own a pickle fork which I use every week for olives etc. It sits in my drawer with the other cutlery but it makes eating feel very special when I use it. Charlotte became a member of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen recently.
I first saw these wonderful paper creations by Suzanne Breakwell at MADE Brighton in 2014. I fell in love with them and had to take one home.
These wood and metal mechanical toys by Ian McKay are great. My husband bought me one of a ship sailing towards an iceberg many many years ago from the V&A shop. I purchased three chickens pecking at their feed tray for my mother-in-law a couple of years ago – she has chickens, but I decided she had enough and kept it for myself.
I loved the way these woollen sculptures by Benton’s Menagerie were mounted.
Ekta Kaul’s textiles are luxurious and intricate, but I also love her simple pieces like these necklaces.
Sue Pryke’s stand was opposite mine at the fair – I loved the simplicity of her designs.
I was sorely tempted by these original screen-printed figures by Mud Rabbit – next time around maybe?
West Dean Design and Craft Fair had a spectacular setting in the form of West Dean College in West Sussex. I’ve been there on numerous occasions now as a student and an exhibitor and it never fails to weave its charm.
Just a few makers I managed to get a photograph of at this fair which was a shame as there was so much I should have made a record of. I really liked Carys Davies new pieces using text as a form of pattern – its Welsh, but you don’t have to understand it to see its beauty.
Sarah Young is one of the organisers of the fair at West Dean, but is a very talented print maker.
Shared stands at fairs don’t always work but the functional and decorative thrown stoneware ceramics of Studio Sian Patterson and the stainless steel and precious contemporary jewellery of Heather McDermott was displayed in harmony together.
Finally, Tom Aylwin’s contour boxes were a wonderful idea and the perfect special gift.