After an Autumn-Winter hiatus, I’m looking forward to catching you up on some makes from what I’ve started to term ‘My Crafty Hibernation’.
I’m slowly finding out that my making has a very seasonal quality – furniture restoration is firmly rooted in warm summer’s eves between sips of a G&T, while knitting snuggled up in front of movie with a hot chocolate is my activity of choice for the winter. No surprises there, really. So, while I’ve only been making at a snail’s pace for the last 3 months, I have been making.
First, I thought I’d share with you the pinnacle of my 2015 making – The Handmade Fair, and boy, what a perfect way to top off a busy Spring/Summer and get the creative juices flowing.
Doors opened at 9.30am, and I ambled along for about 10.30ish (it was a Sunday, after all). I’m incredibly lucky to live just a 10 minute bus ride away from The Green at Hampton Court Palace, which is where The Handmade Fair were camped out for three days from 18 – 20 September 2015, so there was no major planning involved transport-wise.
On arrival, I ventured into the West shopping village. In both of the main shopping areas there’s a lovely balance between handmade items (some of which made perfect Christmas presents for friends and family, and the odd present for moi!) and materials and equipment for both the dedicated maker and those looking to try a new craft.
If you’ve ever visited one of the UK’s pop up ‘German’ Christmas markets, the Handmade Fair is like this, but on acid. At the latter, there is no room for twee, mass-produced items with repetition every three stalls. The people selling the goods are typically the artisan who has crafted them, and there is so much originality in their offerings.
At 11am, I popped along to a talk by Sew Over It’s Lisa Comfort. Over the course of 45 mins, Lisa and our host, Kirstie Allsopp whopped out their sewing machines and whipped up a dress from Lisa’s latest book Sew Over It Vintage. Thoroughly entertaining, and some very helpful tips and tricks shared with the audience.
As an aside, have you seen Sew Over It’s Anderson blouse pattern. Eeeeeeeeeep! I have the most enormous girl crush on Gillian Anderson, the muse for this pattern, and seriously lusted after her silk blouse collection in the TV show, The Fall. So much so, that when I started a new job at the beginning of last year, I scoured the shops for such an item. I had no joy finding one in RTW, but this new pattern means I can now churn them out at home. A recent trip to Goldhawk Road means I now have just the fabric, a colourful rayon with a gorgeous silky feel for a tiny, tiny price – about a fiver, if I remember right.
The format of The Handmade Fair suits me to a tee – a mix of shopping, nommy food, fascinating talks and some hands-on making. I joined two skills workshops – making a Ric Rac rose (handy for sprucing up your gift wrap) and making and decorating a lampshade with Ann Tutt and ANNIE SLOAN(!!!), introduced by the Queen of Chalk Paint herself.
And Annie wasn’t the only person who had me starstruck. I was super-excited to bump into Tilly Walnes of Tilly and the Buttons, who kindly posed for this photo with me *swoon*. She’s so petite, I was tempted to just slip her into my pocket #GirlCrush.
I’ve followed Tilly’s story from her Sewing Bee days, and sewing aside (although I must admit to making a Coco, or two), I’ve really enjoyed watching her grow her business. I’m massively in awe of entrepreneurs, and all those who are brave enough to walk the path less travelled. What an inspiration!
All in all, I wiled away seven blissful hours in making heaven, and I hope to do it all again next year.