Feeling good on a Friday night as the weekend's round the corner, right?!!

It's Friday pm + I have another cause to cheer. Just went to Barfrestone, a tiny village near Dover where - with the generous nod from the local farmer - for the last 11 years in July, locals have turned a lovely old barn into an impressive art venue. Art lovers flock there from near + far and - by acquiring new possessions - enable the upkeep of the ancient church that's just around the corner.

What has that got to do with me?

Well, it's my 1st year of taking part + as I couldn't make it to the preview - all that wine and I wasn't there to drink it, sigh - I popped over this morning to see my work in situ + to take a few pictures.

My bowls were hanging beautifully - thanks to the care of the hanging team - and I snapped them complete with 4 telling red dots. They found their new owner last night at the preview. Shame I wasn't there to say hi.

Will console myself with a glass of fine wine ;)))


empty bowls

Let 16 potters, 3 chefs and a baker do their bit and what do you get? Folks of Tonbridge in Kent found out this week when their former fire station was transformed into a diner so soup cum bread prepared by those wizards with their ladles could be served in bowls handmade for the event.

It all happened as part of the international “Empty Bowls” project which involves artists and groups in communities to create and donate bowls, then serve a simple meal. In return for a donation, diners choose a bowl to use on the day and to keep as a reminder of the countless empty bowls in the world.

All money raised goes to hunger and poverty fighting organisations. In Tonbridge over £1600 were handed to a charity for the homeless.

I was delighted when asked to contribute bowls for the occasion. I threw some extra large ones. Hopefully their new owners got some extra big helpings.


bad girl on a nosy

What? Bad? Yes, I feel I have been for not writing a post for such a long time. Will do my best to make amends. Promised.

Nosy? Well, together with my illustrator daughter Zanna - zannaallenillustration.co.uk - I took myself from Kent to Yorkshire to visit this year's British Craft Trade Fair at Harrogate. As it's an event where designer/makers establish links with retailers, the public doesn't get a look-in. With the exception of folks like me thinking of showing their work in the future.

Zan + I spent the morning walking round the hall to get a feel of what exhibiting at such a show is all about + to see as many of the approx. 400 designers showing anything from jewellery, lighting, wall-art + prints, recycled products, furnishings + textiles, wood + metalwork to sculpture + - of course - ceramics.

Halfway through the day the organisers offered wannabe exhibitors an informal chat about planning for success at the show which proved most insightful.

Then it was back for more legwork in the exhibition hall to take in the quality of the exhibits - all of which are made in the UK. It was a real joy to see + chat to many of the makers. No wonder the event attracts 4-5K buyers over just 3 days.

I wished we could have taken photos. Many displays were truly ingenious, if not to say works of art in themselves. Take the stand of Newbie Naomi from Heaton Chapel, Cheshire. She embroiders textiles, some of which are then printed + sold as cards. Her dad had diligently sliced slits along the lengths of slender branches into which she inserted her cards for display. You had to look twice to see that the cards were of paper and not cloth. They were THAT good.


Then there was Claire from Manchester. She illustrates, paints and sews and creates the most beautiful refined lighting. Do check out her website. To me, this lampshade with its delicate image was simply stunning.


The centrepiece on Jenny McCall's stand was this incredible ram's scull. Originally from the Scottish Borders, Jenny now lives and works in Market Harborough where she creates illustrations and sculptures. The skull here is made from stoneware, its horns are cast out of bronze.


Meeting so many artists in just one day and seeing their wonderful work was a real privilege. The talents, commitment and sheer drive these makers all share are truly amazing. We left with much food for thought!


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