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!