I recently took part in the wonderful art and design show Craft Festival, based in the tiny town of Bovey Tracey in Devon. It was my first time exhibiting at the festival, and I absolutely loved the experience. I wanted to share a little bit of what it takes to prepare for a show of this scale, my experience of exhibiting at Craft Festival, and some of my favourite work that I got the chance to see at the show.
Preparations for a large craft shows start months before they actually takes place, and they go far beyond just making the work on show. It’s a juggling act of creating new collections and restocking old favourites, implementing a thorough marketing plan across all platforms, producing promotional materials and sorting out and ordering packaging, planning my display, arranging transport and accommodation, . It was the furthest I've ever travelled for a show, going from Central Scotland all the way down to the south of Englad. The train journey took an incredible 9 hours, but thankfully it's my favourite mode of transport and I love listening to podcasts and napping on trains. And the effort was definitely worth it for the lovely opportunity to see a tiny slice of Devon, and to exhibit at such a renowned, established show.
The first part of arriving at a show is the set up of the stand, including the table and walls. I have to keep my display quite minimal as everything has to fit in one suitcase, and I have to carry it onto the train! I always go for neutral, monochrome backgrounds that let my colourful and complex jewellery stand out. My displays are made out of repurposed wood offcuts painted in different shades of grey, in varying shapes, sizes and heights.
The private view took place on Thursday evening, and it was a wonderful event for invited guests and industry professionals, complete with complimentary pink gin. A great start to the festival was followed by three fabulous busy days. The weather kept changing from beautiful and sunny to absolutely horrific heavy rain, but it did not put off the visitors! I loved the atmosphere at the show, the calibre of the exhibitors was just fantastic, and there was such a variety of work on display as well as fun and engaging events and workshops taking place throughout the long weekend.
We were lucky to get an opportunity to see all the work on show at the Exhibitor Social on Saturday, and it was certainly hard to pick from over 200 talented exhibitors. Here are 4 of my absolute favourites:
I had the pleasure of my stand being across from Jayne's at the Festival, and she is just as lovely as she is talented! Her glass and wooden pieces are absolutely gorgeous, and she cleverly set up her stand to look like a stylish living room space so you could easily imagine one of her artworks in your own home. I would love to own one of her patterned organic wooden pieces one day.
Jayne also gave one of my favourite card pendants I’ve ever made a new home, I am so happy this stunning piece has such a fantastic owner. Check out her Instagram to see more of her lovely work.
I have loved Bronwen’s work for a long time, her lovely jewellery is made from recycled plastic, often from pieces of debris that she finds and collects on beaches. The organically shaped works have the most beautifully smooth texture and subtle colours with pops of neon. I love the process behind her work - "mimicking the effects of the sea, I work the surfaces till they feel natural in the hand, like a treasured pebble"
Vinegar and Brown Paper
My favourite stand set-up at Craft Festival was definitely by Andy from Vinegar and Brown Paper, there was so much work and thought put into every part of the display. The wallpaper, furniture and vintage pieces complimented the clever glass works with etched words and phrases beautifully. I particularly love the apothecary jars and laboratory glass, they are stunning pieces of craft and full of wit. Another maker on my wish list, have a little browse of Andy's work on his website and socials.
Katrin Moye Ceramics
I love Katrin’s highly decorative work, it is evocative of some of the traditional ceramics I remember from my childhood in Slovakia. Her stand set up of shelves with small collections of pieces also prompted nostalgia, as my granddad is quite the collector of functional and decorative objects. Her shelving and wall display pieces really reminded me of the nooks in his house full of interesting craft. I am so happy to have discovered her beautiful wares at the show - I particularly enjoyed the blue and white patterned pieces shown in the close up photographs.