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, my time there, and some of my favourite work that I got the chance to see.
Preparations for a show of this size start months before it actually takes place, and they go far beyond just making the work on show (although that is the most important part!). It’s a juggling act of making, marketing, packaging, display planning, sorting out transport and accommodation, and general admin. It was the longest I’ve ever travelled for a show - 9 whole hours on the train - but it was lovely to have an opportunity to see a tiny slice of Devon, and the experience was certainly worth it.
The first part of arriving at a show is the set up – I have to keep my display quite minimal as everything has to fit in one suitcase. I always go for neutral, monochrome backgrounds that let the complex jewellery stand out. My displays are made out of repurposed wood offcuts that I painted in different shades of grey, in different shapes, sizes and heights.
We had the private view for invited guests and industry professionals on Thursday evening, with a lovely complimentary pink gin, followed by three fabulous and 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 festival, the calibre of the exhibitors was just fantastic, and there was such a variety of work and events on.
We were lucky to get an opportunity to see all the work on show at the Exhibitor Social on Saturday, it was certainly hard to pick from over 200 talented exhibitors, but here are 4 of my favourites:
I had the pleasure of my stand being across from Jayne at the Festival, 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 the 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 found washed up 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, and 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 fulll of wit. Another maker on my wish list!
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 collections of pieces also prompted nostalgia, as my granddad is quite the collector of functional and decorative objects and 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!