Setting up a stall at a handmade fair is always enjoyable- making a miniature tabletop shop is one of my favourite things to do – but whilst laying out my work at the recent Selvedge Magazine Spring Fair it was tricky to focus on the job in hand. Each and every one of the surrounding stallholders were displaying beautifully made and very tempting wares and my eyes were constantly wandering. Blinkers would have helped!
Once set up and just before the doors opened to the public at 10, I finally allowed myself to visit the neighbouring stalls, meet the other makers and gaze at their work. A particular favourite was the silk and handcrocheted clothes and accessories by Minus Sun, especially her exquisite slippers, intricately embroidered in subtle Spring-like pastels. Even her price labels were hand-stitched.
The display of beautiful piles of vintage Eastern European linens and household textiles from Parna was a real draw for me. The mix of muted embroideries and striped hessians was seriously covetable and I would have loved to have transported the whole stall into my house.
|Image: Claudia Brookes|
Just behind me sat Becky Adams with her mixed media work that combines vintage print, postcards, fabrics and found objects to evoke post-war Britain. One of my favourite items in the whole of the fair was her wonderful vintage toy typewriter.
Linda Bloomfield had a neighbouring stall and my eyes were drawn to the blues and greens of the glazes on her strikingly simple utilityware. Linda and I had an excited discussion about the qualities of her stoneware versus the silver clay I use in my work. Linda, Becky and I shared tea and homemade flapjack and new friendships were made.
Perhaps my favourite aspect of attending fairs is this sense of community. Every stallholder is passionate about what they have made or curated and this was certainly true at the Selvedge Fair. It was fascinating to find out about their making processes and inspiration and discuss possible collaborations. This extends to visitors too- their very presence shows that they appreciate and buy handmade and meeting and chatting to customers adds a wonderful personal element to the experience that may not always accompany a commission or online sale.
|Claire Fletcher's nostalgic paintings and prints|
The fair had feel of an old-fashioned sale of work and was held in the beautiful Edwardian surroundings of St Augustine’s Church Hall in North London, near to the Selvedge Drygoods shop visited by Andrea from Lotus Events last November. The beamed ceiling space was filled with strings of vintage floral fabric pennants and the nostalgic atmosphere was enhanced by High Tea of Highgate who converted the wooden stage area into a tearoom. Their lavender cakes were truly sublime.
Selvedge is a bi-monthly print magazine focussed on fine textiles, fashion, fine art, interiors and travel. The Selvedge Fairs are organised by Felicity Shum (firstname.lastname@example.org.) and the next one will be held on Saturday 1st December 2012.
Emma is a jewellery-maker based in the East of England.