The Fairy Tale Fair
Monday, March 11, 2013
Christiane Berridge winged her way over to the edge of Brighton to admire the creative talents on show
When I was young there was an annual craft show at the local church hall. Offering such delights as knitted toilet roll covers, macramé plantpot holders and patchwork quilts, it was rather like a rainy summer day, never quite raising a smile. I am glad to say that local craft events have changed a great deal since then. If you find a craft show in a church hall you need no longer assume the worst.
The Fairy Tale Fair
I went along to the Fairy Tale Fair last Saturday and was completely enchanted. There were 35 stalls to visit, and not all visible at once as I made my way into the Methodist Church Hall venue (having been greeted by a stream of bubbles blowing in the March breeze). The atmosphere was very friendly, with no whiff of the corporate, and there was tea and cake to die for! With workshops, face painting, and a popular vintage tearoom in full swing, I sensed that I was in for a treat.
The Fairy Tale Fair is the brainchild of Clare Montgomery. Having been to many craft fairs and artists open houses across Brighton Claire decided that she wanted to create her own craft fair, but with the emphasis on being a community, child-friendly event, and where parking was possible. She established The Fairy Tale Fair in Patcham, Brighton, giving the community an event to look forward to and enjoy. Families can visit and park with ease and the out-of-city-centre venue reduced the fee for stall-holders. The first fair in August 2012 was a huge success as was the subsequent Christmas special. This March show was her third event.
There was a wide range of crafts techniques represented; with knitted, felted, beaded, buttoned, sewn, moulded, baked, and printed items proudly on display. With everything from jewellery, bags, toys and posters to hand-made soap and dolls' house miniatures. The range of talents was commendable and a fair percentage of stallholders were young - a burgeoning talent that should help to secure the future of arts and crafts in this country.
One of the joys of attending a fair like this is being able to speak to the designers and makers of the products. And everyone that I approached was very friendly and happy to talk about their work. These are the people who love to make, and frequently do so from back bedrooms, kitchen tables and garden sheds. And what they make is worth far more than its monetary value. These are the people that we should be supporting - making unique items at an affordable price.
And this really is the place to shop for presents. I loved the colorful bibs (for babies or your pet pooch), the knitted bunny egg cosies, and the colourful glass pendants…none were going to break my piggy bank! And Betty Wai Chun Shek's button jewellery is on my wish list! Be it birthday, Christmas, anniversary, wedding, Christening or just to show your love the gifts were here. For a really personalized present you could even get your nearest and dearest turned into fairies and captured in a jar - now that's not something that you can find on the High Street. Luckily many of the craftspeople also sold their work on Etsy or Folksy, which gives them a global marketplace.
I can't wait to go to the next Fairy Tale event because it really does offer that touch of magic.
For details contact
Claire Montgomery, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Christiane Berridge is Editor of The Dolls' House Magazine
Betty Wai Chun Shek, www.etsy.com/shop/bettyscreation Tel: 07857114183
Lucy Ashworth, Little Things I Make, www.littlethingsimake.blogspot.com
Chintzyteacup.etsy.com Tel: 07715797422
Amanda Howard, Maygreen Fairies, www.maygreen-fairies.co.uk Tel: 07799712067
Vera Jane, etsy.com/shop/verajanes
Deborah Ballinger, www.deborahballinger.co.uk Tel: 07929242625
Claudia Thomas, claudiamadethis.tumblr.com Tel: 07791333951
Amy Strike, www.amystrike.com
Handmade by Toby Oliver Dean, www.i-like-cats.co.uk
Karen Rao, www.karenrao.com Tel: 07776371248
Speckled Fawn Soaps, www.facebook.com/SpeckledFawnSoaps
Unbreakable Hearts, www.facebook.com/TheUnbreakableHearts, Tel: 07447918079
Amie Boswell, www.amieboswell.biz, Tel: 07717787046