The Castle Ashby craft fair in the walled garden last weekend was brilliant, and I don’t think I could have faulted anything about the event. A huge thank you to the 2 Ann’s of Pennine Fairs for putting on such an excellent show.
The venue was by far one of the best craft fairs I have ever been to, with 4 huge marquees joined together, forming one vast space so that we were all in the same ‘room’, and nobody had a bad spot. I took this photograph below on the Sunday morning just before the show opened.
As always, the work for sale was top quality, genuine handmade crafts. There were so many things I wanted to buy for myself! There were also stalls outside including plants, garden sculptures, wrought ironwork, hand built water features and lots more.
There were some stunning features to the surrounding area of Castle Ashby House, such as these old bee hives which were built many years ago to make honey for the people living in the house. I liked the shadows from the bee hive that were cast on the lawn.
The gardens were also breath taking, and it was a lovely gesture for visitors to be able to make use of the stunning views as well as buy some handmade products. My next post will be full of photos from the Castle Ashby Gardens that me & Dave took over the weekend, so be sure to look out for that!
I was very pleased with the sales I made over the weekend, despite the quiet spell on Sunday afternoon due to the continuous sport being shown on TV. I sold a range of different products, including a few large pieces, so I’m busy with lots more stock to make now! I sold this ‘Lily Pond Platter’ below, which is one of my newest pieces. I was pleased to make the sale of course, but there was also a part of me that felt a little bit sad to part with it. I often get this feeling, especially because my items are all unique one-offs, but I guess I’ll just have to make more similar.
Here’s a peek at what you missed if you couldn’t make it this time…
Maria of Creative Bumble Bee below is indeed a very creative lady. Her stall is always so bright and colourful, you just can’t walk by without letting your eyes get stuck in to her wonderful felt creations. Maria is currently busy preparing for an exhibition, good luck Maria!
Handmade walking sticks;
Here’s another one of my favourite stalls below, Karen of Angelic Folk, designer and maker of the most gorgeous children’s clothing and accessories. But not just for children as I found out at the weekend, because Karen is going to make me a top using the same design as one of her dress designs for little girls. It’s the brown, red & blue floral design at the right edge of this photo hanging on the rail, with red and white polka dot fabric at the top and bottom. I fell in love with it and wished I had a little girl to dress in it! But for now, I think I’ll just stick to wearing it myself. Karen is currently working on some big orders for customers on Etsy, so my top should follow soon. Thanks Karen, I’m so excited to see it!
It was great to catch up with old friends and meet new faces from the UK Crafts Forum. I think it must have been the record for so many forum members to be at the same craft fair. We decided to take a group photo of us all on the Sunday morning before the show opened, and here we are!
Claire of Lady Luck Jewellery, Just Soaps, Claire of Created and Felted, Ann of Pennine Fairs, Kate of Cuckoo’s Nest Pottery, Maria of Creative Bumble Bee, Lisa of Dreamstar, Charlotte Hupfield Ceramics (me!). Standing at the front: Mr & Mrs TopParker of The Worcester Pen Co. On the ground: CJ of Curious Cat Creative & Karen of Angelic Folk.
This weekend you will find me and a large selection of my work at a craft fair in the stunning walled garden of Castle Ashby House, Northamptonshire (26th-27th June). This is a top quality event with Designer/Makers from all over the country exhibiting and selling their work. It is also a unique opportunity to buy handmade products that are not available in High Street shops, and to chat to the original makers of the products.
The weather is supposed to stay hot and sunny so fingers crossed for that, and plenty of customers too! Visitors are welcome to wander the gardens and enjoy quality refreshments, as well as making full use of the craft fair and craft demonstrations.
My online shops will be on holiday mode from 9:00pm tonight, so be sure to make any special purchases before then as I am hoping to re-open my shops with hardly any stock left on Monday!
What I wanted to show you are these tiny little clay bowls I made on Sunday whilst enjoying the sunshine. They have been made using the ‘pinch pot’ technique which can be found here. I’ve glazed them in a shiny transparent glaze, and will be melting different coloured glass in them from my new glass stash, to see what sorts of colours and effects they create.
No matter what they turn out like, I think they will definitely look cute and they would be perfect for keeping little bits & pieces in such as pins and beads, or they could just be admired as they are
If I’m happy with the results from the melted glass, I’ll be using the new bright colours on some larger scale work. I’ll show you the results once these bowls are fired, and might put some in my shops if anyone is interested.
Visit Kirsty’s to see more creative spaces.
Here are some recent bowls with melted glass in the bases. Up to now I’ve only ever really used blue, green, brown and clear glass as its all I’ve been able to get hold of, but with my new stash of every coloured glass you can imagine, I’m going to be having so much fun experimenting with new colours!
Natural Flower Pod – These have melted glass inside, it’s a nice surprise when you see it, a bit like hidden treasure.
‘A Walk Along The Beach‘ Bowl
The glass is very attractive in different lights. At craft fairs people are always touching the glass in the bowls because it looks wet, and they don’t expect it to feel so smooth. It’s funny watching their reactions!
My bowls are selling well online at the moment. I’m currently in the process of making lots more to build up my stock. As always, each piece is a complete one-off so no two pieces are ever the same.
After taking my Dad out for breakfast on Father’s day yesterday, it was another nice day for sitting in the garden. I love relaxing and chatting in the sun whilst listening to all the birds in the trees and watching Molly chase bumble bees. I did sit out there for a bit too long though, and have had to smother myself in after sun today!
In the evening when the sun had started to pass over the garden, I decided to have a rummage through my new bucket of coloured glass which was given to me last week from a very generous craft fair organiser – Ann of Pennine Fairs. Her husband used to do a lot of lamp work with this glass, and had buckets full of leftover bits and pieces after toning down on his glass work. Ann knows I use a lot of recycled glass in my ceramic work and offered me a huge bucket full of scraps because they wanted to get rid of it. The glass may have seemed like unwanted rubbish to them but to me it was like a bucket of treasure! A huge thanks to Ann and her husband for being so kind and thinking of me.
Some of the glass from the bucket is quite opaque rather than translucent, so I’m not sure how this will look when melted down in the kiln. The temperature inside the kiln may even be too hot for it, and the opaque coloured glass might burn, but I’ll try it out on a few samples first. I’ve made lots of tiny ceramic bowls as samples to melt the new glass into – I like experiments! I’ll show you those later in the week.
We are thinking about making a nice picture out of some of the glass and sticking it down in a frame to go on the wall when we get our new house.
This weekend my online shops will be on holiday mode while I’m at the Castle Ashby Craft Fair in Northampton (26th-27th June). This fair is run by Pennine Fairs so I’m looking forward to showing Ann my first experiments with the glass. Any fair organised with Pennine Fairs is an opportunity not to be missed – They are very strict with who exhibits, to make sure all crafts are genuine and of top handmade quality. This craft fair at Castle Ashby is set inside the walled garden of Castle Ashby House and visitors are able to browse the beautiful gardens as well as the 3 huge marquees full of crafts, and the tea room for refreshments. See you there!
The first recipe was for these home made hot pockets – yummy home made bread rolled up with a delicious filling inside. I got the recipe and instructions here, and used red pepper, tomato, onion, mushrooms and mozzarella for my filling.
All I can say is YUM!!! I will definitely be making these again, although they were quite time consuming. They were also great for Dave to take to work in his packed lunch!
On the same day I made these chicken & mozerella toasted wraps, as I had some of the ingredients left from the bread filling. I got this idea from a blog I read called Country Heart and Home, with really simple step by step instructions and photos. I think thats why I made these, because the guide made it look so easy, and it was. They are great served with your favourite dip, in my case red pepper & tomato humous
Following on from yesterday’s post with the driftwood leaflet stand, I decided to base my Folksy Friday collection on a driftwood theme this week. The beautiful works above were created by the following talented Folksy sellers;
1. Driftwood Cabinet by Julia’s Driftwood Designs
2. Driftwood Beach Hut Card by Kirsty Elson Designs
3. Driftwood Tea Light Holder by Ultimate Drifter
4. Driftwood & Reclaimed Wood Mirror by Julia’s Driftwood Furniture
5. Small Wall Mounted Driftwood Boat by Driftwood Boat Builders
6. Driftwood Candle Block by Coastlines
A few weeks ago I visited the new visitor centre at Stanwick Lakes in Northants, where a craft fair was being held. The visitor centre is a new stylish building that was built to attract even more members of the public to it’s beautiful surrounding areas. Stanwick Lakes is a unique countryside attraction offering a country park, wildlife, leisure facilities, assault course, adventure playground, bird hide, picnic areas and loads more.
It was one Sunny Sunday afternoon that I visited the lakes. It felt strange to be a customer at a craft fair, rather than a seller. I wanted to go to get a feel for the venue, as this was the first fair that has been held here. I was very impressed! The building has a very modern feel to it and is close to achieving carbon neutrality with rain water harvesting, a sedum roof, ground source heat pump from the lake, solar roof panels and it’s own wind turbine. Inside there is a stylish gift shop, restaurant and a quiet area upstairs where you can sit and admire the views.
The room for the craft fair was much smaller than I expected, with only about 8 stalls. I was a little disappointed at first, but then thought this could be an advantage because there wouldn’t be much competition for the sellers. After speaking to some of the stall holders, they seem to have had a good day. I think it all depends on the weather too – an attraction like this is a great day out for anyone but only if the weather is nice. I’ve booked a stall at this venue for the Summer Craft Fair on Sunday 25th July if you would like to come along and enjoy everything going on!
This leaflet stand really caught my eye, I love things made from driftwood.
Talking about craft fairs, Marie over at Vintage Inspired Loveliness has a new page on her blog for craft fair display ideas. She has featured my wicker basket idea for small items, and many other ways of displaying different items by other crafters. Check it out!
I don’t like throwing things away that I can still get use out of, especially scraps of clay. If there are ever any scraps left over from trimming etc, I usually wedge all of this clay together, roll it out again as a new sheet, and cut small shapes out of it. These shapes soon build up and then go on to form my magnets, brooches and buttons.
The contents of this basket above are always changing. I always display it on the front of my table at craft fairs with a sign saying “Feel free to rummage” – and people do just that! My magnets are good sellers, often customers will buy a few with a larger item, as if they are taking extra little bits of decoration away with them. They are also good sellers for children, as are my brooches…
This selection of handmade ceramic brooches below are part of my ‘Stroll Along the Beach’ collection.
To cater more for gift ideas, I decided to wrap a selection of 3 different magnets together with a personalised card, and my sticker on the front. This set of Natural Brown Magnets is my favourite.
I was at a craft fair at my old college on Saturday. I was so glad the weather stayed sunny all day. I’ve never done a fair at a school or college before, but this one was free and was only just round the corner from home so I thought I’d give it a go.
There was quite a lot going on – live music, pony rides, a farm, talent competition, craft stalls, dog shows, and some of the faculties were open inside the college such as the beauty salon, and a gymnast/dance hall. I didn’t even realise that this ‘fun day’ is held at the college every year, but now I know, I’ll be back next year.
I’m used to having 2 large trestle tables but the tables supplied by the college were only small, so I had to rearrange my usual display and couldn’t display as much as I would have liked to. Although I was a bit cheeky and used one of my boxes as extra display space at the front of the stall for some more bowls.
It was great being next to Lisa of Dreamstar, we met on the UK Crafts Forum and happen to live in the same town! The best part about the day was seeing my old art tutors! It was great to talk to them about my journey from leaving college 5 years ago, to where I am now. I was introduced to some of their current students and it was nice to be an inspiration to them. My old tutors all bought something from me which was great too
Just when I thought the day was going really well….. about half an hour before it was time to pack up, some kids kicked a football at the outside of the marquee and it knocked my board of plaques over I could see the board falling in slow motion, but it was too late to do anything and 5 of my plaques got broken. I kept saying it was my own fault because I shouldn’t really have leant the board there, but still. It could have been worse though! I think the kids ran off when they heard something smash, as there was no-one out there when the stall holder next to me ran out to see what was going on.
What did you do at the weekend?
I’ve enjoyed looking at home decorations on Folksy this week, in particular things that hang. It’s surprising how many nice shops I’ve come across that I didn’t know existed whilst searching. Here are some of my favourites;
1. Paper Shakespearian heart garland by Bookity
2. Small Bee Hotel by Wudwerx
3. Shabby Chic Beach Hut Wall Hanging by Oh you pretty things
4. Stained Glass and Driftwood Boat Mobile by Amy Orange Juice
5. Driftwood Heart Wall Hanging by My Pretty Little Things
6. Garland by Mai’Mo