We’ve just spent the weekend in the pretty harbour-town of Conwy. Arts organisations, Helfa Gelf and Cymru Contemporary Craft Fair had put together an impressive Christmas Fair on the Quay. The heated Marquee was filled with real Christmas trees (also for sale) and giant white tissue paper snowflakes, white fairy lights and globes hung from the tented ceiling.
We decided to succumb to the cupcake craze, and made some upcycled cake stands just for the event. We raided our favourite vintage plates, sugar bowls and teacups and paired them with sturdy metal fixings coloured in bright orange and candy-pink.
They went well displayed next to our newly-printed batch of ‘stitch-your-own’ animal kits. We’ve recently found some fab vintage fabric from the 1960s & 70s and screenprinted our animal outlines over the top in fluorescent pink and chocolate brown.
There was a good mix of different types of work at the event, made to a high standard. I particularly like these flint strikers for starting a campfire, bush craft style. Handmade by award-winning, traditional blacksmith Dyfed Wyn Jones. (What to give the man who has everything!)
The Peris and Corr stand was a joy to behold. Work included easy-to-give notebooks, totes and cushions, screenprinted with contemporary graphics in bright pops of colours. Based down the road, in Snowdonia, their prints often have a nod to Wales, but are done in a fresh, modern style.
Love Jenny Murray’s hand thrown creamware. She decorates the small jugs, mugs and bowls with simple, hand-drawn patterns and illustrations, using a very pared back colour palette. Some of the natural forms that inspired her such as seed heads and feathers were displayed amongst the pottery.
These beautifully detailed wooden dolls with tulle skirts are by designer Sophie Tilley, who has invented a whole world around a chic peg-doll character called ‘Tilley’. Happily, one can buy kits to make and dress your own Tilley doll. Also available are tiny clothespin tree angels and doll-headed spools for storing vintage ribbon. Tilley is definitely a doll to watch – can’t wait for the blog of her exploits!
Wish I’d have taken pictures of more stands, as there really was some interesting work at the event. Many of the exhibitors were (like us) part of the Helfa Gelf Opens Studios Network in North Wales. This is a dynamic and well-run organisation that we’d recommend joining, (to any artists, craftspeople and designer-makers out there… the deadline is early Spring each year.) They offer a series of professional development workshops, talks and seminars to all members, that are invaluable. For more info, here’s the Helfa Gelf application page: www.helfagelf.co.uk