01 November 2015

Made by Hand Cardiff

So this weekend, craft came to Cardiff. I went to this event last year (but didn't blog about it cos I was being lazy). But this year I took my camera and a wallet full o' cash, and headed to the Made by Hand fair.


The fair takes place in City Hall.....which probably says it all really, this is high end stuff! I love going to craft fairs of all types and all sizes, but I really enjoy this sort of fair as its great too see what's being made at the high end of the craft market (even if I can't afford a lot of it).


So in we go. Basically the fair's split across two floors, with workshops and other stuff held in the commons chambers. Most of the workshops were either sold out or for children only when we went on the Saturday. But that wasn't too much of a big deal, there's still plenty to see and one of the great things about this fair is the makers are often demonstrating how they make their items at their stalls.

Anyway, one of the first things that drew me in this year was a little haberdashery stand (I didn't recall seeing this at last years event). The stand was a joint effort between Bunyip beads and buttons and Ottons Haberdashery.


They had a wide range of beads and buttons, but what made them great in my eyes was that they had a very well chosen selection, lots of interesting beads that you don't see every day. I obviously couldn't resist these geometric beads so bought some of them with a few other bits and bobs.


Ceramics plays a big part at these sort of fairs, and Made by Hand doesn't disappoint in that respect. On entering the first hall you are greeted by some huge pots, they're too rich for my blood, but that doesn't mean that the artistry behind them can't impress the hell out of me.


There was in fact so much ceramic work on display, and all of such high quality, it's almost hard to pick a favourite. These ceramic lamps by Alison Graham Ceramics were particularly impressive, I love the effect the lights have on the colours of the glazes.


But, if I had to pick my favourite ceramicist of the fair, it has to be the lovely people of Snail Pottery


When I first saw their work, I had to double take. I asked how on earth they manage to make such intricate pottery with so many holes without them breaking constantly? The answer, a lot of practice, and even then it's 50-50 if it comes out of the kiln intact. The couple on the stall were both lovely and took the time to engage properly in conversation with me. I was so impressed with their work I just had to go back and buy a small piece at the end of the day. Below is the one I got.


What next, let's have something completely different, how about some animals by tea party at the zoo?


Now, I'm a bit of a sucker for anything laser-cut, laser-cut animals even more so. The maker Hannah Lago was really pleasant to meet. I just asked her a quick question of if it was ok for me to take photos and from there we went on to have a good ol' chat. Seriously, go check out her lobster comb - THAT'S RIGHT, I SAID LOBSTER COMB!!! And this was my only other purchase of the day, who doesn't love a crocodile necklace?!


Ok ok, I hear you, "come on one man crochet, show us some textiles!!". Well don't you worry, there was plenty of that at the fair too, and of course, all top notch high end stuff!


There must have been at least a good 4 or 5 stands with weavers on them, a couple even had their looms present. I particularly enjoyed the colour combinations on display at the stand by Pick One (and by a dude as well, big you up sir!).

I spotted these little pieces of crochet that were being displayed by Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre.


Now although it was being displayed by the Arts Centre, I'm not exactly sure who it is that had made them, I couldn't see much information about the display, and it seemed to be a combination of crochet combined with ceramics...but what I do know is, crochet + Roald Dahl = win.


So that's crochet and weaving, better get some knitting in there too then. This years 'Made by Hand Craft Excellence Award' went to Sian O'Doherty....and I can see why.


Her knitted lampshades are beautiful. Her work is machine knitted and she had her machine their with a sampler on it...always good to see (I'm tempted to have a try on a knitting machine one day, but I have a feeling we wouldn't get on).


Their were a few machine knitters at the fair, but Sian's work definitely stood out in my opinion, she's got some brilliant pattern and colours going on.

But hey wait, there's more. Off down the corridors of city hall, you could also find the 'International Cambrian Wool Challenge Exhibition'


Challenging designers and makers to use one type of pure wool, there were certainly some interesting pieces to see. This large wool canvas with digital print on it by Allistair Covell certainly stood out.


But it wasn't all big pieces, this necklace by Kimberley Jones was a nice well crafted piece in my opinion.


But this woven rug by Nicola Gates was my favourite of the exhibition, I love the slightly trippy pattern, and with the white wool pillows around it it really commanded your attention.

So that's pretty much it, a damn good day out in my opinion.

Coming up next, some stuff I made recently *shock horror*. Yeah I know I haven't posted much of my own making for a while, but it doesn't mean it hasn't been happening.

Laters x

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