As part of my blog’s focus on reviewing all the major craft fairs in UK, how could I miss Made By Hand Cardiff, billed as “the largest & finest craft fair in Wales”? So off I went on a train from London to Cardiff to check the fair out.
What it offers
135 stalls of makers over 3 days- exciting! With workshops and masterclasses
I don’t remember how much I paid but for 2017, a 1 day ticket is £6 -very reasonable and in line with the prices of the other fairs I’ve been to.
Cardiff City Hall- a short walk from the city centre/ main shopping area so very easy to get to
Entrance of hall- ticketing etc. As you can see, it wasn’t very crowded when I went. I don’t like crowded events, but it was so quiet, it felt a bit empty- there needs to be a FEW people to generate a “buzz” if you know what I mean?
Even though it was billed as having 135 makers, there definitely didn’t feel like there were so many. I think it was because the number of makers whose products were interesting to me was on the lower side. I actually went with a view to meeting makers to invite to my pop-up, Makers & Friends but sadly really only found a couple out of 135 (fewer than 5?) whose work were suitable. (I was looking for contemporary, “modern makers”- for example, reinventing the boundaries of traditional crafts)
I was expecting only Welsh makers but there were several from England as well, which was interesting. In addition, I commend the fair organisers on getting a good selection of makers across all disciplines, unlike the Great Northern Craft Fair- which I enjoyed but seemed highly skewed to jewellery making! In addition, there were also stalls selling design books (but none that sold craft making supplies that I saw)
Interesting ceramics by Eluned Glyn, who exhibited with me at my pop-up in Angel Islington. I love how quirky her work is!
This is probably the busiest it got throughout the day
Basket weaving demonstration- quite a few makers were working on their craft which was interesting but, at the time I was there, there were no masterclasses being offered, which was a shame
Everything was well laid out though and well spaced
Would I go back (as a craft customer)? Well, in 2016, I decided to go to Handmade Edinburgh instead 🙂 If you are looking for “modern makers” and more contemporary crafting, I would highly recommend The Handmade Fair instead. Even though the tickets were much more expensive, I enjoyed that so much I am actually thinking of exhibiting there! (Do note that i have received feedback from other makers on disappointing sales there though- the general consensus seems to be that it’s a good place to exhibit if you sell craft products or offerings for crafters but not finished craft works. Weirdly enough, the only thing I bought when there was a finished craft product- soap!- but to each their own I guess 🙂 )
Would I participate as an exhibitor? To be honest, no. I was rather disappointed with the offering of this craft fair- it just didn’t have the right buzz about it that I’d like to see at a fair I take part in. Whilst I love to make a profit, I don’t think it’s possible to do so at every craft fair, as some are really marketing vehicles to get one’s brand out. However, the number of people, and the offering of crafts at Made by Hand Cardiff just doesn’t make it worth the investment (to me)
If you’re thinking of exhibiting, you’re also wondering about sales- I didn’t buy anything from this fair, unlike at other craft fairs such as Handmade Edinburgh, Made London, The Handmade Fair and the Exeter Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts show. (Neither did I see anyone buy anything but that’s just based on a few hours at the fair)
If you’re in Cardiff and looking for a good place for crafts, I recommend Crafts by the Bay instead- the selection of work there and the set-up is more impressive. There weren’t many people there but it felt like a better place to both view and exhibit one’s work- and, most importantly (for makers), quality over quantity! I only saw 2 other customers but they bought something 😛
Interested to find out more about the other craft fairs I’ve visited? Here’s my review of the largest craft fair in South West UK- the Exeter Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts show.