As part of my research for this blog- and part of my research for Makers & Friends, which brings UK designer-makers to the High Street, I’ve been toย craft fairs in Wales, Scotland and England- only need to visit 1 in Ireland to make it a clean sweep ๐Ÿ™‚ย Here are some of the craft fairs I visited in 2016:

  • Made London
  • Handmade Edinburgh
  • Crafty Fox
  • Renegade London
  • Etsy Local
  • Etsy Craft Parties in London, Portsmouth and Brighton
  • Country Living show (not really a craft fair)
  • Exeter Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts show
  • Great Northern Craft Fair
  • Madeย by Hand, Cardiff
  • Handmade Fair
  • etc โ€ 
IMG_8537

Entrance of the fair- there is a really cool pink crafting caravan and a HUGE Hobbycraft stand

 

I can definitely say, as both a consumer-appreciator of crafts & handmade itemsย and a maker myself, the Handmade Fair was far and away my favourite. And obviously I’m going to tell you why in this post ๐Ÿ™‚ But before I do, here’s some background information on the fair.

 

It’s brought to you by Kirstie Allsopp. If you’re Brit born and bred, this may mean something to you but as a transplanted Londoner, it didn’t really say anything to me. I knew of Kirstie more for her Location, Location TV show than her making skills ๐Ÿ™‚ (But I’m now a big fan!)ย Set opposite Hampton Court Palace- 0r at least it was in 2016 (It’s been so successful they’ll be holding fairs outside London in 2017 as well)- it can be a bit of a pain to get to. This year ย there was some major problem on the roads and half of us ended up missing the morning sessions. However, the Info Booth was really nice and actually offered me a free ticket for the next day to make up for it! There’s also a quilting shop in the village High Street (5 minutes walk from the fair) if you’ve not gotten your fill of crafty- things at the fair ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_8573

 

Why I like, no LOVE, the Handmade Fair

  • There are tons of fun makes!

If you buy the full ticket, you get to take part in 2 making sessions. For each session, you getย to choose from quite a few options! I ended up choosing gilding and Cricut. Sadly, I missed gilding due to the issues with transport in the am.

 

As for the Cricut session, well, to be honest, it was more a marketing session! We got a pack of pre-(Cri)cut papers and were given instructions to assemble it into a scrapbook style notepad. The only thing that saved the session for me was winning a Cricut paper cutter- a lucky lady won an actual Cricut machine! Not everybody walked away with something but enough people did that I was impressed by how generous they were ๐Ÿ™‚ However, this year, I’m probably going to try another make ๐Ÿ™‚

 

  • Great selection of maker, at all price levels

There are enough designer-makers exhibiting that the Fair feels buzz-y and interesting, yet still curated ๐Ÿ™‚ Special mentions of Rosana Clare & Chau Art (she does the most amazing paper cut cards) who participated in my previous Makers & Friends pop-ups! ๐Ÿ™‚ (Shameless plug: we bring designer-makers to the High Street- get in touch at makersandfriendslondon@gmail.com to find out more! :)) Even better, there were many affordable makers- unlike fairs such as Made London & Handmade UK (reviews coming soon)- I enjoyed those exhibitions very much, and the quality of the work was very high- but so were the prices!

 

<a data-pin-do=”embedPin” data-pin-width=”medium” href=”https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/411164640964682424/”></a>

Despite seeing a ton of stuff I loved, I decided to be good and keep to my budget so only came home with this yummy smelling soap, made in Scotland

 

  • Excellent networking

Although I usually eschew the word networking, as it has (to me) overtones of superficiality/ hypocrisy, I realised I was naturally networking at The Handmade Fair. I guess when you’re passionate about something, it comes naturally! Pretty much all the major players in the craft & DIY world were there, from pom pom queen Christine Leech to Hobbycraft, Mollie Makes and more!

 

I ended up finding several wonderful partners through the Fair and even made some contacts within Swarovski, who have now expressed an interest in developing DIY kits for projects such as the ring shown below. YAYYYYYY. That was without doubt, the BEST moment of the fair- maybe my entire blogging lifetime! ๐Ÿ™‚ I CAN”T WAIT till the 2017 fair to get to meet more cool people who love the same thing that I do! ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_8564

This is the ring I made using Swarovski crystals which I wore to The Handmade Fair & that the Swarovski team liked. Yeah! ๐Ÿ™‚ The easy tutorial for the ring can be found here

 

Last thoughts?

The food at the Fair is quite pricey and doesn’t taste great (around ยฃ7 for a small plate of paella) so maybe grab some grub before you arrive ๐Ÿ™‚

<script async defer src=”//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js”></script>

 

For other craft fair reviews, here are my thoughts on the largest craft fair in the Southwest and the largest craft fair in Wales

 

Written by Zen

12 Comments

Zen

Hey! Yeah it’s been a while ๐Ÿ™‚ Aw thanks glad you like my new theme! I’m actually thinking of changing it again as I think its slow loading! Are you still based in the ME? ๐Ÿ™‚

Reply
Zen

Heya yup I dropped by your page the other day ๐Ÿ™‚ I might be visiting Dubai sometime this year as one of my besties moved there ๐Ÿ™‚ Will check out your blog for tips!

Reply
vinneve

I am not in Dubai but in the capital which is Abu Dhabi. But yes I have been out and about in Dubai too if you can check out older post you might find some interesting places both here and there. Cheers!

Zen

Aww thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe we’ll run into each other this year ๐Ÿ™‚ The stuff you got sounds so exciting! ๐Ÿ™‚

Reply
Catherine

Thanks for such an honest write up! I admit I haven’t been to this fair. But you have put forward a very strong case for it! Congratulations on the positive networking. I’m not a fan either, but it is so necessary these days.

Reply
Zen

Aww thanks for stopping by and glad you found the write-up useful ๐Ÿ™‚ It is one of the more expensive fairs around ( three times the regular price I believe) but the atmosphere is just so fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

Reply
upsydaisycraft (@upsydaisycraft)

Thanks for this review, I’m signed up to have a stall at the Handmade Fair in Warwick in May I’m sure it will be much easier to access! If you’re about come and say hello! I’m Nat from Upsydaisy Craft xxx @upsydaisycraft

Reply
Zen

Thanks for stopping by! Oooh I didn’t know there was 1 in Warwick planned! Will try to stop by if I can and GOOD LUCK!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Reply

Let's chat! :)