One of the purposes of my blog is not just to share craft and DIY tutorials to (hopefully) inspire people to make their own creations, but also to review craft fairs & events so that people who like handmade know which are the ones worth going to and people who sell handmade have more information about which fairs would suit their products 🙂 Amongst the previous fairs I’d visited, my favourite would be The Handmade Fair by Kirstie Allsopp, which I can’t wait to experience again this year! I’ve also travelled to Edinburgh for Handmade London, London Olympia (OK not that far for the Knitting & Stitching show, Exeter for the Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts show, Cardiff for Made by Hand and Birmingham for the Hobbycrafts show.
I’d been to Made London near Marylebone a year or so back, and really enjoyed it. Entry was ticketed (I think we paid £10 each?) and the quality of the work was really high- I think I bought my most expensive item at a craft fair there (a wooden serving block for £55) so I was looking forward to seeing what the Canary Wharf Made event would be like. (I think 2017 was the first fair at Canary Wharf but I’m not 100% sure- it doesn’t say so on the website)
I popped by on 22 March 2017 (Wednesday) at lunch time. It was in a good location so not difficult to find. Even better, entry was FREE! YAY
You can’t really miss it with the signage!
First thoughts… there isn’t much of a crowd. It was grey out but I was there at lunch time, so if there was no crowd then, when would there be one?! I spoke to some of the makers about their sales and they weren’t extremely enthusiastic… lol I do hope it improved for them!! Just to clarify something, having organised maker events myself, I don’t think exhibiting at a fair or show is all about sales. Sure we all want to make money- as much of it as possible!!- but a good show is one which is well advertised, well attended and well represented in all the making disciplines. After that, the event organiser has done his/her duty and it’s really up to your work (and display- soooo important) to speak for itself!
Oh and be friendly and engaged! I have wanted to buy things from a show but changed my mind because the maker just can’t be bothered (e.g. there are no other customers, I am standing in front of her booth for 5 minutes to ask for the price of the product – it’s not labelled- and she just chats away to her neighbouring maker (about random stuff) Having manned the Makers & Friends pop-ups myself, I know retail is hard, and sometimes you are busy with shop stuff, or just need to zone out, but if a customer is standing in front of you the least you can do is go “Let me know if you need help,” smile, and then go back to gossiping!
Not many people….
Now on to the exhibitors! That is 1 thing Made does really well. They always have a very lovely selection of makers of very high quality and I always find new makers there that I’ve not seen elsewhere. However, I do believe their fairs only suit makers who are selling at relatively high price points. For example, if you were selling (beautiful) things like air dried clay jewelry, macramé plant hangers, or finger knitted necklaces, I don’t think this would be the show for you.
Interesting furniture by Edward Johnson! I LOVED his sofa… maybe when I actually have a salary!
I love how colourful the work by Sue Gregor is! She came to jewelry making quite late and has a really interesting story to tell too!
I saw Jed Green’s glass jewelry at Made Marylebone and it is so unusual and beautiful I remembered her from 2 years ago. I really wanted to buy something but unfortunately can’t afford any of her pieces (they’re in 100s-1000s range!)
I work with wire myself and have seen a lot of wire work out there but Heleina Sharpley’s creations are certainly unusual!
Vanessa I’d met at Handmade Edinburgh and her intricate flower creations certainly left an impression. I was hoping to pick up one of the flower rings she’d told me about in Edinburgh but sadly there were none on display again. She’s also recently done a video showing how she makes her work and it’s fascinating!
In case you missed out on this, but want to see more from these amazing artists, Made has just opened a physical shop in Brighton 🙂 And since you’re there, here are some suggestion for a Brighton itinerary or recommendations on where to get crafty stuff in Brighton 🙂