Handmade Fair Is On It's Way To Wiltshire!
Sometimes you just have a normal Thursday night planned in front of the TV with something beige to eat – and sometimes you get an invite to a press launch in another country and you just up and leave. Ok sure, admittedly the other country was England but a quick hours drive over the Severn saw me in Bristol last week with my blogging bae Sarah at the press launch for Handmade Fair at Bowood House.
If you haven’t been to Handmade Fair before or even heard of it, it’s fronted by Channel 4’s Kirstie Allsopp and has been running a few years, previously in Ragley Hall Warwickshire and Hampton Court Palace, London. It’s a crafters dream - a fair full of talks, workshops and demonstrations from a variety of creators and disciplines from felting to calligraphy to printing which you can have a go at. And if you don’t consider yourself that creative there’s plenty of fun to be had with help from the creative or simply a day out in a beautiful location shopping and eating!
This year Handmade Fair is expanding, and as the title of this post suggests, it’s coming to Wiltshire for the first time. The fair will be held at Bowood House from 22nd – 24th June this summer and the big speakers for 2018 are Kirstie herself kicking it all off, followed by skin care extraordinaire Liz Earle and gardening master Sarah Raven – all of which I am massively keen to hear from.
Bowood is the perfect location for Handmade Fair with it’s sprawling gardens and beautiful house and if the weather holds out it’ll be the most glorious weekend. There’s a variety of ticket packages from simple entry only for twelve quid to a VIP experience – and everything in between. So whether you want to try your hand at some of the crafts, listen to the experts speak or simply pick up some goodies then chances are there’ll be something perfect for you.
The press launch in Bristol for Bowood House Handmade Fair was in the cutest venue tucked away at the top of the Christmas Steps in town called The Forge with big ol’ windows looking out onto Colston Avenue and all the twinkling lights of Bristol. With it’s bare brick walls, wooden floors and millions of fairy lights, it was the perfect setting to try our hands at some crafts from some of the creative exhibiting at this years fair whilst having a chat to the organisers and PRs about the event.
Treated to cakes and a glass or two of bubbly we donned our aprons and got stuck in to Indian block printing – my favourite of the two crafts we tried. It’s the easiest technique, like an adult version of potato print where you dab paint onto pre made blocks with sponge and away you go. The blocks on the other hand, far from potato printing, are the most intricate designs and there was a huge variety to choose from. We all had Handmade Fair napkins to print onto and whilst Sarah stuck to lavender (which I loved), I went all floral and honestly could have carried on printing all night if they hadn’t politely suggested I move on to craft two to let everyone else have a go…….
The second workshop we tried our hands at was silk painting which was much more fiddly but oh so cute. We made our silk scraps taught on embroidery hoops and then set about creating our patterns. There were template we could use which I think Sarah started with or could create something ourselves which I opted for with my ‘bee happy’ design and we outlined our patterns in wax. The wax basically acts as an outline to keep all the paints in and then you treat it exactly the same as watercolours. We painted away happily and everyone loved Sarah’s so much they all took photos of it and assumed she’d done it before – she had not, she was just amaze.
A few selfies, a couple of Boomerangs for Insta, some photos of the event and a goody bag later and we were back out in the rain in our not rain appropriate fur/sheepskin coats. Not only was it a bloody lovely press event but I got to spend time catching up with my gal chatting all things work, boys and blogging like any good pals do.
Huge thanks to the ladies with Handmade Fair for the event, to Sarah for taking me as her date and Jenny who let me invite myself to stay at her house overnight and picked me up from the centre of town.
Make sure to visit the Handmade Fair website to book your tickets to Bowood House – or whichever venue is closest to you! Hopefully I’ll see ya there!