Wow, the country Living Christmas fair London is a sight to behold! Such an inspirational craft fair featuring the cream of the UK crafty crop! The fair includes exhibitors of home wares, craft items, gifts, cards, Christmas decorations, clothing, cosmetics, foods and much more. And believe me when I say you’ll want more that just one day to get round them all! ‘Best of British’ seemed to be the flavour of the day with lots of stalls featuring handmade work from all over the UK and it’s surrounds represented. Jan Constantine’s bright red and white felt cushions really exemplified the theme, and this embroidered banner sums up how I felt about my trip.
As a fabric designer and free lance writer for the Irish Quilting Magazine I went primarily with an eye for all things textiles but I also couldn’t fail to notice all the lovely illustrators who were there too, with their cards, prints, paintings and ceramic and textile cross over’s. Roxanna de Rond, Esther Coombs and Lucy Loveheart all merit a mention for their lovely work and for taking time out to talk to me. Roxanna’s friendly pictures on prints and cards remind me of the works of great children’s illustrators like Tony Ross or Quentin Blake, while Esther’s drawings of famous buildings on recycled ceramics gave them a modern edge and a new lease of life. Lucy Loveheart’s stall was certainly one of the twinkliest, her magical drawings on textured and recycled papers feature glitter and glue and shiny stars and characters from every child’s imagination from princesses to pirates, meeting her was one of the highlights of my day! Pictured is a fairy from ‘Wildwood’ on Lucy’s stall.
I was also impressed by the number of exhibitors who could boast that they had made everything on their stall by hand! Two such ladies were Sam of Bella Blossom, with countless crocheted cushions, Russian dolls and pretty hair clips among to name but a few items. And the lovely Laura Long, who’s stall was full of little knitted people, each one different! These looked fabulous framed behind glass. She also did a nice sideline in bunnies, and this cute kit caught my eye…
I was curious to see if there would be many digital fabric designers like me, but mostly stalls with custom fabrics were producing them by hand, using screen printing and other hand made techniques rather than digital printing. Some notable examples include Ham, and Chase and Wonder. And while textile arts were much in evidence, Patchwork itself was a little under represented so there is plenty of scope for quilt makers to exhibit here. So far Passionate about Patchwork and Forever England are the two main quilting enthusiasts representing the art form.
Last but not least, I really wanted to mention Clare from Elsy andVine, a fabric designer whose graphic repeating patterns of hearts and camper vans are machine knitted into woollen home wares, including cute cushions and hanging trees . Such a pretty stall that takes your mind back to childhood holidays in the 1970’s, cool and kitsch and impossible to take a bad picture off. Proving to be something of a kindred spirit, Clare and I had an animated chinwag about fabric patterns and traditional quilting with hexagons. I wouldn’t be suprised if Elsy and Vine boasts some patchwork inspired projects in the future ;-)
I saw so many fabulous creators and their beautiful stalls that I couldn’t hope to do them all justice here. But if you would like to see some more images and more of my top picks from the event you can browse my Country Living Christmas Craft Fair Album on flickr. Happy clicking!!!