This Friday 7th June sees the return of the annual Contemporary Craft Festival held in the beautiful town of Bovey Tracey in Devon. Showcasing over 200 of the best makers and artists, the event is always worth a visit and making her CF debut this year is Cardiff-based designer Lynda Shell.
The festival attracts over 10,000 visitors coming to enjoy the busy calendar of talks and demonstrations running alongside the main attraction of the makers work. I caught up with Lynda to find out how her preparation is going and what she is looking forward to seeing.
What do you anticipate will be your festival highlights?
Getting to see lots of lovely new makers that I have not seen before….. and possibly buying myself a little something special!
How is your preparation going? How do you prepare quantity of stock for such a big event - any tips for other makers?
Stock is all made and labelled, just gathering together all the final bits, tools, shelves, tables etc for the display now. My advice would be to give yourself plenty of time to make stock and plan your stand carefully so that it's easy to put up when you get there.
What are you looking forward to the most?
Meeting new customers and a nice weekend away with my sister who is coming to help me.
Can you name your favourite three makers who you are hoping to see?
Well as I am hoping to see some new artists, I have picked three from the website that look interesting:
Felix Kary in the wood section - love the spoons
Lisa Wisdom in the metal section - Looks like an amazing technique
Heartfelt dogs in mixed media just looks fun and characterful.
Best of luck Lynda! We hope you have a great show. For more information on the Contemporary Craft Festival, please visit their website.
To find out more about Lynda Shell and see more examples of her work, visit her directory page.
This Easter, I spent time down in Saundersfoot with my family and our dog Betsi. Our family life has definitely changed for the better since she joined us and it was lovely to see so many families on the beach, enjoying playing with their pooches.
Cardiff-based jewellery designer Lou Gray increased the size of her family with the addition of Marley, an almost 2 yr old Australian Labradoodle. As it is National Pet Month, I asked Lou to tell us a bit about how she has found dog ownership to be.
When did you first get Marley?
She came home to us when she was 10 weeks old from a local breeder.
How has she fitted in to family life?
Marley is definitely one of the family! She wants to be involved with everything that’s going on in the house - we include her in as many outings and trips as we can as she loves nothing more than being out and about with us all.
What are their favourite foods?
She’s super fussy, but will never turn her nose up at a bit of chicken or peanut butter stuffed toy!
What's been the biggest challenge?
Her extreme bounciness. I’m sure she has some kangaroo genes...
What is naughtiest/most embarrassing thing your pet has done? This list for Betsi is very long......
See above 🙈. I’m developing a thicker skin!!
Any advice for anyone looking to get a pet?
She’s changed my life for the better and I can’t imagine not living with a dog now. Obviously do plenty of research...and don’t underestimate the time and financial commitment.
As part of Lou's beautiful jewellery collection, Lou creates print jewellery so that you can keep your loved ones close to your heart and she tells me that she can do this from paw prints as well as human prints! So if you fancy getting a totally unique piece of jewellery that reminds you of your special furry friend, please get in touch with Lou.
The fabulous Contemporary Craft Festival at Bovey Tracey, Devon returns this weekend opening today, Friday 8th June and running until Sunday 10th.
If you have chance to go, you will not be disappointed as it is a fantastic event with over 200 makers selling their high quality handmade goods to the public. As well as stalls, there are demonstrations and workshops to get involved in. Bovey Tracey is a pretty little town to visit too, with lots of independent shops and a fantastic makers guild with exhibition space.
I asked Alys Wall AKA The Pocket Pirate, who has attended the festival previously, to choose her top six makers who are exhibiting this weekend....over to Alys...
Dovile’s fluid, elegant hand-carved pieces caught my eye immediately. Each item has wonderful movement to it. I love the fact that each piece evolves organically as she works on it, so is completely unique.
It is a real skill to make something that is both functional and beautiful - Lomas Furniture has truly mastered this.
Esther’s candid stories unfold softly through her beautiful illustrations, tugging at our own experiences. You won’t be able to resist.
Anya’s playful creatures belong to that place at the edge of our vision, where we are sure we saw our favourite toy move…
Manda’s characterful and beautifully handmade soft animals and children’s clothes are always displayed so artfully you will want to take up residence on her stand.
Look out for Andrew's ash splint basket combined with its hand-stitched leather lid - a thing of quiet, dependable beauty that you will suddenly NEED.
For more information on The Contemporary Craft Festival, visit www.craftsatboveytracey.co.uk or visit their facebook page.
Thanks Alys! Find out more about Alys, and her inspiration over on the Little Otter Events blog.
If you have been along to a Little Otter Events market in the past five years, you will have no doubt discovered the work of Whitchurch based maker Lydia Niziblian. Lydia's work is always popular at our events and it is easy to see why - she creates such beautiful unique pieces and is continuously coming up with new ranges, and learning new techniques to expand her knowledge as a maker.
She has recently added stunning jewellery made with a technique called Keum-boo. I asked Lydia to write a guestblog to explain the ancient technique and to introduce us to her new range.....over to you Lyd...
One of my favourite things about making jewellery is its therapeutic qualities. I often find myself making according to my mood. At one end there is hammering and forming heavy jewellery which can really release some tension! At the other end of the scale there are some very delicate, almost Zen like practices. My favourite of these is keum-boo. Keum-boo (pronounced kum boo) is an ancient gilding technique originating in Korea. I first started using the process a little over 5 years ago, and it’s become a firm favourite.
Keum-boo (meaning ͞attached gold͟) is the application of thin 24ct gold foil to the surface of metal; in this case silver. Sterling silver must be prepared by repeatedly heating the silver, quenching it, and soaking it in jewellers’ pickle. Pickle covers a variety of available mild acid solutions, although a mix of distilled vinegar and salt work as well! Some people like to brush it with a brass brush in soapy water between repetitions. After numerous soakings, the silver takes on a white appearance. This means a layer of fine silver has been brought to the surface. Now you can apply the gold foil using a combination of heat and pressure. I prefer the piece of jewellery to be pretty much finished; all soldering finished and settings in place.
Some folk use a hot plate; I prefer a butane torch as I find I get a little more control. Using a steel or agate burnisher, you tack and rub the foil into place. How the piece is finished can vary tremendously; I like to either brush the piece with a brass brush, or oxidise or patinate it for contrast.
You can treat yourself (or a lucky friend!) by using code LITTLEOTTER at checkout in my shop to get 25% off any of my ready-made jewellery until June 1st*
*offer excludes made to order items and gift vouchers
April Liddell. Founder of Little Otter Markets. Lives a crafty life. Loves going for walks with her dog Betsi, listening to music, and eating chelsea buns.