Are you going to Bovey craft fair?

I always regard Devonian craft fairs with a certain amount of caution. When living in Devon, you get rather used to seeing vile slipware, felt-based things and artisan clothing that only middle class women with a lot of money can afford. However, bigmagpie and I risked a trip to the highly recommended Bovey Tracey Contemporary craft fair.

On the downside, there was vile slipware. I’m sure some people like it. I even have an awesome slipware pie dish that Law gave us as a wedding gift which I love. But an awful lot of it is just dull, and makes a virtue out of being slipshoddy. I’d question it as being contemporary, as well, since the designs were either classic Devonware or 70s hippy. I don’t know if the format is intrinsically reactionary or not, but it’s not my idea of good design.

On the upside, after our initial browse we went on to buy things. It took time to seek out the kind of quirky design work I like, but I ended up buying a year’s worth of stationery from various designers and a piece of art for my stairs.

  • Helaina Sharpley does wirework art, and also had some cute cards of her work ideal for sending to a tea-loving friend.
  • Teresa Green is an illustrator who also prints her work onto home goods such as teatowels and aprons as well as purses and bags. I got some more cards here.
  • Julia Manning isn’t an obvious like for me, but I liked her bird drawings and her cards featured fragments of her nature paintings.
  • Janine Partington is an enameller, one of the crafts I wish I could devote some time to as I loved it in metalwork at school. Her cards are again details of her works. I particularly liked her copper series of designs.
  • Sarah Roberts is another printmaker with an eye on the natural world and a keeness for silhouettes of plants.
  • Rachel Eardley is another strong illustrator. I toyed with the Tunnocks print for an age before realising I have too many things waiting to be framed already and bought a set of cards instead.
  • Jennifer Collier‘s stand was initially too busy for us to take a look at, but on the second pass of the marquee we got in. I bought a small canvas to hang with another objet trouvĂ© that hangs in my stairs. Actually, most of my first flight of stairs is decorated with objet trouvĂ© including an artwork I made myself. Hmmm… Anyway, her work was a delight and I’ve even taken away an idea for how to store my various hairbands, fascinators and vintage hats.

I came back out with 25% of my budget for the day intact (even after a savoury crepe for lunch and a yummy carrot cake as a mid-afternoon snack). I’m not sure I’d go every year, but it was worth digging around for the good stuff.

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