Are you going to Bovey craft fair?

Sunday, 7 June 2009

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.

Boaring Local News

Wednesday, 4 January 2006

The Boar hunters retrieved one animal today, thus leaving 60 or so boars wild in Devon. Cheerfully, the man from DEFRA pointed out that some of the female boar are pregnant, thus leading to the potential idea of packs of wild boar snuffling through the woods and moors of Devon. And baby boar are just cute.

Handily, there are also just two days left on DEFRA’s consultation about the future of the small – until the boars were freed at Christmas – population of wild boar in the UK. So the chance to say ‘leave ‘em be!’ runs out on Friday.

What really annoyed me about the story was not the hunt (which is odd, given how much I loathe fox hunting) or the ALF freeing a bunch of free-range boar but the fact the national news on BBC1 – presented by Natasha-simpering-patronising-irritating-idiot-Kaplinsky who I really do loathe – kept insisting on putting their patronising emphasis on the fact the hunt used dogs and quadbikes. As if they assumed all farmers in Devon still thought the wheel was a radical new invention. Bloody Londoners with their quaint notions of the West Country. We’ve got sushi bars, expensive vodka and OFFICE shoes as well as pasties, cider and wellies, you know.

Mystery Bruises and other NY Things

Monday, 2 January 2006

Actually, the reason for the massive bruising – and indeed skin scraping – on my knee is because I managed to slip on the way down the hill from the Hourglass inn to the Quay on NYE, breaking my fall with a slide down on one knee. Thankfully the brand new brown pinstripe trousers I was wearing survived the fall. Hurrah for the New Year Sales.

(Tangenting madly – Victoriana/Edwardiana clothing fans might want to get themselves along to Warehouse concessions in House of Fraser, btw, which has some long sleeve black blouses with about twenty round buttons from neck to bust, a high collar with black broderie Anglaise edging, a five petal cutout design down the front and sleeves, some flat pleating detail and a side zip to make it fit snugly – a snip at UKP22.75. Actually, if you’re London-based, you should take a trip to Dickens & Jones anyway, before it closes on 14th January to be converted from a grand 1920s department store into yet another mall selling over-priced trainers.)

It was one of those really good NYEs. We stayed at the Hourglass from 7.30pm till, subsequent discussion has decided, 3am. At 11.55 they kicked us out into the street where we sang one of the worst versions of Auld Lang Syne I’ve ever heard, accompanied by kazoo, and made ooooh and aaaah noises at fireworks across the river. A couple of people walked me back as far as the Bridges, carefully circumventing the fight that was nearly kicking off at the Quay. Across the river, I was hailed with a Happy New Year from a total stranger who turned out to live around the corner from me and who was walking back with her friend and two Polish guys they had picked up at a club. People who know Exeter, especially my part, will be imagining heels, short skirts and over-straightened hair at this point but they weren’t at all. Hopefully, I’ll run into them again in Ali’s shop one day. Just as I got back, my neighbour’s house disgorged him, his wife and their families and I was invited in for a drink. If people ever wonder why I live in this part of town and walk home at night, it’s partially because you get all these strange chance encounters and snippets of others’ stories.

Rather than do New Year Resolutions (as the geek foo resolution generator points out, you may as well use some random script generation to decide on one), I have Plans and Lists. The already named How to Cook Like a Grown Up plan, for example, should improve diet and health without going for the vague sounding Get Fit and Healthy Resolution which everyone knows lasts until your first lunch break at the office. The House Plan does not involve watching every episode of House or doing architectural drawings, but does involve making sure that I do the little things that area always put off and arrange for the big things which require me to Get a Man In. And the Write Short Stories Plan is self-explanatory.

I have already done one thing on my House Plan: Three years back I replaced my old front door with a rather better one, with brass fittings. Except for the house numbers because I couldn’t find any house numbers I liked. They were all too angular, too bland and uniform. So I’ve just spent three years with no house number displayed. To add to the confusion of pizza deliverers, our street is number consecutively up my side and then down the other side instead of the usual British zigzag system. Back in November I finally found some brass numbers I liked, just Art Nouveau enough to suit the cod-nouveau rose in the door window but not over-designed in any way, in an antique/junk shop on Portebello Road. Today I finally got around to screwing them onto the door. So a mere three years on that tiny little House job…you can see why I’ve decided I need a plan.

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