Every April for the last 45 years, the British Craft Trade Fair has taken place in the pretty town of Harrogate, Yorkshire – a real celebration of all things British and handmade. It is probably the most important event in the UK that supports British- made products. There is a very strict criteria for exhibiting – nothing mass marketed or imported, guaranteed to have been made in the British Isles or Ireland, using handcrafting techniques and, wherever possible, local materials. Various craft disciplines are exhibited, including fine art, wall art, glassmaking, paper products, baby and children’s wear, metalwork, ceramics. The exhibitors themselves range from newbies to old hand exhibitors. In 2020, the first ever public opening day was announced for Saturday 4 April, followed by the trade only show from April 5th – April 7th. Alas, the Coronavirus outbreak has put the spanner in the works for 2020, and the first public day will now be on 10 April 2021, followed by the trade show 11-13 April 2021. So, for 2020 the British Craft Trade Fair will be a “virtual” exhibition… http://bctf.co.uk
I have spent some time scouting the exhibitors catalogue, and as the trade fair is not going ahead now in the conventional sense, I thought I would highlight 10 exhibitors that impressed me… not an easy task as all the exhibitors were worth a mention…
AMANDA CRUMP CERAMICS – SHEFFIELD (http://amandacrump.com)
Amanda’s artwork is an investigation into the relationship between ourselves and the creatures we share our world with. Her influences include storybooks, her young son, fashion design, day to day happenings. Her artwork is ceramic “almost” stoneware fired along with other objects such as feathers, horse hair, vintage buttons. I’m not sure what attracted me to this particular model – perhaps because it’s a dressed up cat! The detail though is quite exquisite, especially in the cat’s face.
ATLANTIC DESIGN STUDIO – NORTHERN IRELAND. (www.atlanticdesignstudio.com)
Stunning jewellery by designer & silversmith Lou Gillett. I love these earrings – the pleated look to them that is material like.
BEASTIE ASSEMBLAGE – JEDBURGH (www.beastieassemblage.co.uk)
Linda Lovett makes assemblage and jewellery incorporating vintage China and other found objects. I particularly picked this assemblage as it is full of the joys of Spring and the colours work well together. I love how the bits of vintage china have been incorporated into the scene too.
BEBANNE ART – STOURBRIDGE (www.etsy.com/uk/shop/BebanneArt)
Bev Bernhardt-Bridges is a fine artist with a passion for art, creativity and colour. She is an established silk artist with a selection of exquisite colourful silk scarves. Inspiration comes, predominantly, from the Natural World; from its shapes, colours and hues. Why did I pick these scarves? I love the vibrant colours.
COMPASS ROSE SOAPS UK – ROCHESTER (Facebook.com/CompassRoseSoapsUK)
These soaps are made to a premium olive oil based recipe, scented with essential oils and flower absolutes. They also have a collection of vegetable butter bath melts and sold foam bath balls. I was attracted by the colours and intrigued by the bath products.
DIANE JONES – BRADFORD (dianejonestextiles.com)
Colours again caught my eye! These sumptuous devore silk velvet scarves are hand painted. So, so pretty 😊
DREYA GLASS – NEWQUAY (www.dreya.co.uk)
Coastal inspired fused glass art at its best! Dreya Glass is based in Newquay, Cornwall. The fish look eerily realistic and are stunning.
HOLY LOCH POTTERY – DUNOON (www.holylochpottery.co.uk)
Inspired by the ancient Scottish landscape, these handmade ceramics are made from either an earthy buff or black high-fired stoneware clay. I do so love all textural things like this.
JANIE KNITTED TEXTILES – NOTTINGHAM (www.janieknittedtextiles.co.uk)
Using British and Merino wools sourced from UK suppliers, these colourful handmade interior accessories, lighting and soft furnishings have just put a new spin on “knitted items”.
KEREZ LTD – LEEDS (www.kerezltd.com)
Using beads, Kerez Ltd’s main products are cute bead handbags and bead art.
There are so many good exhibitors in the catalogue that I didn’t have the space to feature them all here! I hope that in 2021 the fair goes ahead as planned and for 2020, visit the virtual fair and see what talent is alive and kicking in Great Britain and Ireland.
For further details about the 2021 Trade Fair, 2021 public day, the virtual fair 2020 & catalogue, if you want to be considered as a future exhibitor, contact: http://bctf.co.uk
All photographs have been published with kind permission of British Craft Trade Fair
© 2020, Linda. All rights reserved.