The Handmade Fair

Last weekend I popped along to The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court. The fair launched last year, and I believe is the brainchild of British Queen of craft and selling houses.. (not two things I would have put together either); Kirstie Allsopp.

I was rather excited about the venue itself, as I had never been to Hampton Court Palace, and I thought the fair was to be held there. Well, it kind-of was.. but in an ‘over the road and on a big patch of grass’ sort of way. On the plus-side, I was able to walk past the entrance to Hampton Court Palace, and if I had had more time, I’m sure I would have had a good mooch around. As it was, the fair itself had SO MANY things to look at and explore, that I didn’t have time to look around Hampton Court Palace, which is a testament to how brilliant the Handmade Fair was!

There were two enormous shopping tents; both of which contained lots of wonderful items – both tools and materials to make things yourself, and finished articles from talented crafters. I was particularly impressed with Toft Alpaca teddy bears (seriously, I was so so tempted to buy one!); I made a cheeky little purchase from Acorn & Will – whose stall looked incredible, and I also picked up a few Christmas presents for my nearest and dearest. Of course I also bought some fabric, as there was a terrific selection there! Although – at the moment I am WITHOUT A SEWING MACHINE. Gasp. My current one is being serviced, and my new one has not yet arrived from Germany; so I am in a weird sewing-machine-less-limbo at the moment.

One of my highlights of the day was attending Poppy Chancellor’s paper cutting workshop. Regular readers will know a few weeks back I purchased the Huerta Bow Blouse from Tara Starlet, of which Poppy designed the print for. I wore the blouse on the day, and Poppy was so excited to see me wearing it!

Me & Poppy Chancellor, wearing my blouse which Poppy designed the print for.

The paper cutting class was really good fun, admittedly it was trickier than I had imagined; and I was the only person in the class that had never attempted paper cutting before, or even used a scalpel! But I really enjoyed it, and have even bought my own cutting mat and blade to carry on honing my paper craft at home.

My paper cutting attempt. Yes, it's not perfect, but not bad for a first attempt.

My paper cutting attempt. Yes, it’s not perfect, but not bad for a first attempt.

It was also lovely to meet Tilly from Tilly & The Buttons – and of course I remembered her from the Great British Sewing Bee!

There was so many things to see and do, one of the things I wanted to do was have tea & cake in the Molly Makes Café, but of course it seemed EVERYONE else wanted to do this too, so there were no seats available.

There was a great, varied selection of food and drink available, and of course tea. There was also a lovely Art Deco styled Airstream, which I did want to sit in drinking tea, but sadly they did not serve tea!

Overall I had a great day, there was a great variation of classes and workshops to participate in, lots of sellers with high-quality products and great food and drink to choose from. The whole area had been thoughtfully constructed with covered walk-ways in between tents, and underfoot boards to walk over to provide an even walkway (and to protect ones shoes from the British weather soaked grass!).

I do however have one niggle: The walkways in the shopping tents were so so narrow, that they quickly became congested. This made it tricky to actually LOOK at sellers wares in a relaxed manner, not to mention if you had a pushchair with you; or were in a wheelchair, this would not have produced such a happy shopping experience. I understand events need to fit in and sell as many stall spaces as possible, but I feel on this occasion the walkways were of such a narrow width to prove detrimental to mine (and others I’m sure) shopping experience. Perhaps if the walkways had been wider, I would have been able to browse & see more products, which may have resulted in me making more purchases. So, hopefully next time the walkways shall be wider!

I attended on the Friday, but the fair did run for three days over the weekend, with a varied timetable for each day. Were you able to attend the Handmade Fair? What did you think of it?

Until next time dears, (and hopefully by then I shall have a sewing machine back in my work studio! I’m having withdrawal symptoms!) xx

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5 thoughts on “The Handmade Fair

  1. Marija says:

    Jenny,
    This fair is amazing. We don’t have them at home – but I was fortunate enough to reach Brussels (greeting from Brussels), and went to Bruges today.. just in time to hit the market. It was a mix of vintage, antique, handmade and used items.. so lovely

    Marija

  2. Jenny Frances says:

    Aw, thank you Jessica! I can assure you though, that close-up my papercut looks a little sad for itself. I am really enjoying practising it though. It’s refreshing to take-up a hobby that is different from sewing (as much as I love sewing) xxx

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