As a huge fan of arts and crafts I have been wanting to attend the Handmade Fair for years! I was so excited to finally get the chance to go, I thought I would share my experience with you. To sum up the whole day in on word I would say it was AMAZING!!! Sorry for the long-ish post but I hope you enjoy reading it…
I am a total craft and DIY ‘geek‘, I love to make things and I admire other makers and artists, so on the morning of the first day of the Fair I was extremely excited… so excited that I forgot to check what time it started… For some reason I thought it was 9 am… We stayed in a lovely hotel in Kingston and after ‘googling‘ how long it would take us, carefully planning the extra time we would neet to get there, road works, rush hour we decided to set off at 8 am with taxi.. we arrived at Hampton Court at 8:10 am!!! They haven’t even put the signs or barriers up yet.. there I was like an excited kid the night before Christmas!!
We walked around outside of the tent, saw the traders come in and once the barriers were up, we stood in the queue! People started gathering and it was nearly 9:30am… My heart started to race as the golf buggy was slowly approaching us and so was the craft queen herself!! After the speech and ceremonial ribbon cutting, we were in!!!!
First reaction sheer panic! What do we do, where do we start, where is our first class, where did Kirsty go??? aka FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)? Calm down... I count to 10 and we walk to the stand that sells the programmes… after discovering there is a helpful map, and everything is clearly marked and displayed we find our first workshop tent. As we have a while until our first session, we spend it walking around the shopping village…
As we walk, my husband points out that Kirsty Allsopp is in the same tent right in front of us and urges me to go and ask for a photo…
At first I say no, but then change my mind and after around 10 minutes hovering around, practicing what to say and plucking up the courage I asked for a photo and she said YES!
Excited and smiling like an absolute fool, we make our way to our first class – Creating a Willow Christmas Tree with Eddie Glew from Blithfield Willow. It was so much fun and not as easy as I first thought… I wish the class was a little longer as we were rushed to finish and I easily could have done it for at least another hour!!
Well my first attempt was not brilliant… but hey at least I gave it a try! Shaun managed to do 2 out of 3 layers, not a bad effort by us!
As we had a couple of hours until our next workshop, we walked through the shopping village ‘eyeing up‘ what I really wanted to buy, things I wanted to try and simply entering my details into every competition I could see!! We had a sandwich and a cup of tea and chatted to some lovely ladies who shared our table and my passion for crafts!
We then needed to rush to our next workshop which was Folk Art Berry Wreath with Carol Sykes from Folk It. I thought Shaun would not enjoy this, but to my surprise he did really well and really enjoyed it too! All the ladies complimented him on his ornament… It was a new technique I learnt… to the amusement of other painters, my first attempt at creating a ‘heart’ turned into a very x-rated animation, so my side of the table was in fits of giggles… not the reaction I was after!! BUT I followed instructions.. two dots, then join them as if you were writing V… I am not posting a photo… use your imagination!!! The class was so much fun, that I ended up buying 3 kits at their stall!!!
Now it was time to shop, by this time the Handmade Fair was getting very busy. I will share my ‘shopping spree’ on a seperate post but it was heaven on earth! After visiting Annie Sloan’s shop, Shaun (my hero) asked whether we could buy the Annie Sloan aprons I was admiring… Sadly they weren’t on sale, but a lovely girl told us to come back later and she would see if they had any spare left.. We did go back later that afternoon and I did get one YAY! Thank you!
As I was tasting the gin, cheeses, home made condiments and cakes in the Food tent.. I kept telling Shaun, I want to be early for our next event – Annie Sloan in conversation with Cressida Bell as I wanted to have good seats..
So we ended up chatting and standing near the big marquee about an hour before it was due to start (keen bean that I am!). Next minute Shaun asked me what does Annie Sloan looks like, after describing in great detail Shaun says I think she’s stood behind you… I was like… NO WAY, don’t think that’s her and as I am saying it I realise IT IS ANNIE SLOAN!!! I had to calm myself down and as I rushed to Annie Sloan, proclaiming my love and admiration to her I got the chance to have my picture taken with the legend that she is. I must say I am even a bigger fan as she is actually amazing! After a little chat, I say good bye and smile from ear to ear… Thank you Shaun!
After regaining my composure, it was time for our last event of the day , which was Annie Sloan’s in conversation with Cressida Bell. We got inside and sat as close as we could to the stage, I was still smiling and eager to find out more… I absolutely LOVED the talk.. It was so insightful, funny and personal. It felt like I was part of a real and honest conversation between two women who both share a passion for creativity rather than a scripted interview! I also end up taking mental notes of the gorgeous ‘Harlequin’ for Joanna Lumley Shawl Cressida Bell is wearing, might treat myself for Christmas I thought…
The conversation finished and my day was complete.. What a perfect way of ending the whole day at the Handmade Fair… we made our way to the Hampton Court Palace to look around and got the boat on the Thames river back to Kingston..
Oh what a perfect day…..
MORE PHOTOS FROM THE HANDMADE FAIR – SEE THE TWO GALLERIES BELOW – JUST CLICK ON THE ARROWS AND ENJOY