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What's happened to REAL craft fairs?

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  • What's happened to REAL craft fairs?

    I went to a fair sized craft fair this morning but was really disappointed.
    The majority of stalls were full of mass produced tat. There was a handful of genuine handmade craft stalls but unfortunately these got lost in amongst all the other stuff.
    Whatever happened to the demonstrations that used to go on alongside quality handmade crafts?
    Do these only happen at the biggest fairs, where you lose some of the atmosphere?
    Am I going to the wrong places? I suspect that the kind of thing I'm looking for would be a day trip for me, which, with family commitments now would be almost impossible.
    I'm in the Midlands, so if you can point me in the right direction I'd be grateful!
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  • #2
    There are a few organisers than insist on handmade things but I'm finding that it is often the case that things are bought in which makes handmade crafts look expensive by comparison. I know it is up to us to ask the organisers but as I don't want to travel too far and those near me take most things I'm rather stuck.

    I've just been to a fair and there were hardly any visitors so its very disheartening.
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    • #3
      So many so called 'craft' fairs aren't that at all really, but there are some here in the Midlands that I can wholeheartedly recommend.

      Any of the events organised by Pennine Fairs or Cuckoos Nest are going to be handmade only, good quality & full of really interesting crafts. Off the top of my head, there is a Cuckoos Nest fair on the 12th & 13th of November at the Three Swans Hotel in Market Harborough (I'm going to be there so do pop by & say hello if you come along).

      The next Pennine event is I believe the weekend after that at Sywell Aerodrome 'Hangar One' near Northampton, this is always a good one to go to.

      And finally, if I can be cheeky, I'll recommend my own It's on Sunday 4th December at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre (between Leamington & Southam), & again, all handmade products only with no bought in or franchised sellers.

      HTH

      Claire
      Website; www.midshiresmakers.co.uk
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      • #4
        I've had this problem too. The only thing that works is to be really choosy about where you go, ask lots of questions. My main two are:- are the stalls only for hand made goods? and will there be Santa or facepainting? I found that if Santa is in residence or there are face painters its more of a school/church fair and not a proper craft fair. My stuff is rather spe******ed and I found this works for me.
        Jan x

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        • #5
          Popped into one I am hoping to get involved in here in Wiltshire. Not an import in sight and all good quality work, decently priced. The organiser is extremely strict and vets whatever is being sold. Really good to see. Also comforting to know that they do exist. She (the organiser) said that she is getting more requests for fairs than she can handle at the moment so the market is out there for decent ones.

          Pete
          "Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art" ... Leonardo Da Vinci
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          • #6
            Some useful info there, thankyou!
            My problem is that I don't have any child-free time, so can't travel to decent ones. Think I'll have to put craft fairs on the back-burner and resume at a later date. I used to take myself around the country on holiday and visiting craft fairs as I went. Sigh!

            Just had a look at all those mentioned above and they look perfect, just what I hope for when I see 'craft fair' but you just don't get normally. And the Cuckoo's Nest Gallery is just stunning.
            Last edited by SecretSheep; 23-10-2011, 05:23 PM.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by SecretSheep View Post
              I went to a fair sized craft fair this morning but was really disappointed.
              The majority of stalls were full of mass produced tat. There was a handful of genuine handmade craft stalls but unfortunately these got lost in amongst all the other stuff.
              Whatever happened to the demonstrations that used to go on alongside quality handmade crafts?
              Do these only happen at the biggest fairs, where you lose some of the atmosphere?
              Am I going to the wrong places? I suspect that the kind of thing I'm looking for would be a day trip for me, which, with family commitments now would be almost impossible.
              I'm in the Midlands, so if you can point me in the right direction I'd be grateful!
              This isn't the first time this question has been raised on this forum....
              The main problem, for those of us who make genuine hand-crafted goods, is precisely that we are competing against mass-produced tat, which is CHEAPER!!
              Our stuff isn't cheap, because it is good, and because it is also made of good MATERIALS!! I do knitwear, I use Shetland Lace or Manos del Uruguay - the yarn isn't cheap, even before I start making the items!!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SecretSheep View Post
                Some useful info there, thankyou!
                My problem is that I don't have any child-free time, so can't travel to decent ones. Think I'll have to put craft fairs on the back-burner and resume at a later date. I used to take myself around the country on holiday and visiting craft fairs as I went. Sigh!

                Just had a look at all those mentioned above and they look perfect, just what I hope for when I see 'craft fair' but you just don't get normally. And the Cuckoo's Nest Gallery is just stunning.

                We have just come back from exhibiting at Kate and Mick's Cuckoos Nest Fair at Syston - all the stalls were of very high quality handmade craft items - so much talent a great event - well worth travelling to
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                • #9
                  There are too mant franchises that chase Craft Fairs for stall. It waters down the contents very bady. I also fine that some organisers dont understand some craft and write them off to easily. When making something sometimes you can only produce so much at home and some organisers carry the hand made to far.
                  Ie can a candle make refine and produce their own wax.

                  To me a crafter has at least done something to their raw materials and produced a produce different from thier raw materials.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by leonora View Post


                    This isn't the first time this question has been raised on this forum....
                    The main problem, for those of us who make genuine hand-crafted goods, is precisely that we are competing against mass-produced tat, which is CHEAPER!!
                    Our stuff isn't cheap, because it is good, and because it is also made of good MATERIALS!! I do knitwear, I use Shetland Lace or Manos del Uruguay - the yarn isn't cheap, even before I start making the items!!
                    I find that too, I make leather bags, I use high quality veg tan, it costs me around £50 sqm, so for the average size bag I'm usually looking at around £20 for leather, buckles, fastenings etc. before I've even started, then there's someone on the next stall selling bags for a tenner!
                    http://www.kirkstoneleathercraft.co.uk/

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