My favourite craft idol is without doubt Kirstie Allsopp and a couple of weeks ago I went to The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace. I took my friend Angela along who is also a big creative bee like myself, but it was just wonderful ‘escaping’ mum duties for a day and it just be the two of us, kid-free for a few hours!
It was a sunny Sunday and addmitedly I’ve never been to Hampton before, so it was a real pleasure to take it all in. The fair itself was opposite the palace, but that didn’t stop Ange and I visiting the palace grounds after.
‘Molly Makes’ teams up with Kirstie and The Handmade Fair for a third year running and promises to be another fantastic 3 day weekend of workshops and creative inspiration. With opportunities to meet with some of the top creative experts in the industry, and Kirstie herself. Sponsored by Hobbycraft, it’s an event not to be missed.
Having not been to Kirstie’s fair before, I was thrilled to be invited along and excited to get my creative senses tantalised! When you first arrive you are faced with numerous large tents and plenty of colour, bunting and the yummy smell of cuisines. If only I hadn’t had breakfast! Angela and I went straight to the Press tent to collect our pack and decide which workshops we wanted to participate in. Before that, we had a stroll around in the marketplace to take in all of the talented artisans and crafters. Stall after stall of wonderfully handmade and homemade products. Everything from art work, knitted and crochet gifts, stationary, fabric, toys and vintage. Unluckily for me I hadn’t foreseen that I would want to purchase EVERYTHING….luckily for my husband I didn’t bring his debit card with me (next.time)- yes all stalls take card!! What’s more is that all of the exhibitors were absolutely lovely and it was such a friendly and welcoming environment. The visitors were predominantly women, with friends or their mothers…and the occasional dad who had clearly been dragged along to be in charge of the baby while mum spent his money on more craft that she already has at home but NEEDS MORE (obvs)!
The VIP tent was calling us so we headed in there for some complimentary cups of tea and took stock of everything we had viewed before getting ready for our first workshop. We’d probably only been there for an hour and were buzzing with adrenaline! We signed up for three skills workshops; Confetti Crackers, I Make Knots and Tie Dye Infinity Scarf.
Confetti Crackers, with Zeena Shah.
Zeena crafts all of her handmade products in her East London studio. She makes things such as hand silk printed home accessories and also runs her own craft workshops from her studio. To find out more and view her beautiful collection, visit www.zeenashah.com
Who doesn’t love a confetti cracker right? I love them, as do my boys, so to get to make them was a treat..and so straight forward they are too! All of the kit was set out on the tables and Zeena ran through with us exactly what we had to do step by step. We made everything from decorating the outer part of the cracker using stamps, to pre-cutting the confetti for the inside. You can purchase the cracker ‘pulls’ from Hobbycraft and use toilet roll tubes for the inner part.
I Make Knots, with Riannon Selcuk.
Following on from her passion of knitting and crocheting, Riannon started up ‘I make knots’, creating everything from Jewellery to full scale knitwear! Visit her website at www.imakeknots.com
Wow, I had not put my hand to knitting for years, probably since I was a child, so this was certainly a craft that I needed to begin from scratch. Learning the techniques and skills I needed to create an impressive necklace knitted with fabric yarn. I’ve never used fabric yarn before but apparently it’ surety easy to pick up. Luckily for me, Riannon is an excellent (and patient) teacher! Angela was in her element and fell straight into her knitting skills pretty swiftly. Once I got into my stride, I too seemed to sail through occasionally needing support from the craft master herself! This was such fun and the end result was impressive!
Tie Dye Infinity Scarf, with Ellie Jarvis.
Ellie studied at Central St.Martin’s School of Art in London and developed a passion for fabric manipulation and embellishment. Her and her family have created a family business to be proud of, producing original and one-off textile designs as well as a range of greeting cards. To find out more, check out www.clovellysilk.com
Tie Dyeing always takes me back to memories from my childhood. I remember learning the techniques at school, using large buckets and getting her hands right in with large pieces of cotton fabric and a load of elastic bands! This workshop however, was slightly different. We were all given a White T’shirt which we needed to cut the top half off (neck and sleeves) to leave us with one tubular piece of fabric. This was our ‘infinity scarf’. To create our Tie Dye, we were using permanent Sharpie pens and surgical spirit (which you can buy in any high street chemist or pharmacy!). It was so much fun. We designed our own patterns with the pens and then carefully dripped (sparingly) the surgical spirit over the top from a height, which slowly seeps through the cotton to merge the pattern and colours effectively creating a Tie Dye! If you do this at home with your children however, it is vital that you man it, because the spirit must be used sparingly and is pretty potent 😉
After a busy day of making, eating, drinking and laughing with my friend, we were equipped with new skills and filled with inspiration to take home and share with our families. If you’ve not yet been to Kirstie’s Handmade Fair, then look out for tickets at the next event as I’m pretty sure you’ll LOVE it! In the meantime, I’m super excited to watch Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas on Channel 4 which will be on our TV screens soooooon….. YIPPEEEE!