Last Sunday I had the wonderful pleasure of attending the inaugural Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace in London. I jumped on the hideously early 6.30am train from Cambridge with a few close crafty pals to join thousands of fellow creatives in the most beautiful setting on a sunny day.
I was invited to attend as press, but decided on sharing the day with friends instead and I’m so glad I did (my friends are barmy and delightful in equal measures).
Kirstie Allsopp opened the fair each day and could be spotted in different talks and sessions or speeding around on a bunting adorned golf buggy with huge pom pom headbands and shoe clips. I may steal the idea and start a travelling craft party around Cambridge…
World Pomination was in full swing as you entered the fair with the world record attempt for the longest pom pom chain still progressing.
As soon as I walked in I met a blog reader (hello Sheree!) and caught up with Zoe Jade of Ladybird Likes in the Mollie Makes tent.
The fair was really well laid out with tents for shopping, workshops and talks. The food and drink section was blimmin’ awesome, but more on this later.
If the fair runs again, I think they could give each person a map as you had to buy a £5 programme or talk to volunteers for directions. Maybe they could have emailed them out to attendees to print themselves.
The decorations made for a Pinterest worthy event. Lots of bunting, balloons and garlands. The Handmade Fair team had worked really hard.
My ‘full experience’ ticket (£29) included talks, craft workshops and shopping so I decided on gift wrapping with Jane Means (who is hilarious by the way), calligraphy and an Etsy talk with Kirstie and Matt Doris. You could also pay extra for more workshops on the day.
Jane Means gave tips for making your Christmas gifts look luxurious on a charity shop budget. She scours pound shops for supplies to compliment her ribbons.
A friend visited Poppy Chancellor’s paper cutting workshop and made this beautiful tree.
My attempts at calligraphy were not so beautiful, but I have a day school to attend soon, so I hope to improve!
Now, the food and drink vendors made the fair for me. EPIC DUCK WRAPS. If you ate one you will understand. There were also some great veggie options too.
There was alcoholic iced tea (with vodka and a shot of gin!)….
…..and a Prosecco van and tea rooms dotted around.
The shopping section of the fair was substantial with a good balance of yarn, fabric and treaty stalls such as Lush who also had a spa. I could have done with a few more paper crafting stalls, but I’m not complaining.
It was a crafters dream with a Hobbycraft shopping tent too and lots of show discounts. I managed to find Kate with her stall for The Homemakery and discovered Multi Pom who sell tools for making up to 20 pom poms at once!
I came away with some Wool and the Gang yarn and some new knitting needles. I also got a calligraphy book and some handmade marshmallows which are to die for. There were some great handmade sellers in attendance too, especially in the Etsy and Mollie Makes tents.
All in all, a fabulous day. It reminded me of the amazing community we have and how crafters will strike up conversations with anyone. Everyone we encountered was super friendly and it was fab to see some bloggy pals in real life too as well as spotting Sewing Bee contestants.
I hope they made enough money to put the fair on again next year! Did you attend? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below.