I must admit that I have always been a bit of a sucker for a craft fair! We are incredibly fortunate to be richly blessed with a myriad of talented creatives here, so hardly a week goes by in the summer and around Christmas that a craft fair in Cornwall is not within striking distance.
Speaking with many of the stall holders over the years a pattern becomes evident. Many have moved to Cornwall seeking a slower pace of life and find this alone can allow them to relax and focus on their art or craft and develop their skills without too much distraction. They have followed their dream, often relinquishing the large salaries and status symbols that a previous ‘rat race’ lifestyle had provided, and settled in to a more modest but satisfying way of life.
This is not true of everyone, of course, and I often find makers who have studied at Falmouth School of Art and loved it so much that they stayed on and made successful businesses using their own unique talent. Of course, there are also native Cornish artists too and it all ends up with me being spoilt for choice if I want to buy a special gift or indulge myself.
The Narrative Contemporary Craft and Art Fair
This weekend I visited a new venue, St Austell College, to attend Narrative Fair (25-26 May 2019), a contemporary craft and art fair organised by the lovely Sarah Drew. Sarah specialises in creating stunning jewellery from beach finds set in gold and silver. She has worked exceptionally hard to bring together a group of talented people from across the county to showcase their wares. The fair featured clothing, lampshades, jewellery, printing, artwork, health and beauty products and much more.
I had bumped into many of the stall holders before at fairs looking for unusual bits and pieces to decorate the cottages at Bosinver. Guests often ask me where I find some of the decorative items and I am happy to recommend these lovely local businesses.
Three that stood out for me today (besides Sarah, of course), were the lovely Lou Tonkin with her beautiful lino cut prints on textiles and ceramics, Keri and Pete from Humble Cottage in Penryn who create homeware with stories behind them (prints, fabric, lampshades and lovely light boxes) and Kaitlyn who trades as Cornish Bird in the Sticks in Redruth and produces vibrant digital artwork of Cornish people and places which is guaranteed to make you smile.
I took my grandchildren and had promised an ice cream reward for good behaviour. Sarah had told me that Cecil On Ice (the ice cream maker parked outside) was a ‘must visit’ This was almost the highlight of my day; I can honestly say I had the best ice cream I had ever tasted – salted caramel with rosemary. Sam had dark chocolate choc chip with real mint and he shared my enthusiasm. They have a shop in Penryn but cater for weddings and events from their lovely vintage trailer. I am really looking forward to trying a Tarquin’s Cornish Gin and Fever-Tree tonic with a citrus garnish ice cream when I haven’t got to drive home!
I just love chatting to this wonderful friendly group of people as I stock up on greeting cards and presents for friends and family. They’re such an interesting bunch!
Visit Cornwall 365 for details of upcoming craft fairs and events throughout the year and start planning your next trip to Cornwall.