A crafty way to spend time

A crafty way to spend time

The shortening of the days and the onset of less clement weather has made me think of what activities and events my social companion and I can look forward to over autumn and winter.

Walking is always an option of course but for us this has now become an activity that is very dependent on the weather. Our days of sloshing through the mud, rain and wind are well and truly over! Trips around stately homes and gardens are something we always enjoy but what about something a bit different?

I was amazed at how many people attended the Festival of Quilts in August and this got me thinking about other craft and design shows. It is true to say that we have more spare time and leisure time now than at any point in history. Technological advances in domestic appliances, communication and transport have given us more time to explore our own creativity and appreciate the artistry of others.

Fairs and shows

The UK is widely regarded as one of the most diversely creative countries in Europe and consequently there is an enormous range of fairs and shows to go to throughout the year. We have a staggering number of highly talented and skilled makers who show their work – and sell it – in venues ranging from small local craft fairs to large crafting shows and bespoke craft galleries.

Crafts can also include activities relating to our living heritage – willow basket weaving, spinning, weaving and forge work to name but a few. Gone are the days when ‘crafting’ was seen as a niche activity for either arty types or grannies.

The Crafts Council is an organisation that actively supports and helps to develop those involved in crafts of all genres. Their website tells us that crafting and making currently contributes £3.4 billion to the economy which is a staggering amount.

There are a bewildering range of guilds and organisations covering familiar activities such as beadwork, decoupage, wood turning and lace making and some less well known activities such as miniature doll making, body painting and straw craft. If you are interested in a specific craft then it is worth checking out the Internet to find the relevant guilds and organisations and see what’s on and where.

Something for everyone

These exhibitions and fairs showcase a bewildering amount of bespoke and sometimes unusual work from some very creative people. Items range from the purely decorative to the functional – something for everyone. Some of the larger events also offer workshops and talks so it is always worth checking before you go in case attendance at these sessions needs to be booked in advance.

Events both large and small sometimes have stalls selling the materials and equipment needed for some of the crafts, should you be inspired to try your hand. Indeed, a visit can often encourage us to take up a new hobby.

With the festive season fast approaching there will be a higher number of craft events than usual. A cursory search of the Internet Craft Fair website www.craftanddesign.net showed over 40 crafting events across the UK during October and November covering all sorts of crafts.

Maybe this year its time to try something different when embarking on our Christmas shopping trips, and make a few visits to some of these fabulous events.

The very nature of these fairs means that you are much more likely to find a bespoke, individual and distinctive gift. I’m sure that it will make the whole experience much more interesting, pleasurable and most importantly – less fraught!