Across the UK, crafters, makers and local producers are busy building stock for the flurry of Autumn craft fairs and farmers markets that mark the countdown to Christmas. Yes, I’ve mentioned it, ‘Christmas 2016’! If it seems too early for gift buying, spare a thought for the crafters who begin their planning and making before the previous year’s decorations have been packed away.
This will be the third year that I’ve shared a stall with my lovely crafter-in-crime Natalie (of ‘Nat’s Fairy Knits’) for a fantastic weekend of craft shenanigans and tasty local produce at Meadow School, Balsham. Personally, it’s a great way to support my son’s school in the best way I know how -crochet! I’ve spent a couple of years playing hooky, helping others get the hang of their triple-trebles and sharing my woolly loveliness on Etsy and www.theothermrsbeaton.com.
That’s all very safe and cosy, but there’s nothing better for developing as a crafter and a small business than meeting your target audience in person.
You can see what people like (and very much what they don’t like), you can get chatting to potential customers and in my case, meet future crochet students and pick up commissions which will see me through to the big day itself.
Starting out at a local fair where there are some friendly faces and plenty of tea and cake can provide your crafts the boost they need. I realised that I had a small self-diagnosed wool purchasing disorder and to make my hobby self-sustaining it made sense to try and flog my wares to unsuspecting folk lured by artisan bread and stunning glassware.
All of my pieces are made because I enjoy the methodical process and pleasing colour palettes, but unless I want to live in a house entirely coated in wool (which as instillation art goes would be somewhat eye-catching) I had to be practical. Picking up commissions and working to tailored customer specifications provides a motivating level of challenge -everything from a Christmas Dinner wreath to breast-feeding props have all come from my workbasket as a result!
This year it’s all about combining social media to help promote the event and my work, and setting a challenge that best displays what I can do with some yarn and a hook… and half a tonne of the area’s best cake!
I’ll be yarn-bombing an antique chair, roping in a few willing volunteers and aiming to show that crochet is accessible for all ages, easy to pick up and can (read: should) cover most things. Craft Fairs are all about bringing local community together, passing on traditional skills and sharing the very best of local, artisan and handmade produce that is available. So pop along, say hello and support the 27th Annual Meadow School Craft Gift Fair!
Who is The Other Mrs Beaton?
Crafter, hooker, tea drinker and occasional blog-ranter, Jen started crocheting 6 years ago when the lure of wool and granny squares became too much. A firm believer in passing on traditional handicrafts, patching up and repurposing what other folk throw away and coveting the bright, bold and retro, the modern Mrs Beaton can be found at www.theothermrsbeaton.com , www.facebook.com/theothermrsbeaton and clearing out the cupboards on www.etsy.com/theothermrsbeaton.
About the Fair:
The Balsham Craft, Gift and Food Fair is held at the Meadow Primary School, High Street, Balsham, Cambridge CB21 4DJ from 10.30am to 4pm. All ages welcome. Entrance £2 per adult (includes a tea/coffee per ticket), 50p per child under 16. Our extremely popular café will be selling homemade cakes, biscuits, filled rolls, bacon butties and hot dogs as well as serving up cream teas.