Three Choirs Festival, Worcester 2011

This week I’ve been heading back and forth to Worcester for the Three Choirs Festival. The Worcestershire Guild of Craftsmen have a marquee in the cathedral grounds and it’s such a beautiful setting!

The show consists of work from the Worcestershire Guild, Hereford Guild and Cotswold Guild, presenting an excellent variety of contemporary craft work from the region.

Some of the highlights include:

Cermacist Rachel Padley makes the most beautful use of some seriously vibrant glazes across neat, practical forms (and I might have to bring home some tiny little bowls for the workshop …)

but if I could bring something from the show home? It’s be one of these, expressive little pieces from jeweller Judith Price who makes solft, organic forms while still retaining an air of precision.

The show is on until Saturday – so don;t miss the chance to come on down and say hello …

Follow Friday – Harvest Festival

I had a stand at the Malvern Autumn Show last weekend and, while I was up in the Arts and Crafts hall, I did get a chance to have a quick stroll around the rest of the event – and these inventive displays amazed me.

Malvern Autumn Show 2010

It took me back to the Craft and Produce Shows that my village ran when I was a child. My Dad would spend days hunting for the most perfect, bruise free cooking apples on our apple tree and the whole village would smell of the WI making jam. The children would all get involved with a craft entry or two and, while I don’t think I ever really won anything, I was sad when the event stopped running a few years ago.

So, here’s a Harvest collection, in memory of the good old days:

Top Left: Tomato Tote by Tessa Thomas

Top Right: Go Veggie Apron by Total Radness

Lower Left: Green Apple Pincushion by Woolly Duck

Lower Right: Tomato Slice Studs by Foundlings Jewellery

The Worcestershire Guild’s Autumn Show

I spent the weekend doing my first selling fair with the Worcestershire Guild of Designer Craftsman at the Malvern Autumn Show. I joined the Guild back in January but this was the first opportunity I had to get involved with what it’s really about. The Guild is designed to bring individual craftsmanship to public attention, through fairs and shows, and encourage us craftspeople to make a living doing what we love.

It’s a noble aim and, looking around at the variety and quality of work on show this weekend, I think that they might just be achieving it.

One of the things I find when I do events is that people are always surprised by the sheer quantity of talented craftspeople around … and so was I when I stumbled across the Guild. I had no idea that so many of them were hidden away, scattered around Worcestershire, where I’ve lived for most of life. It’s clear that I don’t get out of the Jewellery Quarter and explore enough!

Among the jewellers on show were Sian Elizabeth Hughes and Melanie Hamlet (who runs the inspirational contemporary jewellery business, Kokkino) both of whom will be exhibiting at Goldsmiths Fair next week.

Left: Sian Elizabeth Hughes - Right: Kokkino

But I was really taken in looking at the Crafts that I have very little experiene of. There’s a staggering wealth of these in the Guild:

Marie-Therese King is a batik artist who creates original artwork in a medium that I only ever managed to get burned with, when I attempted it way back in school. Her inspiration ranges all through the natural world and her images are dealt with using a bright, bold palette that’s confident, assured and quite beautiful. She puts stunning levels of detail into her work, this was on of my favourites:

Marie-Therese King, Seagulls

though I loved this series too:

Marie-Therese King, Aquilegia and Honesty

And, just across the hall from Marie-Therese, hung the work of Rowan McOnegal. A stained glass artist Rowan’s glass panels made me want to build a cruck framed house, Grand Designs style, so that I had a home to do justice to her work. Based around botany and with a real rural feel Rowan combines colours and somehow works a sensitive, textured feel into the flat surface of her glass:

Rowan McOnegal, Pink and amber Sunflower

She says that she feels that “this medium perfectly combines her love of image making using drawing, painting, colour and changing light” and that’s shown off perfectly here:

Rowan McOnegal, Willowherb Portrait

Needless to say I’m now looking forward to the next Guild show, Innov8:

to be held on the 26th – 28th of November at  Number 8 in Pershore where another selection of Guild members, hopefully including me, will be on show.

Malvern Autumn Show 2010 – set up

I spent the day on the road today, going down to Malvern to set up for a weekend show. Malvern is a gorgeous little historical town but the driving wind and gloomy skies kept me from appreciating the view too much. Plus, I had to keep my eye on the SatNav to find the venue. When I got there I realised that it’s actually pretty hard to miss the Three Counties Showground. I’ve never been there before,  it seems to be mainly used for agricultural shows … and it’s huge. No really. I sort of expected some marquees in a field but this is what I was greeted with:

Yep. Huge. And that’s one hall. The event, The Malvern Autumn Show, is looking forward to welcoming 60,000 people across two days and includes everything from gardening to quality local craftware. It’s an epic selction and I’m not sure you could honestly see it all in two days but, if you do venture out to see it, drop by the Worcestershire Guild‘s stand and say hello to me!