Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Contemporary Craft Festival, Bovey Tracey

Last Friday I was lucky enough to finally visit this amazing event - thanks to a family visit not too far from Devon combined with a free ticket courtesy of exhibitor Dionne Swift. I'm just sorry I didn't make it until  its 10th year, it really is wonderful.

A sunny day in a park, huge marquees bursting with craft talent - 200 of the very best designer-makers, plus demonstrations and talks. What more could you ask from a day out? Good food and ice cream? Tick - even for us veggies. Yet more excellent crafts? Tick - the Devon Guild's Riverside Mill is just a short stroll away.
I can't possibly describe all the beautiful work I saw, so I'll just mention a few favourites with textile connections.

Dionne Swift, at the fair and in the mill too, had new machine stitched work that I loved. "Coastal Stitches" had bold sweeps of colour, "painterly" as they say - but for me stitch adds an essential extra dimension that paint lacks.
Laura Thomas sets loosely woven colourful threads in blocks of acrylic, creating gorgeous effects with reflected light. We've admired her work for years, but this time she had smaller affordable pieces so we now have our very own little piece.

I'd only seen Zoe Hillyard's "ceramic patchwork" in magazines - she takes broken ceramic vessels, covers each shard with fabric and then stitches them back together. Fascinating.

I'm always drawn to paper cuts - I think they relate to my own work, lacy, light and full of space. I fancy doing it, but the cutting is agony, have you tried it?! There must be a knack I haven't got. So I'll leave it to the experts...

Lucy Large had framed landscapes, birds and flowers in several colours, not just the usual all-white.

Caroline Rees is really a glass designer, but the stencils she makes for sandblasting are appealing in themselves so she does some as art in their own right.  

We've all seen (maybe even tried) crocheted wire jewellery - trouble is the wire won't let you pull it tight, it ends up quite loopy. Ebba Goring's solution is to use fine cotton to create crochet or lace and then use it to make a mould and cast in precious metal. Ingenious, beautiful.

Gilly Langton's bangles also used textile techniques - they're hand knitted in elastic, then dyed to give a shaded effect, and finished with a silver clasp.

And for Judith Brown it's haberdashery - she creates jewellery from hooks and eyes, press studs, etc., stitched together with wire. The all black ones are stunning, you don't realise what they're made of at first. 

And, and, and... I could go on forever but why not check out all the makers for yourself on the Craft Festival site! Inspiring.

1 comment:

Joe Pitcher said...

Lovely insight into your visit and an interesting introduction to the work of textile artists I'm not familiar with. I particularly like the stencils by Caroline Rees. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Joe from