A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of being invited to an evening of crafts and fizz at the press launch for The Handmade Fair, which will be coming to Bowood House in Wiltshire in June.
The launch was held in The Forge Bristol which is such a beautiful setting, after following them on IG for a while it was nice to have a chance to explore.
I was a tad obsessed with this old metal spiral staircase, although my phone wasn’t doing too well in the low light so apologies for the slightly fuzzy pictures – this in no way is due to the amount of fizz consumed. 😉
There were two crafts for us to try, both with makers who are going to be exhibiting at the fair. First we had a go at Indian block printing, which is where you use these intricately carved wooden blocks to stamp ink on fabric, it’s kind of like potato printing for grown ups. Our lovely guide from The Arty Crafty Place showed us some techniques, including ways to combine colours to create an ombre effect.
The blocks were beautiful on their own and the prints they produced were amazing, crisp clean lines in intricate patterns. I remember seeing people carving and selling these when I went to India, they’re the kind of thing that would look beautiful displayed on a shelf when you’re not printing with them.
After playing with our test pieces of fabric we were given a cotton napkin to stamp our designs on. I went with paisley motifs to try and create a traditional Indian design.
My lovely friend Peach who I’d bought along did a gorgeous botanical print using flowers and the most incredible bumble bee stamp.
Here’s my finished piece, I experimented with creating ombre and mixed colour prints. We both found it so therapeutic and relaxing, the ideal after work wind-down activity.
There was some block printed wrapping paper which looked amazing and shows that this print technique is really versatile. Depending on what type of paint or ink you use you can print on virtually anything. And how cute are the bumblebees?
Next up was silk painting with the lovely Nicola from Nicola Davis Crafts
We had a lovely selection of botanical and nature inspired illustrations to use as stencils which we then traced onto the silk using special markers. The idea behind drawing outlines is that because the silk is so delicate it’s really easy for the paint to bleed, the marker lines keep the colours contained allowing for a more deliberate design.
I went with a bird and flower motif so that I could experiment with using the pens to create delicate lines, they were pretty tricky to get the hang of!
I was pretty please with how this turned out. I’d experimented with blending blues and greens to create an interesting graduation of colour on the bird and it actually worked better than I’d expected. The key with silk painting is that less is more as the silk is so delicate and absorbent that a little paint goes a long way, the less you use the more control you have over where it goes. As you can see it did bleed over the lines in some places. After painting the bird and flower I added a background, in hindsight I should have used a different colour which didn’t match the bird, although I do like the dappled watercolour effect of adding the pink.
I had such a fab time at the launch and it was really fun to try my hand at new crafts in a beautiful setting.
The Handmade Fair, presented by Kirstie Allsopp is coming to Bowood House in June and it promises to be a craft lovers delight. Whether you want to expand your skills, pick up a new craft or are just looking to buy some treats for yourself or your home there’ll be something for everyone including live demos from experts, Q&As and workshops to get involved in.
More information about tickets can be found here, and if you’re not based in the South West then they also have fairs in Warwickshire and Hampton Court Palace. If you have any questions about it or the crafts I tried then let me know in the comments.
Love, Sarah x
p.s. I was invited to this launch but I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own.