On 27th January I attended the Craft 4 Crafters show at Westpoint, Exeter. My hubby very kindly drove me over, and picked me up at the end of the day, and in the meantime went off to see his brothers, and also to do our weekly grocery shop, which was a tremendous help.
I had an absolutely wonderful time, spending a whole day doing something I really enjoy, knowing I would most likely pay the price afterwards, but sometimes you just have to let it go, have a good time and ignore the consequences – as long as you don’t make a habit of it!!
As before, the Egg Crafters’ Guild was there with their wonderful display, and again they allowed me to take some photos of their exquisite work. I loved this little ladybird:
She looks ready to spread her wings and fly away home!
All the eggs were so beautiful this year, as I am sure you will agree.
I photographed this one last year, but not from this angle. It is based on a Faberge egg.
Aren’t they exquisite?
The Glitter Man wasn’t there this time – the one I thought looked like a pirate king in his cave, but there was some glitter for sale – in bulk!!
I didn’t buy any because I find Stickles (glitter glue) a lot easier to handle, but I love looking at it. This picture really doesn’t do it justice – in real life it was much more glittery!
I took a few photos of displays that were just a lovely feast of colour and texture. Here are some embroidery threads:
and some wools:
and some scarves.
I visited the stand of the Westcountry Embroiderers – I used to belong to a local group when we lived in Plymouth, but after we moved I was too busy and never got round to joining the local group where we live now, although I know one or two people who belong. It was a lovely group to belong to; we used to meet for a day once a month, and alternate months would be workshop days when we took along our own work to do in the company of others, and chat and share ideas etc., and the other months would be day schools when a teacher would come and show us a particular skill or technique. I learnt such a lot during that time!
This year at the show, as well as displaying a few individual pieces of their work which they’d done recently, the members had decided to make a special display on the theme of fans, and it was fascinating to see how each member had interpreted this theme. This is a picture of part of the display:
and some more detailed shots:
In addition to looking at all this wonderful stuff, I was in search of bargains, of course! I managed to stock up on quite a lot of things – staples such as double sided tape, cardstock and glue of various kinds, and also got a whole lot of new Stickles in fabulous jewel colours, more Perfect Pearls (mica powder with a binding agent so you can paint or spray them on with water and when they are dry, they do not come off), embossing powders and distress inks – I think I’ve now got most of the colours. I also found some wires for my Cinch binding machine. In addition, I made a point of visiting a stand whose website I’d looked up the night before, which sold mixed media materials – this is something I want to get into more, as I really enjoyed my experiments with meltings last year. I bought some Tyvek and various other bits and pieces on that stand, and they were very helpful with instructions, and said to email them if I needed further help, or go on their website.
Last year there was someone showing how to make the most beautiful flowers out of florist’s ribbon, and by the time I got to his stand I really felt I’d spent enough money, so decided against buying the DVD and kit, thinking I would remember how to do it, but of course when the time came, I couldn’t remember. I made a few, but they were quite difficult and it took me a long time, and I didn’t have the correct tool for shredding the ribbon, so this time I looked out for him, and made a point of visiting him and buying the stuff. I am looking forward to getting down to that, as they are so pretty – I shall probably use the larger ones for decorating wrapped gifts; the smaller ones have greater potential for projects. The lady who was helping him said that as I’d made a point of coming back to them, she would give me 2 extra lengths of ribbon free! I chose my colours in pairs – a lighter and darker version of each colour – if I don’t make them all up into flowers, this is lovely for iris folding, which I’d like to get back to, having done some a few years ago.
It was great visiting all the stands and seeing so many things that I normally only see online – it gives you a much better impression to see them “in the flesh.” I didn’t buy a lot of equipment – mostly materials – but I picked up a bow maker that I’d seen on TV and which looked good.
The demos were absolutely fantastic this year. I watched someone doing needle felt, which I’d love to try, but have put on the back burner for now as I have got enough to do without starting something new! She was wearing a necklace made of felt in the shape of liquorice allsorts which was causing quite a lot of amusement – they really did look good enough to eat! – and she had a glass jar on the stand, with more of the same. She was making little teddy bears, and had lots of lovely flowers and other things on display that she had made.
I watched someone using white embossing powder on card, and then inking the card so that the embossed part acted as a resist, creating a background from blended inks. I have done a bit of this, but she then stamped on top, using the same stamp as the resist, to make a shadow effect. On some of them she also stamped a sentiment. These were so quick to do, and so effective, and she demonstrated how to think outside the box and not just automatically use the whole stamp, but look at different elements of it, and use it in unusual ways.
On another stand, someone was doing something similar with ink blending, making a frame from torn paper and using it as a stencil, and then stamping randomly over the top, using the stamp several times from one impression on the stamp pad, to give several images of varying intensity, which gave a lovely soft effect with lots of depth. She had made some beautiful little mini-albums which were displayed on her stand.
These two demos made me think again about stamping. When I started, I bought quite a lot of stamps, and haven’t really used them much, preferring to do things that I thought were less limiting, but I now realise that there is much more to stamping than just plonking an image in the middle of a card and colouring it!
Someone else was using stencil brushes to ink his samples, instead of a blending pad, and getting some lovely stippled results. Distress inks are so versatile, and you can get so many different effects with them. I agree with the people who say they no longer get their watercolours out – they just use distress inks!
There was so much to see, too much for one day really. When I arrived I decided to be very disciplined and go to the stands I’d decided in advance I wanted to visit – for example the one that sold the PureLite bulbs which I use – I thought I’d stock up with a few spares – and then to look for the things that were on my list but not necessarily on any specific stand. After that, it was time for lunch, and then I could relax and make my way around the whole show.
I took sandwiches for my lunch, and sat at one of the small tables they’d provided by the cafeteria. An older couple and their daughter asked if they could join me – the daughter was a wheelchair user, and we soon got talking and discovered that we both had M.E.! She had become ill after a bout of chicken pox twenty years ago, and we both agreed how much we appreciate our carers – in her case her parents, and in mine, my hubby – without whom we couldn’t do half the things we do. She was unable to go round the show on her own, but with the power add-on for my wheelchair, I was able to, as this gives me a lot more independence. Without it I would become much too fatigued in a very short time. Much as I appreciate my hubby, I would not have enjoyed the show as much if he had been there, because it isn’t really his thing, and I would have been worried about him being bored – and also he would have witnessed exactly how much I was spending!!!!! – he’s very good about this and never makes a fuss, but what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over!
On that subject, the previous day, we had been watching an old episode of “The Good Life” on TV, and Margot had surprised everyone by saying, in the pub, “This one’s on me.” She turned to her husband and said, “Jerreh… Moneh!!” Most of the people at the show were ladies, but there were a few faithful husbands trailing along, and I told one of them about this, and he said, “Yes! That’s me!!” and roared with laughter! I think most crafters’ husbands are very longsuffering and good natured! (They need to be…)
It was an absolutely wonderful day, but about an hour before my hubby was due to pick me up, my excitement, enthusiasm and adrenalin were no longer up to the job and I couldn’t keep going any longer – which was a shame because the crowds had thinned out my then and I could see everything a lot more easily. By the time he came, I was utterly pooped and when we got home, was completely unable to do anything apart from eat my fish and chips that we picked up on the way home! I couldn’t keep awake, so decided to go to bed early, but as usual when that happens, I slept appallingly badly and was fully expecting to be suffering badly the day after, but although I was very tired and not able to do much, I didn’t feel too bad! Payback can be delayed, of course, but I am hoping that first night was enough!
Now all that remains do be done is for me to try out all my new purchases and Have Fun! I have already started putting them away, and enjoying handling them and anticipating all the lovely things I am going to make with them, and looking back on an entirely enjoyable and perfect day.