Friday, 16 February 2018

Craft4Crafters Show 2018 in Exeter

01 Craft4Crafters Show Guide

Yesterday I went to the Craft4Crafters Show at Westpoint in Exeter. I was thrilled to be taken by a friend and her mother, and another lady came too, and along with my wheelchair and a box for purchases, it was a good thing they had a big car!

This was the first time I’d been to a craft show for several years. Last year I was ill, ditto 2015, and during other years I was reluctant to ask my hubby to drive me because he was already doing so much for Mum and looking after me, and hardly had time to enjoy his retirement after he stopped being so busy with work. This year he would have driven me, except he’s still not driving after breaking his leg. Anyway, thanks to my lovely friend, I got there this year, and I had the most wonderful time. After the previous couple of months being so horrendous, this was a real treat for me, and my credit card had a real outing too!!

Now I’ve got my mojo back, I was keen to find things to help with current projects, in particular my mystery project – and I was looking specifically for dies, stencils, papers… Before we went, I had been on the show website and made a list of the stands I definitely wanted to visit, and also a list of things I wanted to buy – alongside this, I made a list of things I’d already got, so I didn’t inadvertently buy any duplicates; for instance, I wanted to stock up on some of the new Distress Oxides I hadn’t yet got. I went armed with my little notebook with the lists, and this was a great help, because it’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything and lose track of what you went for!

The first stand I visited, I found a Hunkydory scoring board (in glorious purple!) which I simply had to have – for years I’ve been using a Score Pal one but it hasn’t got enough lines on it and they are always in the wrong place for what I want. This new board has inches on one side, with divisions every 1/8 in. and on the reverse, centimetres, so everything is covered.

01 Score Board

It is quite thin, and has a handle on top, and I think I may store it vertically which will take up less space. I’m thinking of having some sort of rack to store my various boards – envelope punch board, cutting mat, paper trimmer etc. so that I can pick them out as I need them, rather than having them floating around on the work surface, with the one I want at any given moment always being at the bottom of the heap. I need to do some serious studio reorganising, I’m thinking.

I stocked up on loads of double-sided tape (very cheap in bulk, three different widths) – I’ve been getting through loads of that recently, especially with my mystery project. I also got some more plain heavy white cardstock for card bases.

02 White Cardstock and DS Tapes

On the website I’d seen an intriguing tool I was very keen to look at – a Gyro-Cut, which is a craft knife with a rotating blade and an erganomic handle. I was able to try it out and loved it! After trying some basic cuts, I attempted cutting around a more complex stamped image, and the man said I’d done a very good job for a first attempt! So in my bag it went.

03 Gyro-Cut

In the discount package I got with this tool, I got a bottle of glue for making the cutting mat tacky, to hold the paper in place while you cut. He said one coating was good for many repeated uses, and it could also be used on the back of stencils to hold them in place, and it would leave no residue on the unglued surface. I asked if this would be suitable for electronic cutting machine mats and he said yes – many people asked him this. It is water-based, and easy to apply. I have always used 3M spray photo mount for this and it’s horrible to use – really smelly, and hard not to get it on the surrounding area, and initially it makes the mat much too sticky, which damages the work when you try to remove it. I think this new glue will be very useful indeed, and he said that the bottle would last for ages, but I could always get more from their website.

04 Sticky Mat Adhesive

Blendy Pens – these amazing water-based pens can be attached together so their colours blend, and as you use them, the colour gradually changes. I’m not quite sure how I am going to use these yet, but they were so intriguing, especially as in the kit was a little bulb-operated air brush which can be used with other pens as well, and he threw in a pack of stencils too. I shall have fun playing with those. Exploring online, they seem to be directed exclusively at children, and I can’t find any info or videos showing adults using them for serious artwork, but I think they have potential.

05 Blendy Pens

I got another Really Useful Box (4 litre size) to store my growing collection of Distress Oxides – it will fit nicely on the shelf with the other two that I keep my Distress Inks and Archival Inks in.

06 Distress Oxides and RUB

On the left-hand side, stacked up, are the Distress Oxides I already had (the complete set of the initial launch), and laid out are the new Distress Oxides I got yesterday. I didn’t want to get others in the range because several seemed very similar, but I think I have now got a good representative collection colour-wise.

I got some very nice mixed media stencils.

07 Mixed Media Stencils

Leaf dies, frames, backgrounds, doilies, edges etc.

08 Dies

I particularly like the two doily ones, because they are made up of several dies that can be used together, or separately, or in different combinations, giving you lots of options for different borders etc. I’ve not had a lot of experience dealing with this sort of thing and I’m looking forward to experimenting.

I found some gorgeous quilling dies – something I hadn’t come across before – you cut them out and roll the pieces up with a quilling tool to make really quick flowers. I want to make a lot of these for my mystery project.

10 Quilling Dies

I didn’t buy the only stamen die they had left – the pretty ones were old out, and anyway, I can use something different. One option is just to roll up a plain strip, giving a flat surface onto which you can attach a gem or other suitable flower centre. The lady on the stand gave me a personal demonstration of how the flowers are constructed.

They also had dies for making easel cards, but the dies can be used for other purposes as well. Like the doily dies above, there are several in the set, and you can mix and match, and create mats, borders, windows, delicate frames, etc. etc. Again, I can’t wait to experiment with these. Leann Chivers, who designed them for Crafters’ Companion, and whose Facebook video I’ve linked to above, produces so many variations with stunning results.

11 Easel Card Dies

I got an absolutely gorgeous 8 x 8 paper stack by Trimcraft (who I’d never heard of before) called “Gilded Winter” – all very subtle beige and cream with gold, glitter and embossing, and some double-sided. Fabulous patterns.

12 Gilded Winter Paper Stack

Here are some examples of the papers.

13 Gilded Winter Example 1


15 Gilded Winter Example 3

16 Gilded Winter Example 4

17 Gilded Winter Example 5

I bought a few separate sheets of 12 x 12 papers with a weathered wood plank design which will make fabulous backgrounds for projects. They are double-sided with a surf wave pattern on the back which I’m not so interested in but it’s very pretty. These are by Kaiser Craft and they are from a collection called Sandy Toes! They were produced in Australia, where they certainly know all about sand and surf.

18 Kaiser Craft Sandy Toes Collectiob 12 x 12 Papers

I bought a mixed pack of Wendy Vecchi’s Clearly for Art which I’ve wanted to get my hands on for years, and a small pack of vellum. The pack of silvery glitter card was a freebie thrown in with some of the Distress Oxides that I bought.

19 Clearly for Art, Parchment and Freebie Glitter Card

Finally, a few oddments – I only bought one stamp, a peacock feather one which I really liked. Some stencil glue (bought before I saw the sticky mat glue) and some fabric glue, some gold embossing powder and a set of fine tip applicator bottles. That about wraps it up!

19 Feather Stamp, Glues, Glue Applicators and Embossing Powder

One thing I’d been looking out for, and which seemed in very short supply, was punches. Last time I went to a craft show there were lots to choose from. I am missing a few in my series of incremental circles and was hoping to fill these gaps, but I can always find them online, I expect.

I am going to have So Much Fun playing with this lot!

As for the rest of the show, there were quite a few demonstrations going on but I didn’t spend too much time on them because there was so much to see and we didn’t have much time. Also, especially at the beginning, there were so many people crowding around and I couldn’t see anything at all from a sitting position. I did stop at one a bit later when the crowds had thinned out somewhat – this lady was creating tiny miniature canvases with a paint pouring method that looked like marbling, using thinned-down gesso into which she poured different colours of fluid iridescent paint, and after minimal stirring she poured this over the canvas with beautiful results.

14 Marbled Mini-Canvas Painting Demo

On her table she had lots of pieces that she had made, not just with this technique but mixed media, and she was happy for me to photograph them.

15 Marbled Painting Examples

16 Shabby Chic Mixed Media Canvas

17 Butterfly Mixed Media Canvas

Gorgeous, aren’t they.

This was a beautiful altered book she’d done.

18 Mixed Media Altered Book

I didn’t take as many photos as I’ve done at previous shows, but several stands caught my eye – mostly textile ones, although I didn’t buy anything in that line this time. There were some stunning quilts.

06 Quilts and Fabrics

04 Quilts, Fabrics and Trims

These juicy colourful trims caught my eye.

03 Multi-Coloured Trims

Aren’t those Paisleys just delicious? There was also quite a bit going on with Indian textiles – braids and trims, sari fabric, etc. I photographed some beautiful embroidered panels. Lots of gorgeous bright colours!

05 Embroidered Panel

07 Four Embroidered Panels

Other interesting textile pieces included some smaller items made from patchwork.

08 Patchwork Christmas Baubles

09 Patchwork Christmas Trees

You can see that it was mostly vibrant bright colours that caught my eye!

The same felt makers were there that I’d seen at the County Show – as usual they had their stunning Lion and Lamb hanging which I’d seen several times before (I took this photo on a previous occasion):

27 Peace in the Valley Felted Picture

This year they had a new one – St. George and the Dragon!

10 St George and the Dragon in Felt

I took a photo from the side as well, so that you could see just how 3-dimensional this is:

11 St George and the Dragon - Side View

It’s huge, as well! A fantastic piece of work. Is there anything people can’t create?

There was a stand dedicated to MosaiCraft – what the man described as miniature Lego – you press tiny cubes of plastic onto a spiked grid and make a mosaic following a chart rather like cross stitch. While this wasn’t something I was interested in doing, their stand was quite impressive:

12 MosaiCraft Stand

Apparently you can submit a photo and they will pixilate it, and create a chart for you, and make up a kit with all the tiny pieces you will need to make it.

I loved their disclaimer – also made with this method:

13 MosaiCraft Disclaimer

Nice Celtic knot panel above it, too, and how about that amazing tiger?

I had to photograph the sign for this stand, simply because I loved the lettering.

09 Inspirations Handicraft Sign

One one of the papercrafting stands, there were lots of stunning cards that people had made from the various products – so inspirational! When I see stuff like this I think that I could actually enjoy card making more than I do…

02 White Window Card with Gold Border

01 Floral Window Card

(The card in this photo, like the white one in the photo above, had a window – when I edited this photo I removed what you could see through the window (part of the wall behind, which was distracting) and replaced it with black. I love how the flowers and leaves trail across the aperture.)

One of the cards (which I didn’t photograph) had a piece of embossed acetate over the aperture, which caught the light and sparkled. Beautiful! Soooo many ideas…

It was all laid out pretty well, with most of the papercrafting stuff near the entrance, and the textile stuff (quilting, embroidery, sewing, knitting and yarns etc.) towards the back of the hall, so that people could concentrate on their particular areas of interest without having to search high and low for the stands they wanted to visit. There were other stands dotted around, with miscellaneous things not necessarily related to craft – Cats’ Protection was there, and Bicton College (agricultural), the RSPB, and a man demonstrating a knife-sharpening tool; there were herbs and spices, and sweets, and some beautiful clothes, and kitchen ware. I recognised the man on that stand because a couple of years ago I bought a set of kitchen knives from him at the Devon County Show – I proudly showed him the scar where his amazing bread knife nearly took my finger off in September 2016!! I told him that I used three or four of the knives at least once a day, and how pleased I was with them.

The four of us split up so we could do our own thing, and arranged to meet for our sandwich lunch, and again at the end, but we did keep bumping into each other along the way!

I was impressed how many disabled people there were at the show. It’s great to know that however limited one’s mobility may be, one can still be creative, and often one has more time for it when more active pursuits are out of the question. Before I was ill I hardly had any time for it. They had buggies that you could hire for the day but I was happy with my wheelchair which is more compact. So many people came up to me and complimented me on my wheelchair decorations and quite a few wanted to know how I’d done them. I get a lot of comments every time I go out, but at a craft show or an art exhibition, the comments tend to be more informed, and there is more appreciation of the amount of work involved.

44 Wheelchair with Spoke Guards

After having such a rough time recently, today has been a real treat. It was so great being amongst all those lovely folks too, all with a common interest, and we had some nice chats with various people. Altogether a really good day out.


  1. Oh wow Shoshi.... you certainly know how to shop when you put your mind to it! I hope you have space in your craft room for all your purchases! The 3d George and the Dragon picture looks amazing. And I do like the look of the mosaic pictures, but not sure that would be my thing. It's the first time I have seen your wheelchair, perfect for a crafty girl like you! Glad you enjoyed your craft show ... now relax Heather xx

  2. Looks like you had a good time and lots of new stuff to play with, look forward to the results. Loving your wheelchair too. Happy crafty week, Angela xXx

  3. Wonderful photos! I've never been to a craft show - can you believe it? The gyro-cut looks intriguing and the mat adhesive may just be what I need to restickify my cutting mat! I use a temporary adhesive spray at the moment but it doesn't work that well. Loving all those fabric projects as well!

  4. What a wonderful day out you had - and so much stash. That is how I used to be until I max'ed out my credit card, and now trying to pay it off as quickly as possible, so I restrict my crafty stash budget each month. Your photos and descriptions are always wonderful, and I usually forget what I wanted to comment on! The mat adhesive looks interesting. I bought myself one of those mosaic kits last year, but it was too fiddly for me (the little gems, and also the complicated chart), so gave it away to a friend. I bought a set of those pens a few years ago at our local agricultural show. Was tempted to keep them myself, but they went to my niece for Christmas. Your wheelchair is wonderful. Have you got a blog post about how you decorated it? Ali x


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