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5 Reasons We Love The Contemporary Craft Festival

With the Contemporary Craft Festival at Bovey Tracey having finished over a week ago, we’re only just getting ourselves settled back in to normal shop life; featuring indoor trading, ant-free lunches and a notable lack of bar. In memory of another awesome year selling at our favourite show, I thought I’d put together a list of reasons why we’re still quite so obsessed with it. Enjoy!

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1. People appreciate a good button

This is in no way to suggest that our regular shop customers don’t appreciate a good button, but if you were to take all the ones who REALLY appreciate a good button and put them all in one place, that place would be the Contemporary Craft Festival. We can take our fanciest, most beautiful, most special buttons and be safe in the knowledge that lots of punters will be excited about them as we are. I suggested this theory to one lady buying some of our enamelled shank yellow flower buttons (swoon), who replied “Yes! I absolutely appreciate a good button.” Case closed.

2. The level of craft wonderfulness

The foundation to why this show is so successful and so popular must be that the level of crafters showcasing their creations inside (and outside!) the marquees is so high. How exciting to walk around the tents, cooing and swooning over all these original handmade products and ideas and to discuss it with the maker face to face. This year both Mattie and I bought something awesome from the gentleman at Vinegar and Brown Paper, which made me proper giddy with excitement. There was also some beautiful work in the start up area, and we both fell for the geometric jewellery at Eleanor Jane Jewellery. I think even with an infinite budget, you couldn’t buy everything you wanted at this show….

3. The community spirit

Mattie thinks this is possibly the 8th/9th year trading over at Bovey, so every year it’s great to catch up with the familiar faces & friends. One of my favourite groups of people to catch up with the show are the guys from Pocketwatch Theatre company, this year dressed up as the Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts and Alice. They’re some of the friendliest people we get to hang out with every year, and I loved sitting round a toadstool table with them while they drank tea, having a chat with the Mad Hatter about his wooden-spool needs and seeing them under huge rainbow umbrellas when the rain hit. There’s also our lovely friends who run Felt Folk, who truly out glammed us at the private view event on the Thursday – we’ll remember to up our game in 2017!

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4. The Little Touches

The whole event was rebranded as a ‘Contemporary Craft Festival’ rather than a Craft Fair a couple of years ago, and when you visit it’s easy to see why. The whole atmosphere of the event makes me feel like something quite like a festival (but much less muddy) – seeing the same people every day, eating all the delicious food (waffles were the best!), seeing people asleep in deck chairs, chatting with strangers all day, and my favourite: 4pm bar run time. Working at the festival is weirdly knackering, so we always treat ourselves to a cheeky glass of wine from the lovely bar around 4pm. It’s a hard life…

5. That’s the way to do it

I’m aware this is an entirely personal one, but for me it’s always Punch and Judy –  potentially, I think, one of the most undervalued comic performances ever. We’ve been there enough years now that we recognise the puppeteer, and I feel in a major way that he is my hero. Last year my mum bought me one of his colour-in posters, which is a very cool sentence and I have no shame about this. The baby getting made into sausages, the crocodile eating people, the devil having fights with Mr Punch? It’s utter madness and I just can’t get enough of it.

This really only covers a very small selection of reasons why this event is so fabulous, and that’s before you even get to the masses of hard work that must go into it from the organisers. If you haven’t been before, we’ll be sure to remind you about it constantly in June next year. See you then!