Sunday, 29 June 2014

Preparing For The Handmade Fair

I'm really excited to be confirmed for Kistie Allsopp's Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace this coming September (see fancy animated banner to your right!).

It's a big step - hopefully upwards! - but the exposure should be pretty good even if I fail to recoup the cost of the stall back from sales (a worry always lurking at the back of the mind before every fair).

It sounds like a massive event, with the emphasis on visitors being involved in crafting with talks and workshops.  Kirstie's team of crafting experts include Cath Kidston and Kaffe Fassett - who I worked with back in the 1990s - and many more.

My good friend and inspirational fellow crafter Tina of Tina Francis Tapestry will also be there - and in the same tent too - so that will be great.

So it's all systems go this summer as I plan to complete the Shark Alley rebrand AND a new range of necklaces in time for the event!

I'm so excited about the necklaces as they've been cooking in the back of my head for some time.  A few years ago I saw some gorgeous Indian-inspired necklaces in the V&A shop.  Unfortunately I was very broke at the time, so couldn't get my hands on one but I really wish I had.  They were made up of large mis-matched beads, chains and tassels in beautiful rich colours and looked so exotic.  I usually prefer things to be symmetrical and balanced, but I remember just loving these.  I also saw a photo of some customised toy animal necklaces which I thought was a great idea for upcycling and remember a beautiful piece of Andrew Logan jewellery where he'd covered an animal shape in a glittery mosaic of mirror.  With these ideas simmering, I did a little Pinterest board to clarify all the things I wanted to include - upcycled objects and beads, tassels, fabrics, asymmetrical arrangements and bright colours.

Clockwise - Maggie Zee, unknown, Ayala Bar, Henri Rousseau.

 I found some great toy tigers in a flea-market and thought I could use them in a necklace with an Henri Rousseau-esque jungle theme.

I've made quite a few so far - they take ages!  Bead selection and arrangement are CRUCIAL to get the look and the balance of the necklace right, and this takes time.

I'm really enjoying working with beads again - who wouldn't?! - they are so beautiful!  I used them a lot in early Shark Alley necklaces before I'd found my current style and ranges, and have been using some of these old necklaces and my stash plus little treasures unearthed in a bag of old jewellery given to me by Skye. I'm also incorporating some of my resin pieces too.

It's so tempting to show some finished pieces, but I'll have to restrain myself until the official launch.

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