Alice Roberton reports on the double delight of setting up shop at two fabulous West Country fairs
On Saturday (25th February) the Chipping Sodbury Town Hall was brimming with the most exciting mix of vintage textiles, fabrics, haberdashery and fashion, for the Vintage & Handmade Fashion & Textile Fair. It was also showcasing the talents of some very skilled makers. While some visitors had come with a specific shopping list, others were on the look-out for something to inspire their own handcrafting.
I was hugely impressed by the work of Viv Sliwka of Hen's Teeth, who creates bags, purses, needlecases and brooches using vintage fabrics, haberdashery, embroidery and paper ephemera that she collects from Europe and the USA.
Just across the way I found Emily and Camilla who run Canvas & Cloth, a vintage boutique selling all manner of handcrafting materials in Narbeth, Pembrokeshire. They had a great selection of quilts, blankets and adorable trimmings for sale.
Tracey Kirk, who is planning her vintage-inspired wedding is June was delighted to have bought a petticoat to go under her tailor-made replica Fifties wedding dress. She had also successfully sourced fabric and trimmings to handmake wedding invites and bunting. Tracey said that H&A had been a great source of inspiration and signed up for a subscription on the spot!
Lizzie Van Hasselt showed me around her stall with its bulging mix of vintage dresses, textiles, linens, wallpapers, patterns, trimmings and odds and ends. Lizzie has a lot going on this spring – she is not only a consultant for the Dreweatts Vintage Fashion & Textiles auction on 3rd April in Bristol but she's also running the ever-popular Frome Vintage Bazaar on 21st April (H&A will be there and we'd love to see you).
As if one fair wasn’t exciting enough, I was up with the lark on Sunday (26th February) for the Bath Vintage & Antiques Market. This monthly fair has a brilliantly eclectic mix of retro, upcycled, antique and vintage, and offers some great buying opportunities. The atmosphere is always cheerful and there is usually a delicious selection of cake on sale too!
I tried a wheat and gluten free chocolate fruit cake (which was divine) baked by Ruth Hull who runs Delectable Collectable. 'The delectable part is devoted to my love of baking and the collectable part reflects my obsession with Fifties, Sixties and Seventies glassware, kitchenalia and ceramics – especially Hornsea, Poole, Midwinter and Meakin,' says Ruth.
Refound and Reloved (07799 735836) caught my eye with their wonderfully colourful collection of glassware, crockery, children’s books, tablecloths and scarves. Friends Katy Boys and Bronia Hawkins describe their wares as ‘covetable collectable curiosities’.
They also love to recondition, restore and make. I adored what they had done with the frayed edges of this 1940s Witney blanket, simply covered with a V&A Liberty reissue print. An instant and delightful fix.
What a weekend!
The fairs that I'm attending in March are:
18th March The Vintage Home Show at Chiswick Town Hall in London
31st March Nostalgic Mix at Totnes Civic Hall, Devon
Hope to see you there.