Banish the winter blues
I don’t know about you, but the winter months are not my favourite time of year. If it’s not raining, it’s cloudy, dull, damp and cold. We can’t make the Sun come out, but we can look forward to events in the coming year. I always feel excited when I am on the way to an art or textile show. And just thinking about which ones I might visit this year boosts my sense of wellbeing, with the anticipation of seeing amazing art and textiles, meeting makers, participating in workshops and maybe buying some yarn or fabric.
In this post I’ve listed some of the smaller, individual and independent shows I have visited and others I’d like to visit, along with their dates, locations and website links.
Up-to-date details of UK yarn and fibre festivals are here.
Reviews of some independent shows
Art in Action
16-19 July 2015
Waterperry House, Waterperry, Oxford, OX33 1JZ
A sunny summer’s day and Art in Action is my idea of a perfect day out! This festival of arts has something for everyone: calligraphy, ceramics, glass, illustration, metalwork & jewellery, painting, performing arts, printmaking, sculpture, textiles and woodwork. Wander around the gardens of Waterperry House, popping in and out of the marques where you will find artists and craftspeople demonstrating. Arts materials are sold in the Art Materials and Publications and the work of designer-makers is in the Market Marquee.
The Big Textile Show
26-27 September 2015
Leicester Grammar School, London Road, Great Glen, Leicester, LE8 9FJ
The Big Textile Show was started in 2013 by a group of enthusiastic felt makers. It covers all textile crafts with exhibitions, demonstrators, workshops and traders. Compared to many other shows, this has a local feel, in that the work exhibited is made by local groups and there are several nearby, independent traders, including Parvabrook who sell kits to make the adorable bears kits you see below.
The quality of exhibitions is superb; it is great to be reminded that there are so many talented craftspeople locally!
I’ve not had time to write about last year’s show, so take a look at my blog post about The Big Textile Show in 2013.
On my wish list
The following are my wish list of independent shows to visit. I’ve heard great things about some of them whilst others are relatively new, so I don’t know anyone who has been yet. All in alphabetical order.
Edinburgh Yarn Festival
14-15 March 2015
Edinburgh Corn Exchange, 11 New Market Road, Edinburgh, EH14 1RJ
I lived in Glasgow for a few years and loved visiting Edinburgh. And starting last year, there is the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. This year’s festival has a great list of vendors and tutors with many from Scotland, including Ysolda Teague, Hazel Tindall, McAree Brothers, The Skye Shilasdair Shop and Jamiesons of Shetland. All good reasons to head north! All the workshops are three hours long.
25-26 July 2015
Redborne Community College, Ampthill, Bedford, MK45 2NU
Fibre East has been running for a few years. A weekend of family-friendly fibre and craft.
27-28 March 2015
Ricoh Arena, 71 Phoenix Way, Foleshill, Coventry, CV6 6GE
P-lush is a new show which is organised by Belinda Harris-Reid and Rachel Vowles. The show takes place alongside the British Alpaca Futurity (the largest Alpaca event in Europe).
20-22 February 2015
Farnham Maltings, Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7QR
25-26 April 2015
Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells, Powys, LD2 3SY
Wonderwool Wales is a festival of Welsh wool and natural fibres. You can join the Woolschool, watch demonstrations, admire the fibre animals (alpacas, angora rabbits and sheep) as well as look round the exhibitions and trade stands which cover crochet, felting, knitting, spinning and weaving along with textile art.
26-27 June 2015
Mitchell’s Lakeland Livestock Centre, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0QQ
Woolfest is another festival in a wonderful location. If you want to visit, please note that it takes place on Friday and Saturday, but not Sunday.
26-27 September 2015
Skipton Auction Mart, Gargrave Road, Skipton, Yorkshire, BD23 1UD
This year will be the third Yarndale. It is a creative festival celebrating all things woolly and wonderful.
I love the small individual, independent shows because each has it’s own quirkiness. Some may showcase work by local artists. Others specialise in British yarn or yarn from small, independent producers (lot’s of hand-dyed yarn at these). Some focus on particular fibres or a few crafts. They often take place in unusual venues. They are all one-of-a-kind.
I know I won’t go to every one of these shows, but I’m hoping, that this year, I shall visit at least one independent show that is new to me. I can’t wait!
Since I wrote this blog post I Knit London have announced that they are organising a fabulous festival of fabulous fibre.
I Knit Fandango
15-16 May 2015
Royal Horticultural Halls, Westminster, London
The I Knit Fandango is not the first fibre festival that I Knit have organised. In September 2009, I went to I Knit London and had a truly fabulous time. I attended a workshop on Fair Isle knitting by Alice Starmore which, although only an hour-long, really improved my technique. I also went to a talk by Alice Starmore and visited a stand where she cut a steek. Oh yes, a really big steek! Which you can see in the video clip below.
In case you are wondering, I Knit London was not an “Alice Starmore” festival, it’s just I love Fair Isle knitting and am a big fan of her designs. I also went to a talk by Meg Swanson, daughter of Elizabeth Zimmerman. And, there were lots of other wonderful things going on. If the I Knit Fandango is anything like the previous I Knit London event, then it will be worth going to!