My new website can be found at http://www.quernuscrafts.co.uk/

Ilkley Christmas Arts Market (12 December 2009)

I had a great day in Ilkley on Saturday! It was the Ilkley Christmas Arts Market run by Jo Whitehead, aka Glassprimitif, and as before, it was a very well run affair. The Riddings Hall is a lovely venue - plenty of natural light, small enough that you don't feel lost in it, but large enough to allow for a good number of stalls (I believe there were 20 or so there on Saturday).

Trufood Catering were there again, with their lovely homemade scones and keep-it-local, keep-it-real ethos which fits so well with the market itself. My other half, Greg, was there as always to help carry boxes, and keep me in cups of tea through the day!

Here's me with my wee creatures all laid just before the doors opened. (I had to abandon the banner half way through the day because it kept coming unstuck and falling off - might need to resort to velcro soon...)

There were some fabulous people there, and once again, Swirlyarts had a stall. Swirlyarts is Lynsey Serle, and is the powerhouse behind the Cuteable website, the best resource on the 'net for all things cute! Definitely worth checking out her shop on Folksy. And I am hugely indebted to Lynsey for furnishing me with a fantastic square of fake grass she picked up from her local scrap store. She saw it at the beginning of December and immediately thought of me! I am so chuffed, as it is a perfect addition to my display, and the perfect habitat for my Wee Horses. (Another big thank you to Lynsey for commission the Star Wars Cats - I think she liked them :)

Later on in the day, I moved the flock of Wee Sheep into the paddock, after the Wee Horses were all sold!

I bought some fantastic Richard Scarry gift tags from Lynsey on Saturday - my sister and I grew up with Richard Scarry and loved the stories of Lowly Worm, Huckle Cat et al, and I know my sister will just love these on her Christmas presents!

(By way of correcting an earlier omission, here is the fantastic funky retro chicken I bought from Lynsey at the last Ilkley Arts Market in October. We actually arranged a trade - some Rainbow Cats for a Chicken. Fair swap.  I love this chicken! I'm sure we had curtains made out of this fabric in the 70s... And he's now filled with quinoa, so I'm very glad I've finally found a use for it!)

Saturday was the day for Christmas shopping for me, and I was spoilt for choice! To my left was Cathy Emmott, aka Dear Emma. I bought this fantastic bannister bag embroidered with sweet little birds on a wire - you can see it in the top picture (second bag from the front).

On the stall across from me was Sarah Westwood. I first came across Sarah's work at the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate in April this year - I thought her work was unique and fun then, so it was a real privilege to be able to admire her work for the whole day!  I bought two of her cute wax tiles for my nieces, both with sweet little bird designs.

The tiles are about 6cm square and have a mount plate on the back to hang on the wall. Sarah was featured in Cuteable on 14 December - click here for more information.

There were many other great artists, designers and makers at the market, including Jane Carlisle's beautiful silk collage art under the name of AJC Designs, and Gus Wright's fluid and organic ceramic work. And a special mention goes to Carol Coleman, a Textile Artist who runs Fibredance and who had the stall to my left. Her work is beautifully three-dimensional and tactile.

As for me, this was my most successful fair of the season, and I sold about about 50 pieces, including some of my commission pieces. And I know I've said this before, but one of the great joys for me is meeting so many amazing people, both fellow crafters and the people who come to the fairs who clearly have an appreciation for art and creativity. It energises me, and I am thankful every day that I had the courage to make the break and leave the legal profession. I now feel alive for the first time, and although there are ups and downs, I wouldn't swap any of it for the world (not even for a funky chicken!)

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