The Craft Festival

posted in: Travel Notes | 0

A Trip Out

After such a positive meeting with The Dream Plan Doers on Wednesday last week I was looking forward to seeing loads of my other creative friends at Bovey Tracey for the Craft Festival on the Friday.

Now we’re in Cornwall, Bovey is just an hour away up the A38 in Devon. So as Dave was on nights I was free to come and go as I wanted on my trip to craft heaven!

The morning dawned with pouring rain and as I drove further up the A38 the weather did not improve one jot. It was cats and dogs all the way up, the clouds rolling past at an alarming rate with various degrees of ‘torrential’ being dumped as I drove up through the Taphouses, past Liskeard, over the Tamar, bypassing Plymouth and winding my way up the A38 to Bovey Tracey.

I got into town by about 9.30am and parked up by the Devon Guild of Craftsmen Gallery, deciding to leave my bag in the car I bundled my phone and my purse into the inside pockets of my coat. I didn’t fancy standing in the pouring rain til the event opened at 10am so I went into the gallery for a warming coffee and bacon sarnie. I was soaked, even with my trusty Seasalt rain coat, my legs were wet through and I sat down and realised that the bottom of my tunic was very damp…. not a nice feeling.

I stayed at the gallery watching the weather from the comfort of the leather sofa, water bouncing off the tables outside and running like rivers down the window panes. After I’d dried off and was well fed, I ambled downstairs and went via the gallery space, full of street/graffiti artists – here is 1 I really liked.

Back outside I battened down the hatches and walked across the park to the big marquees of the festival. Avoiding mud and straw that marked where those who had been brave enough, had driven on to the grassy area to park.

Inside the Craft Festival

After getting money off the entrance ticket with my new shiny Student Card, I grabbed the show guide and went over to the nearest tent to shelter from the rain. Bee from Wild Hive Flowers was demonstrating there so I had a catch up with her whilst I drip-dried!

Next to The Common Room tent was the Heritage Crafts Association Red List – makers using heritage methods on crafts that only have one or two practitioners left in the UK. Crafts that could die out without people learning the skills to carry them on into the future. There was a basket weaver of furniture, a signer-writer specialising in gilding and Nick Hand of The Letterpress Collective based in Bristol. Nick has a bike with a portable press strapped to the back which he uses to make small cards and booklets of poems. He let me have a go and the resulting poem card was given to me. What a lovely surprise.

Located Marna Lunt on the map and tottered over to her tent, as I’d got her some Galaxy chocolate for her insatiable chocolate habit, and because I promised! With her were her current batch of helpers, Kirsty Elson and Helen Bottrill, lots of hugs all round, chocolate handed over I excused myself and went to the main marquee.

The Marquees

Oh I love this event so much it’s hard to explain just how amazing the marquees are as they are completely full with some of the best crafters and makers from the UK. I ambled up the aisles of tent A, passing Lynsey Walters, Katrin Moye, Ruth Green, Lisa Wisdon, Suzanne Breakwell, Vinegar and Brownpaper, Helen Round (all of them so busy I couldn’t get close to them!) stopping at Emily Notman I got a big hug…. Then saw Rachel Butlin and I was then in Marquee B where I got to speak to Amy of Mister Berwyn and then spent ages with Teresa Dunne.

I promised Teresa a coffee so I went off to the food section, grabbed 2 coffees and bumped into Janine Pope, got chatting to her about my MA and stuff and almost forgot about Teresas coffee…. by the time I got back the coffee was luke warm – oops. As a way of making up for this I took over the stand whilst Teresa went to the loo…. so many people came and admired her scarves, luckily Teresa was back by the time the customers decided to buy. It was gone midday and I was not even halfway round.

Wandering on I saw Laura Lane and was able to cover Sarah Drews stand as she had to move her car. I was getting quite good at this shop girl malarkey. Once Sarah was back I carried on, not realising I’d missed half of Marquee B and spent quality time with Claire of Little Burrow Designs and Anya Keeley. Then I needed lunch!

Chips and Elderflower Fizz – great combo! From here I went back to Marna and was pleased to see her extra helper Lauren Aston there too. I spotted a spare chair so sat and had a great gigglefest with the craziest, loveliest bunch of creative women and Marna won the purchasing prize as I bought a little bunch of vintage quilted fabric squares, a Frida card and one of her Queen brooches.

Then into the Marquee C, where I managed a quick hello to Jane of Another Shed Productions, Helen Noakes, Ken Eardley, Gosia Weber, Esther Connon, Fran Buxton and Esther Smith, and a hug off Alix Swan. Then I missed most of Marquee D, somehow, ending up at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen Tent meeting up with Bridget Macklin.

By this time it was 4.15pm and the marquees were clearing as people made their way home. I made my way back, seeing all the people who had been inundated with customers earlier in the day. Outside I saw Maddy from Bunyip Craft and Lily Warne. Now there was sunshine, so I got an ice cream to help with the long(ish) walk back to the car.

The People I missed!

It was only when I was back to the car that I realised that I’d missed a whole load of lovely people! Heather Everitt and Tracey Benton of Contemporary Craft Kits; Deborah of Miss Clementine, Claire Gent, Grace and Favour Home, Liz Cooksey, Virginia Graham and Eleanor Crane. If any of you are reading this, I’m sorry I missed you!


I was going to have a second trip up to Bovey to get some proper photos (I was so happy hugging and chatting I hardly took any on Friday), and to have a look at some other makers I’d marked off in the guide who I didn’t know. So I set the alarm and promptly slept through it not waking til gone midday. Bang goes that plan.

Dave and I ended up slowly getting up and going down to Q Street, where we met Keith, Sophie and Jago. Dave snoozed whilst we sat doing the Saturday Times jumbo crossword. Then it was home. Dave went off to work, I got on with some MA work for Week 2 and watched Gentleman Jack and the new series of The Handmaids Tale.

Sally xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *