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  • Writer's pictureDonna Burns

I was at the Craft Festival!

A damn good reason to write another blog post...


A very smiley me at my stand during the Craft Festival


The Craft Festival


Last weekend I had the pleasure of participating in the Craft Festival held at Mill Marsh Park in Bovey Tracey, a lovely town on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon. It is only a small place, but it is renowned for it connection to craft. It houses MAKE Southwest (formerly The Devon Guild of Craftsmen), Teign Valley Glass, The House of Marbles and the annual wonder that is the Craft Festival. If you haven't visited the festival before, visit next year if you can. It's a three day event with craft demonstrations, workshops, family fun, film screenings, street theatre, yoga, story-telling, music and feasting. The Craft Festival is also a huge supporter of independent designers and makers, showcasing:


'Over 200 of the finest makers from all corners of the UK, handpicked for their quality and originality'



 
 

MAKE Southwest Associate Member


In September last year, I had the honour of being selected as an associate member of Make Southwest, which gave me the opportunity to show with them at this summer's Craft Festival, as part of their Associate Members stand. We were six members and we each had a space to individually display our work. My space was small (I didn't really realise how small until I started planning it out!) but perfect for my first time. Having fellow stand neighbours was a gentle way to step into showing at the Craft Festival, they were all kind, friendly, supportive and helpful throughout - from setting up on the Thursday to taking down and saying goodbye on the Sunday. I'm very thankful to all of them. You can see all six maker's displays in this short video, and also click on their names to find out more about them. From left to right the makers are:





What an experience!


I can honestly say that showing at the Craft Festival was an amazing experience. I'm not sure I've ever talked as much as I did over the three days, but it was absolutely wonderful to talk about my jewellery to a whole new audience that had not seen it before. I was blown away by the positive reactions and lovely comments from complete strangers 💗.


There were faces I recognised too. It was lovely to see friends from University, fellow makers, some past and present students and old friends, a big thank you to everyone that stopped to say hello and show their support. I appreciate you all. Perhaps the most heart warming visit of the weekend was from my Craft Festival ticket giveaway winner... who is also an old friend from my school days. We went to secondary school & Sixth Form together, but haven't seen each other since then, as far as we can remember... it was a long time ago!



Giveaway winner & old school friend Rebecca (far right) visiting the Craft Festival with friends



The ticket giveaway


If you follow me on social media you may have seen that in the run up to the Craft Festival, I ran a giveaway (mentioned above) for my email subscribers - the prize was two day tickets. It was a small promotion of the event and something to encourage people to sign up to my emails. I'm thrilled that it resulted in meeting an old friend again - a happy unexpected outcome.



If you'd like to hear about upcoming events, future giveaways, new designs or any news I have to share, you can sign up for my emails here:

 

New designs


In amongst all the making I did in preparation for the festival, new design ideas kept forming in my mind... one that that I managed to make in time was this lovely droplet necklace - one of the more delicate pieces in my collection - it was inspired by rain. And in turn has given me many more ideas...



Silver droplet and natural sapphire drop chain necklace



Letting it all sink in...


I'm still absorbing all the comments and reactions, the conversations, friendly faces, funny moments and connections made with fellow makers. It was a whirlwind from one moment to the next, full of positive, encouraging interactions.


My only regret was not taking enough photographs... talking non stop and caught up in the experience, I didn't take photos of so many things. Especially, of the people who loved my jewellery enough to buy it, some of whom wore it immediately and wandered off through the festival modelling it! If you're reading this and you're one of those people, please send me a photo of you wearing your new jewellery ( I will only share with permission) - I love to see people wearing something I've made, it's the biggest compliment 😊.


 

A few of the shots of my stand I did manage to capture (& the lovely Sarah Sullivan)

 



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