Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Contemporary Crafts...

I was very lucky to be whisked-off to Devon on Sunday by Hubby...
We headed to Bovey Tracey, where the Contemporary Craft Festival was being held. 
I believe over 200 exhibitors were displaying their wares this year. Many have small pitches inside the three main marquees, with screened white areas to show their merchandise as if in an art gallery. 
Once inside, I made a b-line for Claire Baker's stand in marquee A. (Claire had a stall at last months Vintage & Handmade Spring Fair, where I purchased one of her fabulous ceramic cups and saucers.) She had very kindly sent me a free ticket to Sundays event, so I wanted to see her again to thank her...Her stall was stunning. (Claire's lovely website.) 
Now, I have to say that I'm not entirely sure this event was for me...I love Claire's work because it has echoes of the past. She has a passion for vintage china and chintz, which has definitely influenced her incredibly unique ceramic creations. As much as I appreciate all the other crafts people's works, none of them really 'grabbed me' like Claire's did. Contemporary did seem to mean a little ordinary in some cases - lots of thrown clay pots, simple jewellery and glass items, most of which would not have suited the style I love for myself or our home. 
Having said that, it was a very popular event with hundreds of visitors filling the site. I even bumped into old friend Hesta there, of Green Glamour, with her family! 
A few photos I took around the event... (I chose not to take any other photos inside the marquees, as it would have been difficult to keep asking the artist's permission.)
Graffiti Granny's.

We left the festival shortly after lunch and drove onto Dartmoor...
Peaceful and perfect.

We discovered a very secluded little pull-in at the side of one of the roads, so stopped for a while, where we enjoyed the hundreds of wild flowers and the cooling waters of the river...

Venford reservoir.

We rounded off the day at a charming hotel on the edge of the moor, where we stayed the night.
The next morning we visited Buckfast Abbey.

Finally we took a slow route home via Ashburton...

And Budleigh Salterton. 

Souvenirs from our trip include this collection. A c1930's floral wall pocket, c1910 china vase and a fabulous Victorian opaline glass vase. I've wanted one of these for colourful summer flowers after seeing those in my Vintage Flowers book - I got this large vivid turquoise one for half the original price in an antique shop in Ashburton! :) 
Thanks for visiting my blog,
Niki x


  1. I always enjoy your blog posts Niki, though sometimes think I am wallowing too much in 'nostalgia'. However I really appreciated your honesty in this review of the contemporary crafts exhibition you visited.

    I studied 'contemporary' ceramics in the 1960s and feel it has lost its way since then. I can't bear most of what I see now. I wish there was a clear high quality 21st century school of arts and crafts. I would start collecting immediately for my grandchildren.

  2. Hi Niki! It's funny really, as I said ' Shall we or shall we not?' ... we are only ten minutes away from Bovey. I feel exactly the same as you about contemporary crafts; they are not for me but I do admire the talent that there is. I would only have gone to see Kirsty Elson as I love her beautiful driftwood creations. So in the end we didn't go...instead, we decided to head along the coast to Budleigh ( but we never made it that far as we became too tied up in Topsham!) Otherwise we would have no doubt bumped into you!
    The hotel you stayed in, I stayed in when I was 18... My then boyfriend's parents owned it!
    Lovely photos of a very beautiful Devon! X

  3. Hi Sal,
    Thanks so much for your comment on my blog…Always difficult to know how best to put slightly negative thoughts down on a blog…well, I always seem to put my foot in it and don’t express myself how I’d like to! Yes, I saw the driftwood pieces. I liked those too, as they were something a little different from all the other items for sale. I felt most of the exhibitors had put little thought into their displays, keeping the white box virtually empty (gallery like) – with enthusiastic ticket prices! ;-)) It’s a shame we didn’t bump into each other, but then I don’t feel you missed out not visiting the fair. Glad you had a lovely day too!
    How funny that your boyfriend’s parents owned the hotel we stayed in – It was very nice…used to be a grammar school, didn’t it…We sat in the gardens drinking tea after walking some of Templar Way.

    We love Devon!
    Enjoy the rest of your week,
    Niki x

  4. Hi C - Thanks for your comment. Nothing wrong with a bit of Nostalgia I say! ;-))
    I guess the 60's were a great time for change and being innovative... What fun you must have had producing your ceramic works.
    Two of my daughters have gone through uni and I wonder how they managed to produce very much work at all, as they were there for such a short time...They started in October and finished well in time for Xmas. Went back towards the end of January and then were finished again by May! All this time worrying about how much it was all costing them! :( (Not to mention if there'd be a job at the end of it...)

    Niki x


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx