I've just returned from a wonderful weekend at Saltaire Maker's Fair and am feeling humbled and incredibly lucky. Such a beautiful location, in Victoria Hall, part of the world heritage Saltaire Village, built by the visionary Titus Salt to house workers from Salt's Mill. Architecturally magnificent, the hall is a pocket of quiet splendour, with huge windows illuminating the space, it felt like a real treat to be part of such a special event.
I met the loveliest people, so generous with praise and insightful comments on my jewellery and display, people really took time to look and talk to me about my pieces. I was dazzled by the number of people who knew my work, recognising it after seeing it elsewhere or had bought pieces from galleries. I was also fortunate to meet people who follow my blog and Facebook page, and I even had a nudge from a very lovely lady who reminded me I haven't posted anything on here for a while! Posting things online can seem very remote and detached so it was heartwarming to think people do actually follow what I write.
The other lovely thing was the number of people who asked if I deliver workshops or teach classes, there seems to be a lot of people keen to learn making techniques. I do teach, I taught adult and community classes in Leeds before moving to Manchester, and have been teaching in a Sixth Form college for around 12 years. I believe passionately in sharing traditional craft skills, there is such value in time spent making, using your own hands and being absorbed in focused activity. I would love to look towards teaching adults again, there is a wonderful exchange in working with people who enjoy learning or who already make using other processes, and I find I learn as much from them as they do from me.
I used the natural objects that adorn my home studio and inspire my work as part of my display. It was rewarding to hear people make connections between the shapes and patterns in the seed pods, acorn cups and lichen twigs, and the details they could see in my jewellery. People also shared valuable botanical knowledge about some of the more obscure seed pods I have, which has made me eager to get out and about and learn more.
My other exciting news is that whilst I was at the fair I learnt that I have been selected to take part in the Christmas fair at The Whitworth Gallery in Manchester, another award winning architectural splendour, I can't wait! Saturday 5th December 2015, I'll see you there!