Thursday, October 20, 2005

Chelsea Crafts Fair 2005

A change this week: words, rather than pictures.

Last weekend (Sunday to be precise) my wife and I made the journey into London for the Chelsea Crafts Fair. A trip to London is a fairly rare thing for us these days (although this year, as chance would have it, we've made several), and neither of us had been to this particular fair before, but is was an experience well worth having.

The main reason for our visit was that my wife has recently started a part-time Applied Arts degree at the University of Hertfordshire. In the field of applied arts (up until now she has been purely focused on ceramics), this is one of the biggest fairs of the year. I just fancied going along for the ride, seeking an excuse for inspiration.

The Chelsea Crafts Fair is for buying and selling pieces, rather than being a trade fair of the sort that you can buy raw materials from, so we really went with the intention of looking at some beautiful work. We weren't feeling rich enough to want to part with money (and nor did we). What was so nice, though, is that almost without exception, the artists who were exhibiting were more than happy to explain their methods, talk through pieces, and so on.

The Chelsea Crafts Fair has a huge diversity of artists exhibiting. There are ceramicists, jewellers, textile artists, book and paper-makers (anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time will appreciate how much these appealed to me), glassworkers ... the list is almost endless.

So, who inspired me the most? There were so many beautiful works there that it seems unfair to single out a single artist, but I have to say that I was bowled over by the work of Michelle Holden (pictured left), who makes things from paper and material, especially from the pages of old, discarded books. She can take an old piece of paper and somehow make it come alive with flowers, or turbines, or just random shapes, in a way that has to be seen first hand to be appreciated. Sadly, she seems to have very little in the way of a web presence, but if you find her in the list of exhibitors at the Chelsea Crafts Fair website, you'll find her contact details.

The Chelsea Craft Fair is on for two weeks, and the nice thing is that the exhibitors in the second week are completely different from the first. If you happen to be in London in the next few days, I highly recommend a trip there, though don't expect to see the work of Michelle Holden. The Fair is on until 23rd October.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Neal, it sounds like you2 had a good time, I tryed to go to Michelle Hoden , but it wouldn't let me , I would have like to have see
what she did!
take care

Neal said...

Janice, it looks like the link direct to her contact details didn't work. I've linked to the picture of her work instead, and then provided a link to the exhibitor list so that you can find her contact details yourself if you're interested.