Thursday, 6 July 2017

Exeter Craft Festival

Take some sunshine, a lot of talented Devon artists and crafters and a violin player standing on a wire on one leg and you get a taste of the Exeter Craft Festival 2017. I don't know if the violinist is part of the festival or he just came to town for the day given the influx of visitors, but the variety of arts and crafts on show certainly is.

Artwork from recycled paper by Kim Watkins

I have visited the show on previous occasions and I have always been impressed by the talent Devon has to offer on the arts scene and this year isn't any different. On the contrary, I discovered new artists that I haven't seen before like Random Stuff Paper, Botanical Tiles and Lynn Bailey Printmaker to name but a few.

Who inspired me?

If I start with my favourite from this year (am I allowed to have one?), this must be Random Stuff Paper. Kim Watkins, the artist behind the brand, produces "beautiful things from random stuff", meaning any interesting paper that she finds: newspapers, cards, junk mail, historical almanacks or maps. "Every picture tells a tale, not only is it a visual narrative but has a story to tell by the materials used within each one". After emerging myself in her colourful and inspiring work, I couldn't help it and I treated myself with this pretty brooch of an owl. Other products on sale: artworks, jigsaws, cards, earrings and cufflinks. You can also find her on Facebook.

Random Stuff Paper + my treat

Jessica Harrington creates beautiful botanical tiles and when I entered her tent I had a homely feeling that I can't explain. Is it because I love nature or because I grew up surrounded by mountains and green hills full of plants that she had on display? I don't know, but I do know that her unique art is next on my wish list. "I started Botanical Tiles as, after many years in horticulture I wanted to share some of the beauty and structure of plants in a permanent way. To capture elements of the passing seasons in a medium other than photography." She also preserves wedding bouquets, making them last forever. I wish I discovered her ten years ago! Here is her Facebook page if you want to find out more.

Botanical Tiles

And to remain on the botanical theme here is another stand that inspired me today. Lynn Bailey is a printmaker from Exeter creating one-off prints using plants which are either forged from hedgerows or cultivated by the artist herself. "Through my artwork, I look to say something about the environment – explore how we interact, use, abuse and collaborate with the natural world around us". I like the message and I like the artworks too so here is another favourite artist added to my list. You can find her on Facebook.

Lynn Bailey - Printmaker

My treats

My treats of the day, in no particular order, are an owl, a hanging decoration and a few beads. It was between an artist palette or an owl brooch and I decided for the latter secretly knowing that I will probably get a palette brooch as well at some point (hint, hint). The hanging decoration is a fused glass poppy scene from CraftExe that I already added to my eclectic art collection and the lampwork beads are from Helen G Beads. I am going to use them in tomorrow's project - making summer bracelets using pendant connectors with prints after my paintings.  

CraftExe - fused glass handmade in Exeter

What else is there?

Mixed media artists, oil painters, potters, leather makers, wood carvers, jewellery makers - there is a craft for any taste and preference. There is also food and refreshments and I hardly restrained myself from buying a beef baguette with jalapenos. As for the entertainment, today I saw a brass band and a violin player standing on a wire on one foot. The festival is still on tomorrow and Saturday so there is still time to visit it, enjoy it and treat yourself with a unique piece of art. 

Cheerful art by Moorwishes 


Entertainment of the day

Handpainted wooden gifts by Jane H Lancaster and fused glass art by Sheila Rendell – Blueberry Glass


  1. Lynn Bailey - Printmaker6 July 2017 at 21:49

    Lovely write up. Thanks for visiting my stand and featuring me with the other lovely craft festival makers. L