Ah I jest! Well, actually I only half-jest. For the last month I have thought about little else, whether awake or asleep. This past weekend's event was the fifth craft market I have either co- or sole- organised but each time round I seem to forget how much effort and energy it's going to take to get to the other side! Plus for the last week I've had a proper nasty cold. But moaning aside, I have to say it was totally worth it. If you'll forgive my crude vernacular, the event FUCKING ROCKED.
Obvs, the excellent footfall we had can be attributed almost entirely to the festive season and gift-hungry population of Brighton, but it definitely wouldn't have been so good if Pat, Rehanon and I hadn't been outside pretty much all day on both days covering both the entrances hollering about the event and coaxing passing shoppers inside. Plus the seasonal decor, festive choons, beautiful historic venue and friendly chatty sellers created a lovely atmosphere once the punters came in.
Plus a lot of effort went into selecting sellers who produce really great quality, interesting and contemporary products. The level of quality was thankfully noted by many of the visitors and sellers alike, which will hopefully draw both lots of visitors and new excellent sellers to future Brighton Craftaganza markets. I also hope it helps to set our events at a certain pitch within a pretty craft-saturated town like Brighton.
But as craft-saturated as it can feel at times for someone like myself who is involved pretty heavily in the local designer-maker/handmade/craft 'scene', I can't help but feel handmade products are still so thoroughly ignored by the majority of the population. I really want to see local designer-makers take a far larger slice of retail spending. Plus, as most of us in the sewing community are all too aware, 'handmade' and 'craft' still have so many negative connotations for many/most people (I was just telling a local journalist this very point a couple of hours ago when they phoned me up for a quote to go with their picture story - get me!). So by putting on lovely events full of wonderful, interesting and quality handmade products then almost literally scraping as many people off the street and through the doors as possible, hopefully I can help some people replace those negative connotations with positive ones.
Watching people walk past the venue all day carrying Primark, BHS, M&S, Topman etc. carrier bags, the ubiquity began to feel so depressing. I know I'm probably preaching to the choir when discussing such things here on this blog, but I just cannot for the life of me see the appeal of mass-produced, cookie-cutter products that have had absolutely no love or passion put into them, over something so unique it may be literally the only one there is and that was made by someone you can physically meet and chat to.
So anyway..... I know what you're thinking, 'What did you buy there, Zoe?!'. Well, excluding one Christmas gift that for obvious reasons I'm not going to photograph and upload here, all my purchases ended up being for myself!!! And largely all red. However, if you think that's super-shocking behaviour, you'll be pleased to know that I have order an additional five gifts from sellers at the event because they'd either sold out of what I wanted or I didn't realise I wanted to buy them until the next day.
So, in no particular order, I bought:
- A large red felt bow by Stamp & Stitch which I bought on the Saturday and rocked hard all day Sunday on my knitted hat.
- Seagull Christmas cards by hello DODO. Actually, considering I'll actually be giving these away, I don't think they count as a selfish purchase.
- Red vintage buttons for awesome haberdasher The Polished Button all ready for a new sewing project I have in the pipeline.
- Amazing playing card suit wrist warmers/mittens by her indoors. I actually bought these for someone else but got way too attached to them after only a matter of hours!
- Beautiful patchwork case to help stem the tide of my makeup as it endeavours to spread its way around our entire flat. Made by Lisa Jane.
Who said a handmade Christmas had to be made entirely by yourself!