Wednesday 12 December 2012

Christmas Brighton Craftaganza: I can haz my lyf back now plz?

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! 


tialys said...

Well done on your success - it looks like madness in there! Also well done on spreading the handmade word - it's so true about the difference between an 'off the shelf' gift and one made with care and attention that is often unique. I must admit I do find it depressing in the U.K. where almost every large town centre looks the same because they all have exactly the same shops. Mind you, I do sometimes miss that here in rural France where my local town has almost nothing but at least what it does have is individual stores and not chains. At least, in their desperation, gift hunters turn to hand crafted goods in the festive season. There should be a sticker for the car saying 'Handmade is not just for Christmas'.

The Old Fashioned Way said...

Looks amazing! congrats on all your hard work. I totally agree with you on the depressing nature of consumerism and the lame, identical and wasteful presents people buy. I just read this which sums it up nicely:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad it was a success - looks really busy. I think there are a few more people willing to try handmade now; only today a neighbour told me that she liked to get "different" things and that it was worth paying a bit more. I was thrilled to hear it. Long way to go yet though.

Sewing by Shirley said...

I have done that before too! Buy something and then get attached to it. LOL Looks like so much fun!

Sølvi said...

Well done, Zoe! And yes, now you can have your life back. ;-) From the pics it looks like a fantastic event, and I absolutely love the wrist warmers and that bow. The cutest!

Unknown said...

Well done on another Craftaganza success! Sounds like it was another great event, hope you gave yourself a pat on the back lady! Loving your purchases, particularly those wrist warmers.

Unknown said...

Looks like so much fun. Great buys. I'm disappointed in myself this year for not hand making as much. I'm just so tired and time really passed me by. Oh, well. I'm seeing a few family members after the holidays so I have time to make something for them.

Unknown said...

Yay, my sister-in-law is in your first photo! Caleigh-Ill :)

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