Now in its 5th year The Handmade Fair in Hampton Court has become an Autumn fixture for crafters from all over the UK. Curated and headed up by Craft TV personality Kirstie Allsop, it's a three day event where you can indulge in craft workshops run by some of the most talented crafts experts in the UK, stock up on supplies, learn new craft techniques, meet fellow creative souls and buy artisan food. Not sure how that last one really fits into the craft theme but the food section has expanded over the years and has become a major part of the activities.
Depending on how much you want to
spend there are different tickets which give you access to different workshops or you can buy a basic entry ticket and upgrade to join workshops and talks on the day.
And of course there are various places to take a rest and eat cake like in the Mollie Makes cafe.
This year The Make Escape's Momtaz had a starring role at the event, running two days of needle felting workshops and taking part for the fifth year running in the Mollie Makes Mash-Up where two crafters are pitted against each other with a stash of craft supplies and 45 minutes to get crafty. How did she get on? Keep reading as Momtaz explains...
MOLLIE MAKES MASH-UP: Challenge transform a plain white cushion cover from Ikea
In truth a white cushion is my idea of a nightmare - it's just so ordinary, I don't think I'd ever have one in my home. In fact I have very few white things because I'd much rather have colour. In the event I was at home and was faced with one the first thing I'd do is dye it but live on stage in 45 minutes...that just wasn't possible.
My opponent Rachel has the most beautiful handwriting I've ever seen and she took to decorating her cushion with words and pompoms. But me....I just couldn't see it as a big white cushion so I transformed it into a handbag of sorts.
Turning a cushion cover into a bag is so easy because the hard work has all been done for you - especially one with a zip, all you need to do is attach a handle which is what I did.
Under pressure on stage its quite hard to stitch neatly and my idea to do neat blanket sticks around the edges was a bit of a fail. I also tried to embellish with fabric pans but I think the fabric of the cushion covers may have been a bit too think and the colours didn't take as brightly as I had hope but still as the Countdown theme kicked in for the final 30 seconds I'm proud to say I ended up with something to show and even more proud that it won the audience vote...it probably helped that Mia was in the audience her vote was guaranteed!
Once the making on stage was over I dashed over to run my needle felting sessions - have a go at needle felting yourself - instructions for how to are over in our tutorials section. Enjoy, it's a very therapeutic craft with instant results.
Wondering if you should make the trek to The Handmade Fair next week? If you're committed to paying for a ticket that gives you access workshops and you want to learn new skills then it's brilliant but otherwise turning up and hanging out isn't that worth it. There's very few free workshops and you'll end up paying entry and then more money on shopping and there are a lot of craft fairs to shop at these days so keep that in mind. Overall though it's a really friendly atmosphere and a really nice day out. whether you go on your own or with a friend, if you're a crafty soul you most likely will find much to appreciate about it.