21st February 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Craft fair enters new era with expanded exhibition

The Christmas Craft Fair looks set for a record attendance this year as the decision to extend the event into the Clickimin Centre bowls hall has paid dividends.

Arts and Crafts Association secretary Wendy Inkster said that the response form the public and exhibitors was fantastic and the main hall at Clickimin was as busy as last year on Saturday afternoon despite the dozens of extra exhibits at the bowls hall

Not only is it the biggest ever craft fair with 98 exhibitors, the quality of the exhibits has been hailed as “the best ever”. It would be true to say that there was nothing on display or for sale that fell short of “good” while some of the crafts were simply outstanding by anyone’s standard.

Ms Inkster, who doubles as the owner of Burra Bears as well as one of the organisers, said: “Considering this is the first year we have split it – it is twice the size and just as busy.

“We have about 30 more exhibitors as previous years and 86 stands – some of them are shared.

“There is a great atmosphere upstairs [in the bowling hall], a great feel to it and the exhibitors seem very pleased with the layout.”

She added: “Year on year the people improve their standards and the whole thing is bigger and better than ever. The quality of work goes up every year and I think the first time exhibitors are encouraged when they see what everyone else is producing.

“It is often a confidence thing – coming out in public and selling stuff is not easy, but when people exhibit they do enjoy it. It is also a good fun and a good social event.”

The fact that you don’t have to be an old craft fair hand to stand out was proved by first-time exhibitor Yala, whose proprietor Coleen Thomson won the trophy for best stand, the first time the award has been made at the craft fair.

The trophy, fashioned by Paparwark of Scalloway, will be engraved and there for the taking every year to encourage stallholders who evidently already put a lot of work into their displays.

Mrs Thomson admitted to being nervous coming to the craft fair for the first time with her impressive home made jewellery. Her work and the Yala display itself typify the growing professionalism of the event.

“I have been thinking about the display for a few months. My husband and dad helped out with the painting. I just wanted it to look nice.”

The last two or three months also meant a very busy period “beavering away” making jewellery in the back portable cabin.

Ms Inkster paid tribute the tremendous efforts of the Shetland Arts and Crafts Association, an entirely voluntary and self funded body.

About Peter Johnson

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as an employed and freelance reporter and editor for a variety of print and broadcast media outlets and as as a freelance photographer and film maker/cameraman. In addition to journalism, I have experience in construction, oil analysis, aquaculture, fisheries, the health service and oral history.

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6 comments

  1. Caroline Watt

    The best yet! So many talented locals and the food was fab too!

    Reply
  2. Øyvind Heitmann

    I make food with wild herbs and berries from West Norway. If I get permission from your National Food Agency, could I come to this fair next year ?

    Reply
  3. David Spence

    If only the Council would invest in local crafts and arts as much as they do in sport. Atleast the Arts and Crafts Industry has skilled and talented people within it, unlike sport……..a past time that drains the local economy for no reward at all to the community…..in terms of skills, talents and economics..

    Reply
    • Ali Inkster

      Mareel?

      Reply
  4. Sarah Thompson

    Hows about the Food Fair ? The offerings of many talented, enthusiatic and gifted food and drink producers ALSO made this a weekend to remember you know !!

    Reply
  5. David Spence

    lol My apologies Sarah. Yes, as well as the industries I have mention, also the food industry should get Council investment or help in promoting its products.

    I know many people may say the fishing industry (including fish and seafood farms) gets more than enough help from the Council, but does not diversify enough into other areas related to food production within Shetland.

    In some ways, I guess, the unique food industry within Shetland is like the Arts and Crafts industry in that it is a lot of work for very little reward (unless, of course, you brainwash the population, like fashion has, and produce ‘ designer foods ‘ to meet the pallet of an unique market (some people may say this is what Michelin Star and Nova Cuisine Restaurants are all about (minuscule portions for stupidly high prices))) lol

    Reply

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