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.