WATCH: 2016 Craft Fair is bigger and better than ever

With more exhibitors than ever before this year’s Craft Fair is being heralded as the biggest yet.

By the end of the weekend it is expected that up to 5,000 people may have visited the fair.

115 exhibitors, including 27 first timers, have spread across the bowls hall and the main hall at the Clickimin to showcase their work.

There is a wealth of crafts on display ranging from knitwear to paintings and everything in between.

Among the first time exhibitors at this year’s event were Leanne Hutchison and Neil Pottinger whose Trowie Knowe display won best in show.

The business, which is just over a year old, combines the very different work of both Mr Pottinger and Miss Hutchison.

Miss Hutchison produces clay trows, which are placed in jars and labelled as ‘freshly caught trows’.

She works from home, creating a variety of designs which received a great deal of interest from visitors.

She said: “It’s been going really well. We’ve had a lot of interest, people asking how the products are made.”

“And asking how the trows were caught” she joked.

Mr Pottinger’s handiwork, also on display at the fair, consists of tables which are upcycled using old pallets.

A joiner by trade, he uses machinery from work and also at home to create his tables which he designs to have “rustic feel.”

Another first time exhibitor was Laura Hodge, whose Keepsake Castings business launched this summer.

Mrs Hodge creates replica body parts using moulds which have proven to be very popular with parents who want to create keepsakes of their child’s youth.

Laura Hodge of Keepsake Castings received an "overwhelming" response form visitors. Photo: Dave Donaldson
Laura Hodge of Keepsake Castings received an “overwhelming” response form visitors. Photo: Dave Donaldson

She said that the response from people at the fair had been “overwhelming” and that she had taken bookings up to September next year.

There were a number of young crafters displaying their work at the fair as well, including primary school pupils from Fair Isle and Foula who made the trip to the mainland for the weekend to show off their work.

Many of the repeat visitors to the fair had taken the opportunity to launch new lines of products.

Hannah Nelson of Quendale Designs was showcasing her ‘print o’ da wave’ line of jacquared textured lace patterns made from 100 per cent Merino wool.

Her new line comes as she aims to expand the business hoping to soon launch a website and also convert a byre into a workshop where people can come to see her products all in one place.

Another returning exhibit was the pottery and paintings of Vidlin based artists John and Jane Jacobs.

Commenting on the changes they had witnessed over the years Mrs Jacobs said that the fair was “getting better and better every year.”

She added: “There are more people than ever and the quality just keeps going up. It provides a great opportunity for anyone to come and display their work.”

This sentiment was echoed by event secretary Wendy Inkster, who was also showcasing her ever popular Burra Bears.

She said: “This year is the biggest so far. We’ve got 115 exhibitors with 27 here for the first time.

“Last night [Friday] we had record numbers with around 750 visitors, when we normally average around 500.”

She added: “It’s the exhibitors who make the fair and this year the quality and quantity of what’s on show has been to such a high standard.”

The Shetland Craft Fair continues tomorrow.

• For more coverage see Friday’s edition of The Shetland Times.


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