The Wessex Guild of Craftsmen exists to promote excellent craftsmanship and design among the artists and craftspeople of Hampshire and West Sussex. As such, it has a rigorous selection procedure for new members. Earlier this year I applied to join this prestigious group and was delighted to be accepted with a unanimous vote from the committee.
My first outing with the group was at the end of August, when we took part in the annual Hampshire Open Studios event, with stalls at a hall in the village of Swanmore. Seven of us took over the Paterson Centre for the Bank Holiday weekend – one of the hottest of the year.
The reputation of the work of the Wessex Guild ensured there was a steady stream of visitors, despite the soaring temperatures. They were treated to displays of work by a textile artist, a jeweller, a wildlife artist, an embroiderer, a potter and a wood turner, alongside my stained glass art. An added bonus was the refreshment corner, run by the wife of the wood turner, who kept the stallholders and visitors supplied with a steady supply of drinks and cakes.
All the visitors commented on the quality of the work on show, with many taking time to talk to us in depth about our creative processes. This is one aspect of taking part in fairs that I love – having the chance to chat with people about how each piece is designed and made. It’s also great to get feedback from the public on new designs and see which lines sell best.
In addition, the existing members made me extremely welcome. They are certainly very talented and I am delighted to be associated with them.
Our next event will be at Southampton University’s Art, Craft & Gift Fair on Sunday 24th November. This established event features over 100 stallholders. Save the date, tell your friends and look out for my full blog on this in the near future – it will be a perfect opportunity to buy all your unique and handmade gifts and support small, creative businesses at the same time.