York Street craft fair: A glimpse into creative lives
"Fairs like these make me realise how much creative talent people have," said one crafts enthusiast at a November artisans' fair in The Friends Meeting House, York Street.
It was one of the myriad of fairs that spring up in Bath in the approach to Christmas, as folk
hunt around for things a bit different and special to brighten up someone's Christmas presents.
Of course, the fairs also help to keep Bath's artisans creating and selling; and each stall holder has their own unique story to tell about why they do what they do.
Bright-coloured enamels, including pendants, earrings and pretty miniature pictures (shown below) are the work of a team of four enamellers with a kiln at Perrymead, on the fringe of Combe Down. The four ladies, Marian, Kathleen, Linda and Birgit, met while training to be enamellers on a course in Bristol. They enjoy being creative and "the magic way of seeing how each piece turns out when it comes out of the kiln". Fixed to copper (and in a few cases silver) no two enamels can be exactly the same hue – due to variabilities in the firing process.
The team have given their trade the name: Vitrific and are sometimes commissioned to make enamelled door numbers. They have a website at: www.vitrific.weebly.com .
Another stallholder at the fair was Larkhall resident Jo Powles, who makes all kinds of interesting and attractive terrariums. These are glass containers holding soil and plants, first made popular by Victorian botanists bringing plants back to England from exotic countries.
Pictured below, Jo puts together the terrariums in her greenhouse around school hours. Her two children are too young to help just yet, though they enjoy seeing these 'miniature gardens' come into being. Another nice thing is that a lot of the glass in Jo's terrariums is recycled. You can find more on her Facebook group: www.facebook.com/TerrachicUK .
Fairs like these also attract some Bristol crafts people. Bristol resident Wendy Greenwood, of Rainbow Glass Creations, was selling silver jewellery and beautiful glass pendants. She's attended a silver-smithing class for over two years and says that nearly all the silversmiths she knows are female. The Orchard Workshop at Kingswood is where many Bath artisans learn their skills.
Things that came across from this fair were the links between Bath crafts and Bristol, the connection between crafts and women, and the way that crafts are a large and passionate part of many people's lives.