Brecon Womens' Festival; Artisan Market

I was really chuffed to be asked by a friend who is one of the main organisers of the BWF, to run their craft fair 3 years ago, to take over the organising of it, so she could focus on the running of the exhibition. 
We have held it at The Muse, the Guildhall, and St Mary's Church. Lovely venues and great days - but the number of stallholders wanting a pitch has exceeded the size of the venues! 
Then this year, the town has been talking about how to increase tourism, footfall, improve local economy and bring the community together. This triggered off a series of thoughts in my head... I also wanted a bigger venue and to expand the craft fair into a community event. I wanted an Artisan Market that could include arts, crafts, local food produce, local businesses run by women, local charities and community stands too. Maybe some buskers would entertain too? The ideas came thick and fast and I just hoped it wold all come together
So in February, I took a leap of faith and hired the entire Brecon Market Hall! I had a month to see if the tables were booked before deciding if it was viable or not. Within 2 weeks it was fully booked and I had a reserve list - I was gobsmacked!
Musicians and choirs and poets offered their time too - and suddenly there were 45 stands over 60 tables, a group of pupils reading their own stories, poets, buskers, the Alive and Kicking choir, and the cafe run by Usk House Hospice .... 
The atmosphere was lovely, the public gave amazing feedback, the performances were fantastic (especially the brave and brilliant year 7 pupils!) and the stallholders asked when the next event would be! I was totally blown away by the talent, the high quality crafts, the warm and friendly folk, the lovely visitors - and ... the Hospice have estimated raising £400! 
The Fab Four who run the Festival and Exhibition (Leigh, Nicky, Hilda and Karin) have also suggested I join their team , which is a real honour.
So a HUGE thank you to everybody who supported the event, and here's to next time.

The Brecon Womens' Festival is organised to coincide with International Womens' Day. It runs for most of March, and the exhibition of 35 female artists is on display n the Andrew Lamont Gallery in the Theatre.

Wonderful WonderWool!

I have to say - we had an absolute blast! The stand was busy , we had lovely visitors, customers, supporters - lots of lovely chats, heard amazing stories, and even bumped into very old friends and renewed friendships... who could ask for more?

It was wonderful to be able to share our skills, and have people leaving feeling more excited and confident about trying out their kits , or booking onto workshops! Carole's roving and yarn flew off the shelves, and both my creations and my kits/tools disappeared quickly too. 

We even managed to sneak off, in turns, for 5 minutes, and catch up with other makers, do some stealth shopping for woolly treats, and visit the astounding life-size knitted sea-cave! I also met Lydia from blackdoggingercat in person, at last! Take a peek at www.lydianeedle.com for some lovely ideas too!

You can see the photos on my Facebook page too ..

I just want to say a massive thank you to the organisers and crews, the stallholders, the friends who arrived with coffee and cake, to my daughter for her tremendous help and patience, for Carole for sharing the stand and the fun and to all the friendly and fabulous visitors... I cannot wait for next year, and am already planning the stall layout and goodies for everyone!


Green Man 2015 - review

What can I say?! Once more the Green Man festival proved to be one of the most weird and wonderful events of my year!
This year my youngest daughter and I were ridiculously excited by the prospect of camping in a caravan during the festival! We pulled up in glorious sunshine on the Tuesday with my amazing friend Francesca ( http://www.francescakay.co.uk/ ) and erected my marque, caravan site and all the gubbins to fill my stand for 4 days. Thank goodness, as the next day was SOGGY, and whilst D sat in her bunk bed reading, I pottered in the marquee, decorating and setting it out ready for the fabulously friendly hordes on Thursday...

One of the things I LOVE about GM, is my 'regulars'... the enthusiastic kiddies and grown-ups who come back to the festival each year AND come and visit my workshops to see what they learn THIS time! It is wonderful to be part of their festival experience and to be making good connections, and know some of their smiles will be due to the Queen of Felt's magic felty HQ! (Francesca christened me the Queen of Felt and I rather like it!).

My faithful friends who volunteer to help me turned up the next day and we helped hundreds of folk make handmade felt from 9am-4pm every day... this year however I changed things around a little - we finished wet felting at 4 instead of 6, and from 4-6pm I ran "Teatime Tutorials", where a smaller and more sedate group learned how to needle felt instead - WOW that was popular! 

I then closed the workshops at 6pm, and kept the shop open (which also runs all day) until around 11pm - you meet a rather more bonkers customer in the evening and we always have a good giggle! 

The extra special event was a farm veterinarian with a booming voice like Brian Blessed, who fell in love with my needle felted sheep's head, Blodwyn, and who declared he needed to buy her and love her forever! This brought me great joy and a pang of sadness at letting her be adopted ;-) But by a VERY fabulous family... bye-bye Blodwyn!

The rest of the evenings is then spent catching up with friends til about 1 or 2 am, then a lovely hot choccy with baileys in bed with a book to wind down, before leaping (ok, ok, not leaping, shuffling maybe) towards the kettle for breakfast and to begin all over again by 9am.

There are many highlights to my GM week; seeing folk go away smiling when they thought they were not going to be able to make anything lovely at all, then discovering they could... small joyful faces who find out how to make magic turning wool into felt.... the occasions when someone walks up grinning, saying, OOH, I follow you on your Facebook page, and here you are!! and having lovely long chats.... providing an oasis of happy calm and creativity in a field full of mud.... seeing my faeries find adoring fans and be adopted by them.... having giggles in bed with my youngest.... laughing and dancing with friends old and new... the Green Man effigy go up in glorious flames and fireworks Sunday night... and finding my own bed to collapse happily into Monday night...

THANK YOU to everyone who helps, supports, donates wool or funds, brings me coffee or chai, and all the hugs and smiles - love you all.