Fabulous Folk from The Contemporary Craft Festival, Bovey Tracey

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I only had a few hours last Saturday to visit the Contemporary Craft Festival at Bovey Tracey, but what a fantastic few hours it was. The work and people that I met there exceeded my expectations; originality, commitment and skill on every corner.

My visit further confirmed to me a love for work made by hand. Work that takes time. A spoon carved through the hours from a single piece of wood, a pot formed with clay collected on the hillsides, a lampshade decorated with wrap after wrap of a single piece of thread, tucked gently into the other side. These skills and actions have value, meaning and feel..

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JULIA JOWETT

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Julia was one of the first people that I met on Saturday, in the “one year on” tent, showcasing artists and craftspeople who were one year into their new businesses.

Julia works dense hand embroidery into metal gauzes and figuratively manipulated wire lines, before combining them with drawing and screen printing onto fabric and paper. This combination of sculpture and drawn elements, sometimes also incorporating words and phrases, made for a really engaging series of work that I was really drawn into. Each one feels a little like a keepsake box, a collection of memories or stories.

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ADAM BUICK

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 Something wonderfully quiet, natural and peaceful sang out from Adam’s space in the corner of the tent, through the surrounding crowds. I felt a strong sense of the sea and the landscape, something very close to nature. I later learned that Adam lives and works by the coast in West Wales.

 “I incorporate stone and locally dug clay into my work to create a narrative, one that conveys a unique sense of place.. Landscapes have inspired artists for generations but for me a landscape has to be felt.”

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Adam has been recently involved in a self directed project entitled “Earth to Earth” . He placed an unfired clay jar onto a coastal hill at Carn Treliwyd, Pembrokeshire, Wales, and recorded its gradual weathering away to the environment as a series of photographs, one taken every 33 seconds. On his blog he makes comparisons to his process of firing in the studio, to the effects of the weather on his work. As he says “I am still committing the jar to the elements, air and water instead of fire, and there is still a transformation.”

The end result is a moving and dreamlike time lapse film, showing not only the gradual disintegration of the jar, but the changing wild landscape, sea, movement of animals, and the sky and stars.

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JANE BLEASE

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A warm and Autumnal hued space welcomed me in to Jane’s beautifully arranged collection of handmade lampshades, framed pictures, bookmarks and jewellery.

I was really taken by the absolute precision and care it must take to wrap each single piece of thread round and through the wood burned holes that decorate each handcrafted piece that she works on. The shades give a beautifully warm light, and are totally unique.

Jane is based in her studio/shop at The Manchester Craft and Design Centre. You can also see more and buy her work from her website here.

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CLAIRE ARMITAGE

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Claire’s fantastic energy buzzed all about her space as I stepped in to admire her collection of handmade silk scarves. She was dressed beautifully in her own handmade dress from her own line. Once I looked more closely at the designs on each scarf, I was struck by their intricacy and individuality. Each piece of work is finished with delicately layered edgings and hand-embroidered details, and each one seems to tell some story, of the sea, the landscape and environment. They are truly original and stunningly beautiful – you really have to see them in real life to truly appreciate them.

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Claire designs and hand prints her scarves and dresses, plus undertakes work as a costume designer and illustrator from her birthplace in Cornwall. You can visit her site here.

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NIC WEBB

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I really enjoyed the feeling of slow moving time and focus that seemed to fall from the displays of Nic’s hand carved pieces. There was a quiet honour to the space, filled with carefully arranged displays of hand carved, traditionally made spoons, ladles and bowls.

I love that each spoon, each bowl that he creates is slightly different, and is worked with the wood not against it, enhancing each grain and knot and forming it into something original and full of spirit and life.

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You can visit Nic’s site here.

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I hope that I have shared with you a little of the warmth and originality that I found at Bovey Tracey. I very much encourage you to visit – you can read more about upcoming festivals here.

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to let me into their space and take photographs.

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9 thoughts on “Fabulous Folk from The Contemporary Craft Festival, Bovey Tracey

  1. I’m a little envious that you got to visit this! I would love to browse around and look at all this creativity. All the work is exceptional. I love wooden spoons so would definitely shell out for one of those! Also love the the time lapse photography by Adam Buick, would like to experience that on a large screen or projected on a wall. Thanks for sharing this!

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