Maker’s Choice: The Contemporary Craft Festival 2017


In just a few days time makers of some of the best contemporary craft from all around the UK will be arriving in our hometown of Bovey Tracey in Devon for The Contemporary Craft Festival. We’re just a little excited!! This event is the highlight on the craft show calendar for so many people – makers and visitors alike. The range of work on show is so impressive and it’s also such a happy and social event.

We’re really looking forward to catching up with lots of our favourite makers, as well as discovering new work and doing all we can to support the event. Our director Katie will be part of the judging panel again this year and already has a long list of makers to look out for, but for this blog we thought it would be good to hear from our makers. We asked some of them to tell us which of their fellow exhibitors they’re looking forward to seeing…

Jeweller Lynsey Walters chooses Anya Keeley:

“I am really looking forward to seeing Anya Keeley’s stand. She always puts it together so beautifully and I find her work so charming!”

‘Penny’ by Anya Keeley

Jeweller Rachel Butlin chooses Ann Povey:

“I’m looking forward to seeing the stunning work of Ann Povey at the show. I love the combination of materials and textures, combined with narratives behind found components.”

‘Wooden Ruler – Knife, Fork & Spoon Set by Ann Povey’

Embroiderer Sarah J Perry Designs chooses Suzanne Breakwell:

“I love Suzanne Breakwell’s work, we share a love of birds and nature, her technique is inspirational and I am on a mission to collect garden birds in assorted media and Suzanne is next on my list.”

‘Blackbird paper sculpture on oak’ by Suzanne Breakwell

Jeweller Nicola Lillie chooses Grace & Favour Home:

I am looking forward to seeing Grace & Favour as I love their textile design and, having just redone my front room, will be looking as a customer as well as an exhibitor!!”

‘Tickets Lampshade’ by Grace & Favour Home

Woodturner Adam Cornish chooses Claire Read of Little Burrow Designs:

“I adore Claire’s story boxes – they always bring a smile to my face and make my heart sing.”

‘The Eagle Storybox’ by Little Burrow Designs

Textile artist Emily Notman chooses Katrin Moye:

My absolute fave is  Katrin Moye – wonderful fresh colours and divine shapes. Her stand is always a delight and so busy. I can’t wait to see her new work for this year.”

‘Apple Blossom’ reproduction print by Katrin Moye based on her own ceramics.

Jeweller Libby Ward chooses Nicola Lillie and Dionne Swift:

“I first saw Nicola’s work at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in 2015 and fell in love with the architectural forms and shapes. I have always been draw to nature decay on manmade objects and it’s fascinating to see how she has translated this within her designs. 

‘Scaffolding Cufflinks’ by Nicola Lillie

Dionne’s work is just beautiful! I love the way she contrasts colours and plays around with different line thickness. I think the touchable qualities of her work is what really attracts me. Her sunshine yellow lampshades are to die for!”

‘Handmade Lampshade. Sunshine Yellow’ by Dionne Swift

Rachael of Grace & Favour Home chooses Sarah J Perry Designs:

I’m excited to see Sarah J Perry’s beautiful work. Her incredibly lifelike embroidery has such a magical quality to it and the passion she has for her craft is evident in every piece so I’m looking forward to seeing her new pieces.” 

‘Good Morning’ by Sarah J Perry Designs

Textile artist Ruth Singer chooses Adam Cornish and Libby Ward:

“I was lucky enough to win a piece by Adam Cornish in the madebyhandonline competition recently – it was the first time I had seen his work in the flesh and it doesn’t disappoint – beautiful to hold and enjoy. We are also both in the current Unit Twelve exhibition ‘(Surface) Pattern’.

‘Sapele and Pink Silver Leaf bowl’ by Adam Cornish

Libby Ward’s jewellery is fascinating and intriguing and I recently heard her talking about the stories behind her work which makes me appreciate it even more. We are also both exhibiting in Made in the Middle currently at The National Centre for Craft & Design (with my collaboration Interlace).”

‘Preserved Moss Stud Earrings’ by Libby Ward

Paper artist Suzanne Breakwell had trouble choosing! We’ve saved her for the end as her words describe all the Festival exhibitors so well…

“So many amazing and inspirational makers are coming to the Festival this year and do you know I’m really struggling to choose! Everyone is fantastic and wonderful in their own right with undeniable dedication, heart, passion and skill for their pursued craft, who am I to pick just one! So I couldn’t…instead I’ve compiled a (mini) list of makers whose work I truly appreciate and can’t wait to see because of their ability to combine a sense of identity, creativity, originality and story telling, with such skill, technique, understanding, sensitivity and appreciation of their chosen materials… Adam Cornish, Ann Povey, Anya Keeley & Helen Noakes to name a few… I could very easily name many, many more! 


‘Swimmer Ring’ by Helen Noakes

Many, many thanks to all our contributors. We loved writing this blog and, like Suzanne, could have easily gone on to name all the exhibitors at this year’s Festival! Such a variety of styles, incredible skills and inspirational designs await us! Follow this link where you can see the full exhibitor list, and we look forward to seeing everyone in just a few days’ time.

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