Move over Mindfulness, Craftfulness is here… a chat with Made By Hand Cardiff director Sarah James

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Whether you like to knit, stitch or get messy with clay, losing yourself in craft has become the go-to activity to combat the stresses and strains of modern life (see the recent article about this in The Telegraph). The ultimate opportunity to immerse yourself in all forms of craft is at this weekend’s contemporary craft fair, Made by Hand Cardiff. Returning for its 5th anniversary at City Hall, the annual celebration of craft returns to Cardiff hosting 145 of the finest professional makers from Wales and the UK. Are you ready to be inspired? We talked to the show’s director Sarah James and here are her 10 reasons why you should visit:

1. Meet the Makers! Made by Hand is the biggest and best craft fair in Wales with 145 of the UK and Wales’s finest makers. Makers are selected for quality and you can buy your unique Christmas presents from our collection of potters, jewellers, textile artists, glass makers, leather workers and woodworkers. Including Jennifer Collier from Stafford, Anvil Forge from Pontypool, Helen Brice (jeweller) from Tiverton, Katie Victoria (textiles) from Swansea, Virginia Graham (ceramics) from Corsham, Christina Hirst (jeweller) from Edinburgh, Claire Cawte (textiles) from Penarth, Cleo Mussi (mosaic) from Stroud, Fauxidermy (textiles) from Abergavenny, Anya Keely from Hereford, Babs Belshaw (pottery) from Derry, Northern Ireland, Michael Goode (printmaker) from Barry and Glosters (pottery) from Porthmadog. You can find out about all our exhibitors on the website.

2. Made by Hand wouldn’t be complete without our skilful demonstrators sharing their knowledge of their craft. These include pottery by Eluned Glyn from Cardiff, papercutting by By Charlie’s Hand from Pontypool, willow basket weaving by Hatton Willow from Caerphilly, plus needle felt making, eco fabric dyeing and willow sculpture.

3. Support small businesses from Wales & the UK. You can feel confident and rather proud that you are buying from a small, British business. Buying small has the added benefit of bringing money back into the local economy and the knowledge that you are supporting a hard-working, independent business. These include, Ruth Packham (textiles) from Borth, James Donald (textiles) from Edinburgh, Jaejun Lee (ceramics) from Cardiff, Sian O’Doherty (textiles) from Tenby, Selwyn House from Derbyshire, Reptile Ceramics from Whitland, Sara Lois (jeweller) from Pwllheli and Louise Hall (pottery) from Cardiff.

4. Join the Pottery Throwdown! Meet the potters from the hit BBC TV show-Tom, Clover, Richard and Jim and challenge them to a pottery throwdown, presented in association with Potclays. Billy Adams and Margo Schmidt from Cardiff will be keeping order and visitors can sign up to a potting challenge on the day.

5. Meet pottery legend Walter Keeler. All good Festivals have a living legend slot and Made by Hand is no exception. Walter Keeler from Penallt, South Wales will be showing visitors how his work is made and talking about his incredible career in ceramics.

6. Lose yourself in 2 hours of creative bliss. There are just a few workshop places left over the weekend. Hop onto www.madebyhand-wales.co.uk and book the final places now.

7. Kids Go Free! We want to do our bit to inspire the next generation of makers. Accompanied children Under 18 are free and they can enjoy free drop-in workshops provided by Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre.

8. Learn something new at Michelle Griffith’s Masterclass. Textile artist, Michelle from Llantrisant will be showing visitors how the intricate Japanese of shibori textiles are made. It’s a free event, included in your ticket.

9. Meet the StartUp makers. Made by Hand features a collection of emerging makers in their first 2 years of business. You are guaranteed to find something new and unusual. Have a look at our selected new makers taking part here.

10. Be Inspired! You can also take part in 2 hour workshops provided by Make it in Wales & Learning Cardiff. Make willow Christmas decorations, have a go at paper cutting or needlefelting. Grab the last few places via www.madebyhand-wales.co.uk.

The heady mix of makers, demonstrations, workshops, masterclasses, live music and café, set in the stunning surroundings of City Hall, is surely one the finest opportunities to start your Christmas shopping!

Many thanks to Sarah. We can’t wait to head to Cardiff! Lots of our madebyhandonline makers will be exhibiting. We’ll be helping out during the show, catching up with all our makers, enjoying a bit of shopping and we also have the great privilege of presenting an award to a new maker. See you there!

Made by Hand, 2018 will take place in Cardiff City Hall from Friday November 2nd –  Sunday November 4th (10am-5pm Fri & Sat, Sunday 10am-4pm). Tickets (per day) are Adults £7 (£6 concessions) Weekend/3 days Ticket £13 (£11 conc). Accompanied children under 18 go free. For full details: www.madebyhand-wales.co.uk