Shetland Christmas Craft Fair 2016

Every year Shetland Arts & Crafts Association hosts the Christmas Craft Fair. There’s an overwhelming abundance of talent across the isles and it’s a really special event to attend and see all the beautiful things that have been created right here in Shetland. I’ve been many times in the past as a customer and this year decided to go with a stall and some of my own makes.

My prospective mother-in-law Iwona has   taken her business The Creative Croft to the craft fair many a time so we agreed we’d share a stall this year and see how things went.

Getting set up!

I soon discovered there’s a huge amount of prep work that goes into an event like this. It takes place over three days in total so my biggest concern was whether I’d have enough stock. I eventually settled myself to making as much as I was able to do in the time I had. This mostly meant putting aside whole weekends to become a one woman production line as I was fitting it all in around a full time job and pre-planned social events.

While I had lots of ideas for makes in mind, I decided to stick to a few different things that I knew I felt comfortable with and could make lots of. I made make up bags, brush rolls and both large and pocket sized lavender heat bags.

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It’s been my first experience of making anything to be sold. So I really went along without expectation. If anyone bought anything I’d be delighted but it was exciting just talking to the customers and having people admire things that I’d made. This year the craft fair was exceptionally busy, with Friday night seeing a record breaking 750 customers through the door in the 2 hour shopping window!

Shetland being Shetland you also see so many folk that you know, so it becomes a real social occasion as well. It was lovely to have friends pop along for visits throughout the weekend.

My littlest visitor Charlie brought his mum and dad for a look


My pal Chris writes for Shetland News and did a little interview with me as one of the 27 first time exhibitors at this year’s craft fair.

Shetland News

There were of course quiet spells over the weekend. During these Iwona was teaching me to knit. Mum showed me how to knit as a child but I was terribly impatient and would just go in the huff when I got it wrong. It’s definitely something I’d like to be able to do so I hope that as an adult I might be a bit more tolerant and take my time to learn! One of the things she makes are these stunning hand decorated knitting needles which she gifted to me to keep practicing (haha watch this space, who knows I could be a knitter by next year!)

With the amount of work that goes into an event like this I would plan to keep any future sales to these kind of pop up events rather than being available all the time (mostly because I would really struggle to commit the time to fit it in and do it justice!)

I’ve taken the day after the craft fair off to recover. Having had a solid 12 hours of sleep I’m now ready to have a gentle day of selfish sewing (just for me! In the form of an Xmas party dress) and a trip to the cinema later on.
I’m planning to reinvest some of my earnings from the craft fair into an upgraded sewing machine so will hopefully get onto that in the coming weeks. It’s been hard work but I’d definitely do it again. Well done to all that took part and thank you to all who bought items, came for a chat, brought cups of tea etc. Now to start thinking about next year….!

Photo by Chris Cope

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