The Creative North – Northern Craft Fair

A green Northern Craft Fair tote bag
After what seemed like aeons this Saturday was finally the Northern Craft Fair. I was up and out of the house early to make my way over to Northern Monk Refectory to indulge myself in all things creative.

Northern Craft is an independent collective of artists formed by Sean Mort (who I think I spotted) and Carley Batley (currently living it up with a dog in the US), to promote the creative craft scene in the North. They have held several fairs in the past, however this was my first.

Sarah Abbott Art & Illustration notebooks and poscardAfter walking around the stalls a few times to check everything out my first purchase was this double pack of notebooks from Sarah Abbott for £6. Initially I didn’t realise it was a double pack, but I was so glad when I noticed it was. The darker design is my favourite of the two! I was sure, looking at the stall that I must have seen Sarah’s work before as the style seemed familiar – as it turns out she’s done window designs for Moonko in Sheffield which I love!

I bought three of the postcards at £3 each, at the time I thought I could send them to friends, either as a postcard or as part of a gift. I like the innocent sentiment they display and the colourful nature. Slogans and things like these really speak to me, I have a little collection of postcards and cards with slogans on, should I ever need to send a quick message to a friend I just grab one and start writing!

Rabbit in the Sky by Matt SaundersThis would have to be one of, if not my favourite purchase of the day. Its ‘Rabbit in the Sky’ a print by artist Matt Saunders, which I think cost a mere £13! The rabbit is in the space of the stars, with the moon as it’s eyes. I only saw this after Matt pointed out to me, but I think it makes it even more beautiful. I appreciate the vivid and autumnal colours, they stand out against the dark hues of the sky.

I could have very easily have bought more of Matt’s work. Having come on a budget I was minded not to, but he did have several other stunning pieces. Two that stood out to me in his display were the triptych of the Yorkshire Dales, and the triangular Above and Below series with the forest scene. You can find Matt’s work on his website, including the other pieces I mentioned – I’d thoroughly recommend checking him out.

Fox and Grrr prints by Bear FourOne of the last things I bought was this pair of graphic prints. These were £15 each, which I think is really good value, especially considering their size. What attracted me to buy these though was the simplicity of the design, I think they look rather innocent and would go well in a child’s room, particularly the right hand print. I’m not sure how would frame them – perhaps in either a simple wood or black frame.

The artist, Bear Four, wasn’t at the event, and their work was being showcased as part of The Print Social stall which had work from about seven different artists. It was really positive to see so much art in one place, and to explore names that I hadn’t seen before.

A Geo Fleur Donkey's Tail and misterGeo-Fleur were one of the traders that I had most been looking forward to meeting and I am so glad that I did! I’ve followed them on Instagram for a good while, and was delighted to learn that they would be at the fair (thank you Northern Craft)! What really took me about Geo-Fleur is how kind and welcoming they were. The fair was a little busy and I decided that I would buy from Geo-Fleur last, meaning I wasn’t trying to get around with a bulky and delicate bag. On my first visit to the stall one of the glam ladies gave me some amazing advice on how to tend succulents, helping me realise where I had been going wrong. On the second visit she was just as nice and so very kind.

Geo-Fleur had a very diverse range of plants including cacti and succulents, with the latter being what I was after. After a good while deciding I settled on this Donkey’s Tail succulent (£15), which I adore! The plant sits inside a concrete & copper pot which is so stylish! I couldn’t also leave without buying the cutest brass plant mister for £15, as per the advice I was given I’m to use this once a week to give my succulents a light misting. It’s so fun and therapeutic to use, and it looks the part on my shelf next to my growing succulent collection.

Geo Fleur offer a plant post club which I’m keen to try out! I’ve paused both my Birchbox and Papergang subscriptions and I’m now looking for something a bit different to replace them so this might well just be it! I’d love to order a box for myself – if I do I promise to post about it on the blog too! They also have a book coming out soon which I must get my hands on!

A range of business cards for illustrators and designersOne of the things I love most about visiting craft and print fairs is getting to meet new artists or makers and seeing their work. I always come home with a pocket full of business cards and flyers and Saturday was no different. I very nearly bought from both The Lost Fox (a stunning graphic grey lion) and Telegramme (the cutest stationery!), but then my budget kicked in, so boringly, I made sure I got a business card. When I returned home I relaxed in the sun and went through my pile, spending time to check out more of each person’s work, as well as find them on social media.

I really enjoyed visiting the fair, and am very thankful that Northern Craft organised it. I hope that they will host similar events in future. I’ve tried to add links to some of the artists that I saw – make sure you check them out! If you liked the look of the fair you can find Northern Craft on Facebook and Instagram to find out about future updates and events.

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