I'd never been to Harrogate before, so this was a bit of an adventure for me and the lovely wife. We had a great time there, we ate at loads of nice restaurants and had a great time at the show. The textile awards had a bit more space at Harrogate, which was nice as it meant I could actually hang around my work and talk to people about it without feeling like I was getting in everybody's way.
The awards were a great success, I think our location of being at the end of one of the isles in the first hall meant that a lot of people naturally gravitated towards our work. I seemed to spend the whole time talking to people, and 98% of people were incredibly positive and kind about my work (the 2% who weren't still amused me, the best comment I overheard was that my work was 'like a punch in the face').
One major highlight for me was getting to chat to one of my 'fans'. The lovely Amanda (aka amjaylou) who was been a follower of my blog for ages came and found me as she knew I was there. She completely caught me off guard when she handed me a present she had made for me - a crocheted xmas tree decoration. Big shout out and huge thanks to Amanda, and go check her blog too, she's a very talented crocheter!
Anyway, so I guess you want to know more about the awards results. On the first night of the show the winners were announced in the large auditorium (which included some free wine and mince pies - score!). Unfortunately I didn't come in the top three, but I was very happy for all the winners as everyone's work was amazing.
First Place in the Open Category went to Nicky Barfoot and her Knitted Dogs heads (which she does from photo's of peoples dogs on commission)
Second Place in the Open Category went to Heather Drage and her Knitted Bear (pictured with her partner)
And third place went to Oksana Dymyd with her beautiful knitted cushions
The Graduate Category was won by the wonderful Camille Hardwick
More information on the winners and all the other finalists work can be found on the UKHKA website. So now that that's dealt with, let me tell you more about the show in general.
The show had a lot of the same vendors and stalls as it did at Ally Pally (with a few exceptions), so needless to say it was a challenge to restrain myself from spending too much money on lovely yarns. But there was a couple of stalls in particular that I think deserve a mention.
I'd seen (and purchased) from this stall at Ally Pally, but their selection of Ribbons, Sequins, Jewell's and Beads are so beautiful that I got drawn in by them again like a moth to a flame.They are Aarti J Trims and as well as their selection their staff were all lovely too.
The other stall of note was the African Fabric shop. I absolutely love African fabrics and textiles, so this stall is exactly my sort of thing. I have told myself I'm not allowed to buy any more fabric as I have loads and me and my sewing machine aren't getting on. But I did buy some really interesting beads from them....interesting beads you say - hell yeah, they're carved out of washed up flip flops!!!
So what else is their to say....oh yeah - workshops. Whereas I didn't really have time to take part in any in London, I booked a couple to do whilst I was in Harrogate. The first one I did was hand weaving with 'The British Tapestry Group'.
I didn't get a whole lot made in the time I had in the workshop, but it certainly taught me the basics of hand weaving and I really enjoyed it. I'll definitely be doing some more of it when I get a free moment.
The other workshop I went to was 'Making a protest banner' with Sarah Corbett of the Craftivist Collective.
I went to listen to a talk Sarah did on Craftivism at a craft fair in Cardiff a few months ago. I'm sure she won't mind me admitting I was very skeptical. I do believe in their cause and messages, but at the end of the day - I'm very cynical and struggle to see what many forms of activism actually achieves in the long run. At the talk Sarah was very understanding of my opinions and cynicism, and she answered my questions and debated with me beautifully. The talk left me thinking a lot about the subject, and in a lot of ways she'd opened me up to thinking a bit differently, so we decided to go to her workshop. Again at the workshop she talked very eloquently about the subject, encouraging us to talk and think about what messages we want to convey and how best to do it. It was a really fun workshop, Sarah is a lovely (and very busy) lady who I believe is really making waves in the craft world - and I wish her all the best with her cause.
So they are the highlights of the Harrogate show, I had a fabulous time taking part, and it was extremely worthwhile and cemented my belief that being a crochet artist can be my future. A huge thanks goes out to UKHKA, Twisted Thread, all the other finalists, and to everyone came and talked to me and complimented my work.
Peace out world :)