The Crafty Lass visits…The Women’s Institute Centennial Fair!

What a gloriously sunny day yesterday was! Well, it certainly was in the beautiful spa town of Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

I love Yorkshire – I am fortunate to have married a Yorkshire lad, so we do get to visit this beautiful part of our country fairly regularly – but it never ceases to amaze me when we return just how stunning the scenery is – picture perfect rolling green hills, idyllic little villages, the lovely Yorkshire stone buildings.  Just delightful.

I don’t of course need an excuse to visit Harrogate – but, what better reason to than to go and see The Women’s Institute Centennial Fair – 100 years of Women’s Institute history!

With plenty to see and do – demonstrations, talks, book signings, workshops, places to eat – and certainly BUY (the Christmas shopping has begun – and yes, I know it is only September!) I would like to detail all the purchases I made – but certain people who I know read this blog may just be getting something, and I know they would know it was for them! Ha!

Anyway, apart from having a lovely look around lots of lovely stands – I also booked myself in for the ‘Origami Teacup’ workshop with Clare Gage later in the afternoon.

It wasn’t actually what I expected – but not in a bad way, as I am not actually sure what I did expect! However, it was brilliant! Very inspiring – and really got me thinking about what creative skills I, and we all do, have, and how these can cross into new ways of looking/making/doing/trying new things. Clare used the term creative ‘hacking’ – which is just a perfect explanation really. For example knitting – well instead of using ‘normal’ wool – why not giant wool, or tiny needles – or knitting with something entirely different, like wires – or plastic! Thinking outside the box.

We started out with just a few squares of sugar paper, ready to be ‘origamied’ (is that even a word?) into a little, simple cup design. Next we translated this into different scales – seeing whether it was easier to make the same shape with a very small piece of paper, or very large. I actually enjoyed the tiny pieces of paper, having to try and make super delicate folds to keep the cup design shape. Once we had the hang of that… we moved on to different types of materials – tissue paper, crepe paper, cellophane, fabric, stiffened fabric… and finally clay! Each one responded slightly differently to the folding techniques and the final outcome of a little shape, some better than others – but all unique and individual.

My clay attempt – was actually the hardest part – and, I know it looks a little ‘clumsy’ (you can see in the photo’s below) – but, I had fun – which, I think with craft – it is often the most important part?? – making a little handle, decorating it by stamping out button shapes… We actually only had an hour to make all of these little trials – and so I think quite a lot achieved! I would love to give the clay another go actually – try a bit more creative hacking!

After the workshop – I was desperate to buy a beautiful mug from Clare’s stand in the fair – and, I spent a considerable amount of time trying to pick my favourite…but with the aforementioned already purchased Christmas shopping – I decided not to. However, it was this morning – when I made my morning cup of Yorkshire (of course!) tea, I stood there thinking – how much nicer would this have been in a beautiful textiles inspired piece of delicate porecelain? So – it is on my Christmas wish list for sure (please take note friends and family members – and just to be extra clear – Clare’s website is HERE. And after much deliberation, my piece of choice is THIS stunning Patchwork teacup. I love just how gloriously delicate it is in the pure white – but really feels like a mug you could have a proper brew in! Deeply textured ‘fabric’ porcelain. In Clare’s own words from her website “It’s comforting, passionate and nostalgic”.

Anyway, enough of my Christmas wishlist – the time spent with Clare making the lovely little cups – made me really think about my own craft and creative workshops- and how to best deliver them – and of all the exciting The Crafty Lass things to look forward to…and of course Christmas, and my new cup! (ahem!) 🙂

Categories: Places to Go & Things to See

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