Made By Hand Cardiff


I was asked to visit the hand made craft festival in Cardiff, Made By Hand, and write about it here, and as I am a fan of all things art and crafty and love a new experience, (and well, just the chance to write), I jumped at the chance with an open, yet unsure what to expect mind. Would it be a load of jewelry which was 'made' by sticking of another piece of jewelry? Or just a lot of vintage clothes with added accessories? What I found was two floors full of beautiful and, hand crafted art; each item on each stall with its maker possessing an attention to detail that even the likes of Victoria Beckham could be proud of.

Some of the crafters worked full time on their merchandise, others had regular jobs yet a with a burning passion to create something beautiful from something small.

"I'm a bit of a hoarder!" Laughs Rachael, from Devon, the creator of Grace and Favour Home. Their stunning lampshades themed with sheet music and a map of a location of your choice caught my eye as soon as I entered the exhibition.

"All of the designs comes from old collections and post cards and things that I have and I just turn them into fabrics." The Made By Hand Craft Festival is living proof that broken does not mean ruined and anything old and ragged can still be turned into something unique and beautiful. Kimmi B. Davies's stall of bits of broken plates turned into stunning jewelry pieces emphasizes this concept with the slogan being, 'New Life To Broken Plates'.

Walking around the craft festival was like getting lost in a maze of creative thoughts and passions, with each new stall inviting you into the creators imagination and how they see something that is arguably useless and yet somehow manages to turn it onto something so unique and beautiful. The wonderful artists behind Small Brown Bird invited into an insight into her imagination and thought process behind her unique designs of small metal ornamental birds, each with a character and back story, ( my personal favorite being the ex-hippy bird!)
"Its my own experience of living in Britain... and I am bird obsessed! I think the thing with birds is that they live beside us and not with us. They live a very parallel life so it is quite easy to just make up stories about them."
One of the aspects to the Small Brown Bird designs which I loved was the fact that all the birds where so free. Too often we see birds in a cage as a fashion piece and personally I find this unsettling, as I have always thought that if there was ever an animal that should not be in a cage it is one with wings that were meant to fly. When question the designer about this, she informed me that she once made one out of paper for an experiment, with the results and how she felt afterwards emphasizing the freedom of the animals which is expressed in her works. "I'm not comfortable with it... I wouldn't keep a bird in a cage myself."

It was not just the artwork itself that had me transfixed, but also the creative way in which they were displayed. One of my favorites was Anne Morgan's way of laying her beautiful hand made rings in a box that instead of being lined with soft velvet, was filled with tiny little stones giving the display a rustic feel. Sh accompanied this by laying out her necklaces on a book in a draw in her display stall.

Another thing that I loved about the Made By Hand Craft Festival was that you could actually watch some of the craft create their pieces. I enjoyed watching the ceramic artist Jin Eui Kim make is unique pottery.

And was bewildered by the clever knitting machine that Llynfi Textiles uses to assist in making their contemporary clothing.

The calligraphy of Andy Moore was also a festival favorite of mine and I could not help but absolutely love the uniqueness of the decorative wire work by Helaina Sharpley. Who could have thought that something as plain as a black wire could make something so whimsical and beautiful as the designs that she has?

There were so many stunning and original creations at the festivals, I am absolutely spoilt for choice on which ones to write about!

I found the glass work of Maggie Williams so colourful and beautiful and particularly loved the bouquet of glass flowers that were used as lights.

The boho chic purses and wallets from The Pocket Pirate

And not to mention the exquisite vintage lace and pearl jewellery and accessories from Judith Brown Jewellery. My life is in particular need for this gorgeous lace hair clip!

The great thing about craft festivals such as Made By Hand in Cardiff is not just a chance for unconventional artists to be know, but it is also a chance to show the world what can be achieved with just little materials and a lot of free imagination. Its is impossible to walk through such a invitational display of art and invention with out feeling inspired to create something yourself.

The Made By Hand Festival is still on in Cardiff until the 2nd of November!


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