I was visiting a crafts sale when I overheard a woman selling her goods talk about craft mags.
‘Oh, they’re so expensive,’ she said. ‘I’ve stopped buying them!’
It was over a month ago now, but that conversation is still stuck with me. I’ve even asked other crafters what they think of the price of craft mags, and it seems like most of us find £4.99 too expensive.
On Saturday I went to a rural craft event in Brecon.
It was a rainy, wind-blowing weekend but rural crafters are hardy folk!
The craft event was organised by The Big Skill. As a social enterprise its purpose is to keep rural skills alive. Last weekend the focus was on crafters and makers demonstrating their skills. In an industry where many crafts are being replaced by machines, it’s wonderful to see people use their hands!
I love the idea of keeping rural crafts alive, so I volunteered my skills as photographer. It was my first proper stint at event photography, and it was a lot of fun once I got over my nerves! Carrying my camera gave me the perfect excuse to chat to everyone about their work.
As I’ve hurdled through learning one new craft a month, I’ve seen a lot of mixed reactions from professional crafters about someone learning their craft. Some of them are excited, and recommend workshops. Some have even volunteered their help.
But most surprisingly, some crafters have seen it as a threat. Someone else learning the skills they use to pay their bills means more competition.
Technically, yes. But there’s more to it than that.
World Fair Trade Day is the second Saturday in May every year.
Fairtrade is about supporting workers and farmers in developing countries, but the same principles make me support fair prices for crafters, too. Especially local ones. When you buy handmade goods at a fair price from a local maker, you’re helping them do what they love. That’s a much better alternative than buying cheap goods made in unethical work environments.
Everyone deserves fair prices for their work. Locally, globally, everywhere.
This month has been the first time I’ve worked with a mentor in my pursuit to learn one new craft a month this year. It’s been a fun experience!
I’ve been learning about fused glass making with Carys Rodwell as my mentor. I say ‘mentor’ and not teacher because when you’re doing something with your own hands, you can’t really be taught. You can be shown, but to really learn you have to do things yourself.
Fused glass is such a tactile craft that it really brings that point across. Carys could show me over and over how to cut the glass and snap it apart, but only by doing it myself could I understand the glass and how much pressure it needed.
This weekend I’ve been busy getting started on projects for this month, and I thought I’d share what I’ve been up to. The sunshine this weekend has really spurred me on!
In the garden …
I like to think May Day marks the start of BBQ season. We’re extending our patio with a patch of gravel to keep our BBQ and furniture on. Problem was, the BBQ arrived before the gravel. But that (and cloudy weather) didn’t stop us from enjoying some burgers on Friday afternoon.