People ask why we do not attend craft fairs, which are mainly in village halls. Sometimes I feel embarrassed by answering, however it is an easy answer. When we first started, we attend many village hall run craft fairs. Only to find lots of bought in goods, commercial merchandise, even jumble. Osbourn books, Avon, Body shop, even win a mini, were frequent stalls. There were also people selling chocolate bars stuck on cardboard, arranged boxes of towels and sheets and unregulated food and cakes.
I have no problem with any one trying to sell, but the description of the event confuses people, as well as affects all our sales. Craft and Gift events usually incorporate the commercial sellers and they are registered small businesses, just like me. This is not a handmade sale and people understand when visiting what stalls will be present. When attending county events, you would expect to see all these types of stalls, but not in the craft tent.
So why is it so important to list handmade along side craft?
In my opinion it gives people the sense of knowing where something has come from, the carbon footprint of a product and the origins. No one wants to pay a lot of money thinking they have purchased a unique handcrafted item, to then turn it round and find a bar code and made in China sticker. All the seller has done is stuck a sticker on it or maybe painted it in a pastel colour.
Most people that make something by hand will need a raw material. For example, sheep fleece or wood, which we use in our items. Artists may use clay or a painter would use canvas, paints and when finished a frame. I suppose the difference is an acceptable level of bought in material to enable the artisan to complete their craft. The difference between a silver smith smouldering the silver and making it into something using a mould or buying in shapes and just putting them onto a wire frame to make earrings. I don’t think it is snobbery, just different types of retailers.
This picture was taken in May 2019, at the Buxton wool gathering event.