So this time last week I was in Harrogate at the British Craft Trade Fair (BCTF).
BCTF has been one of my favourite shows for over 12 years and is a three-day event at the Great Yorkshire Showground in beautiful Harrogate. This year, because of my support for this event over the years, I was a lucky recipient of a Golden Ticket which meant that not only was the catalogue free but there was also free coffee and cake!
The beauty of this trade fair is it is practically on my doorstep and it’s a beautiful drive from home too. I see it as the perfect opportunity to catch up with many of my past and present designer/makers.
I also love to meet new exhibitors and always go along well prepared with info about forthcoming shows at Heart Gallery so I can choose new designer/makers to showcase later in the year. I even book ahead into the following year too … now that is organised don’t you think?
The British Craft Trade Fair is strictly trade-only and showcases work from exclusively British and Irish makers with no mass-manufactured products or products made overseas which is why it is one of my favourites to visit naturally.
BCTF Harrogate has been running for more than 42 years and for the past 25 years it has been in the ownership of PSM Ltd, under the personal supervision of Margeret Bunn who is responsible for maintaining the fair’s high standards and selecting the makers that attend.
Margeret’s passion for craft and art has seen her work with British designer/makers for over 35 years, she has helped many hundreds of young makers take their first steps in dealing with retail buyers.
Two year’s ago Margeret booked me to do a breakfast talk to the exhibitors which I found extremely nerve wracking. The brief was to talk for only ten minutes to around 4oo plus exhibitors about how best to approach a Gallery, what to do and more importantly what NOT to do!
In conversation with ceramicist Katy O’Neil on her stand mid morning last Sunday I thanked her for her invite received a couple of weeks ago which contained a small square tile of her work. This, she informed me, is something she now does since listening to my talk in 2015 … I’m so glad that some of the points I mentioned at that very early breakfast meeting were implemented.
You will be pleased to hear that I have a new collection coming from Katy O’Neil as I know you do love her vessels and bowls and her new colourway of bold black with grey is amazing, look at this one for contrast with flowers Katy gets from Flowersmiths.
We will also have a brand new collection from Fi Mehra including some much loved rough diamond rings and of course some of your old favourites with gold accents including her new rose gold daisies.
8 hours is a long time on your feet chatting but well worth it … especially when you stop for your free cake and coffee mid afternoon! This gave me time to catch up with Hayley who’s the Programme Manager at The Design Factory as we are working together this year on something exciting (more on this in a new post soon).
Fuelled by caffeine and a naughty sugar spike I just had another hour to soak up the last of the stands and catch up with friends and makers. I bumped into many throughout the day including Helen Russell who is normally behind her own stand but decided this year to just be a visitor and see BCTF through different eyes.
Finally I set off back home happy that I had managed to get around the hall in one day and laden down with lots of paperwork to look through and the catalogue to remind me of those I may have missed!
Well BCTF … thank you for another lovely day in your new, spacious hall surrounded by so much talent. x