There's nothing more British than standing in front of your bedroom mirror, looking at your cute summer outfit only then to open the front door and have the day literally rain on your parade. It was back into my trusty yellow rain mac and tatty converse to meet the people whose spirits are never dampened by the weather. By that I mean it was time to head back to Fibre East once again.
Fibre East is an annual craft event that celebrates all things fibre! It is held in Ampthill, Bedfordshire and attracts makers, sellers, crafters and fibre enthusiasts from far and wide. I first attended the event last year and absolutely loved it! The atmosphere was amazing and it gave me the chance to meet lots of incredibly talented makers from the length and breadth of the country. There are six different 'sheep' themed areas that house a whole host of small businesses that are all based around a love of fibre. The event is held at my old upper school- which makes it a fairly surreal experience. It's safe to say that even all these years later, I still can't find my way around that school.
Now as someone who has a great appreciation for all crafts, particularly those that are fibre based, I can honestly say it was worth the £8 entry. I don't think you should be restricted by your own craft and although it is sad that there were no embroidery artists at the event again this year, I do find it a fascinating experience and perfect for networking. There were so many businesses that I remembered from last year but so many more that were new to the event and me. As I have said many times before, one of the most enjoyable aspects of owning a small business and being a 'maker' is getting the opportunity to meet and speak to so many people. It is probably one of the things I most enjoy when I go to an event. I always equip myself with business cards, making sure that I hand them out to people I have spoken to and connected with. I also make sure that I pick up leaflets and cards from other people and familiarise myself with them when I get home. Today I spoke with some amazingly talented individuals and it was fantastic to see so many other people trying their hands at crafts such as spinning, felting, weaving and so much more.
As I navigated my way through the various halls and marquees I bumped into some familiar faces and businesses. I checked in on the lovely Siobhan and spent some time looking at her stunning array of yarns and kits as well as finding out about her experience this year and how she felt the event had changed overtime.
Naturally I also stopped by and checked in with The Fibre Lounge and Wulla which was just lovely! I have so much respect for these girl bosses and trust their advice and experience more than anyone else. Their love of this event was clear to see and really inspired me in taking the same leap in the future.
I also visited another familiar stall that I had the pleasure of checking out last year. Spin City certainly know how to put on a show- not only do they create a stunning stall but they also support craft enthusiasts in learning new skills such as spinning. Their stall is always worth a visit!
I had the pleasure of discovering new businesses on my travels today including silver artist Lyn Roberts who had a beautiful array of handmade products, perfect for a whole host of crafters. It was lovely speaking to Lyn and discovering more about her craft and journey. I was very taken with her ingenious (and beautiful) pin dish.
One of my favourite businesses I discovered at Fibre East was Behind the Sheep Shed which is a needle felting business, specialising in realistic animal creations. I have been a huge fan of needle felting for quite some time and it is a craft I am keen to learn. I spent quite some time chatting to one of the brains behind the business and hearing all about their fantastic workshops. I have never seen such life like and charming felted pieces before and I have a feeling that I will be attending one of their workshops very soon. I mean, who doesn't want to create a cute little sheep or rabbit out of felt?
So what am I trying to say? I guess I am trying to say that Fibre East is a fantastic event not only for small business owners but craft enthusiasts too. It is a super accessible event that has an incredibly friendly atmosphere, full of fun and and passion. I look forward to attending next year, hopefully as more than just a browser and seeing even more small businesses break through and showcase their skills.
Let's just pray for sunshine next year...