There’s something about attending a craft fair that stirs creative bubbles within me; my eyes gaze over beautiful fabrics, mouth-watering treats, trinkets and treasures made with care and love. I say love, because having a craft is a skill. Many skills are born out of a passion to create something and as history has shown, skills are passed down through generations.
Learning and developing a craft is a highly valued educational qualification, one that has shaped the many lives of people throughout history. Today, many crafts – sometimes paired with arts, are seen as pastimes, however, for many people, their craft is their work and source of livelihood.
The concept of having a craft is believed to pre-date the Middle Ages, and yet here we are, years into the future, still gathering to share, sell, inspire and keep alive these craft skills for others to enjoy into the future.
I love attending craft fairs; I feel like this is my way of celebrating the history of craft and it is exciting because you never know what you are going to find or indeed, learn. Today nestled in the beautiful grounds of Coolings Garden Centre in Knockholt, I came to visit the ‘Keep It Local’ craft fair. An organisation that is all about celebrating local crafts, products, produce and food. Keep It Local frequently hold craft fairs as well as food and produce fairs around neighbouring towns and counties, promoting local quality and its importance.
My eyes were greeted with an array of colour, as crafts were admired and happily purchased. Stalls had been set out with care and many stall holders willingly took the time to explain their crafts in more detail.
I was pleasantly surprised to see such a vast and varied selection of skills on show and the pride in which the stall owners had over their work. It made me reflect on the perseverance and determination that craftspeople have, especially for those who earn their living by what they make and sell.
In a short space of time, I had learnt about skills I had no idea even existed! Skills that I already knew were suddenly presented to me in a fashion I’d not seen or would even have thought of. It truly was an afternoon of education for me and I experienced a deepening respect of creative quality so proudly displayed by the craftspeople at this event.
The photographs that I took during the afternoon by no means truly represent the beauty and hard work of these crafts. Touch is a vital sense in understanding and appreciating the quality of many crafts, which sadly is impossible for me to put into words. I very much doubt I would do them justice.
Writing this has made me reflect further upon the word ‘local’ and what it means to different people. For Keep It Local, the organisational team have strived to deliver an outstanding array of locally made, sourced, grown and produced items, making a promise to the local people that what they purchase is quality. It also reminds us (the people) that we have quality items which can be bought locally and perhaps sometimes, we can forget this.
I really enjoyed this afternoon and it was made even better by early April sunshine. Regardless of the weather though, if you can, I highly recommend a visit to one of Keep It Local’s fairs. Click here to find out more information.
See below for a gallery of all the photos taken during my afternoon.