Yesterday I had a really magical day in London at the Selvedge Winter Fair.
It was my first time at a Selvedge event though I’ve been hoping to get to one for years. Selvedge magazine — in case you haven’t encountered its square format, matt paper, and distinctive print scent — has to be the read of choice for the textile cognoscenti. It’s always creatively stimulating and often delightfully obscure. The visuals are exemplary, and the tone of the text is knowledgeable, direct and unpatronising. Published six times a year, Selvedge is available infrequently enough for you to work up an appetite for the next issue, and to make the £9.95 cover price just about affordable (though, of course, you get a better deal if you subscribe).
So eager was I to be at the head of the queue for the Winter Fair’s 10am start that, blearily clutching my Earl Grey, I caught the 7.13 train from Bath Spa. The fair, by reputation, fills up fast, so getting in early to a relatively uncrowded hall is worth making the effort for. It wasn’t just the fair; I was looking forward to meeting up with a handful of friends there too. And, according to plan, there were just a couple of people ahead of me when the doors opened.
The Chelsea Town Hall location was a new one for Selvedge, much bigger than those previously used. It is grand and capacious and did the job, though the lighting in some areas left something to be desired.
As I wandered around I was a little starstruck by some of the craftspeople and their beautiful wares, many familiar from the pages of the magazine. Ellie Evans‘ pincushions, for instance. They are marvellously weighty in the hand, being full to the brim with emery.
And I have long been drawn to these felt clogs, spotted on the Selvedge Drygoods stall…
Julie Arkell had a stall. I didn’t speak to her, but one of the joys of an event like this is being able to deal directly with the designer/maker, to hear unmediated how they have created an item you are interested in buying. That is a really charming experience. As was getting to spend so much time with talented and delightful fellow visitors Ruth, Alison, Jo and Jo’s sister-in-law. Thanks to all for hanging out – I really had the best time.
Having resolved not to buy anything, quite predictably all of my good intentions went out the window in the face of such extreme textile temptation. Most of my purchases were gifts and I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but here are some of the things I enjoyed seeing:
Abigail Brown‘s birds
Dyed blankets from Sasha Gibb
Knitwear by Di Gilpin
Knitwear with scrap textile strips by Mary Davis
Welsh loveliness from Damson & Slate
Upcycled blanket wares from Matilda Rose
Painted textiles from Emma Bradbury
The redwork embroidery of Stitch by Stitch
However, rest assured that I’ll be able to show you some more Selvedge Winter Fair delights in tomorrow’s Scrap of the Week.