You know when you get one of those moments when you wake up and you just want to do something different. Saturday, was just one. I woke up with SOCK on my mind. Note the capitalization. I don't want you to think I had some sort of strange fetish.
No, the Sock Craft Fair was on this weekend as was the Freecycle 'Give and Take' sale. As the latter was in the afternoon I took a chance that I would be back for it. Unfortunately, travelling from Corby isn't always that easy. Sure, we have a station but the connection for my train to Loughborough is 2 minutes. An atheletic 2 minutes which involves leaping like a loon from the train, hairing at break neck speeds over the bridge to the other platform. If wind, train arriving on time, incoming train slightly late and being physically fit on the day are all in place you have a one in thirty chance of catching the train. Oh, I forgot to mention, I had my son, so that would be another variable.
I hate the stress of it all, then you have an hours wait for the next one, so I decided to drive. Of course taking my son was a last minute decision but it was a good way of getting him away from infront of the blasted computer.
It's my thing at the moment to travel by train. I never thought I would hear myself say that. I love driving, especially when I am driving my Figaro with the roof down, it's something special. I think it's since my mother moved to Manchester. I can't stand driving up the M6 it makes me feel uptight and strangely out of control. A two an a half hour journey becomes three and four hours because of the roadworks. So now, if a place is train accessible I take it. Does anyone remember the old slogan 'let the train take the strain'? So true, unless the train is packed and you can't find a seat. lol
It's amazing what conversations you hear when you're travelling. This lady I was listening to announced that Primark was brilliant, you could buy a top or an outfit, wear it once and then throw it away. Then in the next breath she was talking about Japan and how awful it was and how we have destroyed our resources, all the trees have gone. I would have loved to have recorded it and played it back to her.
When we arrived at Loughborough, I realised how cold it was and how we really could have done with some extra layers. Even the walk up from the station didn't warm us.
Loughborough has a great market. This suprised me a lot as most markets and towns these days are all the same very rarely do you get a variety of interesting stalls. I ended up buying a 'Curry in a Hurry' spice pack with instructions which I will make tomorrow for the family. Yum.
Onward and into the town hall. Entrance to the event was free so that always encourages me that people may be more inclined to spend when they get inside. I was handed a brown take away bag with Sock stamped on it and inside was a list of exhibitors. Again, a good thing, I always forget to pick up cards or write down details.
The range of wares on offer was excellent. Click on the link so you can visit the exhibitors sites. SOCK My visit was two fold. I wanted to see the selection of exhibitors and I wanted to provide support for fellow Design Factory members and creative friends.
The first stall I visited was Katie Almond a Design Factoy designer/maker. She works in porcelain and creates nostalgic pieces using ephemera and vintage textiles. The porcelain pieces she makes are very thin which reminds me how fragile our memories really are. She had a sweet link to Easter, there were some delicate egg cups with some handpainted eggs sitting proudly on her stand. Before moving on I had a quick word about how her preparations for the British Trade Craft Fair were going. I think she's feeling like me, very apprehensive.
My son was very intrigued by the work of Corrine Rothwell. I first came across her work whilst at university and it gave me the first insight into the Design Factory which I thought would be way beyond my remit. Jesse loved the playful cartoons that Corrine produces and stood there for quite a while absorbing her work.
The next stand was a new creative I hadn't seen before and due to her muted tones was an instant hit with me. Alex McQuade who produces mixed media textile work. She playfully uses felt and references to stitch to produce interesting corsages, cuffs and wall pieces.
Moving around the hall I came across Kelly McRobie from the Design Factory. Kelly produces very sculptural brooches using leather and felt and other fashion accessories. Kelly is also exhibiting at the BCTF (British Craft Trade Fair) this year so we talked for a while about where we were both up to.
It was then that I spotted Gillian Lee Smith. I have been a silent fan for a while and anticipating when we would finally meet. Her work has a dreamlike quality with a touch of darkness thrown in for good measure. The colour palatte she uses can only be described as liquefied softness with a hazy chemeric undertone. I was then interrupted by my son's cries of delight as he had finally found the sock monster table. There were chickens and frogs and mice and aliens and cats as well as monsters. He was so thrilled he took a photo of one particularly cute character.
I wandered back over to Gillian to continue our conversation from where we left off. I was so flattered when Gillian told me that she also was a fan of my work, that really made my day and put a huge smile on my face. As I was sharing stories and ideas with Gillian I heard a big, 'Hi, Phiona', in my ear. It was Pink.
Pink is the name I and many others give to our one and only 'Duck in a Bucket' artist Ema Kelly. She produces beautiful glass beads and characters to rival any of Pandora's work. By this stage my son had glazed (excuse the pun) over now he had seen the sock monsters. Whilst we chatted away about the upcoming British Craft Trade Fair I spotted a glass interpretation of a rubber ducky. I did the obligatory aws and ooo, and that's sooo cute. When Ema added that she was going to make it into a bubble bath necklace with a duck in a bubble, then lots of bubble beads. I can't wait to see it. I might even have to order one.
Just before leaving I bumped into lovely Bob who also creates glass structures. Bob was 2 years above me at university and also a mature student. I must find a link to his work. He is a mine of information and ever so helpful when you need links to funding or exhibitions. Unfortunately, I was unable to have my usual long chat with him as Jesse was 'bored' and we were both in need of some nutrition and a drink.
All in all we both enjoyed the day and I even managed to catch the tail end of the 'Give and Take' event at Gretton. I collected a bag of leather and furry scraps which I will donate to Happenin' @ Corby where I used to be their Art Tutor. Sock is a terrific event....
.....and you may even catch me there next year!!