It was a conversation a few months ago with a friend about trade shows, that first introduced me to the BCTS. I was interested in everything I was told about it but worried I wouldn’t be able to go because I wasn’t exhibiting. A trade only event that showcases some of the finest, high end craft, I felt really out of my depth.

So BCTS kept floating into my life, people I met mentioned whether I was visiting, so finally a lovely lady called Moira, kindly gave me an invite and so I went along. Moria runs Hunt & Gather design and she brings out printer envy in me! Her work is based on using Cyanotype photography to create absolutely stunning prints.

So I have a huge thank you to say to Moira for giving me the chance to visit and discover a very well organised event. BCTS was a lovely serene and calming experience, where I got to meet some really genuinely lovely people. Talk creatively, discuss ideas and really engage with people who are very good at what they do.

Naturally, I gravitated towards print based stands because if I do go ahead with a stand application next year I wanted to see how print was represented. The first stand we came to was Natty Maid. Mandy Tait is a fabulously lovely Scottish lady, who makes beautiful and outstanding prints using lino cuts and a Gocco printing machine from Japan. Mandy was really helpful and it was great to meet someone who is as equally passionate about printmaking as I am!

The next stand we came to was Sue Bulmer who’s work is also illustration using digital print. I was drawn to the monotone style of her work and also the quality of her textile goods. I’ve been thinking about transferring my work onto aprons and tea towels and seeing Sue’s designs work so well has really given me the impetus to get it done.

Then the next people we met was Caroline from Bubble and Tweet, who make some amazing quality graphically designed textiles for the home. We’ve also met when I’ve had the studio open on craft fair days, so it was really great to meet up and swap details. I was really impressed with how professional their stand looked and also all the fantastic advice they offered!

As we moved along we found that jewellery and ceramics was really very well represented and very beautiful! It was a fantastic experience to be able to view so many talented crafts people. As the craft fair was split into several sections we moved into the established sellers sections.

The Red Corvid is a papercraft studio run by Kimberli Werner, who has some stunning cards that she hand cuts and layers herself. Using an eclectic mix of papers she has a really good eye for making the designs come together really well. She also has some lovely business cards too!

So naturally at these events, I bumped into lots of lovely Craft Soupers, a group which I belong to that encompasses a great collection of talented craft people. Sort of like a support group that offers sound advice and honest opinion! I bumped into Lynsey from Swirly Arts, who also runs Cuteable which is a great blog that Lynsey uses to showcase craft finds. Lynsey makes funky chickens and I am in total awe of her sewing skills!

I also finally got to meet the lovely Jo who runs the I love Red blog and makes gorgeous glass pieces. Jo is also exhibiting at the Saltaire Maker Fair at Victoria Hall, Saltaire, UK on Saturday 5th May. So if you can go along go and check out her work!

I met Liz from Inkylinky as well! We sort of bumped into each other at the food hall bit! Had a really good chin wag about the event and it was great to meet up again!

I also feel in love with Rachel Lucie’s work and have my eye on some gorgeous earrings that she has to put up on her site! Next to Rachel was Leigh from Leigh Shepherd Designs who also makes fabulous jewellery and was kind enough to share some great advice for having a stand at BCTS.

Overall, I had a really good day and did what I do best, which is talk lots! Thank you to everyone who was kind enough to share their time with me to give me advice. I am seriously considering having a stand for next year and meeting other inspirational crafters has reaffirmed that it is a great way to improve your business.

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