The top two craft fairs you don’t want to miss

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I love this time of year, not only because of the high blue sky and supposedly warm indian summer, but because this is the time of year when all jewellers and silversmiths are working like busy bees to get ready for all the craft fairs.

As I’m not doing any craft fairs myself this year – because I’m busy working on a big secret project – I’ve asked one of the most talented silversmiths I know, Angela Cork, to tell you about what she’s doing to prepare for this autumns most prestigious fairs.

Angela is exhibiting at both Goldsmiths’ Fair and Origin, in London.

Angela Cork

What does it mean to you as a silversmith to exhibit at the fairs? It’s a great opportunity to get good feedback about new work and I hope to sell some things as well. This time of year is key to my annual takings and is an important part of my business and I invest a lot of time making work and getting ready. I also enjoy a couple of weeks free of making where I can give my hands a rest, wear nice clothes and spend time chatting to fellow smiths and customers. Which is one of my favourite things.

As you’re exhibiting at both fairs this year, how long before do you start preparing, and how do you do it?  I have been preparing on and off over the last 6 months. I start making work early because there are so many other things that I have to do in this time, including other shows and commissions for customers and I only have two hands! Two months before is when I really start focusing on the preparation of the display, I think about what will suit the work and also the stand position that I have been given; there is quite a lot to consider. Then there is the promotion including getting images ready, postcards, pictures and mailing out to customers. Of course you can just imagine the week before.  

Drinking Vessel by Angela Cork

Have you made any new pieces for this years fairs?  I have made a couple of pill box designs, they are so new that they are not yet photographed, but I can tell you that they feel lovely in the hand or in your pocket. This year I am into objects that have a sensory connection to the user. For Collect I made a tumbler cup which feels so good to handle and fits just right into the palm of your hand. For the forthcoming fairs I have made a new pair that are slightly larger and heavier. They were peened from a thick sheet and stretched thinner towards the top so the weight distribution means they will not fall over and also have a really good weight to them that is centred in the base. Most of my work is fabricated, so it was really good to get back to a bit of hammering.

Any tips for visitors? It is chance to see a wide variety of my work on display and pieces that are hot off the press! And made especially for these shows. I don’t have a shop so I spend a lot of time preparing how the whole stand looks with the work, so it can be a lovely experience to see the final results on show. People can also chat with me about my work and find out how and why I decided to make each piece. I also welcome discussions about commissions and ideas and the chance to meet someone and find out what they like. It’s much easier in person that on the telephone or by email. 

Billow Vases by Angela Cork

Anything else you want to add, a visitor might benefit from? Coming to Origin is a chance to see a selection of the best work being produced internationally and of a variety of disciplines. It is not often that you get to see such wonderful work by so many makers that is both functional and affordable and if you aren’t buying it can be a great day out and a chance to meet so many talents! And if you’re into Jewellery and Silversmithing Goldsmith’s Fair is a dream come true.

Any anecdotes from previous fairs you want to share – funny/entertaining stories? Someone once ate a chocolate that was part of my silver display. It had been there for days but the lady seemed to enjoy it.

Angela Cork, graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2002, she has her own workshop is in West Hampstead, London. You can see more of Angela’s work on www.angelacork.co.uk 

Origin is on from 22-28 September 2011 at Old Spitalfields Market, London. Click here for more info about Origin.

Goldsmiths’ Fair is on from 26 September – 9 October 2011 at Goldsmiths Hall, London. Click here for more info about Goldsmiths Fair.

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