Images by Country Living Magazine
This week I took a trip to the Country Living Spring Fair to get some ideas for the home and garden, and of course, to spend my Birthday money - yippee! I have been looking forward to the trip for ages, in all honesty, ever since the Christmas Fair! The atmosphere at the fair was less pressured than before, and as we went on Wednesday (the first day) it wasn't too packed which gave you a chance to properly chat to the stallholders and ask about the products. There was a good range of stalls ranging from gardening (behold the gardening section of the fair below!) homes, vintage goods and even fashion. Hilariously, according to the website: Average visitors to the fair are 95% female (well, that was blindingly obvious, apart from the handful of husbands there to carry the bags!) are 49 years old, twice as likely to have household income of over £50k and have a high second home ownership. Well, I'm a part-time working 25 year old with a shepherds hut, but I felt quite content with what was on offer I can assure you! (Although I did notice the age gap...and the fact I wasn't wearing a pashmina!)
The first stall we admired was Jonart Design's Wind Spinners that moved in multiple directions all at once and came in some very striking graphic shapes. My friend Anni was considering buying this model, which in a generous garden would look absolutely stunning - They are on my wish list too!
These prints by Emma Hardicker were my favourite artworks at the fair. She has a studio at the Custard Factory in Birmingham, where she creates these beautiful silkscreens on handmade paper. I adored this new Blue Hydrangea design, and I will be contacting Emma to purchase one soon, once I've saved up especially! Her choice of colours are so special, fresh and cheerful but with plenty of influence from 20s/30s design. Emma's work has been stocked in Liberty's and you can see why, their iconic prints immediately sprung to mind when I spotted these! Really beautiful work, do check out her website for more. In her own words,
"My work is heavily inspired by nature and botanicals from walks around the Midlands and sketching in the garden. However, I also love living in the city and therefore the harder urban surroundings also feature in my designs. I design limited edition prints, commissioned paintings, greeting cards and a fabric range; all proudly produced in the UK. I have created a distinctive style that runs through all my printed work, giving it a timeless quality and design that works with both modern and classic interiors."
These amazing, wild and loveable creatures are from Furniture Farm and are actually footstools! They come in either sheep, highland cow or bull designs, all made from the finest natural materials and in a variety of wood frames. Anni's choice was made from British Oak and quite an usual rare breed sheepskin. In Ali's own words: "Our animals are often bought as presents for farmers, vets, other animal admirers and those who would like a trouble free pet (ie completely housetrained – No vets bills – No fuss diet). They become part of the family." There was no way Ani could carry this chap home, so he will be arriving in a nice box (with air holes of course!) very soon! One of those thing you never realise you wanted...until you see them!
Just a few more brands I wanted to mention, but was too busy shopping to photograph include Glover and Smith who make beautiful pewter jewellery and home ware with some gorgeous designs inspired by nature. My Mum received one of their Oak necklaces for Christmas and was thrilled, so I went for the little wren necklace and sugar spoon, I am a sucker for anything with a birdy on! They are beautiful quality and very reasonable, considering the detail of them.
"Ah yes, you had Guinea Fowls once, didn't you Jilly??" - It's not everyday you hear such a sentence!
Finally, the wonderful Plum & Ashby who make my ideal kind of home and kitchen ware. It's classic British utilitarian in styling, with timeless good quality. Oh, and it has lots of lovely dogs on too - the first thing I spotted when their stall was on the horizon! I highly recommend taking a look at their website, their whole branding is so strong, it's hard to resist a purchase! Also head over to their exquisitely curated Pinterest page!
I really enjoyed the pop up market as well, where new makers and creators could apply to win a free pitch on the Wednesday. In many ways, this room was my favourite part of the fair. It just seemed more honest and with a more of a 'buzzy' atmosphere, I sometimes felt the more commercial fashion/beauty stalls bring down the atmosphere at fairs that should be celebrating more artisan products, but I understand exhibiting costs make this difficult for smaller companies. All in all, I really enjoyed my day at the fair and came away with some very special artworks and fun purchases, good old Country Living! Thanks for reading,