Devon County Show, County Showground, Westpoint, Exeter, Devon 20th - 22nd May
14:11 07 April 2010
Quilting, beekeeping and forging are just three of the crafts you can try at this years Devon County Show at Westpoint, Exeter, Devon writes Ann Ashford
Learning and practising traditional skills and hobbies taps into something of a movement, which has arisen as a result of a growing desire to make something unique rather than to buy it off the shelf, as well as tighter household budgets
Craftspeople will be demonstrating their skills on all three days of the Show and will be available to give plenty of encouragement as well as practical advice to visitors. Here we highlight just a few of the people coming to the Show and what they do; they will all be delighted to meet Devon Life readers.
Bees play a vital role in food production. About a third of all that we eat, as well as much of what we wear, relies on pollination by bees. Bees also work hard pollinating our gardens, meaning better flowering plants and increased yields of fruit and vegetables. Terry Clark of the Devon Beekeepers Association says: Its a wonderfully rewarding and relaxing pastime. It neednt take up huge amounts of time nor cost the earth, and youll gain an insight into one of natures most fascinating creatures, not to mention be rewarded with delicious honey.
Terry, and fellow members of the Devon Beekeepers Association, will be on hand in the Bees and Honey marquee to talk to anyone interested in taking up this fascinating craft.
Patchwork quiltmaking is another craft which is attracting more and more interest. There is a glut of Facebook groups dedicated to the hobby, and quilting clubs and classes are springing up across the county.
Naomi Keate, who runs classes in the Exeter area, and who will be exhibiting at the Show, says: Quilts are about building a community; a process of show-and-tell through the act of making. Quilting can be meditative, but its functional, too.
Women, and men too, enjoy the process right from the design stage through to producing the finished item. Once they start they often get hooked!
Naomi and fellow quilters will be on hand at the Show to offer visitors advice and to help them get started.
For classes, call Naomi on 01392 250007
At Westpoint Forge you will be able to see men and women practising one of the oldest crafts forging steel from the heart of a blazing fire.
We train newcomers and experienced alike in the craft, keeping it alive and developing the old skills for future generations, says John Bellamy, Master of the Blacksmiths Guild.
If you have ever been fascinated by seeing something beautiful or functional emerging from a cold piece of iron, and thought you would like to give it a try, at Westpoint Forge you can have that opportunity.
The Blacksmiths Guild runs courses for individuals and groups throughout the year at the forge on the showground.
Spinner Susan Wasfi, together with fellow members of the Devon Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, will be at the Show demonstrating the processes involved in turning a fleece into a finished garment.
Spinning is fairly simple and straightforward, but it does take a bit of practise to become really competent, says Susan. You never stop learning, as every new type of material needs a slightly different approach to spin it properly.
The team will also be able to give guidance about what to look for when buying a spinning wheel and where to get a fleece. Visitors can try their hand at spinning, and those who want to explore their interest further will be put in touch with local groups.
Whether you want to beat the credit crunch and transform a bunch of supermarket flowers into something really special, learn basic floristry techniques or understand how to create contemporary designs, then the flower arrangements at the Show are sure to be a source of inspiration.
Jo Teale, Chairman of Teignmouth Flower Club, has loved flowers all her life: When I was a tiny child I used to pick dandelions and arrange them in egg cups! Since then, Jos love of flowers has continued and, as an Army wife, she has joined flower-arranging groups at every posting.
Jo and fellow flower arrangers will be on hand throughout the Show to give demonstrations, advice and put visitors in touch with local groups.
Devon lace is delicate, showy and distinctive. Its made on a round pillow, using pointed bobbins with fine threads and, until the end of the Second World War, Devon lace was a vibrant cottage industry. Today, teachers ensure this traditional craft continues to flourish as a hobby. Elizabeth Trebble and fellow teachers will be at the Show to demonstrate this fascinating handicraft and to provide advice and encouragement to anyone who wants to take it up.
DEVON COUNTY SHOW
COUNTY SHOWGROUND, WESTPOINT, EXETER, DEVON