Friday, May 11, 2012

Living Crafts, Hatfield House, Herts

This is the second time I've told in the grounds at Hatfield. The first was at Folk by the Oak music festival, but on this occasion its the Living Crafts Fair - One of the biggest events of its type in Europe.

I've told at craft fairs before - Ludlow Medieval Xmas Fayre for example has huge tents selling jewellery, furniture, pots and who knows what else, but what marks Living Crafts out as different is that many of those selling their wares also demonstrate their crafts. I watched a woman heating and manipulating glass into all sorts of delicate objects; making it look so easy although of course it was not.

Another man, a 'bodger' processing the raw timber into trugs, hurdles and so much more...

A stone mason was giving kids and adults alike a master class, his tent full of tap, tap, tapping and concentration as visitors slowly revealed their own designs...

Pupils work above and the Masters below

What also struck me were the stories of many of these crafts men and women. Many had come late to their trades - Dissatisfied with their lives; with being forever caught in the rat race they had opted out, many with a desire to leave something behind. Something beautiful! One man, a silver smith told me that he was once an antique dealer who made a good living from buying and selling all sorts of beautiful bits and pieces, but he felt unfulfilled and wanted to know how the objects had been made, so as not to just be profiting by the skills of others. So that's what he did and I watched him this very day hammering and crafting a delicate silver spoon.

I like that. It makes me relax when it comes to my own kids - neither are really happy with the path they have chosen, but clearly they have time to ponder and try different things. It also fits in well with my own experience of life - For once when I was a welder I would never have dreamed that one day I would be an itinerant teller of tales!

Thanks to Robin and his staff for the invite to his fantastic event.

P.S I also got to camp amongst some great 'stag oaks' like this......

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. Hi Dave,
    I almost, but not quite, got introduced to you at the Hatfield Fayre. You were there when Cliff and I were saying a quick goodbye to Louise. I love story telling and if I had been able to escape from my tent I would have loved to have listened to a yarn or two.
    Will follow your blog with interest...

    Cathy :)

    1. Hi Cathy

      It was good to meet you albeit very briefly! It is a pity you couldn't join me, especially on Sunday - there was a really great mix of all ages. Just what storytelling should be about!

      Hopefully you can share a tale next year...