What makes the Craft Marquee so successful?
Fiona Mundy, who heads up the Craft marquee, explains the strict selection process for craft exhibitors and what to expect this year.
We started planning the Craft marquee in January when the committee got together to have the first of our selection meetings. All applicants, old and new, were discussed. New exhibitors were requested to send in samples of their work and the standard is judged on the criteria that ‘if we could do it, it’s not good enough’. Only people with a special talent are invited to exhibit in the marquee and they all have to make what they sell.
This year we see many of our regulars returning as well as 13 new exhibitors and a few that we haven’t seen for a year or two. One of our new exhibitors is Phoebe Hessian, who is a pupil at Pangbourne College and she is selling her artwork to raise money for the college’s sponsored project in Uganda. Watch out for Phoebe on Meridian TV!
We have added a new Trophy to our existing awards this year; the Christine Mundy Pocket Money Award, which is awarded to the exhibitor who is offering the best value crafts or gifts. Two of our exhibitors have very kindly agreed to make the trophy. I visited Caroline of Blissimore Designs, in Andover recently and picked up the glass part of the award. She has done a fantastic job and I had a great time seeing how she makes the jewellery that she will be selling at the show. Caroline won the award for the ‘Best Product’ 2 years ago so be sure to take a look when you visit the Craft Marquee this year.
I then met with Terry Harvey, a wood turner based in Morecambe, Lancashire, and he has been a regular in the Craft Marquee for some years now. I took the glass plate part of our new trophy with me as he is making a base for it. He gave me a tour of his fantastic workshop and then we had a cuppa in the fruit and vegetable garden on the roof!
Things are all sorted in the Craft Marquee now. We are fully booked this year and last weekend we finished plotting the marquee. Most of our exhibitors will turn up on Friday and set out their stands ready for Saturday morning. There is always a great atmosphere in the marquee over the weekend as the majority of exhibitors know each other very well. Some will stay onsite over the whole weekend and so there'll be lots of catching up to do and a little bit of merry-making in the evenings!
Come Sunday afternoon, we will be passing around forms so exhibitors can request to be invited back next year and so it all starts again. 2017 will be here before we know it!