Crafts reign supreme at Dorset County Show’s new Artisans Craft Marquee

Some of Dorset’s top artists will be exhibiting their wares in a new Artisan Crafts Marquee at next month’s Dorset County Show.

Around 20 of the county’s finest handmade arts and crafts specialists have been specially selected and invited to exhibit in the marquee.

Richard Cuzens, Dorset County Show Secretary, welcomed the support shown from craftspeople across the county: “This will bring together for the first time selected Dorset artisan and craft producers in a dedicated marquee and will show our visitors the best locally made goods.”

Anne McDowell, owner of Henry’s Buttons at Donhead St Mary, near Shaftesbury, the birth-place of the Dorset button industry in the 1600s, says the idea of an artisan marquee for craftspeople is an excellent one.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea as it can help showcase the fact that Dorset has so much to offer.

“My aim is to keep the Dorset button tradition alive. I use the original methods to make my Dorset buttons with contemporary materials. I also try out new designs and ways to use the skills of this heritage craft and ideals for using these lovely buttons.”

Anne, who exhibits at the Cygnet Gallery in Shaftesbury, recently made a 24 inch button and used vintage velvet ribbon, Melbury silk and Sari silk thread/yarn.

Liz Walsh, who produces sculptures from willow from her base near Maiden Newton, said she hadn’t exhibited at the Dorset County Show for years but had been tempted back by the Crafts Artisan Marquee.

“I think it’s a good idea and am really looking forward to meeting the other exhibitors,” added Liz, who has exhibited at the Bridport Arts Centre, Eype Centre for Arts and Cattistock Open Gardens Festival in recent years.

Handmade porcelain ceramics specialist Caroline Barnes, from Whitchurch Canonicorum, said she was really delighted at the prospect of developing a more local market.

“A lot of my Shows are currently outside the county – either in Devon or London - and so I am really excited about building on the back of the Dorset Artist Weeks in May and June.”

Potter Fiona Kelly, from Bournemouth, who exhibits at the Wareham Gallery and sells widely around Dorset, also welcomed the “bold initiative”.

Among the other exhibitors taking part are Bridport-based furniture designer Alice Blogg; Shroton woodturner Darren Wheeler; jewellery maker Nina Parker, from Shaftesbury, floristry expert Jules Hosford, from Blandford Forum and print designer Caroline Tucker, from Crossways, near Dorchester.

Rebecca Cox
16th Aug 2016 09:17:00

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