Get inspired with creativity: the West End Craft Fair at St John’s Churchyard

Every year, the Fringe Festival is one of Edinburgh’s biggest events, the other main one being Hogmanay (Scottish New Year’s Eve celebrations). Without fail, there’s always a West End Craft Fair at St John’s Churchyard on the West End of Princes Street during the Fringe. Apart from the one show I’ve seen so far in the Fringe, I haven’t really had a chance tolook at the programme to see what other shows would be interesting. I seem to always manage to miss the Craft Fair though, so I decided to drop by last week and I was most definitely glad I went.

With tourists and British people alike all flocking to Edinburgh for the big comedy/arts/theatre festival, it makes sense for independent craftsmen and women across Scotland to come and display their wares. All crafts, jewellery, accessories and artwork sold at the fair are handmade! There’s even a man selling his artistic designs of beaded animals – you’ve got to see it to believe it, but there are stools set up and an iguana he was in the process of weaving when I walked past! Fancy a beaded hairy coo for your living room?

How about bringing home a hairy coo you don’t need to feed or look after? Ali from Furniture Farm makes and sells footstools made from sheepskin and a sturdy wooden base. We’re proud owners of the child sized Heritage Breed Highland Cow Footstool Bull that the OH’s mum gifted me when I couldn’t walk away from the stall at The Royal Highland Show some years ago.

Furniture Farm stall at the West End Craft Fair

There are plenty of stalls selling everything from items of clothing (from fashionable outerwear to funky T-shirts), arts and crafts to jewellery and artwork and photo prints for sale.

The Feather Finesse stall sells unique hand-painted feathers (really!) and laminated prints and magnets if you wanted something less delicate

I had a chance to speak briefly to the artist, Rosemary Storm, who was in the process of painting 2 feathers, although her stall has been understandably busy with customers. Surprisingly, a hand painted feather takes her a couple of days to paint given the attention to detail in the animals and the fact that the individual hairs separate when you move them. I prefer buying frames to hang in my room, but given the lack of wall space, I decided to get a few smaller item instead.

A fridge magnet and 2 photo prints of Rosemary’s painted feathers – mix and match 3 items for only £5

I ended up buying this plaque for some friends who love Scotties and Westies from the first shop I came across:

I had to walk away from a lot of stalls I found myself lingering at, especially when I was admiring all the beautifully designed pieces from various jewellery designers. There were the pierced and etched anodised aluminium and sterling silver pieces from Kyley Campbell, sterling silver designs from Jenny Grace Jewellery, semi-precious stone pieces from Fiona Luing and unique, personalised pieces from AliBaliJewellery.

You can also find contemporary art and glass panels from Studio34 for those who appreciate a different sort of artwork.

How about kitchenware from Pure Juniper, made entirely from wood of juniper trees?

You might be surprised at what you might find, browsing through the stalls, I saw a lot of great works of art. Each stall brought on a sense of wonder at the talent and creativity that these individual designers brought to the craft show. Unique handmade bowties from The Edinburgh Bowtie Company, anyone?

The West End Craft Fair is open every day from 10:00am to 6:00pm till 24th August, however some stalls will finish before this date. For more information on exhibitors and dates they will be available, click here.

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