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Friday, 24 September 2010

Creative Stitches & Hobbycrafts

I have just returned from a round trip of about 130 miles to Westpoint in Exeter in Devon, which hosts an annual show of textile crafts and hobby supplies, organised by  ICHF Ltd. It is possibly the largest show in South West of England, and judging by the overflow car park, very popular.

I wasn't looking for anything in particular, I just went to browse and look for some new ideas. The stands are very varied, as the name of the show suggests. There are some exhibitors and suppliers I have seen at other shows, others are new.

I have met  Sue Hawkins, embroiderer and designer new to me. She is a lovely lady, who specialises in crewel embroidery. Her stand was very nice, full of finished  projects she sells in kit form. I wanted to share this with you, unfortunately she would not let me take a picture of her stand.
I did resist buying any of her kits, knowing how much unfinished work is lurking in my room!
Luckily she has a very good catalogue and in the end I just could not resist her beautiful book.

But the most interesting of the whole show for me was en exhibition
It is a project to help Afghan women, very often widowed by the conflict in their country, to financially help themselves and their families. You can read all about the project on the above website.
It was explained to me that the women are contracted to make a small embroidered square every 3 months, which they get immediately paid for. The squares are then sold in Europe to textile groups, at shows and exhibitions.
The exhibition at today's show was work of UK textile artists, who incorporated the squares into their work,
and so making the connection with Afghan women.
Theme for UK being "tea pots".

These are just some of them. You can see the little square in every picture and if you click on them, you will be able to see the details.

The exhibition will travel to other shows, list of which is on their website.

From the squares on sale today I chose this one. It is one woman's dream of future, a house with television,
something we so much take for granted.


  1. that is a most interesting link to Afghanistan....thanks.

  2. What a wonderful report! Thank you very much for the beautiful photos of the event and for explaining the Afghanistan Inspiration project!

  3. What an interesting exhibition and some lovely quilts. I like the square you chose and will be interested to see what you do with it. Take care.

  4. Thanks for sharing your travels.
    Seeing I do several shows here in the US...I so enjoy reading about what you all are doing over there in other countries. It sure makes me want to visit!

  5. Hello Radka, sorry for my absence. The link to the Afghanistan project is wonderful, as are your photographs. Thank you for sharing your day with us. I'm sure you will enjoy making up the crewel kit in time. Thanks also for the link to Sue's designs. I had not heard of her.

  6. Radka I hadn't thought about stopping at Exeter when I drove down to Cornwall last week. Looks like I missed some interesting things.

  7. How very silly not to let you photograph the stand... free positive advertising is priceless! AND it's on show in a public place designed specifically to entice the customer so what's with her business logic????? Very strange.
    Would have been so much better if she had posed at the stand with a big smile, no?
    Still, at least you got to look at some great stuff on show and for sale. (yep, I'm jealous LOL)
    There are craft fairs here but I work when they are open on weekdays and if I have hope of a weekend (I've only been to one)and it was packed beyond sense. Sadly usually it's the case I find out about them just *after* they've been held(duh) I really have to get more organised on that account.
    Book looks devine, well done!

  8. great to read about Exeter,I worked at the shows for many years prior to retirement still miss them but did do the ICHF show at the NEC last march.The Afghan article was very interesting.
    Surprised at Sue`s reaction I know her through the shows but think she is worried about people copying her ideas, seems strange as she has a web site with her work on and stitch magazine have featured her biscornu cushions amongst other things very strange.Takes all sorts I suppose.


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