Balsham Craft, Gift & Food Fair September Blog

Balsham Craft, Gift & Food Fair September Blog

Goodness!  It’s now September!  Wow, where did the summer go?

Let’s be honest.  Our British summers are can be fairly hit and miss can’t they?  In fact, the one thing you can rely on is its unpredictability.  No wonder our favourite topic is the weather! However, I feel like we had a fabulous August this year,  probably the best weather we’ve had for the summer holidays in a long while.  Lots of sunshine and lovely long evenings with many trips to parks and to the gorgeous North Norfolk beaches.  I enjoy watching the ever changing ocean stretching on and on into the distant big blue skies dotted with the occasional puffy white clouds.

However, time is moving, gathering her speed as we now head towards autumn and the weather is still glorious. I do love this time of the year with the fading light levels reflecting through the changing colours in my garden and the countryside.  Kind of gives me that warm, fleeting feeling inside, reminding me to make the most of it before the dreaded winter sets in…   And, a subtle reminder that we also have just over month until the Balsham Craft, Gift & Food Fair on the 8th and 9th October.

I am so looking forward to this one.  In fact, I am very excited!  There are an amazing group of designers, craft makers and food producers again this year who are offering you something unique, extraordinary and luxurious. My gut feeling is telling me that this fair may be better than last year. So much energy, passion, drive and most of all tonnes and tonnes of time as gone into this one.  So yeah, feeling the good vibes.

I don’t know about you, but I love the fact that there is something special about a gift which has been lovingly designed and created, especially if it has been tailor made to your requirements either for yourself or for that special person in your life.  This year, the choice is huge. You can just buy what the stall holder has on display or have a chat to her/him about having something made for you or maybe buy later on via their websites.

I never used to be that fussed about visiting craft fairs until I meet one or two fabulous crafters and went out to visit them at the craft fair events they were at and OMG! There was so much more to craft fairs than I had ever imagined.  I found smoke fired ceramics, infused glass, 3D crochet (not just rugs and shawls), ceramics, crystal and fine silver jewellery and amazing array of different types of textile products, artists and artisan foods. You have all converted me!  Now I always try to buy any gifts from independent, small businesses such as yourselves.  You have so much more to offer than those boring old High Street shops.

Now, I very much appreciate what goes into each and every single one of the items you design and make, the hours you spend which for most of you happens to be your spare time as you hold down normal jobs.  You lovely crafters are inspiring and incredible people.  You have transformed me and now I advocate supporting local, handmade, craft!

On  my journey, I have come across some amazing fairs – Cambridge Made, Clare Priory Craft Fair, Sophie’s Smile, Ely Cathedral Food and Gift Fair just to name a few.  Thanks to these fairs, they have introduced me to some amazing, talented people and their crafts. Go along, visit and make a small purchase from your favourite stalls.  You will be impressed with what is on offer.

just_a_cardTalking of small purchases, I have been following the JustaCard campaign on Twitter. This campaign was set up fairly recently to raise awareness of the plight of artists and galleries, designers and makers and their futures as small businesses.  Many of these have disappeared in the past few months so this campaign is to encourage you all to purchase, JustaCard, or perhaps something small. Don’t just say “oh that is really beautiful” spend time with the maker chatting about what has taken your interest and walk away without buying.  This is likely to be disheartening for them.  For every sale, no matter how large or small at a gallery, craft fair or on-line may just be enough to keep these small businesses going.  Every single purchase you all make counts towards their survival in competing with the High Street shops and also hopefully these lovely, talented people will return to this and future craft fairs.  So when you visit our fair next month, do spend some time with your favourite stalls, talk to the designer/maker about what they do and their story behind their crafts, some of them have interesting stories to tell.  You may not have a lot of money to spend but a do purchase a small something from them. They will appreciate whatever you buy. If nearly all of us did, it may be just enough to cover the cost of their stall, their time, travel expenses and raw materials.

Sadly, I am writing this blog with a tinge of sadness as this is my last craft fair here at the Meadow School.  As my son has now moved up to secondary school I will no longer be a parent and able to volunteer my time. I have really have enjoyed organising this lovely community event over the past three years.  When I took this on after the 2013 fair I had no idea what was coming my way. Taking this project on and getting stuck in planning and running this event has introduced me to a whole new world of craft as well as meeting some really interesting people – never say what you do is “boring” – you all have a very different story to tell.

You could say the Balsham Craft, Gift & Food Fair has kind of changed my life a little. Maybe I found a little niche.  Something I enjoy doing and feel so obsessive about (think about it 24/7, even while on holiday) it has become my little project, my baby I suppose.

It will be sad saying goodbye to the you all, well in this capacity. I have had an amazing journey with a lot of thrills and the occasional spill along the way.

So keep up the fantastic work you do you amazing gifted, talented, extraordinary folk.  I will still be around and look forward to seeing you most of you again soon at Sophie’s in Exning, Near Newmarket on 5th November.

And visitors, please do keep supporting these amazing people and the fairs/events they attend, help to keep these small businesses and hobbysts alive.

Now moving onto some stall holder promotion:

Nanuk Jewellery
An incredible new jewellery designer and maker is joining us for the first time this year.

After Louise of Nanuk Jewellery completed her BA (Hons) Silversmithing, Goldsmithing & Jewellery degree at Kent Institute of Art & Design in Rochester, she spent some time working at a local jewellers before she began designing, making and selling her own jewellery, including undertaking commissions.

Much of the inspiration of Louise’s work is taken from the magnificent book illustrations of the late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries, particularly the works of Kay Nielsen, Edmund Dulac and Arthur Rackham where she aims to convey the opulent detail and colour of these illustrations by using lots of wire-wrapping and brightly coloured stones and beads. The stories themselves, myths and fairy tales also frequently provide her with inspiration, as well as the things she has read, seen, watched – almost anything really!  Louise is always looking for new ideas and is very happy to undertake commissions, including wedding jewellery, so please feel free to visit her at the Balsham Craft, Gift & Food Fair on Sunday and discuss any ideas you have in mind.

All of Nanuk’s jewellery is designed and hand made in Saffron Walden, just outside Cambridge.

Follow Nanuk Jewellery on Facebook and Twitter.

A fabulous new stall holder for 2016 is Helen the creator of Bearsfootprints a busy mum of three who loves all things crafty. This is Helen’s first year at the Balsham Craft, Gift & Food Fair and will be there on the Saturday only. You can find her selling her beautiful handmade creations from glasses cases, pencil cases, door stops to storage bins.

In between looking after her family, Helen designs and makes little accessories for all the family and for occasions that may be special to you. She is inspired by nature and uses many different types of fabrics from well know designers like Cath Kidston to Michael Miller to using more natural fabrics like tweed and organic linens.

Handmade and Gorgeous
Karen Banks of Handmade and Gorgeous loves making ceramic smoke fired cats and accessories down in her small shed in her back garden in Essex.  All of Karen’s pieces are initially low-fired in an electric kiln. The smoke firing is carried out in garden incinerators using a mix of newspaper and garden cuttings. Each piece is prepared for smoke firing using a range of resist techniques – course clay slip, organic materials, string, wire, wax – aiming to control the intensity and distribution of the smoke to achieve the various markings. Karen enjoys the unpredictability of working with fire and smoke, it enhances the organic and natural quality of the individual pieces. No two pieces are ever the same, only similar, as if part of the same ‘family’.

Karen works with stoneware, hand building clay mixed with porcelain. After rolling out a slab of clay it is firmed up a little and then each cat is cut out.  Once tidied up, they are left out to dry to a leather hard stage.  At this point, the facing side of the cats are burnished several times with tiny gemstones to achieve a silky smooth finish and then left to dry out completely.

The pieces are low fired in an electric kiln. A range of resist techniques are used to control the intensity and distribution of the smoke to achieve the various markings. Smoking is carried out in garden incinerators using a mix of newspaper and garden cuttings.  Each firing is quite fast, but each cat is smoke fired two to three times sometimes more to achieve the deeper tones.  Once cleaned, the smooth surfaces are polished with beeswax to restore the burnishing sheen.  Each cat is then glued to a white backing board then box framed.

Karen makes the perfect gift for all cat lovers.  Each cat is lovingly handmade and unique due to the unpredictability of the smoke firing process.  Not two cats are the same, only similar as part of the same family.

Karen offers a bespoke service to customers who may be looking for a particular combination of cats.

You can find Handmade and Gorgeous on Twitter and Etsy.

Ely Farmhouse Furniture
Ely Farmhouse Furniture specialises in farmhouse furniture and accessories and is joining us for the first time but is only there on the Sunday.

Their new farmhouse furniture is made from reclaimed solid wood and offer a range of finishes from clear waxed to any range of Farrow and Ball colours.  Their reclaimed furniture is carefully sourced ensuring their furniture comes from good quality solid wood.  For Ely Farmhouse Furniture good design is no just using the finest raw materials, the most talented craftsmen and best tradition carpentry techniques, it is making a beautiful design at a very affordable price.  As a passionate team of individuals who are committee to this simple idea, they work hard to make each piece look stunning to last a lifetime and not costing the earth.


Follow Ely Farmhouse Furniture on Facebook.

Raw and Delicious
Caroline Lemons, founder of Raw and Delicious believes in wholesome and delicious goodness and seeks to promote and share her passion for great tasting cakes using the finest ingredients to allow guilt-free indulgence.  All of their creations are free from dairy, wheat, gluten and refined sugar and do not use any refined or modified ingredients.

This is their first time at the Balsham Craft, Gift & Food Fair and is joining us on Saturday only.

Just under a year ago, Caroline’s journey to making raw cakes began when she started to take more of an active interest in leading a healthy lifestyle as well as the food she was eating.  Caroline has always loved sweet treats and struggled to find delicious and nutritious desserts in the shops, local cafes and markets.

Caroline’s love for delicious and wholesome food led her to start making her own raw cakes in her kitchen at home. Armed with a basic blender and a sweet tooth, she began experimenting with different flavours, superfoods and ingredients.  Caroline was soon on her way to creating tasty and healthy alternatives to traditional desserts.

From raw chocolate cake to protein balls, her creations will delight any sweet treat lover.  Find out what cakes she makes please visit her website.

You can also follow Raw and Delicious on Facebook and Twitter.

We would like to welcome Josette of Finesse designs to the fair.  Josette hand makes embroidered cards as well as working to felt to make animals, cushions, bags, decorations and a lot more.

In Josette’s youth in France she knitted and when she became a Mother, she kept going and started sewing and embroidery.

Josette then moved to England. When she retired from 32 years of teaching, she moved into a little village between Cambridge and Huntingdon and met a lovely lady who was a crafter and asked Josette to join her Monday club.  Josette then started to make hand embroidered cards and got the bug!

Josette fell in love with felt where she discovered that she could make patterns of different things.  She felt this was the right path for her and here we are today.  Josette makes bird and animal decorations that can be attached to bags, cushions, bunting, etc.  Felting is a hobby of Josette’s and really loves making lovely things and gets a lot of pleasure from people admiring them.  Josette does not make money out of this hobby, she just makes enough to cover her expenses.  Josette will be at the Balsham Craft, Gift & Food Fair on Saturday only.

Follow Finesse on Facebook.

From the Heart
Hannah of From the Heart has been using her computer for creative purposes for years (borne out of a love of, but no great talent for, drawing). After designing all the stationery for her wedding and making a few ‘voucher’ style and word-art gifts for her family, a friend saw Hannah’s work and asked why she wasn’t selling it. This was just a hobby and was sure no-one that wasn’t related to Hannah would be interested! After much badgering Hannah agreed and set up a Facebook page and From The Heart was born!  Hannah was originally just doing a few bits for friends but her personalised and bespoke word-art has proved really popular and now it has gone from a hobby to a small business run around her three young children. Whilst the personalisations (particularly Star Wars) are great fun, Hannah does love the challenge of new commissions… from drones to monkeys, to coats of arms…

“I really enjoy not knowing what’s coming next! I’ve also decided to offer a small range of animal design generic greetings cards recently to add to the Christmas cards, which much as I object to when the sun is shining, I really do need to start on!!”

Follow From the Heart on Facebook.

These are just a small handful of our lovely stall holders.  If you wish to find out about some of our other lovely stall holders please read our April or July blog or follow us on Facebook and take a look at our photo gallery.


Thank you for taking the time to read this and my other blogs.  I hope this has inspired you to support craft makers, designers and producers and of course, to visit the Balsham Craft, Gift & Food Fair

8th and 9th October, 10.30am to 4pm
Meadow School, High Street, Balsham, Cambridge CB21 4DJ

Entrance is £2 for adults and includes a free tea or coffee.  Under 16’s are 50p each.

Hope to see you there! There is so much to see as we have a huge variety of stalls. The Balsham Craft, Gift & Food Fair is one not to be missed.

Follow us on:

Facebook:  balshamcraftfair

If you are interested in selling your craft at our fair, please complete the application form below:

Craft, Gift & Food Fair Balsham Stall Holder Application Form

Back to Home and stall information.

pta_logoMeadow Primary School PTA, High Street, Balsham, Cambridge CB21 4DJ
Charity Number: 1148295
01223 894400    


The 27th Annual Craft, Gift & Food Fair

8th and 9th October  10.30am to 4pm
High Street, Balsham, Cambridge CB21 4DJ

Adults – £2 (includes free tea/coffee)
Children under 16- 50p

Are you looking for something a little unique, luxurious or maybe something a little quirky? Are you looking for that special gift or perhaps some distinctive accessories not found on the High Street at affordable prices?  Or are you looking to buy gifts for Christmas that will impress?  Look no further than the Meadow School’s Craft, Gift & Food Fair!

Hello everyone, welcome to my first ever blog… I thought this would be a great way to tell you a little more about our fair and what to expect.

We are in a fortunate position to be full already (April) on the craft side although still looking for more food stalls.  This year we have over 50 stalls and the fair virtually takes up the whole of school.  It does makes it hard for us to expand now and take on more stall holder wannabe’s. We have a fairly extensive database now but always are looking to expand this even more.

This year, we have 12 new stall holders selling high quality, exquisite and beautifully locally made crafts and gifts along with a variety food stalls.  To cater for the younger visitors we have our ever popular, fully stocked Tombola, sweet stall, lucky dip and face painting feature along with our regular stall holders.

There are a good variety of stalls which our visitors love. To give you a taste of who to expect to see during the course of the weekend are:


The Other Mrs Beaton. Jennifer loves to crochet lots and lots of loveliness and any such yarn frippery…  Jen was a History and PSHCE teacher until after her daughter was born, around 4 years ago where she started to become a campaigner/blogger/crocheter. She learned to blog, starting writing articles and crocheted some more. Jen learned to crochet from You Tube and books.  “After throwing it across the room, something clicked and I got hooked on hooking” Jen mainly crochets as calm down at the end of the day. She enjoys colour and texture and particularly feels it is a great antidote in the “real world”.


Molten Wonky sells these most amazing, quirky and unique glass infused decorations. I absolutely adore Katie’s work, I’m probably one of her best customers 😉

Katie set up Molten Wonky in 2009 from her home and studio after all of her children started primary school in North Essex.  Katie originally studied stained glass windows at Chelsea School of Art and loved working with glass and enjoyed the fact that she could work in a much freer way. Molten Wonkey has slowly grown from being a hobby into a small business.

Katie’s first range of fused glass Wonkys were some Christmas decorations.  Wonkylands were added to the range in 2010 an d now has ranges of hearts, birds, jewellery, bunting, greeting cards, all of which you can find in the products section on her website below.

Quirky, colourful and original products are at the core of what is she is trying to achieve with Molten Wonky. Katie works in a haphazard way which is how she creates her brilliant, amazing and unique decorations.


Sam Flind, a local artist paints beautiful pictures of wildlife, landscapes and seasonal themes. Sam is a self taught artist. She has always loved drawing and from being a very small girl, thought there was nothing more wonderful than a fresh pad of paper, new pens and pencils to practice sketching the world around her.

Sam grew up in rural Wales and then South Devon and now lives in pretty North Essex. Sam is a biologist, so much of her career has involved jobs studying plants, mammals, fungi and insects so feels nature, wildlife, land and seascapes are close to her heart and finds them a great inspiration to take up her pencil or paint brush and try to capture its shape, colour and essence.


DizzyDollyLou. Louise is an amazing jewellery artist who works in fine (99.9%) silver and loves to make jewellery that is unique and personal to the individual. Some of her pieces are “one offs’” however, if you see something you like Louise will be able to tailor make it to your requirements or if you have something in mind, please get in touch with her.  DizzyDollyLou isn’t just for children it is for any loved one.  DizzyDollyLou is not your average keepsake jeweller!! DizzyDollyLou also produces a few felted artworks each year, most of them one off’s!


The Fabric Vase Company. You can often find Heather in charity shops looking for pure wool jumpers or in the studio behind the sewing machine. She has a BA (Hons) degree in Fashion and Textiles and has worked in many different fields of Art and Design.

Heather recycles old cashmere and wool sweaters and creates them into unusual brooches and soft vases which are designed to use a glass/jar/plastic bottle to hold water and of course flowers. All made handmade in Ely.


Sally Thake Jewellery. Sally designs and creates beautiful jewellery using ceramic beads. Sally’s beading journey started about 4 years ago when, wanting some “me” time, took herself off to a one-day introductory course in jewellery making and she became hooked.

Sally experiments with lots of different beading techniques, some of which were successful, some less so. Sally’s main interests for now include bead weaving, Kumihimo and using artisan beads in unique, colourful, pieces. She loves trying different colour combinations, as well as tried-and-tested mixes.


Amanda Banham Ceramics. Amanda is currently studying illustration part time as a mature student at Anglia Ruskin University, graduating in 2017 after 6 years. Amanda likes a practical approach to life and so decided a while back to apply her illustrations to ceramics. Amanda loves simple shapes, mark making, screen printing, animals and collage and collaborate these elements into her designs using slips, glazes, as well as screen prints and ceramic decals with my own illustrations. All works are made of stoneware.

On the food side, you can expect to see Alison Reed ChocolatesAlison makes all of her chocolates in Cambridge and come in the most delectable flavours such as her caramel selection: milk chocolate caramels with sea salt, hazelnut, mint, coffee, apple and banana; as well as vodka, lime and white chocolate; or raspberry and chill, just to name a few. You will not find anything else that will come close. These chocolates are simply exquisite and luxurious. You can buy her chocis via Etsy:


Borakis Greek Foods. Sample a bit of Crete in you your own home.  Yannis and Anne Borakis Greek Foods import all of their own olives, olive oils, goats and sheep cheeses, Greek mountain honey from Yannis’ home country, Crete. Yannis and Anne will also be selling their infamous spinach pies ‘Spanakopita’ made from their delicious sheep cheese, and all pastry is made according to a traditional recipe using their Extra Virgin Olive Oil.


Wild Flour Kitchen. If you are a savory person, look no further!  The Wild Flour Kitchen will be selling their locally made (from Cardinals Green) yummy scotch eggs, sausage rolls, pork pies, steak and kidney puddings, lamb and rosemary pies,  Christmas puddings all  using locally sourced free range ingredients.

This is just a small taster as to what you can expect to see over the course of the weekend.

Come along and support our local designers, artists, crafters and food makers.  These men and women spend many hours perfecting their crafts and foods so that they can offer you something special and unique. A craft fair is great way for them to show off their talents to you and it is also a great meeting point to exchange ideas and views.  When you buy from a small business, you won’t be lining a CEO’s back pocket, you will be helping a Mum or Dad to give their little girl dance lessons, their little boy a pair of footballs boys, maybe helping to pay their mortgage, put food on their tables or allow them to buy something a little extra.

Follow us on:

Facebook: balshamcraftfair

If you are interested in selling your craft at our fair, please complete application form below:

Craft, Gift & Food Fair Balsham Stall Holder Application Form

Back to Home and stall information.

pta_logoMeadow Primary School PTA, High Street, Balsham, Cambridge CB21 4DJ
Charity Number: 1148295
01223 894400