Kitsch and Stitch Vintage Makers' Fair

10 September 2012

It's great to get out of London. Reveling in the fresh air of the countryside, enjoying the restorative effects of a bucolic escape and all that. 

It's even better when you come across a sign like this:

Which is what I did whilst pottering about the market town of Cranbrook in Kent.

And so I sped towards the Vestry Hall, followed the bunting-bedeck'd stairs (lashings of bunting is always a good sign in these instances) until I entered this happy space:

The Kitsch and Stitch fair was in full swing. Four times a year the Vestry Hall is host to this free event, providing an opportunity for local creative businesses to show their strictly vintage wares and craft skills to an appreciative audience. There's also a fantabulously decadent cake stall, the proceeds of which go to support the Hospice in the Weald.

You can imagine the sort of thing; retro fabric, mid-century crockery and handmade goods accompanied by the best sausage rolls and fairy cakes this side of Maidstone

There's probably a missing Canto of Dante's out there, somewhere, describing such a thing in a circle of the Paradiso.

Debbie Good - one of the organisers (of the fair, not Dante's renowned tour of Heaven) - has a stall displaying the wares from her own company,
Pretty Goods. Embroidered linen napkins and tea towels are resurrected as utterly desirable pin cushions, scissor cases and - my favourite - geek chic iPad sleeves smothered in blowsy tea roses. What a cunning way of cocking a snoop at all those minimalist techie types.

However in order to cock said snoop all I need is an iPad to encase with said vintage floral print cover. * sigh *

Amongst the other stall owners, I was particularly taken by
Home Front Vintage. You can buy cards made from old Brownie badges.

This is witty genius and the card poses a profound question about the times in which we live... I sense an academic niche that needs filling with a PhD.

In addition the suitably make-do-and-mend attitude of
Home Front Vintage provides a second life to otherwise damaged books and maps from the 1930s and 40s. Linen backed folding maps are reformed as bunting with a twist whilst the maps that RAF fighter pilots carried on raids have become notebook covers.

Technically interesting and great fun were the embroidered pictures of Miss Violet Vintage.  My first thought was that these were free-machined objects of desire but this mother daughter team actually hand embroider each piece. Mother Tracy has a background in illustration rather than textiles and the pieces' graphic qualities do smack of David Downton. But made with thread rather than ink. Love it.

House Martin produced some highly entertaining toys and decorative bits and bobs in an astounding array of patterns and hues. Until I spotted their wares I didn't know that my life was devoid of startled aliens and pirate gingerbread men, and thus all the poorer for it. This lacuna will be filled by Christmas.

Speaking of which, the next fair is on Saturday December 1st 2012. Fancy a jolly to the countryside to stock up on Christmas presents, support the economy, local creative types AND enjoy an astounding amount of home made cake, safe in the knowledge every penny is helping the Hospice in the Weald?

Yes, I thought you might.

(Images: Zoë F. Willis)


Debbie said...

Hi Zoe. Thank you so much for this delightful blog post on the Kitsch and Stitch Fair. It's a fabulous read with great pictures too.
I have linked it to the K&S facebook page too so that all the stall holders will find it.
Come and see us again in December xx

Zoe F. Willis said...

Ah Debbie, I'm so pleased that you like it. It was such a good event to attend and I am sure it will go from strength to strength. See you in December.

Sara 'Austerity' Jane said...

Hi Zoe,
Love your blog and thank you for mentioning Home Front Vintage. Look forward to seeing you again in December! Sara 'Austerity' Jane at Home Front Vintage