Angela Humphrey is the organiser of the first Norwich Creative Craft Day, taking place in April. Here the artisan jewellery maker explains why the mindful nature of crafting has been hugely soothing for many during the pandemic
Who are you and what do you do?
Hi, I’m Angela Humphrey, and I’m an Artisan Jewellery Maker, working from my home studio and developing my relatively new small business. I sell mainly across galleries in Norfolk, at craft fairs and the occasional pop-up shop. Additionally, I’ve taken on event organising for a series of events celebrating handmade crafts this year.
When did you first get into jewellery design and what were you doing before?
I started to learn silversmithing part time in 2006, and it became my ‘proper’ job around 2018, after many years of making and selling to family and friends. I still study with Adult Education in Norwich, as there is always something new to learn.
Setting up my jewellery business came about after my son was born – the maternity break gave me a chance to reassess. My little jewellery business has been growing gently to balance caring for him since then. Before this, I worked mainly as an HR and Health & Safety Manager, and my roles always involving organising events in different forms.
What’s the thinking behind the Norwich Creative Craft Fair and how has it evolved? Is it a ‘lockdown’ idea?
The Norwich Creative Craft Fair originally sprung up very rapidly in November last year. Accidently really. I was due to take part in a different Christmas Craft Fair at The Halls, but it had been cancelled by email. I hadn’t received the email (thank you junk mail), and when I found out so close to the time, I really wanted to make it happen. So, with some of the original other craft stall holders joining in, a new fair was created.
It was done with a lot of energy and passion, as we had just three weeks to organise and publicise such a huge event, but I loved spending time meeting all the makers, seeing their work, and organising the event to be as supportive to makers as possible, while also considering and taking care of shoppers too. Taking on such a huge project at The Halls could have been daunting but they have an amazing team in place who were very supportive. The feedback during and following the event was so positive, with many requests to organise more, so it made sense to keep going.
Have you noticed more and more people getting involved with craft activities during the pandemic and are the benefits obvious?
Yes, there has been a huge surge of interest in craft activities, and an appreciation for handmade items. It has so many benefits. The mindful nature of crafting has been hugely soothing for many during lockdown and as it embraces creativity and imagination, it has been a huge ‘escape’ outlet for many too, while living in restrictions. This has extended to more people choosing to purchase local handmade products too, perhaps giving their purchases a bit more consideration and valuing the sense of connection with local makers.
You’re organising the Norwich Creative Craft Day in April – what can people expect on the day? It’s about relaxation, fun and friendship as much as anything else?
Absolutely, the whole ethos of the day is enjoying a day of crafting together enjoying time out from your normal life. There are nine beginner level workshops, (although you can be more experienced), all in the same building, and you will be provided with lots of hot drinks, a shared lunch and afternoon tea including, of course, cake! I’m thinking of this like a spa day for crafters. There will be lots of time for tea and chat in amongst learning new skills and taking home something that you have handmade and can be proud of.
The workshops are all taught by local talented artists and crafts folk, most of whom are familiar from craft fairs here in Norfolk and there is something for everyone: mindful wood whittling, lino printing on fabric, embroidered collage, candlesticks in clay, cyanotype prints, watercolour and mark making, recycled silver jewellery making and jewellery made from mosaics, and floral felt wreaths. It’s a wonderfully diverse selection.
Any future events you would like to mention?
I’ve planned an event for each season, encouraged by the crafters that took part in the last Christmas fair. So, in the summer (July 17) will be Norwich Creative Craft FEST, taking over the entire Halls Complex – a combination of workshops and craft stalls, plus food and entertainment. In the Autumn we are planning an indoor/outdoor garden fair just outside of Norwich with some seasonal workshops; and at Christmas we will return to The Halls, for a Christmas Fair. Follow @norwichcreativecraftfair on Instagram or Facebook for more information on all these events.
The Norwich Creative Craft Fair is on April 23 at The Willow Centre, in Cringleford. Tickets are £75 full day or £45 half day. Further details are listed on the website: https://angelahumphreydesigns.co.uk/norwich-creative-craftday