"Only the apocalypse will stop me from going" - Leeds blogger Jess Balme tells us why she's so excited about Northern Craft Summer Fair / by Carley Batley

Northern Craft is back with another fair this August and I can't wait! It's been a few months since the last fair in March. So when Northern Craft asked me to take a look back at why I enjoyed the first fair so much I was delighted.

I go to as many craft fairs as I can, I hunt down independent shops in places that I visit and I spend hours speculatively browsing Etsy. I love finding the unique, the handmade and the amazing. When I entered the Northern Craft Fair back in April what struck me was that I felt like the fair had been carefully curated. There wasn't a stall that I didn't want to visit, a business card I didn't want to take, and, much to the detriment of my bank balance, there wasn't much I didn't want to buy! I came away with so many pieces, prints, and even a plant! 

I got to the fair quite early on, being a morning person I was one of the first through the door, whilst the fair did get quite busy it has a really positive atmosphere. I left feeling it was a good place, that I'd been among people where I felt a sense of belonging. All the makers I met were incredibly kind, and more than happy to chat to me about their products. I could tell that they took a great sense of care and pride in their work. I learnt about the inspiration behind their products, their origins and how they were made. I felt invested in the pieces I bought, and attached to them emotionally. 

The fair showcased some of the best talent in the North, some of the makers I already knew, but there were more that I didn’t. It wasn't just makers from Leeds either, it was the true North, allowing me to discover those that I wouldn't have done otherwise. Because of the fair I've expanded my horizons and now have started to immerse myself in the Liverpool art scene.

The second Northern Craft Fair will be even bigger and better. What I'm really looking forward to in August is the sheer number of makers will be there. There are over 40 stalls across the two days showcasing some of the best creative talent from up North and their creations including jewellery, illustrations, accessories and possibly the cutest baby booties I have ever seen!

This time around there are also workshops on offer too! So far Stitch-Up and Geo-fleur have announced workshops on both the Saturday and the Sunday. I've signed up to Geo-fleur's closed terrarium workshop, but it was a close call between that and the Macrame Plant Hanger workshop run by Stitch-Up. I'm really excited to come away with my own little terrarium, and hopefully a few tips on keeping succulents as a few of mine are looking a little sad (read: dying)!

The August Northern Craft fair is firmly in my diary, and only the apocalypse will stop me from going. If you've been before you'll no doubt know how good it'll be, and if not it's one you simply cannot miss, make sure you’re there - if you see me say hi!

Jess is a blogger living in Leeds. She blogs at https://jmbalme.com/ about all things fun and/or edible in Leeds and around.