Tom and I arrived back late last night from a wonderful weekend in London..we went to see the musical Sweeney Todd, starring Michael Ball and Immelda Staunton...terrific!!! We strolled through Covent Garden and yesterday, we visited Camden Locks and Camden Markets...we visit London a few times a year...as a child I had an aunt and uncle who lived there, so I visited the Capital quite often..but never before had either of us 'done' Cambden..and we wonder why! It is a vibrant place with a really buzz...next time we will factor in much more time to visit!
But the real reason for this trip was to visit the Alexandra Palace based, Big Stamp & Scrapbooking Show (BSSBS). We go to the November NEC show most years and I love it, despite the enormity of it and all the pushing and shoving, but it would be fair to say that I take my carefully saved stash money, from the sale of my cards and don't actually spend that much..because it's too busy and too big!
We had never been to Ally Pally before, but as it is run by Creative Expressions, probably my favourite craft producer/distributor, I wanted to give it a go...plus a weekend in London is not to be sniffed at..we both love visiting, going to a show and thought the chance to go before it gets too manic this year would be a good idea.
Tom isn't a crafter, but he is interested in what I do; he does make the cards he gives to me and he has a good eye for design, so he is always up for coming to these events! I have to say that having spent Saturday at Ally Pally, I think this may replace the NEC as our annual trip. It had so much in it's favour, even if you don't factor in a weekend in London''s West End!
First of all, with only about 60 stands, it was much smaller than the NEC shows - but it really did attract the 'best of the best'. I got to meet the crafters who inspire me most of all, through having seen them on Create and Craft or buying their products. First and foremost, there was Sue Wilson. It's fair to say that without Sue's inspiration, I probably would not have discovered Spellbinders or The Grand Calibur and Sue was just lovely in person, plus it was so nice to see her demos 'live' and actually get to not only see, but touch some of her oh so beautiful cards.
It was also great to see Leonie Pujol again...I had met her on the C&C stand at the NEC, but this weekend she was crafting, demo-ing for Creative Expressions. Her usual bubbly self, she was obviously enjoying getting 'mucky' and chatting to all of us...after watching her demo of grunge-paper and acrylic paints, I went back and bought some to 'play' with!
I noticed Indigo Blu were presenting a demo in the hall downstairs and lately have been using their stamps and flitterglu with gilding flakes, so I was keen to watch Kay demo. We took our seats and it was superb - if not a little noisy from the cafeteria adjacent and a little 'dark'. Kay also used Pan Pastels, which Tom was really taken with. They didn't have their own stand, but were working off another (Samuel Taylor) and when we went back up to get some, the stand was quite small and you just couldn't get close, so it will have to wait...lots more to play with anyway..
After Kay's demo, along came Sam Poole for Creative Expressions, so we had to stay for her superb journalling demo. I had also said hello to Sam upstairs...I follow her blog and love her designs and stamps, they are right up my alley...Sam was lovely and chatty and it was super to meet her.
We'd only originally gone for one demo, but then we stayed for Barbara Gray..who wouldn't? She played to a backed 'house' and I would stay there were seats for about 100. Despite losing her voice to a chest infection, Barbara was on top form. Clarity Stamps is something I have been meaning to 'get into' but never quite got there. I am in awe of Barbara, truly an amazing artist and stamper. Her demo was beautiful.. even Tom was dumbstruck by her amazing skills and the beauty she created from her stamps, ink and a brayer; Barbara also used gilding flakes,but in a different way. Watching her live convinced me to go back and get her starter kit and some stamps...more to play with!
Clarity's demo was an hour, so we'd decided that we must get back upstairs after and have our picnic...but then it was Leonie, so we had to stay and we were so glad we did. She was as fun and superb as ever!
Apart from all these people I've mentioned, there was the brilliant Hels Sheridan, Lilli of the Valley, Pinflair, Craft stamper magazine, Paper Artsy, Inky Fingers, Artful Splodger, Stamp Addicts...and much more! I would definitely say that this show attracted the 'creme de la creme' of crafting. The only people who were missing for me, were Joanna Sheen and Jo Channon. It was just the right size to be enjoyable without being too downright exhausting. There were more demos on the stands than you get at the NEC (there's no room there) and whilst, like the NEC of course, everyone is there to sell..there was much more emphasis on actually crafting and techniques...Tom is already talking about the next one, which is in September (on our anniversary weekend!) so he must have enjoyed it too!
Sadly I didn't get to take any photos, except the one below of Leonie and that one is 'snatched'. There was not a chance of getting near Barbara Gray, and when I returned to take Sam and Sue, they must have been on a well earned break!
Never mind, next time!
I will be back with cards later in the week, when I've sorted out what to upload!
|some 'art' at Cambden...motor bike seats!|
|There was lots of this at Camden...love them!|
|Leonie Pujol at Ally Pally|