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Out and About: Reflections on the Oxford Craft & Flea market

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Out and About: Reflections on the Oxford Craft & Flea market

On Sunday 30th October, the Oxford stage of the Craft + Flea took place inside Oxford’s Town Hall, located on St. Aldates. The market is a cool new spin on the classic idea of ​​the maker’s market, with the overall goal of bringing together talented, independent producers, designers, bakers, collectors, and makers from across the country, in one glorious showcase of handmade talent and vintage finds.

In this reporter’s experience, it really was like no fair I’ve ever been to before. Ascending the staircase to the showcase in the Main Hall, I was instantly struck with how many people had come to use the products on offer, with an increasing number of people entering the hall minute-by-minute. The range of products and crafts on offer was immense; ranging from gorgeous vintage jewellery, illustrations of all kinds, independent clothing brands, delicious bakes and cakes, plants, and vegan shower products too.

I had arrived relatively early in proceedings, but still struggled to navigate through the teeming aisles of people, each engaging in browsing or transactions with numerous sellers. I did take the chance to purchase a few items, such as a lovely handmade knitted lavender bag and a funky plant potted inside a 1970s Hornsea Pottery tea canister. As much as I loved looking at the new creations from many of the stalls, it was also interesting to see how the vintage stalls repurposed and recycled things to give them a new and quirky lease of life. Old family baking recipes were given new twists to make modern classics, old jars became miniature terraniums, and leftover thread became the finishing touches on a handmade pillow. The circle of reusing and recycling seemed endless, and the results were awe-inspiring.

Speaking to Niamh, founder of Wimperis Embroidery, she said she loved doing in-person markets as it meant she could meet new people who would fall in love with embroidery as much as she had. Her personal highlights from the Oxford stall were having two separate people visit her stall who were picking up embroidery kits for friends who couldn’t get her kits themselves. One of them, she laughs, was even going all the way back to Canada.

Talking to Kennedy, a spokesperson for Craft + Flea, about her experience in Oxford so far, she said; “We’re currently in the process of branching out, finding new locations, and it’s our first time here in Oxford and it’s a beautiful town hall. As you can see, it’s super busy here today, so this is definitely a good location for this sort of event.”

When asked if Craft + Flea will be returning to Oxford, Kennedy said; “Absolutely! We’re only half and ten minutes in and you can see how busy it is. I’ve just spoken to some of the traders who are super happy with how things are going, so we will definitely be back in the future.”

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