Harrogate expo date for artisans

Grace Smith (left) and Danielle Ray (right) with some of their crafts bound for the British Craft Trade Fair at Harrogate in April.
Grace Smith (left) and Danielle Ray (right) with some of their crafts bound for the British Craft Trade Fair at Harrogate in April.
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EIGHT representatives of the creative industries in the Borders will showcase their wares later this month at one of the UK’s leading trade shows, writes Andrew Keddie.

The artisans will be able to fly the flag for the region at the prestigious British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate from April 15 to 17 thanks to a funding grant from the so-called South of Scotland creative clusters project, administered by the Selkirk-based Business Gateway.

Thousands of buyers from retail outlets across the country, including museum shops, department stores, galleries, craft and giftware stores, will attend the event.

Each of the businesses are exhibiting at the Yorkshire fair for the first time and will display a selection of their product ranges – from jewellery to photographs, bags to fireside bellows – in the hope of attracting new customers.

The creative clusters project is giving a grant of £6,300 to underwrite the cost of hiring space at the exhibition and the production of promotional material for each participant.

Project co-ordinator Hugh Williams, explained: “The Borders is home to a host of exceptional creative enterprises and we believe the funding we have provided will help translate the skills of these talented craftspeople into tangible economic benefits for them and the wider regional economy.”

One of the lucky eight is Helen Hastings who runs Qi Design at Minto near Hawick where she produces itzas – unique felted magnetic brooches which do not damage delicate fabrics.

She told us: “I already sell my work to organisations including The National Trust for Scotland and Glasgow Museums, but through my attendance at the Harrogate fair, I hope to spread my customer base even further.”

Other Borders businesses attending the event are: Beastie Brooches, Jedburgh; Ian Oliver Photography, Newtown St Boswells; Rob Thomson Furniture, Fountainhall; Robyn Kinsman-Blake Jewellery, Smailholm; GraceInk Design, Selkirk; Devlin Jones Fire Bellows, Whitsome, near Duns; and Troll’s Eye Crafts, Selkirk.