Finding inspiration is easy when you know where to find it and since discovering Tasmania in 2006 and then starting to go every year to the Tasmanian Craft Fair I’ve been able to renew my inner wells of inspiration constantly.
I love just about every part of my annual trip to Tasmania, the only thing I don’t relish is leaving, getting back on that ferry with my car and saying good bye for another year.
The Tasmanian Craft Fair (TCF) has been running since the 1980’s by Rotarians and has over 150 arts and crafts exhibitors across more than a dozen venues with visitors easily moving between sites via a free shuttle bus service running every few minutes.
8 Reasons Why I Love the Tasmanian Craft Fair
If the Tasmanian Craft Fair has always been on your bucket list and you need that little bit of encouragement to make it happen I’ve got five great reasons to simply do it – all based on why I love the fair!
1. Makers Got to Make
I’ve realised that part of the reason I love being part of the Tasmanian Craft Fair each year is being surrounded by other makers and artists. All of us exhibitors are the artists, makers, designers of our work. We all know what it is to be being brave and bold, putting our work out into the world for others to embrace.
As makers we just have to make, whether that’s art and craft in the traditional sense or contemporary variations with unique twists and turns.
As a maker it is very exciting and soothing for the spirit to be in this sort of environment for the better part of a week. It feels like returning to a beloved family once a year, catching up with gossip, helping each other bump in, going out to dinner to tell tall tales and true. In this environment the norm is to be creative, it is to have your own creative business that requires you to be adaptive, flexible and constantly creating. It is wonderful to be understood in all these areas.
2. Shop Local Handmade Arts and Crafts
On top of all of this all of the visitors treasure what we do, they come because they love the arts and crafts, and they want to find something that is unique and made here in Australia.
This respect for locally handmade arts and crafts is part of my weekly life here in Sydney with The Rocks Markets every weekend but the difference with the Tasmanian Craft Fair is the festival atmosphere for the annual coming together of makers from across the country.
And we do come from all corners of our sunburnt country to the green isle of Tasmania, bringing money to spend on accommodation, food, tours, each other and through out the state as we tack on holidays to the southern journey.
3. Discover Tasmania
Every year I’ve extended my stay in Tasmania as I keep exploring this magnificent state. I’ve returned to favourite places like the rugged north west coast as well as going somewhere new each year.
I fell in love with Bruny Island when I went for the Bruny Island Bird Festival and stayed in a deliciously authentic shack at Adventure Bay. The Bruny Island Lighthouse took my breath away and I’m looking forward to being able to spend a week exploring this island, lugging my travel paints and camera as I hike along paths to rocky lookouts.
Shopping in Launceston is always a favourite for this Sydney girl because the independent shops get to have space to exist. There are no Westfields there with it’s mass chain stores (time to celebrate). Yes, the chain stores are in the main shopping areas of places like Lonnie and Hobart but they’re easily ignored in favour of close by interesting and authentic shopping experiences featuring locally made original designs.
I do occasionally stop into Hobart but really only for Salamanca Markets, the museum, the Botanical Gardens and a few of the independent shops. Both Launceston and Hobart have great bookshops, proper ones that keep disappearing in Sydney due to our crazy expensive rents. And that’s the thing about these two southern cities, the shop rents are still accessible for businesses so they still exist, making shopping fun.
While the wilderness regions of Tasmania always make my heart sing and nurture my soul my visits into the cities will always be brief – why would a big city girl stay in another city for days on end when the magnificent national parks, reserves and open fields of Tasmania beckon?
A rare selfie
4. Make It a Girls Weekend
One of the things I love about the TCF is how women of all ages and backgrounds make it a creative girls weekend. They escape the everyday life and head off for Deloraine for a big healthy dose of creative inspiration and bucket loads of laughs.
This joyful energy is wonderful to work with. Having happy, friendly people all around you who love seeing makers from across the state and country is like food for the spirit. I find it energising more than I can describe.
Plus, it’s not just at the fair, it’s all around you at dinner and on evening walks. Everyone is friendly, saying hello and looking happy. For me it’s like a mini four day holiday atmosphere.
5. Where I Find Creative Inspiration
I’ve come to realise that my annual Tasmanian trip takes me to the place where I find inspiration. It’s everywhere I look, it’s in the conversations I have with like minded people and it’s in the fresh clean air.
Exploring rocky shores, mountain paths, rives and creeks and finding a spot to sit and be is one of the best things in life for me in Tasmania.
As well as staying with friends I’ve made over the years and having a good old natter about anything and everything. While I have my creative friends I see every weekend at market here in Sydney, we only have brief chats before setting up for the day. Being able to spend a couple of days with an arty friend, going on walks, drinking wine and eating delicious food is a whole different deal.
6. Seeing Platypuses, Wombats and Echidnas in the Wild
As you can gather, I go hiking away in wilderness areas every trip and every trip I see all manner of beautiful creatures, everything from white wallabies on Bruney Island to platypuses at Deloraine after the fair each evening, to echindas on the mating march and wombats keeping grasses low, Tasmanian Devils and spotted quolls.
There are sea eagles and wedgetail eagles, white goshawks to mask owls, penguins and blue starfish and my favourites, sooty and pied oystercatchers.
They make their way into my art and onto my jewellery.
7. Planning My Tasmanian Trip
Now this might sound a bit odd, but I really enjoy planning my trip each year. I even look forward to the drive and staying at Gundagi with it’s wonderful hill top look out followed by a good old fashion country roast dinner.
I love getting out my much refolded map and planning and re-planning my journey in the souther isle. There are still corners I haven’t been to. I have two much loved hiking books and I pour over them looking at the different walks I can go on, figuring out how tired or rested I might be at different stages of the trip.
I’ve learnt for example, the Tuesday after the fair is best kept slow. A lazy potter around Deloraine before heading off to somewhere close like Shearwater and an afternoon beach walk.
A walk involving some energy output is generally saved for the third of fourth day of the trip, after I’ve done my cartwheels out of joy for arriving in Devonport again and driven down the highway seeing the magnificent Western Tiers. Oh they make my heart sing. I need a song to sing about my love for this beautiful place after bellowing away in the car for two days on the mainland. Will someone write it for me – something along the lines and passion of “Bow River” by Cold Chisel would do just fine please.
8. The Deloraine Rotary Club
The Deloraine Rotary Club members who run the TCF seem to have an endless supply of enthusiasm and energy, good will and warmth, I’m always moved by their caring ways.
They always welcome new volunteers and I think they attract other good hearted people, of all ages, because they are a friendly lot. In all the years I’ve been going to the fair I’ve never heard anything negative or nasty from them, only kind words and loads of respect. I think this is the key to it being such a successful long term community event.
Tell Us What You Think?
Have you been along to the Tasmanian Craft Fair? Tell us what you like best about it?