My love for Tasmania is well known and I happily take the gentle ribbing I get from friends and family for my bubbly enthusiasm for the place.
So they all had to put up with my child like excitement when the news came through on Thursday that I’ve been accepted into both the Tasmanian Craft Fair (TCF) and the Royal Hobart Show this year! They are about 10 days apart and give me the perfect excuse to have a little bit longer visit to my favourite state that is so supportive of creative creatures like myself.
This will be my first visit to the Royal Hobart Show and will mean my longest visit to that city. While I’ve visited Tasmania nearly annually for the last 10 years I’ve only popped into Hobart a couple of times, staying just a day or two while the rest of my visit has been exploring the beautiful outdoors.
So the Royal Hobart Show will also be an introduction to that city for me, a little ironic given I’m attending a country fair show. I am looking forward to getting to see the arts and crafts exhibitions, the animals and I hope to see some of the displays. I’m really hoping the CWA ladies have delicious devonshire teas like their NSW counterparts do at the Royal Easter Show! If they do, I could be getting to have CWA scones everyday for four days!
As always I was on tender hooks waiting to hear confirmation about getting into the Tasmanian Craft Fair at Deloraine. I go through this every year and I always react like an over excited child when I get the good news. It’s usually my mum who gets the call during the day with me fizzing over and there she is saying “that’s lovely dear, congratulations”. I have a mental picture of her smiling to herself hearing her little 10 year old daughter again.
Getting accepted into the TCF also means that I’ll be able to finish each day with a visit to the Meander River to go platypusing – watching for platypuses in the evening light before heading off to dinner with friends. My love for these adorable creatures has resulted in a whole new jewellery range with Della the Platypus.
Money working in circles
I’ve always loved when my money works in a circle, when it moves around with other small businesses and creative people and makes a difference. I earn my money by selling what I make with my hands, mostly my customers are women buying presents either for themselves or women and girls in their lives. So when I make that money do good with other women with their businesses I feel a deep sense of satisfaction.
Now my trips to Tasmania mean that I do spend my money this way, there’s a delightful bookshop run by a vivacious lady with a big laugh at Holbrook, Vic, where I stop and have a snoop around, picking up too many books each trip. Throughout the trip I stay at B&B’s run by couples making a life in with beautiful views, I buy beautiful wooden bowls from a lady at the Deloraine Showgrounds venue at the TCF who wraps things very carefully.
I have a growing collection of prints by the Tasmanian watercolour artist Mel Hills. I fell in love with her work years ago when I was checking out the other venues at the Craft Fair. Initially I bought Mel’s cards and then the following year I started my print collection of her light filled works. Over the years Mel and I have become friends and she’s generously supportive of my heavy handed attempts to paint watercolour landscapes.
The thought of being able to stock up again with my favourite soap from Flinders Island’s Ocean Omegas made from manuka honey, germanium and mutton bird oil and completely palm oil free has me feeling much better about my dwindling stash.
Being part of positive change
Most exhibitors at the Tasmanian Craft Fair are Tasmanian but there are a few of us from the mainland who save up for the ferry fare and head on over whenever we’re allowed in. We bring money from the mainland and spend it all over Tasmania, on accommodation, food, entry fees for parks and galleries and shows, we shop with local small businesses and often have friends and family fly in for a holiday after the show. We go home and talk about how beautiful and friendly Tasmania is and spread the word.
We also spend money on our space at the fair and being a Rotary run event this money works in loads of circles. You’ll notice Deloraine is quite different to other small Tasmanian towns with the standard of the parks, walks around the town and river, the sculptures in the main street, the plantings of flowers and trees and that’s just the most obvious. The Craft Fair is held in eight different official venues from the show grounds to the high school and a range of halls and all have benefited from the Rotary money moving around. All of this flows through the entire community of Deloraine and the surrounding towns.
This year the TCF is supporting a range of local groups, including Giant Steps, a group who is focused on enabling specialised education for children with Autism Spectrum Challenges. Other local groups include the Meander Valley Community Radio, Meander Valley Enterprise Centre, Aged Care Deloraine and the Deloraine District Hospital.
The TCF also has sponsors that are key to making the event happen and when you see organisations walking their local community talk by getting involved in real ways then you feel that the community is stronger for it. I must confess also to having fallen in love with a number of Brown Brothers wines because I’ve been able to taste test them right outside the venue I’ve been in for three years! I’ve taken their wine home to dad as his present and he’s converted now too! So sponsorship really does create new customers too.
I find this so impressive and life affirming, seeing how dedicated volunteers can put on year after year a fabulous fair that supports artisans across the state and country to grow their own businesses while raising money to put into local and international groups to create further positive change. I love being part of this constantly moving circle – for money to work it needs to move around.
Getting out exploring
Because I visit every year and I love exploring the state I go somewhere different each trip. While Deloraine and Shearwater in the central north of the state have ended up being a base for me I have headed off to Arthur River in the north west with stops along the way at Burnie, Wynyard, Boat Harbour, Stanely, Smithton and Dismal Swamp.
I love coming across curious animals out and about on their daily walks and swims, watching eagles and mollyhawkes soar above beaches I’m walking along and all with scant regard for humans.
I’ve taken the scenic route from Launceston to St Helens and on down to Hobart. On another trip I went down the Midlands Highway to Ross and then over to Bicheno via another scenic route. I will confess, I often end up on the scenic routes and take another hour to get to my destination simply by accident but I’ve always loved the results. I pull over by farm gates and climb up on the car to take photos of stunning vistas.
Friendships I’ve formed at the fair have also influenced where I’ve traveled to, because of Mel’s views of southern Tasmania I headed down to the Tasman Peninsula one year and found Mel at Eaglehawke Neck Markets. Now I return to the south east to include a visit to Mel’s and try a different route their each visit so I keep exploring.
Now I want to get over to Bruny Island and spend some time wondering around down there. I’m thinking the time at the Royal Hobart Show will make it easier for me to include Bruny Island this trip. Maybe I could go a bit earlier and head over there? That might mean I could head up to Marrawah for a few days before the TCF? Maybe, maybe…
The second thought I had after reading my acceptance emails was about how much I need to make for the two shows. I had a sense of panic that is being managed by a making list and settling down to a big couple of make days already.
The at market on the weekend I wrote down this week’s making tasks and have them already started. It’s roughly a seven week turn around from buying the clay to having it at market so I have to get ready early.
I’ve been testing new designs already and have make a cracking start on my main new range for the year so all I need to do it keep progressing. I do know from past experience it just feels a lot better when I have the bulk of it done and ready to go, but that’s month’s of work.
The big upside from all of this is having to be ready by October for the shows means that I have a whole lot of new designs for Christmas at The Rocks Markets.
But I have just realised that with the Royal Hobart Show on 10 days before the TCF and me going down earlier I need to have all my making work completed basically a month earlier! Ahhhh!
Dates for the Shows
The Royal Hobart Show is:
Wednesday 19th, Thursday 20th, Friday 21st & Saturday 22nd October
The Tasmanian Craft Fair is:
Friday 4th, Saturday 5th, Sunday 6th and Monday 7th November