Sam recently took a road trip over to Manchester for her annual pilgrimage to worship the shiny things on sale at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair.
This is a fabulous event. Everything on sale is handmade and is generally being sold by the artists or makers. From sublime gold, silver and precious stone jewellery to modern wall hangings made with fluorescent plastics, hand thrown & glazed pottery - this is an Aladdin's cake of treasures.
This year Sam particularly liked the jewellery that liked frogspawn and the Orange felt hat that looked like the Sydney Opera House.
But the one stall that knocked our socks off completely was Helaina Sharpley's wire work.
Helaina Sharpley makes 2D and 3D wire sculptures/pictures. Her particular inspiration is "everything related to tea and tea drinking - tea cups and saucers, tea sets and tea parties are the artists main passion (verging on obsession!)"
Helaina had a wonderful collection of life sized, perfect wire cups and saucers. She had gorgeous 3d pictures which were mounted on tea trays. Her biggest piece (which took five weeks to make) was an intricate, massive building, the road up to which exploded away from the base frame and extended towards the viewer, making you feel like you could step into the picture and get totally wrapped up in Helaina's wire world.
We had to stop and express our admiration, and we found out that: 1. Helaina lives in Huddersfield, and thus is highly likely to be able to make some of teaandcake's future tea parties (where she will, of course, be guest of honour). 2. Helaina brews up approximately every half hour and takes tea with her everywhere (she had a very fetching gingham thermos hidden away on her stall)
We told Helaina about teaandcake and her immediate comment was "I love meeting other people who are a bit mad". This is exactly how we felt about you, Helaina.
Check out more of Helaina's work (which includes functioning clocks and Georgian architecture as well as teacups and cakes) at www.helainasharpley-wirework-artist.co.uk