When the call came out that Tubbercurry Old Fair Day were looking for spinners I had heard of the fair but to honest I knew very little about it. I contacted the organiser and he said he’d love to have two people display traditional fibre skills at the Fair’s Craft village. I was intrigued so jumped at the opportunity. Tasked with finding a spinning side-kick, I had the joy of getting to choose who I got to spend the day with, fab! It didn’t take long for me to decide that I wanted to spend the day spinning with Sandra of Meet the Wool. I had met Sandra briefly at Woolapalloza in Airfield estate (I’ve written a piece about this for the online knitting magazine Olann and if you want to read more about that brilliant event). I felt an instant connection with Sandra; she was super friendly, super talented and an all round super person. I wanted to spend time getting to know her better.
Sandra hard at work
When we arrived in Tubbercurry on that glorious Wednesday morning I was surprised to see that the whole town was closed off to cars – this was clearly going to be a bigger event than I expected. We got to drive in, drop all our stuff off and send the car off to one of the carparks they had organised nearby.
I entered the Marquee which was home to the Craft Village for the day and it was so cool. Seeing all the other traditional crafts people was a very grounding feeling, I was going to fit in here 🙂 As I started setting out the table, Sandra arrived with her beautiful wheel and yarns. We were a go! Sean the organiser came to welcome us, his passion for crafts people and their work is amazing. We introduced ourselves to our fellow crafts people, most who have been showing their skills at the Old Fair Day for years, a testament to how well Sean and his team treat everyone. Directly beside us were Tiffany Budd, an amazing goldsmith, and her husband Micheal Budd, a fantastic blacksmith and sculptor. We struck gold with our neighbours, pun unintended ;). I went over and admired Michael’s traditional shawl pins, I asked if he was able to make them smaller, and a short time later he had crafted the most beautiful pin for me and refused to take payment, they are that nice, honestly!!
Tiffany Budd (goldsmith) and Michael Budd (blacksmith)
My Beautiful brooch, thanks Micheal
Myself and Sandra had a lovely day spinning for all to see. It was a pleasure as always demonstrating what we do and answering the array of questions from the interested onlookers. Sandra worked with the fabulous fleece from her own sheep while I worked with my colourful batts, I think we complemented each other nicely. At quiet periods we got the chance to talk about all things wool. Sandra’s passion for sheep, yarn, natural dyeing and all things wool- related is sure a joy to be around. I had definitely made the best choice of spinning partner. 🙂
Tubbercurry Old Fair Day is a big deal in Sligo. It’s on a Wednesday but that just means that most people take the day off work to be there. The town was packed from early on. Every street had vendors on both sides. There were events and displays going on in all the community centres. The stage was a massive draw for everybody with bands playing all day, it was wonderful seeing young and old alike dancing in the streets. I can honestly say it didn’t let up until finishing time at five. Sandra and myself gave each other a break during the day to have a stroll around and maybe part with a few euro. Seeing all the animals, antiques, old motor vehicles, basket makers, woodturners, ceramicists etc. in one place was brilliant. I returned with a pretty yarn bowl and a few other ceramics made by the lovely Ela and Lukas of The Mood Designs, while Sandra arrived back with a beautifully woven basket for her wool. The amount of talent at the fair was unparalleled.
Baskets of Joy
When the day came to a close it was time for a lovely natter with everyone. It was a delight to talk to like-minded people. To see that for them their chosen craft is not just something they do but becomes a way of life. How working with your hands becomes a necessity for living a happy and fulfilled life. The want and need to have less impact on the world we live in is strongly felt. We all like to work slowly and add love and skill to our work. We count time not in hours but in the movement of our hands and the constant strive to be better at what we do. Crafts people are super people!
It was time to say all our goodbyes, promises to be back next year (no chance I won’t be, crossing all fingers that Sandra joins me). Thanks Sean and Tubbercurry Old Fair Day for inviting me to be apart of an amazing craft village and fair. I had a blast.