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Interview: Super Duper Fair

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Kerry Vasiliou, Education Officer at Grundy Art Gallery, speaks to altblackpool about the Super Duper Fair at the Winter Gardens.

Clancy Mason: What is the Super Duper Fair?

Kerry Vasiliou: The Super Duper Fair is a contemporary craft and design fair based in Blackpool. It provides a platform for designer makers from Blackpool and all over the UK to showcase and sell a wide range of handmade products. The fair is a family friendly event with live music, craft activities and this year it will also feature artist projects too.

CM: How did it all start?

KV: The fair is organised by the Grundy Art Gallery and is just as one of the events we have developed to reach out to a new audience. We became aware in 2009 that people were becoming increasingly involved in craft, vintage fashion, the handmade and fair-trade trends. Even with an interest in these creative areas they may not have attended Grundy’s exhibitions and events. We really wanted to grow the community around Grundy in a friendly and informal way. It started in 2009 as the Super Duper Itsy Bitsy Handmade Fair with just six stalls of handmade items. Beautiful though these were, we knew we could grow it into something exciting and perhaps an event that Blackpool had been waiting for. The following year we had 35 stalls in a marquee in Stanley Park and people travelled from all around to buy craft at the fair – even on a rainy July day! In 2011, we expanded the fair to 65 stalls and took residence in the stunning Winter Gardens for a Christmas fair which was visited by over 2000 people.

CM: What sets the Super Duper Fair apart from other craft fairs?

KV: We are focusing the future of Super Duper around finding and presenting the very best in contemporary craft and design through a judging panel made up of the Super Duper team and external professionals working in the industry. For 2013 we will have fewer stalls and a selection process to make Super Duper all about quality.

CM: What kind of items are you looking to sell at the fair?

KV: We want a wide range of products on offer and to showcase really exciting contemporary craft and design. This includes textiles, paper, jewellery, ceramics, accessories, wood craft, metal craft and fashion.

CM: What else will be going on during the Super Duper fair?

KV: Whilst wandering around the fair you can also listen to live music, join in with creative activities and see artist projects. We are inviting three artists to think about the idea of the ‘handmade’ and present their ideas/mini exhibition/interactive site within a simple garden shed.

CM: How can people get involved?

KV: Craft and design makers can apply for a stall, follow this link to find out how.

If you are an artist there will be the opportunity to convert one of the sheds for the artist projects. This will be a callout through Facebook and the blog. You can also come along to the fair and join in with activities and listen to the band inbetween perusing the beautiful things on sale.

CM: Do you have any memorable experiences from previous fairs?

KV: I remember speaking to a couple at the 2010 fair in Stanley Park and finding out that they had travelled all the way from Scotland just for this event. They bought lots of things at the fair including cushions for the house and a beautiful necklace for their daughter’s birthday. They told me it was a lovely day out and great to see such good quality craft on sale in a very friendly environment, which is exactly what we were aiming for.

CM: What has been a highlight for you in the history of Super Duper?

KV: Meeting the craft and design makers and seeing all the inventive and stunning ways of producing both practical and decorative creations.

CM: Have any of your past stall holders had any success stories as a result of participating in previous Super Duper Fairs?

KV: Since having a stall at the 2011 Super Duper Fair, Bonker*s Clutterbucks, a design duo from Lancashire, have built up great relationships in Blackpool, spreading their genius far and wide. They successfully applied to be one of three designers for the Arts Service’s ‘Project Object‘ which asked them to explore the glorious Blackpool archives and built heritage and use it as inspiration for the creation of Blackpool Souvenirs.ย  These are now for sale in the Grundy Art Gallery and Blackpool Tourist Information Centre on the Promenade. Their model kits of Blackpool Tower and Gondola Trams are flying off the shelves!

 

The Super Duper Fair will take place at the Grundy Art Gallery on Saturday 18th May, 10-4pm. The deadline for applications is Mon 25th February. For information on Super Duper Fair 2013 as it develops please see the blog.

 

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