Craftaganza - Brighton's makers on display

Monday, June 17, 2013

Christiane Berridge adds a new marketplace to her diary date list.

Brighton attracts creative people. Many discover the town as students at Brighton or Sussex Universities. They come for their degrees but love the lifestyle offered by living on the coast and the proximity to London, and make Brighton their permanent home. With a long established festival in May where artwork takes pride of place via the Open Houses venues, perhaps it isn't suprising that creativity thrives here.

Craftaganza is a contemporary craft and handmade market where designers and makers in and around Brighton can sell their creations. It takes place at Fabrica, a former Regency church, in the heart of the city. Set up by a group of women, their founding ethos is that handmade products are equal to, and often far better than, their mass-produced equivalents. Contrasting what they see as high-street ubiquity, Brighton Craftaganza presents an opportunity for locals and visitors to admire unique local designer talent available. I love seeing craftwork in all its guises, and with Craftaganza on my doorstep it was a must.

I was struck by the age of the exhibitors at Craftaganza, is it just me getting older or are the crafters just getting younger? Certainly with today's technology and access to Etsy, Facebook, Twitter et all, these people know about self-promotion, all of which is essential in a city stuffed to the gunnels with commercial competition. But it is also good to know that the younger generation is ensuring the craft bloodline. Of course given the economic climate it has probably never been harder to not only promote your work, and to encourage others to buy it, so making use of multim-media platforms is ideal. Of course, not all crafters work full time on their craft businesses, so weekend events like this are a bonus.

Fortunately for some of the standholders at Craftaganza, money was indeed changing hands as I toured with my camera. And tea and cake was selling very well too.

And with money in mind I would suggest that buying at such events is definitely the thing to do in advance of birthdays, Christmas, wedding presents, baby gifts, and indeed - any celebration. There were several pieces of jewellery that would make my wish list, the bright astronomical pieces from 'I am acrylic', and black and white designs of Bangelibangdesign amongst them. Forget trawling the High Street and meet the makers who can give an individual item provenance - you don't get that very often.

I've already made a note of the next Craftaganza events on Sat 30th Nov / Sun 1st Dec and Sat 7th Dec / Sun 8th Dec at Fabrica. Handy for that early build up to Christmas.


Thank you to everyone for letting me photograph their work.

Claire Griffiths, Yellow Bear Wares,

Kristin Stride

Her Indoors,

Victoria Hutchinson Ceramics,

Brendan Fan & Ruth Williams, I am acrylic,


Maria Tilyard Designs,

Shelley Morrow,

Betty Shek,


Sadly my pictures weren't perfect of these artists' work but do check out:

Lucy Brasher,

Lucy Alice Porter,


Fabrica is a visual arts organisation based in the heart of Brighton that commissions contemporary visual art installations specific to the building.

Fabrica is a place where artists come to make new work. Fabrica supports and encourages the artists with whom it works to be adventurous and to test the boundaries of their practice. It encourages an open dialogue between artists and visitors within the gallery space and produces an integrated programme of education and audience development activity that strives to remove barriers to access, engagement and understanding.


40 Duke Street, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1AG,
Tel: 01273 778 646




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