Worcester Annual Victorian Christmas Fayre 2013 part two


Happy New Year, dear readers! Welcome back in 2014! We are planning on making this year a great one so you can expect a lot of excellent material: interviews, reviews, reports and photo essays. We are also planning several high profile updates soon, so be sure to check out Vanadian Avenue quite often.

Worcester Christmas Fayre official logo
Worcester Christmas Fayre official logo

Coming down to business – we have chosen our favorites stalls at Worcester Annual Victorian Christmas Fayre and we literally cannot wait until we introduce you to those excellent artists, bakers, craftsmen and all-around nice people. Seat comfortably and let us take you for a real stroll through the narrow Victorian Streets of Worcester!

Visiting Christmas markets always makes us feel like we have hitched a ride in the TARDIS and moved back in time to 1870’s. The stalls owners are dressed in traditional Victorian outfits and capes, ladies carry elaborate umbrellas and the gentlemen wear hats and ties.  Being Doctor Who fans, we are super happy, when asked about the time, most men take out fob watches and open them.  The stalls are lit up in the dark by torches and oil lamps, food is being cooked on great frying pans, wandering group of artists are entertaining the crowds by playing and singing carols, magicians are mesmerizing the public with their tricks – all of this looks like a scene from a Who Christmas Special. The past comes to life around you and everything is so extremely real, that you start believing to be a time traveller yourself. It is a wonderful feeling and if you haven’t experienced it first hand yet, then you are mission out a lot. Please take a look at the link below to read more about the Worcester Christmas Fayre 2013.


Worcester Fayre picture taken from Visit Worcester website. Please visit them at:  http://www.visitworcestershire.org/about-worcestershire/Worcester-Christmas-Fayre.aspx
Worcester Fayre picture taken from Visit Worcester website. Please visit them at: http://www.visitworcestershire.org/about-worcestershire/Worcester-Christmas-Fayre.aspx

Are you ready now to learn about our favorite places at the market?  Ready, steady and here we go!

Pollyfields – The smell of Christmas
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PollyfieldsUK
Address: Pollyfields, 9 South Street, Torrington, Devon , EX38 8AB

If we could nominate one stall in The Most Beautifully Designed Stand category, Pollyfields would be taking the first prize home. We have to admit, we visited many markets and culinary shows since 2011, but we haven’t come across anything that spectacularly perfect until now. The stall has been designed in the smallest detail and as we were told, setting up everything took more than 6 hours. Other exhibitors needed on average about 2-3 hours to prepare their stores for opening, nearly three hours less.  Careful preparation was an instant success with the public. Pollyfield stall became the most popular store on the market and many people stopped to take a picture. As you can see on the pictures below, Pollyfields crew arrived with a huge Yule Goat decorated with dried flowers and fruits. The Goat was named Harry (maybe after Mr Potter, who knows) and measured nearly 150 cm. Rita has witnessed an older gentleman trying to buy it for his granddaughter, but the goat was not for sale.

Yule goat at Pollyfields stand
Yule goat at Pollyfields stand

Pollyfields was launched 14 years ago by Fiona Jackson after breeding rare sheep on a Devon farm proved to be a hard and challenging task. Instead of sheep, Fiona decided to make use of her crafting skills and founded a design company. Home design is still a big part of what Fiona does, but today Pollyfields concentrates on producing ecological home decorative elements: fragrances, potpourri, garlands, flower arrangements and other interior furnishings. Their Christmas collection includes: hampers, garlands, pomanders, tree and window decorations, door wreath, cinnamon sticks, candles, orange organza sachets, hot chilli candle circles and a unique line of Christmas essence oils. Fiona and her team design and hand make each item in the company’s catalogue supporting not only the local economy but also beautify the English countryside (flowers used in her arrangements come from Fiona’s own farm). Mrs Jackson always wanted to be an artist and she worked hard to turn her dream into success.  Pollyfield creations have been featured on TV, in magazines (Good House Keeping, Woman and Home, Country Living) and Fiona is a invited to the most prestigious design exhibitions in the UK and abroad.

Details of Pollyfields stall at the market
Details of Pollyfields stall at the market
Christmas door wreath for only 10 pounds - a real bargain!
Christmas door wreath for only 10 pounds – a real bargain!
Home decor at its best
Home decor at its best

Taylor Made Frames  – Every painting needs a frame
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TaylorMadeFrames
Address:  Bristol (formerly of 63 Broad Street). Please call: +44 7905 891978
Christmas Fayre is not only about presents, sales or food. It is a great place to meet interesting people and say hello to old friends. We exchanged greetings with several exhibitors from previous years,  two companies from Flavors of Herefordshire Food Festival, a couple of artists from H-Art and various other arts and crafts events we have attended in the past. Everybody knows everybody and if you are a new addition to the club, sooner or later you will be introduced to the rest.  Good people at Severn Cider (we will write about them very shortly) were kind enough to recommend their neighbour Les, when Rita complained that she was not able to find a suitable frame for her latest artwork. The recommendation led us to Taylor Made Frames,  very well known framing specialists from Bristol with more than two decades of experience. Until recently, Les the owner of the company and his team, had a store in Bristol’s main shopping district on Broad Street, but moved to different location. The big change became a great opportunity as they now offer home and business visits to measure artworks and estimate the costs. You no longer have to carefully plan to transport your treasured paintings to the store – Les will arrive at your place to collect the painting, discuss the frames and then return it you after the work is done. Simple solution, time saving and still a great quality. Rita is very hard to please, but frame selection offered at the market truly impressed her. And if she was, so will you. Trust us on that! Taylor Made Frames are also collaborating with Grant Bradley Gallery and are framing pictures of artist that exhibit there. You can learn more by visiting the gallery’s page at: www.grantbradleygallery.co.uk/framing.html
A nice selection of frames , dream come true for all artists
A nice selection of frames , dream come true for all artists
Frames were not the only things offered by Taylor Made Frames. You could also purchased original painting and they would be framed on the spot
Frames were not the only things offered by Taylor Made Frames. You could also purchased original painting and they would be framed on the spot

Severn Cider – Let’s quench the thirst
Address:  The Old Vicarage, Awre, Newnham, Gloucs GL14 1EL

The wonderful people from Severn Cider are old friends we have met at Worcester Beer Festival. Incredibly funny and ever-helpful, the Bull family has been in cider making business for three generations now and their brewery is a multiple award winning business. They received 5 gold medals for all kinds of bottled craft cider and perry and in 2010 their exclusive Brown Snout brand has been rewarded the mark of excellence by CAMRA (Campaign For Real Ale Association). If you need a trusted opinion, our dad is a big fan of their Dry Sparkling cider and requested few bottles to be sent to Poland last year just because he was in a mood for this particular drink.  Severn Cider was founded by Nick Bull and his son Tom and they are still in charge of the company. The brewery is  located in small village of Awre, near Newham in Gloucestershire, very close to the ancient Forest of Dean. This part of England is known for its crystal clear ground waters and fertile earth, perfect for orchards and ecological farming. Severn Cider’s orchards produce popular and rare breads of apples (including Box Kernel apples that originated in Awre!) and have never been sprayed nor fertilized. A careful production, makes the cider truly chemical free and can be enjoyed by everyone including vegans. In recent years, the demand for Severn Cider grew rapidly and now you can purchase the cider and perry all over the UK: either directly through the company’s website, allied pubs and shops or a large network of independent stores and deli. Did you know that Severn Cider ales are available in Tate Modern, Tate Britain and the Houses of Parliament in London? That’s how good they are!

Casks full of Severn Cider ales - a perfect treat for cider lovers
Casks full of Severn Cider ales – a perfect treat for cider lovers
Emma  - the gracious host at Severn Cider stand, dressed as a Victorian barmaid.
Emma – the gracious host at Severn Cider stand, dressed as a Victorian barmaid.

Claire Waters Contemporary glass artist
Website: http://www.claire-waters.co.uk
More information: http://everycloudboutique.co.uk/page_2743803.html
Address:  Unit 2, Middle Farm, Charlton Horethorne, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 4NL

Claire Waters is an acclaimed artist specializing in creating contemporary glass art for business and private homes. As Rita has a life-long interest in glass creation, you can only imagine how happy she was to see such a renowned creator at Worcester Christmas Fayre! Claire’s works are truly breathtaking: if you like dreamlike, abstract works full of light and changing colors, you will be delighted. Claire has an BA (Hons) degree in Architectural Glass from Welsh School of Glass in Swansea and is known to use  multiple techniques to create elaborate glass paintings:  traditional leading, fusing, sandblasting and acid etching. Mrs Waters is inspired by the beautiful coast of Dorset: the changing sea, dramatic shoreline, high tides, wild beaches, sunlight reflecting on surface the water – the magical world enchanted in the glass is so real, you can almost feel the salty wind on your face. Claire often uses sand, rock and wild grass in her creations portraying busy harbor life or local wildlife: dragonflies, water birds, endemic flowers and plants.  We had a bit of bad luck trying to photograph Claire at her stall. The first time we approached Claire, our batteries died and we needed to charge them at the nearest library. When we arrived for the second time, Claire was on her lunch. None the less, we had a lovely chat with her and still managed to take several nice pictures.

Claire describes her art with those words: Inspiration for my design work comes from the surrounding environment, my fascination with natural form and naturally occurring pattern. My designs have fundamentally derived from a desire to express our relationship to nature. However, my work is not about depicting actual objects from nature, or reproducing specific images or concepts, but rather about embracing the qualities of nature and creating organic ‘abstract’ art. Not to reproduce nature but to represent it”.

works have been exhibited many times and Claire is represented by several nationwide galleries.

Claire Water's card attached to one of her artworks
Claire Water’s card attached to one of her artworks
One of our favorites works - it was almost as tall as Rita
One of our favorites works – it was almost as tall as Rita
Claire Water's artwork during Worcester Christmas Fayre
Claire Water’s artwork during Worcester Christmas Fayre

Croome Cuisine – The best cheese in town
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Croome-Cuisine/323691571061031
Address: Croome Cuisine, The Dairy Pond Farm, Whittington, WorcestershireWR5 2RQ,

All cheese lovers are now asked to pay attention. In our humble opinion, Croome Cuisine is probably the best producer of cheese in the West Midlands. Generally, we try to avoid such compliments but this time, it is well deserved. Let us explain and you should have no doubts why they deserve all praise coming their way. Croome Cuisine has been established in 2009 by Nick Hodgetts, a cheese maker with more than 20 years of experience. Since the beginning, his company received fantastic reviews from clients and other cheese business professionals. Nick and his team reside on Pond Farm, close to the picturesque village of Whittington in Worcestershire where they produce more than 60 different kinds of cheese. Nick’s skills in cheese-making are second to none. He has received eleven gold and silver medals from British Cheese Association, several grand titles from International Cheese Festivals and Supreme Champion Cheese Award at the prestigious Three Counties Show for his delicious mature cheddar Herefordshire Hop variety, which is now regarded as a British cheese classic. We will not count honorable mentions or awards received at local level – there are just too many of them! To buy a piece of Hobsons Ale and Wholegrain Mustard mature cheddar, we had to queue for nearly half an hour and we are not exaggerating at all.  It was very hard to speak to the crew as they were extremely busy serving waves and waves of cheese to hungry customers. Several quick pictures have been taken, so please excuse the poor quality. Croome Cuisne’s cheeses are not only delicious and flavorsome, they are also healthy (low fat and no artificial preserves) and ecologically made. If you ever have a chance to try them, do not hesitate.

Croome Cuisine stand  was very busy throughout the day - we managed to take only several quick snapshots
Croome Cuisine stand was very busy through out the day – we managed to take only several quick snapshots
Closer look at the Croome Cuisine stand
Closer look at the Croome Cuisine stand
Pomegranate Authentic Lebanese Cuisine – So good you will not believe it!
Contact: pomegranate.alc@aol.com
126 Cowley Road, OX4 1JE Oxford, Oxfordshire
Pomegranate Authentic Lebanese Cuisine is a small business established in 2011 by a group of immigrants from Lebanon and Egypt. They might not have a fancy restaurant, a social media pages or official website, but they have won the hearts and stomachs of many food festivals goers. We do not know much about them as we discovered their stand on Sunday evening when everybody else was already packing up. The gentleman who prepared our dinner spoke about his hometown (Damascus in Syria), the ongoing war and hardships of daily life. Listening to his tragic story, we truly had tears in our eyes – his family stayed behind and he travelled half the world to find a better future for himself and his kids.  People like him are the true heroes – they work extremely hard, are not afraid of cold or rain and will never complain that they had to travel a long distance from place to place. We feel blessed that we had an opportunity to try real Lebanese food: chicken shawarma marinated with a traditional recipe, handmade falafel, halloumi wraps with salads and kofta cooked on a unique rotating grill. The food can only be described as heavenly and the service was excellent. It didn’t matter that our meal was prepared on the street stand and we ate from plastic trays using disposable utensils – the whole experience felt like a feast in the best restaurant on Earth! It was one on those moments that are truly important in life: you discover something unique, you are able to taste food from the other side of the world, you learn few words in a strange language (Hello and thank you) and cherish the memories for the rest of your days!  All we can say is THANK YOU guys for the wonderful experience. We owe ya!
Salad bar at Pomegranate stand
Salad bar at Pomegranate stand
A closer look at out plates - it was delicious!
A closer look at out plates – the food was delicious!
The unique grill in its whole rotating glory
The unique grill in its whole rotating glory

Elefair – Gift-ware with a humanitarian message
Contact:  elewalk@hotmail.com or ele@elefairy.com
57 Windermere Road, Nottingham, NG7 6HL

Is anybody looking for an ordinary hero? If so, let’s us introduce you to a very inspirational young woman who is out to save the world and succeeding! Ele Walker was barely 19 years old when, in 1998, she decided to travel to Nepal and work there as a teacher. The housing conditions were poor, she was far away from home, on the other side of the globe and could rely only on her own skills and intuition. She was however surrounded by beautiful mountain village, friendly townsfolk and art. Soon after arrival, Ele discovered that almost everybody in the village was making something: clothes, tools, pots, jewellery, paintings. There was no supermarket, no cars, no electricity and Internet but somehow people had all necessary items and lived perfectly happy lives. Surprised by her discovery, Ele decided to purchase several hand made objects and bring them to the UK as souvenirs for family and friends. The gifts were so stunning and so original that more and more people approached Ele asking if she could bring something more. Over the years, Ele traveled to Nepal more than 20 times. She grew to love the people and the country and decided to make it  her second home. She was even adopted into local family and is now treated as a native.  Since 2000, Ele and her friends have been bringing hand made artworks and clothes from Nepal under the Fair Trade movement. The company is called EleFair and provides the local artist with international markets for their works. All items are priced fairly and money collected from the sales returns to Nepal to fund schools, build wells, roads and help locals to start their own small businesses. Ele is also sponsoring Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre run by another English lady – Jan Salter who has lived in Nepal for over 35 years.  You can visit the organization here: http://www.katcentre.org.np/

“Magical” is the only word that can honestly describe EleFair stand at the Victorian Fayre. The volunteers were dressed in one of the best costumes we have seen this year, the artworks were brilliantly displayed: leather handbags, silk scarves, cards fashioned from tree bark paper known as “Lokta”, traditional musical instruments, silver jewellery and long beaded curtains were selling like hot buns on a cold day. We loved the large lampshades made from colorful fabrics and photo albums made from tree bark and ecological paper. The prices were a bit high, but hey, we will not complain as each item purchased by UK customers is helping artists from developing countries to start a professional career!

Handmade leather purses and traditional Nepali drum EleFair trade stall
Handmade leather purses and traditional Nepali drum EleFair trade stall
Decorative foam curtains were very popular with the buyers
Decorative foam curtains were very popular with the buyers
A Victorian gentleman entertained the ladies with songs and funny dance moves
A Victorian gentleman entertained the ladies with songs and funny dance moves

Thank you kindly for sticking with us to the end. We love discovering new companies, items and artworks and we could continue writing this report till the morning light! Worcester Victorian Fayre 2013 is over but the Chamber of Commerce is already accepting applications for the next edition. Hurry up, fill it in and maybe you will be lucky enough to be featured on Vanadian Avenue!

Please come back soon as we are preparing a brand new section on our blog and you do not want to miss it!

Rita and Mal

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