If you go down to the Great Yorkshire Show (running right now, until Thursday, July 10 2014), make sure you find the Made in Yorkshire marquee because it is full-to-bursting with wonderful, clever, inspiring designer-makers – all, of course, Yorkshire born and bred and all offering beautiful products at perfect prices.
First, find your Made in Yorkshire Marquee – it’s at Sixth Avenue, Grid ref: F4. If that means zilch to you, because it sure does to me, it might be easier to look for the mega Food Hall, head to the entrance that faces towards the main ring, what I think of as facing upwards, and then the Made in Yorkshire stand is sort of opposite.
As I write, I am still drying off from the soaking I got this afternoon, although rain failed to dampen the spirits, as they say, and there are plenty of places to take shelter as most stands have roofs (albeit weather-proof fabric ones).
Thanks to my day job role as a newspaper journalist, I have been going to the Great Yorkshire Show for, Lord, years now, and, once my reporting duties have been executed, I love to escape for a good shopping trawl, because you can pick up all sorts of stuff here that you won’t find anywhere else. This year, I bought a small wooden kipper box for £5. Yes, £5, and it is so cute (really, it’s much cuter than it sounds).
This year, however, I think the shopping has really stepped up a gear and all the stands are excelling in terms of their product offer and their presentation. It all looked so fabulous, from the huge stands of Crew Clothing and Joules through to the little stands and stalls offering specialist artisan products. Whether you want baskets, carved wooden garden sculptures, clogs, wellies, country wear, festival wear … you’ll find it here.
And that’s another thing – the fashion. I don’t just mean at the fabulous Fashion Pavilion, although that is truly wonderful, with four catwalk shows a day, this year featuring Hobbs, Julie Dodsworth’s collection for Barbour, Rigby & Peller, Brook Taverner, prom designs from Cleckheaton based Alexia, plus some showstoppers from graduates and students at Yorkshire colleges.
But it’s the fashion on the streets I mean – well, the avenues of the Great Yorkshire Showground (which, in case you didn’t know, is on the outskirts of Harrogate). Floral lace-trimmed mini smock dresses, teamed with Barbour wax jacket and wellies – love it. Then there are all those wandering about in tight jodhpurs, crisp white shirts and waistcoats – appropriate show riding wear, I know, but still very cool.
The Made in Yorkshire marquee is a real highlight too and well worth making a bee-line for. Here are a few that caught our eye today. Just a snapshot.
Ellie Mae Designs is the inspiration of Louise Alison Townley, who creates all her lovely designs and makes all her sewn creatures and homes products from scratch. She also designs the kits that children – or anyone – can sew themselves.
Then there’s The Pyjama House, which is based in North Yorkshire, and designs the most wonderful pyjamas and other sleep stuff for adults and children in luxury brushed cotton (they last for years and wash well, as Sharon will testify). They have cotton shorts for £15 at the show right now – great bargain. Check them out on www.thepyjamahouse.co.uk
Sheffield artist Emma Jane Bennett specialises in floral paintings, prints and designs and you can buy them as beautiful wall prints or as cards (which cost just £2 – for all that artistry). Find out more about her work on www.ejbennett.co.uk
Jo Bagshaw is a York silver jewellery designer maker offering individual handmade statement pieces, using simple lines ands shapes and finding inspiration from everyday objects and vintage – find out more about her and her work on www.jobagshaw.co.uk
Tactile Designs, the brainchild of Emma Tamaris, is based in Beeford in the East Riding and designs are inspired by her love of animals, especially her own cats. There is a picture of her work at the top of this post.
Jon and Debbie of Made With a Smile offer beautiful handmade gifts, including these solid scent blocks to melt in incense burners.
McKinley and Moth is based in Shipton by Beningbrough and has a fabulous collection of handmade silver jewellery and textile gifts (really cute tweed bunnies).
Northallerton-based Sarah Garbutt creates fantastic and unusual tweed accessories, including snoods, collars and shawls starting at £35 and headbands at £25. See more on www.sarahgarbutt.co.uk
There are so many more fantastic artists and designer-makers in the Made in Yorkshire marquee – far too many to mention, but you can find out more about all those featured here on www.madeinyorkshire.org.uk And do get down to the Great Yorkshire Show – it’s got everything – hot tubs, garden furniture, fashion, fab food and drink, weird cleaning equipment of the type you don’t even see advertised on the telly. Oh and sheep, pigs, horses, cows, tractors … all this and more.