Burnham has a crafty sales day

Burnham Market 41st craf fair stalls were overrun with visitors.  MLNF16PB08464 ANL-160822-115852001
Burnham Market 41st craf fair stalls were overrun with visitors. MLNF16PB08464 ANL-160822-115852001

Burnham Market’s 41st Craft Fair drew, as usual, large crowds who it is hoped will keep up the impressive annual spend of some £70,000.

The fair, the idea of Princess Diana’s great Aunt, Lady Margaret Douglas Home, and antique dealer, Anne Cringle, although an instant success, was very different when it started.

Dolls for grown-ups?  Sara Sherriff with some of her creations. MLNF16PB08463 ANL-160822-115706001

Dolls for grown-ups? Sara Sherriff with some of her creations. MLNF16PB08463 ANL-160822-115706001

Sarah Birket recalled riding with her father, at the age of nine, on the back of village coalman, Neville Alexander’s lorry at 5am, to help set up the village hall’s wobbly chairs and ramshackle trestle tables for stallholders.

In those early days, exhibitors ran electric cables from nearby houses so that visitors could watch many of the craftspeople making their wares. Now the rows of colourful tents hold robust furniture and display stands but hardly any demonstrations.

Fair organisers rotate stall-holders and this year there was 25 new attractions.

One unusual stall is Margaret Green’s Candles in Cups. She not only embeds all manner of wax fruits and flowers into cups but also invents the smell or aroma to match the fruit or flowers involved.

Margaret Green makes decorative candles that smell of the wax fruit or flowers in the cup MLNF16PB08461 ANL-160822-115236001

Margaret Green makes decorative candles that smell of the wax fruit or flowers in the cup MLNF16PB08461 ANL-160822-115236001

But one challenge has so far eluded her. She is trying to make a Marmite candle but the characteristic smell of the spread you either love or hate currently eludes her.

Another was Michelle Daniel’s Raku pottery, a ceramic technique invented in the Far East in the 16th century, which gives her work an eye-catching and distinctive finish. But all of the popular traditional crafts were also there: jewellery, wood turning, iron-work, glassware, artwork, photography and textiles of all kinds.

The weather stayed clear though blustery for most of the day, only spoilt by a heavy downpour late on.

It takes about 20 volunteers to run the event with, in addition, King’s Lynn Sea Cadets, helping out with the parking. Co-organiser, Geoff Hanley said: “We make about £7,000 a year. We give the money to local youth-related organisations and other charities.”

Michelle Daniels with some of her Raku ware, a pottery process invented in the Far East MLNF16PB08462 ANL-160822-115455001

Michelle Daniels with some of her Raku ware, a pottery process invented in the Far East MLNF16PB08462 ANL-160822-115455001