Crafty work down at the Chelsea fair: Early Christmas shoppers could do worse than take a look at the work of a couple of craftswomen, reports Julie Aschkenasy

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The Independent Online
KATY HACKNEY's chunky silver jewellery is featured on the promotional literature for this year's Craft Fair - not bad for a first- time exhibitor. Ms Hackney is 26 and was trained in Edinburgh and at the Royal College of Art. She will show her work in the second week of the fair: huge silver and gold-leaf brooches and small-batch production rings, earrings and cufflinks. The prices of the pieces shown are (clockwise from top): building brooch, pounds 550; stripey ring, pounds 50; spotty ring, pounds 50; black crown ring, pounds 160.

MADELEINE ADAMS has to use a quality paper for her papier-mache pieces (above): 'the tabloids are so thin, they just fall apart,' she told Country Homes magazine. She will show her work (which includes furniture) in the fair's second week. The smaller pieces, in simple patterns and bright colours, cost pounds 10 to pounds 150.

YOU MAY not want to start Christmas shopping in October. But whatever your reason for visiting Chelsea Crafts Fair in the next fortnight, you will see some fine examples of reasonably priced contemporary craftwork -ceramics, glassware, knitwear, textiles, furniture, woodwork, toys and jewellery made by 220 exhibitors.

They have been chosen from more than 800 applicants, and 25 per cent are newcomers to the fair. So there is bound to be something to catch the eye of even the most observant of regular visitors. The Chelsea event is now in its 14th year.

This year's applicants had to meet the approval of Peter Chatwin, a craftsman and lecturer and one of this year's judging committee. He explained: 'I was looking at quality of work as the priority, whether from an individual or a business. The areas I would select as the most exciting this year are textiles and jewellery. The jewellery is always good, and Clara Vichi, Tricha Rafferty, Carol Mather and Jane Adam are my highlights of the show.'

Craft is often an overlooked area but Mr Chatwin believes that 'it is the most exciting area in the arts at the moment. Craft makers, even in a recession, are still producing high quality - and selling.'

The Chelsea Crafts Fair is at Chelsea Old Town Hall, King's Road, London SW3. It is open 12- 17 October (week one) and 19-24 October (week two). There is a complete change of exhibitors after the first week, and the fair is closed on Monday, 18 October.

Open 10am-8pm Tuesday to Friday, 10am-6pm Saturday and Sunday; pounds 6 for two visits (one per each week) or pounds 4 single visit.

Katy Hackney can be contacted on 071-404 1363, Madeleine Adams via the Crafts Council on 071-278 7700.

(Photographs omitted)

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