THIS weekend’s Letham Christmas Craft Fair in the village hall will be a different experience for local woman Shirley Fergusson - for she has taken a step back from organising the popular event.
Since 1975 Shirley has been at the helm of organising craft workers from across Scotland who have made the annual pilgrimage to the village - and this year she is looking forward to the two-day event where she will meet up with old friends.
The fair runs on Saturday and Sunday and is a tribute to Shirley’s years of dedication liaising with the craft workers right up to when the doors open.
She remembers the first fair in 1975, which started with a row of tables in the centre of the hall displaying six crafts.
Shirley said: “The craft tables were surrounded by tables of jumble and bric-a-brac. We also served teas, coffee and home baking.
“As it became more popular we decided to expand. We had many artists living in the area, including myself who was a graphic artist and miniature wildlife artist.
“So next we invited the local artists, plus six others and my husband Peter and Joe McTaggart, a wonderful wood carver. Joe sold one of his carvings for £700 - a lot of money then - what excitement in the hall!”
Shirley’s talent for painting in miniature developed at this time and her stand of painted stones was always a hit - with her beautiful, intricate work now being displayed all around the world including Russia, China, Japan and Greenland with most being sent to America and Canada.
She continued: “By then the craft shop in the village had just opened, so with all the traffic coming to the village for the craft shop and the craft fair, it got so busy I got told off by the Police for creating too much traffic!”
Shirley is looking forward to meeting some new faces this year, and catching up with regular attendees.
Among the many items on sale this year will be unique jewellery hand-made in the Highlands of Scotland by Elvira Neame.
Each piece is made individually from the artist’s own designs, using sterling silver, semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls, amber, shell and other natural materials, which are carefully sought and chosen for their quality, colour, lustre, texture, shape and any unusual properties.
For this reason many pieces are ‘one-offs’ or limited editions, and designs are continually changing with new materials found. Many of the designs can be made in different colours, and all of them can be made to measure. The collections are badged under the headings of “Earth”, (greens and browns) “Fire” (reds, oranges, amber and yellows) , “Sky” (pinks and purples), “Water” (blues and turquoise), Classic (red, white, black, grey and clear)”, “Freshwater Pearls” (all colours) and “Children’s and Casual” (cheaper range in all colours).
Personal orders, commissions and bespoke jewellery can be ordered, and jewellery can be matched to clothes. Elvira will also restring necklaces and repair any jewellery if it’s possible. Elf Jewels also offer a range of jewellery for children and young people. All pieces can be made using Sterling Silver, 9ct gold, gold-filled, and silver or gold-plated finish, as required. The fair is in Letham this weekend.