Lost Trades Fair – Toowoomba 2017!

The Lost Trades Fair is an opportunity for artisans who practise traditional trades to demonstrate their skills and knowledge, and an opportunity for people to see and learn how and why things were done the way that they were. I joined the lost trades fair at the start of this year as a maker, in its home town of Kyneton Victoria, where it has been running since 2014. It was such an amazing experience to demonstrate and explain the art of cricket bat making to thousands of people, but it was also a brilliant way to learn what it was that people understood, and didn’t understand about the trade.

The best part about the whole thing is how successful the fair has been! In the 4 years the fair has been going it just keeps on growing, which as a maker, is so satisfying that people are interested, and as a young adult, refreshing to see that people still care about passionate people! Because of the fair’s success, we are hitting the road and holding our first interstate fair which will be held in Toowoomba on the 7th and 8th of October! Next weekend!                                                                                                                              So, the next few days for me is getting all of my last minute jobs done, to be ready for the road trip on Thursday!

I’ve been asked a number of times why I bother to make Cricket Bats, and its always a bit of a round-a-bout answer. As we know, most cricket bats these days, (like most things) are mass made overseas, either by machine or cheaper labour. As a young adult, I’m okay with this, for the most part mass produced products do a pretty good job! I also understand that this means that we can purchase products at a more affordable price, and I’m certainly all for technology. Having said that, there really is something special, even romantic, about buying something that has been made properly, by an expert, who actually loves what they do. As a maker, its a pretty good feeling knowing that you have made something lasting, with your own hands. For anyone who is reading this, I encourage you to do a workshop, or just have a go at making something in any field that you are interested in, as it’s incredibly rewarding, and sometimes even therapeutic.

In regards to Cricket Bats, whilst 90% of bats on the market are mass made, handmade bats are absolutely still a thing. There might not be many left that still make bats from start to finish by hand, but all of the best players are still using handmade bats. The reason for this is that batting will always be about feel! A machine cuts a dimension, and whilst it might be able to cut hundreds of bats into the exact same dimension, they will not all feel the same when you pick them up. The most important aspect of making a good bat is getting the balance right, every cleft of willow is different and will have heavy spots within it, and it’s the skill of the bat maker to identify this and adjust the shape to retain the perfect balance. It’s this reason that Cricket Bat Making still exists today, and will in the future.

A snippet from https://www.rundellandrundell.com.au/lost-trades-australia

The Lost Trades Fair celebrates the art of skilled manual work and ancient and traditional trades and crafts, their special tools, traditions, languages and secrets which are now threatened by mass produced products in our modern society.  Our aim is to unite people that still have these skills and reignite the significance that these trades and crafts have in today’s environment, setting them on a steady path for the future, before they are lost to history.  Why ‘Lost’ – because these skills have been unable to find a clearly defined path in these commercially driven times; our hope is that that we can showcase and promote these trades and develop a new path for the incredibly skilled and passionate artisans that continue to practise these trades. The Fair provides a platform for all rare, unusual and traditional trades and builds a connection between the people that practise them with those that would love to learn or have found it hard to find these skills in Australia.

Lost Trades Australia has been founded to act as a guardian to these trades; we hope that by uniting traditional crafter’s specialising in field and workshop crafts that we can inspire the next generation to embrace these skills and develop an interest or even a career a traditional trade.