The many faces of Craft. Fair. Contemporary

Craft. Fair. Contemporary starts on Friday 2 December and we’re very excited to share this great blog by Niall Farrelly from Collabor-8 Collective who will be taking part.

Craft. Fair. Contemporary opens on Friday 2 December from 6pm-8.30pm with an evening preview with live music, mince pies and mulled wine and is also open on Saturday from 10am-6pm and Sunday from 11am-5pm. Free entry.

Niall says:

“It appears the Christmas train is charging towards us full steam ahead once again. All the shops have got Christmas gifts in stock, twinkling lights and festive music turned up to the max and beautifully decorated trees are springing up all over Nottingham. Also on board the train this year is the Craft. Fair. Contemporary at Nottingham Contemporary, a merry event where lots of talented designers and makers will have their unique wares for sale.

If you happen to come along to the craft fair you will get the opportunity to peruse these treasures and partake in the festive cheer alongside some captivating contemporary art exhibitions by the artists Marguerite Humeau and Otobong Nkanga. What you also might see at this year’s craft fair are some very wacky looking portraits.


I am the person behind those drawings and I’ve been asked by Nottingham Contemporary’s Collabor-8 Collective to draw portraits and have a chat with visitors to the event. The Collabor-8 Collective are a steering group of 15-25 year olds who organise and host lots of exciting events for other young people at Nottingham Contemporary. I draw continuous line blind drawings of people which tend to look like a rather deranged version of that person. I’m currently using this style of drawing in an ongoing project documenting people I know, or newly meet through the project. I then post the portraits on the Instagram account for the project as a way of collecting them all together. It’s a style of drawing I picked up while studying on the Foundation Art and Design course at Central College. It was the first time I had ever encountered this way of drawing and once I started using it I completely fell in love with the style.

The idea of drawing this way is quite simple, however it’s not without its intricacies. The process is that you draw your image in a single continuous line while not looking at the paper and only focusing on your subject. The challenge arises in avoiding the temptation to look at what you’re drawing. It takes some practice not to break the line or slip off the edge of the paper. It can also be all too easy to forget which part you’ve already drawn. I tend to be quite quick with the drawings, the longer you take the more detail you can add, although it’s also likely that the more ink you put down the more the final result looks like an indistinguishable scribble.


What I really love about drawing this way is when you’ve finished an image and get to see it for the first time, you may have just drawn it but it remains something completely new to you until you put down your pencil. It makes it exciting and each drawing is unique. Amazingly it always manages to capture an aspect of the person or object, almost like the essence of something. There are recognisable features that come through in the drawing.

The project I’m working on with my drawings is called “here are some faces”. It came about when I happened to write a quote of the conversation I had with a person underneath the drawing. My terrible handwriting happened to work well alongside the blind drawing and I thought why not continue with this. From that point I’ve been using the portraits and quotes as I means of documenting the people in my life, when paired with a quote it really captures their personality and quite often mutual friends can recognise who it is. Once posted on Instagram I like how they become anonymous, the faces could be anyone and the quotes take on a different meaning. They could almost be inspirational while being quite humorous, I think the humour in the drawings is a great aspect. Everyone can laugh at a weird drawing of a face.”


If you would like to follow the progress of the “here are some faces” project check it out on Instagram @herearesomefaces

Niall will be doing his portraits at Craft. Fair. Contemporary on Friday so be sure to come along to get your own portrait drawn FREE and enjoy the event.

In addition, artist, illustrator and Nottingham Trent University student, Billy Sharp (@BillySharpArtist on Instagram) will be doing cityscape illustrations during the evening, in a similar style.