I have been making/creating things and selling them at craft fairs for many years.
In 2013 I set up my own business, StormyBlueSky, making and selling bargeware at craft
fairs and online.
Bargeware, or canal ware, is a traditional style of painted decoration found on the canals
around Britain. It was one of the few traditional crafts that thrived during the industrial
revolution, due to it's popularity with boaters on the canals. As far as I am aware, no one
knows exactly when or where the style came from, or how it started, but it is very similar
to the style of the elaborately decorated caravans of travellers. A canal artist once told me
that the boaters decorated their boats and hardware with a vast array of flowers as a kind of
escapism, a way to counteract their bleak industrial surroundings. The traditional castles
depicted in bargeware have three towers, mimicking the three towers of power stations,
the closest thing to castles the boaters saw, and a river and a bridge; these were always
included because that's what they knew, and what they wanted to have in their future -
just with less smoke and more grass! I don't know if that version of events is true, but I like it.
I find things to paint at jumble and car boot sales, market stalls and vintage junk shops,
so most of my items are completely unique. You won't see anything else like it! I absolutely
love painting, and do it whenever I can, but this style of decoration is quite time consuming.
My bargeware is now stocked by the very nice people at Lyons Boatyard and Chandler, Stratford &
Avon Canal, Birmingham!
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