25 Fabulous Crafty Years
A message from Gary Fitz-Roy, Managing Director, Expertise Events
From the beginnings as a single hall event at the Exhibition Centre at Darling Harbour in 1994, the fair is now the largest craft event in the Southern Hemisphere. Brisbane’s first fair was in 1995 and the fairs were the first Australian craft events to be held in international venues, positioning craft alongside mainstream events such as motor shows and international medical conferences.
It’s been an amazing journey and quite an accomplishment that our Craft Fair can bring so much joy to so many. We feel so honoured to have shared the journey with so many wonderful people.
The fairs have been enjoyed by millions of craft lovers and nurtured the creative industry and inspired creative souls by showcasing world class displays and international as well as home grown talent. Designer Kaffe Fassett, quilter Margaret Rolfe, decoupeur Nerida Singleton, tea cosy designer Loani Prior, fabric designer Tula Pink and crochet designer Kerry Lord are just some of the guest artists who have featured at the fair. Quilt shows, competitions and workshops have been a feature at the events. We value highly the relationship with quilt guilds who have their annual exhibition with the fair.
Expertise Events has also nurtured non-profit groups with more than $3 million in cash sponsorship allocated over the
25 years to guilds, more than $50,000 in prize money and the provision of stands for non-profit groups for little or no cost. We have invested $27 million in advertising and promoting craft and raised the industry’s profile. In 2016 we also created the Craft for Kids Foundation to facilitate the donation of craft supplies from visitors and deliver them to kids in need.
We are committed to giving back and have made financial and marketing resources available to many charities. It’s nice to see some of what we have achieved being re-invested and nurtured by the industry and more importantly, by the community.
25 years on, the Craft & Quilt Fair is still supported by the iconic magazine, The Australian Women’s Weekly. The Weekly holds a special place as it’s where I met my wife, Judy Newman, who became our craft consultant. She has a passion for craft, coming from a formal textile teaching background and together I think we make a great team. The future looks bright and we look forward to the next 25 years and seeing where we can take craft.