What I love about flea markets is that they recognise all markets are different, and bring that all together under one roof (or sky, if it’s outside). They define the word eclectic and have the capacity to draw different audiences, communities, stallholders together. You can get your beautifully handmade designer-maker products, sift through wardrobes full of vintage and rummage through strange piles of who-knows-what.. and that’s exactly what I did at Angel Flea Market on Sunday 19th May.
The sun was shining over the Candid Café courtyard and the atmosphere reflected it. The market, which had taken over Candid Arts Trust for the day, was brimming with families, individuals and casual passers-by who happened to be taking a stroll through Angel on this sunny Sunday. This reiterates my sentiments exactly; flea markets are great because they can and do attract individuals from all walks, all captivated by the magic of the stories behind the stalls.
One such stall was Oh Squirrel, a beautiful designer-maker brand that uses paper and textiles to create enchanting cards, tags, bags and others. I chatted with Katie Wagstaff, the founder, to see how she got Oh Squirrel started... it turns out from a New Year's resolution. She says:
"I have always made cards and gifts, but never had the time nor the confidence to do it on a larger scale. I dipped my toes in the pond and became hooked. On my first sale, I waited until the customer was a food few yards away before doing starjumps, I was so excited! As I got more interest, I started doing different markets, and that illusive time I struggled to find I made - it's amazing what you can do in a day! At Christmas last year I did Vintage markets in Hampstead, Angel & Spitalfields which were all incredible. However, two of my favourite events to do are very local to my home in Crouch End, which are Barboot and Harringay Market, and I have met so many of my wonderful customers this way."
What I love about Katie’s work is that they really capture the sense of old and new, imaginatively put together to create something lovely – and in essence then becomes another analogy for what the market stands for. Katie shares our love for markets:
“Being a Yorkshire girl, I was brought up around markets, and some of my fondest childhood memories are of hunting for fabrics and trims on Wakefield market. When I started to sell my products, the first channel I went through was markets, and a year on it still remains my favourite way of selling. I love meeting my customers, and it always surprises me at how broad the spectrum is! It's great to meet other traders too...Markets are so important as it means anyone can start selling without the expensive 'bricks & mortar' commitment, and they are a wonderful tool for building an important sense of community.”
You can visit her beautiful website here.
|Some of the lovely Badge Cards for sale by Oh Squirrel|
After moving through the bustle of downstairs I was led by twinkling fairylights up to the bright, upper level. There was a definite studio feel here, which was most probably aided by the artworks for sale against the wall, all at a bargaintastic £5 or £10.
|Art for £5, anyone?|
There was a lovely eating and seating area, brought to life by the sunlight shining through the coloured glass bottles on every table. Upstairs was where you needed to go if you were in the mood for having a proper dig through the wares of the sellers; seemingly strewn across the floor you could see movie posters next to TV screens next to wires that probably collectively fitted everything and anything – although I didn't envy anyone trying to find the wire the wanted! There was even a box of things for free; although sadly, I didn’t need any ring binders that day!
My triumph of the day was finding a striking 20s-esque bag in exchange for one five pound note. I want to arrange a night on the tiles purely so I have the chance to bring it out in public.
Seller-wise the stalls were a decent £25 and seemed to include the freedom to setup anywhere you liked – stallholders were selling their wares off radiators, on the floor and under tables. But there was nothing chaotic about this; just the vibrant atmosphere that demonstrates what fleas are about, and that draws you in to return again and again. I know I will!
|Outside Candid Cafe|