Strawberry Fayre was started in 1972 by Alec and Jenny Hutchison as a craft shop and traditional village industry in a brewery complex in Stockbridge, Hampshire, selling locally made crafts including patchwork quilts. Patchwork became very successful and Strawberry Fayre held annual exhibitions of antique and contemporary quilts in the ancient granary barn behind the shop, which doubled as the furniture workshop, and quickly gained a reputation for quilts and four-poster beds.
By 1979 enough interest in patchwork and quilting had been generated to invite visiting speakers from America and to form a patchwork and quilting organisation. Strawberry Fayre invited Beth and Jeffery Gutcheon, U.S.A. to give a workshop tour of Great Britain in June 1979. Filming of the Stockbridge workshop went out on BBC TV and the presenter was Jenny Murray. The following year, 1980 Strawberry Fayre invited Michael and Judy James, U.S.A. who introduced us to the concept of “The Art Quilt”.
The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles was started in August 1979. Alec and Jenny were Founder Members and Jenny served on the committee for 10 years, the last 4 as President. Membership rose from 60 to 5,500 in that 10 year period.
In 1978 Strawberry Fayre opened a department selling American fabric and quilting accessories, the first of it’s kind in the country. Strawberry Fayre are indebted to all those wonderful quilters and quilt collectors who helped us in those early days.
Alec and Jenny shut their shop in Stockbridge in 1981 and continued Strawberry Fayre as a mail-order fabric business, operating from an historic granite mill within The Dartmoor National Park. Strawberry Fayre is no longer open to the public and is now mail-order only.