the real thing We love handmade. We love the fingerprints left behind by the potter on the clay, the mark of the printmaker’s cut on the lino, the embroidery stitch that shows this was made by hand, not by machine. The high street might pretend to do handmade, but these are the makers creating the real thing – and that’s what we want to celebrate this Christmas.
Photos by Yeshen Venema, styled by Hilary Lowe. Additional photos by Kristy Noble and the designers
Silver Bar Earrings, £12, Charme Accessories | Rookery Lampshade, £47.50, Bearprint Design | Topiary Cushion, Jennie Jackson | Knitted Throw & Cushion, from £65, Jules Hogan | Ceramic Bottles, from £20, Kirsti Brown Ceramics |
h an dm a d e
tre a su r e Gold Pine Cone Necklace, Curious Magpie | Silver Acorn Cup Studs, £8.50, Caroline Frodsham of Pods & Plunder | Porcelain Snowdrop Necklace, £48, Vanilla Kiln | Flower Brooches, Charlotte Whitmore of Ornament | Edge of the Woods Brooch, £44.95, Claire Gent | Hand Woven Necklace, £44.95, Rebecca Honey Textiles | Copper Bird Earrings, £20, Little Red Hen Jewellery | Silver and Gold Flower Drop Earrings, £44, Liz Hutchinson | Real Forget Me Not Flower Bangle, £40, Buttonsy
winter table by Hannah Bullivant
I absolutely love gathering friends together to talk, feast and laugh over dinner. In winter, when we go into hibernation mode, it feels even more important to take the time to come together, not just because itâ€™s Christmas but because friends and family nourish us. For me, the perfect dinner table is simple, beautiful and embraces
the seasons. In winter, when there isnâ€™t much going on in the garden, I bring in seedheads, grasses and tendrils of honeysuckle, clematis or ivy to connect my table to the world outside. Natural linens and lace, clay pinch pots, handmade plates and etched glasses all add texture. I love the way glassware adds twinkle to a table too.
Engraved Fox Glass, £25, VMJCollinsArt | Heart Tea Light Holder, £16, Jude Allman | Mini Bowl & Spoon, £24, Libby Ballard | Glazed Tea Spoons, £14 for 4, Kara Leigh Ford | Ivy Leaf Tea Light Holder, £19.50, Pandera Art | Nutcracker, £12, Bluebell Woodturning | Handmade Stoneware Plates, £48 for 6, Little Wren Pottery | Cake Slice, £15, amedevoyageur | Stoneware Bowls, £9, Mecki Allen | Dinner Plates, £11, Dave Green Ceramics | Crochet Place Mat, £10, Hand Made By Fausta
get the look
Hannah is a stylist and writer. Join her for a festive faffing & photography workshop with Sara from Me and Orla on 10 December or a festive dinner table styling workshop with London Supper Club KinoVino on 15 December. Book here seedsandstitches.com/events
Extracted from Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring, published by Jacqui Small (£20). All images © Leslie Shewring.
D I Y D E C O R AT I O N S Recycle light bulbs by turning them into ornaments for your tree. Use spray paint to tint some of your bulbs (black works well) and keep others as they are, especially if they’re frosted. Use a glue stick and apply sequins, glitter or beads. Allow to dry overnight, then twist copper wire around the base several times and create a loop for hanging.
Jenny Newall We grab five minutes with stained glass artist Jenny Newall for a quick Q&A... Why stained glass? I like to be different and I just fell in love with the beautiful reflections you get with coloured glass. I’m a bit of a magpie and I’m attracted to sparkling things! Your rainbow unicorns have become a bit of a phenomenon and regularly sell out. Where did the idea for those come from? I was challenged to make a cute little unicorn for my friend Janet. She’s besotted with unicorns, so it’s my friend really that we can thank for this design. Stained glass is an old craft but your use of it is very contemporary – mixing textures and incorporating wonderful flashes of illustrated and patterned glass. Do you think the way people are using stained glass is changing? I hope so. It’s important for stained glass to move with the times. I believe it’s vital that a piece of artwork in whatever medium has a unique quality that can be identified as belonging to the artist too.
Where should people go if they want to be inspired by stained glass? Well, there are the classics such as William Morris’ and Edward Burne-Jones’ windows throughout Britain that celebrate the Arts and Crafts movement (you could argue the origin of Folksy?) but my first stop would be to explore the churches and historical buildings in your local area. It’s amazing what you kind find on your own doorstep. I recommend a visit to the Stained Glass Museum at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire too. It offers a good snapshot into understanding how stained glass has evolved and it’s a lovely atmosphere too, especially if the choir is rehearsing. Jenny is running a Stained Glass Taster Day in Sheffield on Sunday 27 November, where you can design and make your own stained glass decoration to take home. Book your place at blog.folksy.com/ weekend-of-the-maker
Watercolour Painted Horses Cushion, £55, Gloria Dean | Sleeping Dormouse Stained Glass Suncatcher, £60, Victoria Collins of VMJCollinsArt | Fused Glass Spoon, from £15, Charlotte Bromley of Mill Stream Glass | Fair Isle Wool Blanket, £235, designed by Lisa Watson Quilts | Pheasant Mug, £12.50, Cluck Cluck | Linen Apron with Appliqué Cottage, £40, Ruth Peterson of MabliJack
made i n
Bri ta i n
Dovetail Birdhouse, £60, Tansu-Me | Lumberjack Apron, £16.95, Hole in my Pocket|Handmade Puffin and Tweed Cushion, £54, Seaforth Designs | Carved Birds, from £48, LJ Bird Carving | Rain Over Win Hill at Ladybower, £25, Sian Hughes| Knitted Rabbit, Blankets and Stool by Sally Nencini | Appliqué Bird Project Bag, from £25, Kate Rowe |
Discover local designers and makers
Fossil Finding Map by Hannah Bailey | HB Illustration
ho w to m a k e a
n e e dle -f e l t
Ever fancied trying your hand at needle felting? It’s not as tricky as it looks and the results are mightily impressive. So put some tea in the pot, get out your craft kit, turn on Radio 4 and make yourself a rather lovely reindeer. Here’s how...
W H AT Y O U ’ L L N E E D : • Felting block • Needles: sizes 36, 38 & 40; three-needle tool (size 38) • Scissors or craft knife, wire snips and pliers • Doll needle and strong thread • Pre-felt: 30 x 40cm • Wool fibre: 25g medium in white; 10g fine in white, two shades of grey, black and tan • Wire: 60cm medium for the legs, 1m fine for the antlers • Two small black glass beads for the eyes
Cut and roll rectangles of pre-felt to make three cylinders with these diameter-to-length ratios: body 4 : 9cm; neck 1.5 : 4cm; head 1.5 : 1.5cm. Cut two lengths of wire for the legs: 20cm and 26cm. Bend the cut ends in and wrap the wires with grey yarn. Bend the shorter wire into a U-shape and make an adjustable bend in the longer wire
Using a size 36 needle, loosely attach the shorter wire legs to one end of the body cylinder by prodding a small strip of pre-felt over the wire. Attach the longer legs to the rear. Adjust the leg lengths as necessary. Then prod the pre-felt covering the wire to secure the legs in place.
Wrap small strips of pre-felt around the top of each leg to give shape to the thigh. Prod carefully, avoiding the wire, to attach wool to wool. Wrap the legs a second time with grey fine wool fibre and prod to secure it. As you work, keep moving the leg into different positions to access different parts of it. Bend the legs to create knees and broaden them by adding wisps of wool fibre.
Using a three-needle tool with size 38 needles, refine the body shape and cover the back and sides with a mix of grey fine wool fibres. Build up the tummy area and cover it with white fine wool fibre.
Join the head to the neck and attach by prodding with a size 36 needle. Refine by prodding and adding medium wool fibre where you need to build up the shape. Once you’re happy with the shape of the head, change to a size 38 needle and cover it with the mix of grey fine wool fibres. Carefully cut into the muzzle with scissors, splitting it to create a mouth. Prod inside the mouth to neaten and refine it.
Make the eye sockets by prodding with a size 36 needle. Insert the eye beads and use a doll needle and strong thread to stitch them securely in place, stitching from eye to eye and to the underside of the chin. Change to a size 38 needle to build up the grey area around the eyes and add white eyelids. Add a black nose by prodding with black fine fibre. Make two small ears from semi-circles of grey fine fibre prodded into a disc and then folded. Position the ears, allowing space for the antlers, and prod-attach them to the head.
For the reindeer’s antlers, twist two lengths of fine wire into an antler shape. Start twisting from the tips of the horns, working your way back to the middle. Create a loop at one end of each antler to insert into the reindeer’s head and make sure all cut ends are bent inwards. Wind tan fine wool fibre tightly around the >>
twisted wire. Prod carefully to secure, avoiding the wire and attaching wool to wool. Cut a slit in the top of the reindeer’s head and push the wire loop into it. Squeeze the cut closed and prod repeatedly until the antlers are held firmly. Tip: Young reindeer have very simple horns while dominant males display huge antlers. So if you’re feeling confident, give your reindeer extravagant antlers or, if not, keep them simple.
Your needle-felted reindeer is now finished. Why not create a mini festive snowscape under a glass dome for him, or even make him the centrepiece of your Christmas table? Extracted from The Natural World of Needle Felting by Fi Oberon, photography by Brent Darby. Published by Jacqui Small (£20).
H E A R T F E LT Not quite ready to try out needle-felting for yourself? You’ll find some incredible examples of needle-felting to fall in love with on Folksy, like this Bumble Bee on a Sewing Machine by Wonderous Oddities and a Felted Penguin Family by Feltmeupdesigns.
Stag Necklace, £49, Lucylou Designs | Floral Antler Print, £15, beccimaryanne | Fawn Card, £2.50, Ellie Press | Stag Papercut, £15, By Charlie’s Hand | Mrs Reindeer, £70, Katy Livings | Wooden Stag Necklace, £8, Inkidot | Textile Stag, £35, Katie Essam | Deer Cuff, £16, Anna McDade | Cinnamon Trees, £11 for 2, Song of the Seam
ha n d mad e
Sarah Papworth Sarah Papworth created our front cover. She is an illustrator and designer who uses traditional silkscreen techniques together with watercolour sketches to create textiles and prints that are bright and infused with joy.
Hi Sarah. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do? Hello! I’m Sarah, I’m an illustrator and I run Beetroot Press – a planet-kind range of contemporary and whimsical homeware, British by origin and design. I like to draw uplifting things to make you smile. A lot of love goes into my work, which is hand made by me and printed using traditional silkscreen methods. The inks I print with are water-based and I only make in small batches to keep production as ethical and sustainable as possible. I want to keep originality alive and ensure past methods are used wherever I can.
What inspires you? I’m inspired by the nature I see around me, flora, fauna, simple pleasures and vintage patterns. I look to past eras for direction. I have a positive outlook on life and hope my work inspires others to feel happy too. Beetroot Press is all about joy, for those who are young at heart, like me. Where do you create your work? My studio is in our small terraced cottage in the Cotswolds. It has a garden, so I can paint outside. I dream of having an outhouse or studio to house long printing tables and a wet room to wash out the screens.
What makes the perfect handmade Christmas? I like to make at least one Christmas decoration a year. It’s so lovely to get out the decorations and have a collection of handmade things.
skills and knowledge I’ve learnt over time. I draw for a living but to actually make something gives me so much satisfaction. I feel relaxed when I’m crafting – it’s a way to escape everyday worries.
What makes you happy? Simple things really – colour, being cosy, healthy, drawing, making something new, my allotment, going to vintage fairs, chunky knits, printed pattern, being grateful for loving my job and looking forward to my working day.
How does it feel to be part of the UK craft scene? I’m so proud of British craft. There’s so much history and it’s made such a comeback in recent years. I live near Chipping Campden, and there are people here still using the workshops of their grandparents. I like to think we’re honing skills that can be passed on to future generations – keeping our craft traditions alive and creating new ones along the way.
What does craft mean to you? Craft is creating something by hand, using the
12 days of Craftmas Celebrate the twelve days of Craftmas (and every day) with our list of essential ingredients for the perfect handmade Christmas. Illustration by Hole in My Pocket
This hand-painted wreath by Naomi Greaves arrives with a length of twine so it’s all ready to festive up your home. Hang it on a wall, door handle or prop it on the mantle with some foliage. Mistletoe Wreath, £38 by ngpaperology
Vicki Wallis has created a range of advent postcards you can print out at home and use in your festive projects. Peg them on string and write clues on the back for a super simple but stylish DIY advent calendar, or stick them on envelopes for advent gifts. Printable Advent Calendar, £4 by 29&September
Amanda Blackwell makes the cosiest of felt slippers, entirely stitched by hand without glue or machinery. Handmade in Yorkshire, these are perfect for cold and crisp winter mornings. Hand-Stitched Felt Slippers, £48 by Joe’s Toes
Every pair of hand-stitched slippers needs a hand-knitted blanket. We love this one made by Suzie Lee in her farm cottage in Kent. It features a Fair Isle pattern in grey, mustard and pale pink with fun tassels. Knitted Blanket, £120 by Suzie Lee Knitwear
Good wrapping is practically an artform. Even the smallest present feels more exciting when it’s beautifully wrapped. Jane Crick has a gorgeous range of papers, cards and tags inspired by nature. Christmas Gift Wrap and Tags, from £1.45 by Jane Crick
Dala horses are for life, not just for Christmas. We would proudly perch on this woven jacquard cushion all year round.
Woven Dale Horse Cushion, £36 by Love Lottie Knits
What could be better than cracking open a box of fresh robins on Christmas morning? These little birds would make a smashing Secret Santa present too. Four Robins in a Box, £14.95 by Silverpasta
Hot chocolate and cinnamon deserves a proper handmade stoneware mug. These gorgeous grey ones are made by Kara Leigh Ford on her 1970s potter’s wheel. Handmade Grey Stoneware Mug, £16 by Kara Leigh Ford
We are all for a bit of self-gifting at Christmas – you deserve a treat after all that tricky present buying. And if you give yourself this robin cushion, you’re selflessly making your guests more comfortable too. Win, win. Robin Cushion, £32 by Coasting the Cotswolds
Start Christmas morning with a stocking that’s been handmade with care. This one by Charlotte Macey is lovely and roomy, so there’s lots of space for presents too. Large Natural Reindeer Linen Stocking, £34 by Charlotte Macey
Is it a bear? Is it a bauble? It’s a bearble! This hand-painted bear bauble by KraftyK is perfect for anyone who prefers their decorations without chintz. Hand-painted Ceramic Bear Bauble, £9 by KraftyK Forget the turkey, we’re all about pheasants this Christmas. We prefer them printed than on our plate, though. Pheasants Print, £12, James Green
grappling with a creative thought & nurturing it into a tangible thing of beauty
Little Ram Studio on Folksy