AUTUMN 2016 ukhandmade
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The UK Handmade Members Gallery Come and join our growing Members Gallery! Founded on our successful online magazine, website and forum, our carefully curated directory brings together the best of UK Handmade and will allow viewers to search through our community of makers, designers and artists by location and creative discipline. An effective and professional platform to promote your talent, choose from either a Standard Directory Listing or Premium Portfolio. To find out more visit www.ukhandmade.co.uk/directory-application
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contributors: Autumn 2016
In this issue, we discover the stories behind the designers and the makers, their craft and artistry; from beautiful ceramics and hand stitched textiles, to business advice and tips on working with wood. Thereâ€™s a wonderful selection of inspirational events to be found alongside our regular selection of fabulous finds, features and reviews, so close the door, light the fire and settle down to a cosy and creative autumn. See you in the Winter.
finds: Editorâ€™s Picks
meet: Pip Wilcox
meet: Forest + Found
meet: Ellen Mulcrone
live: Cold Hands, Hot Soup
review: New Wild Garden
scene: MADE London
review: National Trust Cookbook
scene: Handmade Edinburgh
review: A Handful of Herbs
scene: MADE Brighton & Brighton Art Fair
scene: Handmade Kew
business: Translating Artwork into Sales
business: Working with Wood
Editor & Designer/Maker
FRONT COVER: www.pipwilcoxceramics.com; BACK COVER: www.pixabay.com
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Lisa Margreet Payne Craft Educator & Writer www.lisamargreet.com
Creative Director & Artist/Designer www.karenjinks.co.uk
Deputy Editor & Designer/Maker www.dawnbevins.co.uk
Finance Director & Maker
UK Handmade Magazine, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.ukhandmade.co.uk • Copyright © UK Handmade LTD 2016. All rights reserved. Reproduction or redistribution in whole or in parts without written permission is strictly prohibited. The editor’s decision on all printed material is final. Unsolicited work is accepted but does not guarantee inclusion into the final edition. The views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of UK Handmade or the editor. Creative Director: Karen Jinks email@example.com • Editor: Bebe Bradley firstname.lastname@example.org • Design: Jo Askey email@example.com Deputy Editor: Dawn Bevins firstname.lastname@example.org • Advertising: email@example.com • PR: firstname.lastname@example.org Events: email@example.com 4 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
page52 Meet: Forest and Found Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
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AMY COOPER Urchin Lamps, in slipcast porcelain, enquiries at www.amycooperceramics.co.uk
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WENDY-SARAH PACEY Luxury Acrylic Jewellery, enquiries at www.wendysarahpacey.co.uk
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JUDY SCOTT ‘Still Life with Cactus’, screen print, from £35 - £65 at www.judyscott.co.uk
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SALLY McGILL Hand painted ceramics, enquiries at www.sallymcgill.com
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Pip Wilcox by Nicola Mesham
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Based in Hastings, Pip Wilcox creates decorative and functional ceramics. After discovering a love for ceramics later in life, running her creative business has taken a number of years to come to fruition. Dissatisfaction with her early working life and a number of traumatic personal experiences shape the creative life she now leads. We caught up with Pip to find out more about her influences, creative process and what the future holds for her fledgling design business. Pip admits “I get pangs of envy when I meet people whose school education included pottery - that was a million miles away from my experience. Lack of both access and encouragement meant that it was not until much later in life, that I took my creative leanings at all seriously. Instead, I followed an uninspiring path through the education system and graduated from the University of Brighton with a nonarts multidisciplinary degree”. Looking back at her first employment roles, Pip describes how struggling to fit into conventional office-based jobs left her feeling unsatisfied, “I spent my twenties and thirties trying to shoe-horn myself into a ‘normal’ working life, and chopped and changed my field of work more than most”. Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
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“I now understand that my inability to settle was due to living a life based on my ideas about what I ‘should’ be doing, rather than listening to Joseph Campbell’s invitation to “follow your bliss”. For much of my career I felt like something of a misfit. When I look back on my post-university self, I feel sad for that young woman who was making career decisions for all the wrong reasons. When I tell friends I’ve met during the past decade that I spent years working in the finance sector they almost don’t believe me. Trying to bend myself into all sorts of shapes during that time in order to fit in, was an isolating experience”. Desperate to obtain a working life that felt more authentic, Pip returned to University in her thirties to train as a counsellor. She later established herself as a freelance Humanist Funeral Celebrant. She explains further, saying, “It was a special time. It was wonderful knitting together my skills and experience. Fulfilling such a fundamental role in the community was a profound privilege for me”. Despite the satisfaction she gained from this work, by the time she had conducted over 300 funerals, Pip felt the impact on her own wellbeing was becoming too much. “I began to feel that as a result of working closely and intimately on a full-time basis with people who were recently bereaved and often in traumatic circumstances, there was an accumulated residue of their grief that I was unable to shake off. At this time, my own life became challenging too”. Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
“In 2008, the organisation I worked for gave employees an annual ‘personal development’ budget. I managed to persuade them that a
been important; Hastings has breathed new life into me and I feel grateful every day for the belated realisation that it is not just other people who get
pottery weekend in Herefordshire was exactly what I needed. I was immediately smitten, but then ‘life’ got in the way. In truth, life nearly got the better of me. In my early forties, I hit a wall. A string of bereavements and traumas including IVF, a miscarriage, the realisation that I was unlikely to become a mother and the sudden death of a family member, happened in close succession. For a while I was broken. I’m truly grateful for this now because, without hitting such lows, I don’t think I would have found my way to where I am today. I have a strong survival instinct and deep in my core, I think I instinctively knew that to pull myself out of the dark place I found myself in, I needed to shake my
to be things like potters! As a kid I always enjoyed making things, and as an adult I squeezed various crafty activities into the ever-decreasing gaps in life. However, it literally did not occur to me until recently, that I was ‘allowed’ to turn making into a career. Despite the lack of an Art-based degree, Pip’s experience tells her that this doesn’t have to be a barrier to working in the creative industry. She says, “I sometimes experience imposter syndrome because I lack any formal ceramics training. But something I treasure deeply about being a maker is that, in many ways, it is an equal opportunities occupation. If you make work that people enjoy and wish to buy, then not having qualifications in
life up entirely, rather than merely tweak it around the edges. Having worked relentlessly from the age of fourteen, including my entire way through University, the opportunity to take three years off to piece myself back together and to just ‘be’ was profoundly precious”.
your field is not going to stand in your way. This is rather rare and wonderful in the world of work”.
Having space from the pressures of work enabled Pip to focus on her future and she elaborates on this process, explaining, “I needed to take the leap in reinventing myself (professionally speaking) from scratch. Our move to the seaside has also 18 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
After spending two decades of her working life completing numerous training courses and gaining various formal qualifications, Pip felt reluctant to later embark on a full-time ceramics course. She explains her reasoning further, saying, “I had fallen so passionately in love with ceramics, that I felt nervous about ruining the joy of it by studying it to death. So instead, I chose a looser approach to learning my craft”.
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“For a while I spent an afternoon a week at a local Adult Education college, where I was taught the basics of coil-building. Keen to develop my throwing, I then found a private teaching studio where I spent two afternoons each week for a year. There was always an experienced potter on hand to demonstrate whatever technique I was interested in learning. I’m particularly grateful to Alice Mara, a wonderful ceramicist, for giving me such skilled help when I needed it and leaving me to my own devices when I didn’t. This summer, I have set myself up at home with a kiln and a wheel so from this point onwards, I’ll be largely self-taught – although I’m hoping that 2017 will include a week in Copenhagen learning from the highly-respected contemporary ceramicist Eric Landon. I continue to learn lots from the brilliant potters I follow on Instagram, from the plethora of ceramics videos on YouTube and from books. But above all else, I find that one of the best ways of learning is by giving new things a go, seeing what happens and working out how to do it better”. Pip finds it hard to pinpoint exactly where her influences lie. A wide range of artists have shaped her creative life and she explains, “I’ve spent a lot of time over the years casually and unconsciously noticing and admiring people’s work. Looking overseas, Mount Washington Pottery played a part 22 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
in me setting off along this potter’s path; designer-maker Beth Katz’s tactile organic work really excites me and got me exploring the joys of faceting. I hope to complete the circle by having a collection of her beautiful porcelain bells in my new studio before too long, as a reminder of where it all began. It’s not just other potters whose work touches me. Sculptor Barbara Hepworth, Minack Theatre creator Rowena Cade, and New Zealand-born Australian artist Rosalie Gascoigne (who also came to art late in life); these are three figures from recent history that come to mind. Being in physical proximity to the creations of each of these women over the last couple of decades has moved me, and that is what I look for from art. I want my emotions to be stirred. Other influences include Mid-century ceramics, the kind of Scandinavian simplicity that currently permeates Pinterest, fond childhood memories of the comforting solidity of the Poole Pottery dinnerware I grew up with, the many happy trips to Cornwall in recent years during which a visit to the Leach Pottery has always been a highlight, our garden throughout the seasons, living a 5-minute walk away from where the sea meets the sky … the list goes on”. Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
As well as making her ceramics, Pip’s passionate about supporting other UK-based designer makers. An avid user of social media, Pip describes how
ceramicists spoke about their approach to making a living from their work, and one of the interviewees made a comment that particularly struck me. He
platforms such as Instagram have offered her access to a thriving creative community. “It’s rare that a week goes by without a delicious artisan parcel dropping onto our doormat. In recent months, I’ve treated myself to a tile from newly graduated illustrator Evie May Adams, prints from Kathy Hutton and various pieces from woodworker extraordinaire EJ Osborne (also known as Hatchet + Bear). I’m also a big fan of Essence and Alchemy scented candles, which are works of art themselves. The wood wicks and British made hand-blown glass containers which artisan maker Lesley Bramwell uses, result in her candles being almost too beautiful to burn. Next on my wish list are one of Helena Emmans’ delicate
spoke of the promise he had made to himself at the start of his career, that he would only ever make work that he wanted to make and about which he felt proud. This resonated deeply with me. One of the characteristics of being a freelance which I value is not having anyone tell me what I must do or how I must do it. Having said that, I do listen to collectors of my work and I value their opinions and desires.
organic silver spoons and a pair of funky earrings from hip Hackney jeweller Marcia Vidal”.
rather I make the design and carving decisions for each individual piece in the moment. Although the bodies of these are thrown on the wheel, from that point onwards I take a very stripped-back approach, sometimes trimming them by hand, rather than taking the more orthodox approach of turning them on the wheel. I really enjoy this slower, gentler, quieter approach and for me, it provides a welcome departure from smooth, flawless symmetry”.
Pip describes her creative process as “fluid” and she doesn’t feel pressure to second-guess what might be commercially successful. Preferring to produce small batches of pottery, Pip relishes taking her time on each piece. She describes her making process, “Every time I decide what to make next my creativeprocess is fairly spontaneous. The truth is, I have always made exactly what I’m drawn to making. A year or two ago, I read an article in which several 24 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
Many of my pieces are one of a kind. I’m interested in making individual pieces each with their own unique character and warmth. My bud vases are particularly rustic and relaxed. They are my real indulgence. I rarely plan or make drawings for these,
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After many years of working in the corporate world, becoming a freelance maker is something of a gear change for Pip. We asked her to consider the best and worst aspects of running her own business. “The thought of my ceramic pieces making their journeys from the potter’s wheel to homes far and wide - and becoming part of the daily rituals and enjoyment of others - is a source of endless delight to me. On a really simple level, it’s such fun to be able to imagine something in my head and then to make it happen. I still remember the first of my finished ceramic pieces which gave me that wonderful - and 26 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
rather addictive - sensation I hope I never lose: a sense of amazement that it was designed and made by me. For me, the downsides of running my own business are so outweighed by the upsides as to become almost insignificant. If I had to name one, it would be not having colleagues on hand to run thoughts by, particularly when it comes to deciding whether or not each of my pieces is good enough to sell. At times, I’m teased about my overly rigorous quality control standards. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between a piece turning out to be not quite as I envisaged and it being faulty”.
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Pip’s rise in popularity has been relatively fast, with social media playing a huge part in bringing her work to the wider world. Pip expands on the role of online marketing further, explaining that, “I’ve had an enormously positive experience with social media. It’s enabled me to build a community of around 5,000 people who follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. In recent months, I have been spending an hour or two most Sunday evenings participating in #CraftHour and #HandmadeHour over on Twitter. I came late to the Facebook party and created my own business page just a few months ago. I was fortunate in getting off to a great start, as a result of hugely successful maker Kirsty Elson mentioning my work on her Facebook page and encouraging her fans to check me out, which a large number of them did. Several months ago I made a conscious effort to start understanding Instagram and how to be an active participant in its dynamic daily community. I’ve tried a few times to explain to non-Instagrammers the joys of being part of that community. It’s not easy to put it into words without sounding schmaltzy. For me, it has been and continues to be life-changing. The encouragement, teasing, advice, interest, validation, affirmation, humour, kindness and simple human connection are all greatly cherished by me”. 28 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
As a result of these social media channels, Pip has been approached by a number of galleries and shops keen to show her work and each of the batches made available online has sold out within a matter of minutes. Pip says, “I feel very fortunate to be building my fledgling ceramics business at this point in time”. Social media will clearly play a key role in Pip’s upcoming business plans. Looking further forwards, Pip explores what the future holds for her: “The establishment this spring of my Ceramics Club is another example of the incredible creative freedom I’m fortunate enough to enjoy. Almost as soon as the concept had taken shape in my mind, I started talking about it on Instagram and Facebook and writing the copy for my website. It wasn’t long before I added a limited number of inaugural Ceramics Club Memberships to my online shop and within just a matter of days, they had all been purchased. It’s been such a pleasure for me to create this Club and to plan what I’ll be making for my inaugural Members. I can hardly wait to send out the first pieces this Summer. I’m fortunate in having some pretty special people cheering me on from the side-lines and one of them recently expressed her thoughts about the Ceramics Club rather beautifully when she wrote, “I love the idea of forming a small community of dedicated followers and collectors, and hopefully having the privilege of observing the maturing aesthetics of your collections”. Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
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Pip’s path to leading her ‘authentic life’ illustrates perfectly how life experiences can shape a designer’s work. Her enthusiasm for the medium she works in is clear to see and it is earning her a loyal following of fans off and online. Pip has a clear picture of the direction she wants her life to go in, explaining that, “prior to finding clay, I had a number of full-on work roles which left me burnt out. What I now want is to live a quieter, simpler life, which involves a daily stomp along the seafront and an awful lot of time spent sitting in my home studio and making whatever I am drawn to make, whilst listening to the radio. My wish is to make work that brings joy and is sought-after, and to earn as decent an income as I can from that. I’ve had my fill of hustling and negotiating, dressing up for important meetings, playing the game and trying to please people higher up the food chain. I’ve done all of that in the past and now I’m looking for a more straightforward, authentic existence. And more important to me than any of my other business aspirations for the coming years, is a commitment to do what it takes to hold onto the pure joy of making”. For more information, visit: www.pipwilcoxceramics.com www.instagram.com/pipwilcoxceramics www.facebook.com/pipwilcoxceramics Images courtesy of Pip Wilcox, The Future Kept and Conrad Lee Photography Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
MADE London MADE LONDON is one of the top selling events for contemporary designers and makers in Europe, an annual contemporary craft and design fair where the very best of national and international designer/makers present and sell their work to the public. Over 100 exhibitors will bring their original, unique and innovative creations to the show; ceramicists, silversmiths, wood workers, mosaic artists, textile designers, furniture makers, glass blowers and many more are all showcased, providing the perfect opportunity for visitors to view and buy handcrafted pieces. MADE LONDON returns to One Marylebone, the stunning Sir John Soane Church in central London. Directly opposite Great Portland Street tube station and next door to Regents Park, the building brings its own attraction because each level has its own particular feel. The moody and atmospheric crypt, the majestic Soane Hall and the light filled gallery spaces all add to the interest of this show. 32 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
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A friendly and relaxed event, MADE LONDON is where the makers meet the public to discuss their inspiration, design processes and future projects, and develop
maker/consumer relationships. Work can be purchased or commissions taken. A full list of exhibitors can be found here. Venue: One Marylebone, London, NW1 4AQ Opening times: There is a Private View from 6pm - 9pm on Thursday, 20th October. A very limited suppliy of tickets are available at £20 each. 10.30 - 17.30 Thursday 20th October 10.30 - 17.30 Friday 21st October 10.30 - 17.30 Saturday 22nd October 10.30 - 17.00 Sunday 23rd October Standard Admission: ‘Early bird’ tickets are available online for £5 each until September 30th, 2016. Tickets can be purchased on the door for £10, with free entry for children under 14. For more information, visit: www.madelondon.org Images courtesy of MADE London Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
Translating Artwork into Sales by Zoe Gilbertson As a fashion designer, design professional and budding artist, I’ve long been aware of the correlation between the cost of producing an item and the price that consumers are prepared to pay for it. In fashion, it’s all about presentation and the perceived brand value, and in the art world - as I’m beginning to discover - it appears to be the same. Artists have always struggled with the need to create versus the need to earn a living. It’s the million-dollar question: how do you turn handmade, time-consuming and ultimately expensive items into an affordable purchase and generate a sustainable profit? As an artist, the ideal career trajectory is to gain gallery representation. The gallery then builds your ‘brand’ and sells you to their consumers. Once you’ve established initial sales, you can usually increase your prices or change your gallery and perhaps an affordable living can be made. But in a competitive market, what does one do to stay afloat? 36 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
I create stitched artwork. It takes hours and hours to make, but I love the look of stitch on canvas, the process of embroidering, and I don’t want to do anything else. I’ve spent years experimenting with expressions of needlepoint and have developed ways of creating work that take slightly less time but are still effective - perhaps more so, because they are unique. I’ve also developed alternative representations of my work that can be sold as prints. My 100 Days Project is a good example. Entailing over 1000 hours of work, it took 100 days to make. Assuming a wage of £10 an hour, the
finished piece would cost £10,000 (plus gallery commission) if I wanted to sell it. Perhaps one day my stitched work will be able to command that price, but it doesn’t at the moment. However, turning the stitches into digital pixels and selling it as A3 fine art prints at £35 each, makes it a far more attractive proposition for people new to my work. Other people approach the same issue from different angles, so I spoke to artists whose work I admire and who have managed to find ways of supporting themselves through their art.
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Christabel Balfour is an artist and weaver, living and working in South East London. She studied at the Ruskin School of Fine Art where she produced woven sculptures and immersive installations. Since graduating, Christy has focused on tapestry weaving, as well as producing papercuts. Christy, you create hand-woven tapestries. How long have you been working at your craft? I learnt to weave as a child, moving on to woven sculptures and installations at art school, alongside painting and drawing. The focus on tapestry weaving came after graduating in 2013. It was such a confusing and stressful time, trying to figure out how to keep making art without the support structure of art school. I was drawn to the simplicity of weaving; itâ€™s very time-consuming but also incredibly therapeutic and calming. I was also working part-time for a homeware designer, and weaving on the side, but about a year ago, I quit my job to focus on weaving full-time. Do you sell through galleries or your own website? I mostly sell via my own website, or people contact me directly about purchasing or commissions. I think that Instagram or selling events are the primary ways for people to discover my work. Social media is such a useful tool; itâ€™s a lot of work to build a following but a good way to get your work seen. 38 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
Are you able to sell the tapestries as works of art? Yes, I’ve been very fortunate and have sold quite a few smaller pieces over the past year. The larger pieces are harder to sell, but I’d rather wait for the right customer to arrive, than let them go too cheaply. I’m currently working on a large bespoke tapestry for a private client, and hope to do more. Most of my income comes from commissions, and from teaching workshops. I’m also working on a rug collection which I’ll be launching at the end of the summer. How do you price your work? To be really honest, my pricing policy in the past was to go with my ‘gut feeling’ and pick a number out of the air... NOT a policy I would recommend to anyone else! I’m now very strict about logging the number of hours spent on each piece, keeping track of material costs and how they add up, and factoring all of that in to the final total. But I’m still figuring it out and I’ve been told, at various points, that I should charge more or charge less. Ultimately, you are the only person who knows your business and lifestyle, and you have to make the best choice for yourself. You also create intricate papercuts; are they easier to sell than the tapestries? In some ways, yes. I originally wanted my papercuts to be a cheaper, more accessible option. It’s also nice to take a break from weaving sometimes! However, I’m currently re-thinking the way I produce and market them, as I want to be consistent with my weavings and the rest of my work as a whole. Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
It can be confusing for customers if you have a range of different pricing and products all in the same place. Basically, know what you’re about and stick to it. What are the long term goals and plans for your work? What are your hopes for the future of your business? I’m trying to focus my business on what I actually enjoy, i.e. the process of making something really well, and I want to take on more commissions and bespoke work. Right now, I’m working on my 40 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
rug collection. Each design will be made to order, with the customer choosing the colours and size. I currently help run - alongside teaching weaving and papercutting classes - Bezalel Workshops, a programme which connects craftspeople who want to teach, with the people who want to learn. My long term goal is to make my work 100% sustainable and ethically sourced, using recycled materials or wool which would otherwise be discarded, and natural dyes. I’d love to see more people discover weaving!
Eloise Renouf began her career as a fashion print designer for studios in both London and New York. Eloise now designs and sells her own range of limited editions prints and fabric accessories, and teaches part-time on the Fashion and Textiles course at Nottingham Trent University. She undertakes commissions and licensing work for homewares, stationery and illustration, and sometimes writes books! A very busy lady, Eloise lives and works in Nottingham with her partner and three children, surrounding herself with as much nature and mid-century design as possible. You create nature-inspired, geometric prints and textile designs. Do these come from original artworks; what is your usual process? Everything I design or make starts as something created by hand, which is very important to me. I learnt to design in the days before the wide use of CAD, and I still prefer this approach. I love to paint and draw, but use the computer to manipulate and prepare some of my artwork in order to create prints to sell, or digital files ready for use by other companies. My current practice involves a mixture of creating one-off small artworks and collages, limited edition prints, small runs of my own fabric designs that I make into fabric accessories, and commission work for other businesses. Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
Depending on what I am working on, I usually begin by either mark-making, creating textures, drawing motifs or shapes, or painting objects. If I’m
took a break for a couple of years. It was after this that I began to really start to work just for myself, exploring my own interests and developing my
creating imagery to manipulate on the computer, I generally work in black and white; black paint, pencil, crayon or ink on white paper. I’ll create lots of pieces of work that I can then edit, refine, add to, and eventually scan and bring together. When I work on original paintings or collages, colour is very important. I usually have some sort of conceptual framework or loose plan for the type of piece I am going to create, and some sort of idea of the palette I’m going to use, but the work tends to evolve as I go along. A lot of my original artwork is geometric in nature.
own personal style. Do you do sell your artwork via galleries or via your own website? I don’t have any gallery representation, but there are a few independent shops who have a small collection of my prints. I mostly sell through my online shops on NotOnTheHighStreet and Etsy, although I intend to sell through my own website in the coming months.
How long have you been working at your craft?
How do you price your work? Do you ever sell original work? I try to price my work affordably, but with the
I have been designing for a living for twenty-one years. Not all of this time has been spent pursuing my own personal direction, but I’ve been learning and building my own design vocabulary as I’ve gone along. I began my career working for the Timney Fowler Design Studio in London, designing prints for fashion, before relocating to New York to continue working in studios there. This was followed by a period of freelancing, before setting up my own stationery design and publishing business with my partner in 2000. We ran this for eight years before family responsibilities took priority, and I
understanding that it has some added value when compared with pieces that could be picked up as mass-produced items in high street stores. I want the pricing of my work to be accessible and for it to be available to a wide audience. I do sell original pieces. These currently tend to be small, one-off collages, but I have also sold small paintings. I am keen to create more original paintings and collages, on a larger scale, and to produce more work that isn’t price-sensitive, or created with commercial constraints in mind. I also feel the need to broaden my offering, and tap into different markets.
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Have you found other routes to selling your art? Your designs for fabric seem to be successful? I have been lucky over the past six years that I have been approached by other companies who have liked my work and have wanted to use it on their products. This has been a great way to supplement my income. I am a printed textile designer by training, so my work lends itself to a variety of surface pattern applications. I license my designs as they are for use on other products, and also work to briefs if companies have something very specific in mind. My designs have appeared on fabric, stationery, gift ware, food packaging, clothing, wall art, rugs, ceramics, homewares and magazine covers. My first book Twenty Ways to Draw a Tree was published in 2013. Your work is well known and you have a good following online. Was there a moment when everything took off for you or has it gradually built over time? I feel that things have definitely grown gradually over time, and I hope it will continue to grow. Both my book and my fabric collections with Cloud9 Fabrics, in particular, have helped to introduce my work to a wider audience, for which I’m very grateful. I don’t spend a lot of time marketing myself, as I’m not very good at it. I tend to work away on what interests me, put it online either as a product or an image on Instagram or Pinterest, and things tend to go from there. I’ve been lucky that people have seen my work, have liked it, and have approached me with their ideas and suggestions. 44 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
What are the long term goals and plans for your work? What are your hopes for the future of your business? I’m at a stage of my life and design career where I’ve realised that what I mostly want to do is have the freedom just to create my own artwork. I want to spend most of my time with a paint brush in my hand. It’s what makes me the happiest. I have a head full of ideas, and I’d love to have the time and space to explore these, to create new and exciting bodies of work. I don’t enjoy managing stock, dealing with paperwork or performing repetitive tasks that always seem to get in the way of this, so I’m looking for ways to shift the balance. I feel the need for a period of creative development, to try new things and to push my ideas forward, and I’d love to work on a really large scale. I’m hoping that the work I do for others, and my ongoing sales of smaller products, can subsidise this. I also enjoy working on collaborative projects. Anything that is a creative challenge. I’d like to partner with more businesses that specialise in certain products to produce new ranges. I’d love to see my designs on tableware, bedding and wallpaper for example, or used for fashion applications. Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
Richard McVetis is a London-based, British artistmaker known for his meticulously embroidered drawings and objects. Since his traditional training
Are you able sell the beautiful stitched cubes as works of art? Yes, with a small degree of success I have been able
in embroidery at The Royal College of Art, he has been exploring his pre-occupation with process, and its ritualistic and repetitive nature, for over ten years. His work has been exhibited across the UK, North America, France, Ukraine and Korea. Richard’s cubes are very desirable and beautifully crafted works of art.
to sell my embroidered objects as art. This really has to do with how I position them within the art world, the story I tell and the ideas I explore within my practice.
How long have you been working at your craft and how did you get to the point you are at now? I’ve been working as an artist since I completed my BA in 2005. I first studied Embroidery at Manchester and then went on to study Textiles at the RCA, graduating in 2008. You create intricate, hand stitched objects, mainly cubes. Although small, they are so detailed they must take an extremely long time to make. How do you reconcile time put into an artwork versus the end value? Reconciling the end value in the work I create is difficult. The process in which I create my work is extremely laborious and this is not always reflected in my end price. It’s a tricky process with many variables, which might include time, materials but also perceived value. 46 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
Do you do this via galleries or via your own website? I do this via both routes to market; through galleries and my own website. How do you price your work? I base my prices on a number of factors, which includes time spent creating, running costs, market and perceived value. You also create prints and drawings; do you find these an easier route to sales than via stitched items? Yes. My idea was to increase the output without sacrificing quality. The time needed to create the amount of work required, to help my business become sustainable, would at this point be too great. Creating prints gives me the option to appeal to a wider pool of potential consumers and fans of my work with a more accessible price point.
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What are your long-term goals and plans for your work? What are your hopes for the future? Over the past 2 years, I have been consistently exhibiting and promoting my work both nationally and internationally. Examples include winning the jurors award at Craft Forms by Ronald T. Labaco (Marcia Docter Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design, NYC) and being selected for the Cheongju International Craft Biennale in South Korea. More recently, I was selected to join the 62 Group of Textile Artists. My ambition is to grow on these successes,
exhibit more widely and, in the long term, find gallery representation; Iâ€™m eager to make new connections and networks whilst raising the profile of textiles, craft and art to new audiences. Creatively, I wish to challenge myself using process as the tool to explore in greater detail the concepts that drive my need and passion to create. Ultimately though, Iâ€™m trying to create a sustainable art practice which I currently subsidise through my job as a retail design consultant. Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
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Zoe: In conclusion, I think that the simple answer to making it as an artist is to be very good at what you do and be able to effectively market yourself. Those
always an excellent time to work! I know that all of us featured in this article spend most evenings working at our various arts and it’s a pleasure, not
with beautiful, well thought through, original work will get there in the end.
Perseverance is also key. People outside the art world perhaps don’t realise this but most artists subsidise their careers with alternative income streams. Supporting your art career through sidelines such as teaching, skill sharing workshops and private commissions is a sensible and realistic way forward. Selling prints and licensing artwork via homewares, stationary and clothing is an effective income stream if it’s done without undermining your original aims. Quality needn’t be compromised in order to make sales, but it has to be delivered within the right context. Be realistic and sensible about what you will initially sell, don’t wait for sales to come to you and keep expectations low, time put in doesn’t always equal sales so be ruthless with your time. Appreciate that it can take years to build a profile in order to make sales.
For more information on the artists featured, visit: www.christabel-balfour.co.uk www.eloiserenouf.com www.richardmcvetis.co.uk For more information on Zoe Gilbertson, visit: www.zoegilbertson.com Images courtesy of Zoe Gilbertson, Christabel Balfour, Eloise Renouf and Richard McVetis; Rebecca Callaghan, Joanne McNeil and Yeshen Venema
The most obvious and most important point is to love what you do. Appreciate every moment you can spend doing what you love most, it is better to be able to make art one day a week than none at all. Treat yourself to art and design time; evenings are Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
Forest + Found by Bebe Bradley
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Forest + Found is a sustainable craft and design partnership, founded by Max Bainbridge and Abigail Booth in 2014. Both have a background in Fine Art, and their practice emphasises material and process. Working with traditional methods of craft, they produce contemporary wooden objects and hand stitched textiles, focusing on the use of hand tools and the direct experience of hand crafting the object. Every object made in their London workshop has a direct relationship to the landscape and its architectural environment, through the use of natural materials and considered design. From sourcing wood and dye plants in the forest, to each mark of the hand on an object, their work endeavours to tell a story. How did you, Max and Abigail, meet and establish Forest + Found? We met while studying at Chelsea College of Art and Design where we shared a studio in our final year. We realised our approach to making work was very similar and when we graduated, we decided we wanted to set something up so that we could make a living from making. We spent a year building our studio and workshop in our back garden, whilst teaching ourselves and researching traditional methods of craft. Forest + Found was established as a natural progression of this exploration in new techniques and materials. You both have a background in Fine Art; how has your experience and training influenced your process? We both worked in sculpture and installation, and we have always been fascinated by materials and objects. We still think about and make work in the same way that we did when we were studying Fine Art. Ideas are process driven and played out by experimenting and Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
testing the limitations of the natural materials we choose to work with. Fine Art is a very collaborative field and we retain this in the way we work to date; we are always in conversation with each other, constantly critiquing our process and the work we produce. There is a â€˜Wabi-sabiâ€™ aesthetic to the work that you both produce. Tell us about the ethos behind your craft. We didnâ€™t purposefully set out to have a particular ethos behind our work, but our fascination with the act of making by hand and the physicality of working with raw materials has naturally become the dominant voice behind the work. We try to let the materials speak for themselves. Who - or what - is influencing, inspiring and motivating you both right now? We take inspiration from a lot of artists who were painters and sculptors, and often those who were immersed in working with a particular material, colour or form - Barbara Hepworth, Agnes Martin and David Nash to name but a few. Each has their own visual language and relationship to their working environment. The materials which you both use in your work are foraged, or sustainably and locally sourced - for example, from the Forestry Commission. How important is provenance to you? Being able to go out and source wood and natural dyes directly from the forest, is an integral part of our process for the physical experience of getting out of the studio and the city, and being able to think about making work in a different way. 54 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
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The provenance of an object comes into play when we, as makers, make decisions about what we then do with that material. Anyone can pick up a log and
cities are made of, and to witness people physically constructing this vast architectural landscape. Even though the crafts we work with are traditionally
bring it home to put on the fire, but for us it is about the transformative effect of working something with your hands.
associated with rural living, the scale and ambition of our urban environment feeds into the way we approach and think about making work.
What creative element of this do you enjoy most? We love the unpredictability of working in this way. Natural materials are alive and will constantly surprise you. We don’t set out to try and tame them, rather we are looking to unleash something, whether that is the unseen grain and patterning in the wood or the physical reaction of a certain dye plant to a piece of fabric. We accept that, as makers who work in this way, we are subject to the will of the seasons, the changing weather and the
What drew you both to artisanal craft? To work with a craft is to live and breathe what you do all day, every day. It becomes so entrenched in who you are, that you can no longer separate yourself from it. Once we had started thinking about and working with materials in this way, it became an insatiable thirst to discover more. Every hand stitch in fabric or carved notch in wood is transformative, and the satisfaction that you feel when you can begin to see an object take on life, the more you
work on it, is addictive.
The work that you produce is strongly associated with rural living and yet you live and work in East London. How does urban living influence what you make? With everyday living in London, you witness old buildings being torn down and new structures being built. It’s an environment that is undergoing constant transformation, where history sits shoulder to shoulder with the future. It’s a unique thing to have an insight into the very building blocks that
What steps do you take to create a new piece? What comes first, the colour or the cloth (Abigail), or a design/idea or piece of wood (Max)? Our work generally has a starting point in found material. A piece of wood will often play a part in dictating the shape and form of an object, while our textiles begin with found objects that trigger a relationship to a colour or shape, that leads to the process of dyeing and playing with composition.
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Is there a tool or implement that neither of you can do without? A Japanese waterstone to keep tools razor sharp and a strong, good quality needle and thread. Tell us about your workspace. Our studio has been entirely built from reclaimed materials. It is clad in black and nestles into the back of the garden surrounded by trees and plants. The wood workshop is filled with lumps of timber seasoning, ready to be turned on the lathe, and tools line the walls. Our textiles studio is filled with natural light and feels like an apothecary-come-haberdashery, with vats of dye and rolls of fabric stacked around the space. What aspects do you love most about what you do, and what do you find the most frustrating? We love our making process and time spent together working in the studio, but none of it would be possible without running it as a business. Any craftsman who is self-employed knows that a lot goes on behind the scenes and it is inescapably hard graft, but we wouldnâ€™t exchange it for anything. We do it because we love it. What do you do to take time out and relax? We take off out of the city to explore. Without seeing the world and discovering new places we wouldnâ€™t be able to produce the work that we do.
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Coming from a Fine Art background, have you seen a change in the perception of ‘craft’ in the UK, and what it means to own a handmade or hand-finished object? For a long time, craft has been deemed the ugly duckling of the Fine Art world, due to its association with the decorative arts and its relegation to hobbyist pursuits. However, there is a noticeable shift in the public’s perception and the value placed on objects crafted by hand. A new generation of artists and craftsmen are looking back to traditional ways of working and reimagining the role of the craftsman in contemporary society. What does ‘handmade’ mean to you? To us, ‘handmade’ means that someone has set out to make an object the best it can be. It is about quality and considered design being a maker’s priority, not “How fast can I make it?” or “How much profit is there at the end of the day for me?”. We make things to last and to bring people fulfillment. What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in their own creative venture? Believe in your convictions and never undersell yourself. If you undersell yourself, you undersell everyone who follows in your footsteps. Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
If you had the opportunity to learn a new creative skill, what would it be? We would love to experiment in clay and papermaking. Where can we find out more about your work? You can visit our website or follow us on Instagram. What’s next for Forest + Found; do you have any new projects and what are your goals for the future? We have a fantastic set of exhibitions lined up for Autumn/Winter 2016, where we will be showcasing new and exciting work. We’ll be announcing these on our website within the next month, so keep your eyes peeled and sign up to our mailing list on our website if you’d like an invite. The future is an exciting place to be as craftsmen. For more information, visit: www.forest-and-found.com www.instagram.com/forestandfound Images courtesy of Forest + Found
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Handmade Edinburgh Scotlandâ€™s elegant and historic capital city is the location for an exciting new craft event this October, organised by Handmade in Britain. Launching for the first time this year, Handmade Edinburgh is a welcome addition to the buzzing creative scene in Scotland and will bring together the best contemporary craft makers from Scotland and beyond, in a showcase of design and craftsmanship talent.
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Selected by an experienced team, the event will demonstrate exceptional skill from over one hundred makers working across all disciplines, including ceramics, glass, textiles, jewellery, wood, furniture, fashion and more! Itâ€™s a rare opportunity to meet talented craftspeople and browse beautiful handmade items for homes and interiors. Buy or commission directly from the makers, who will be on hand throughout the weekend to talk to you about their work and showcase their collections.
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For those interested in fashion, there is an incredible breadth of talent on show at the fair, from chunky knits to silk kimonos. Textile designer Morag Macpherson is a master of digital printing and creates her original kimonos in fluorescent designs, using patterns inspired by her travels in Korea. Scottish maker Catherine Aitken will showcase her collection of bags, made with Harris Tweeds, waxed cotton and Scottish linens, embodying style, strength and luxury. Discover a touch of elegance with hats by established milliner Karen Henriksen, whose original creations are a contemporary twist on a classic style. Many other makers, including Terry Macey, Olive Pearson and AlmaBorealis, will join them in illustrating the wonderful variety and talent in bespoke fashion and textiles. If you are shopping for innovative and luxurious jewellery designs, an array will be on show at the fair, including Kaz Robertson whose bundles of mismatching colours and patterns in resin create eye-catching collections. EmmaKN uses dynamic arabesque patterns to create sensuous, bold statement pieces and Emma Wylie looks to British coastlines for her inspiration, working with precious metal to create bold, contemporary silver forms. EssemgĂŠ offers innovative mixed-media jewellery, using repurposed industrial aluminium and silicone to create eye-catching covetable pieces with a fresh take on traditional shapes. Julia Wrightâ€™s collection of soft, spherical shapes give the appearance of weather-worn, textural pebbles and Ruth Laird will showcase her fresh, modern designs with her collection of geometric, architectural shapes. 66 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
Find covetable pieces for your home from a handpicked group of makers including Helen Michie who produces stunning raku-fired ceramic wall pieces, decoratively adorned with natural colours, shapes and forms. Leona Devine also looks to the environment for her inspiration, creating quirky ceramic animal sculptures that capture the charisma and character of her subjects. For functional tableware, look to Chris Barnes who creates tempting pots and vessels with bursts of painterly colour. Admire traditional skills in contemporary forms from talented furniture maker Gavin Robertson and clock-maker Bruce Aitken, whose intricate designs make eyecatching statement pieces. Clare Ashton combines felting with screen printing to create pleasing, cosy lampshades in the natural colours and textures of Wensleydale wool. For sheer indulgence, seek out Scottish weaver Araminta Campbell, who uses only the highest quality Scottish yarns to hand weave luxurious throws in wool and alpaca, using a subtle colour palette of natural dyes. ARRA also hand weaves, taking inspiration from the Scottish coast and uses gorgeous, natural blue tones to create luxurious signature merino wool loop scarves and throws, all of which are designed and woven in North East Scotland. Crocus Design is a dynamic textile company from Edinburgh who produce intricate layered patterns for wallpaper, cushions, upholstery and fabrics in vibrant, modern and contemporary prints. Lisa Watson creates British heirloom quilts with a contemporary twist, stitching her creations using skilfully curated fabric pairing and patch-working.
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This a rare opportunity to see a varied collection of original and beautiful work, all handmade and designed. With Christmas approaching, Handmade Edinburgh could be the answer to your search for that really special gift! Venue: The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NE Opening times: There is a Private View from 6pm - 9pm on Thursday, 27th October. Private View passes are available online at £20 each (see below). 10.00 - 18.00 Friday 28th October 10.00 - 18.00 Saturday 29th October 10.00 - 18.00 Saturday 30th October Standard Admission: ‘Early bird’ tickets are available online for £5 each, alongside other offers. Tickets can be purchased on the door for £6 (concessions £4). For more information, visit: www.handmadeinbritain.co.uk www.thehub-edinburgh.com Images courtesy of HANDMADE in BRITAIN
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Working with Wood by Mich Yasue “Wood is one of those materials that can give you constant pleasure and excitement”, says David Shepherdson. Here, he and two other UK Handmade portfolio members discuss their love of this wonderful medium and how they work, in very different ways, to give it new life. Andrew Cunningham is a classically trained designer-turned-maker who creates pieces with a modern, minimalist feel for ‘conscious and function-led living’. Emanuela SuraciNeve is a furniture maker who is driven by the desire to create something with what is already available, tired old pieces in need of a new purpose and reclaimed timber. David Shepherdson specialises in creating unique writing instruments from exotic rare woods and recycled objects. What is your favourite type of wood to work with? Andrew: My favourite type of wood is Tulip wood (also known as Poplar wood). It’s easy to work with and readily available to me locally. It finishes well and has some lovely grain patterns to it. 70 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
Emanuela: I favour any type of reclaimed timber, and pallet wood especially. I like the weathered texture of the wood as well as its
imperfections. Making furniture with this kind of timber allows me to create rustic quirky pieces full of character and history. David: My favourite wood? Well, I don’t really have one - all woods have different characteristics. Some are easier to work than others, some polish to a high sheen, some have very distinctive markings. Each wood type has something to offer the curious woodworker. Where do you source your wood and what do you look for when buying it ? Andrew: I never buy wood from anywhere else other than Norfolk or Suffolk. I believe it’s important to not only support local businesses and wood yards, but use what is available in my ‘neck of woods’. Norfolk and Suffolk have an abundance of woodlands that throw up surprises in terms of what wood I find, or what has been donated to me or have found in reclamation yards. If I have to purchase wood from further afield for bespoke work or if local stock is low, I make sure it’s from a sustainable, well managed source.
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David: I get a lot of my Southern Hemisphere woods from my father who lives in Queensland, Australia. Sadly, he has health problems and is no longer able to wood turn. He says supplying me with wood is his way of continuing his association with wood. I tend to source my other woods from friends and reliable sustainable sources. I have a builder friend who regularly drops off timber from trees that he has helped clear after storm damage, and he recently gave me some old oak recovered from a canal lock gate. The wood had turned a dark grey/black colour after almost 100 years of being submerged in the canal. I also get people coming to me with pieces of furniture or objects that have some significance for them, asking if they can be made into pens. The strangest example was an old Erard Grand piano (circa 1805). The piano was given to me on the understanding that I made some pens for its owner to give back to the children who had learned to play on this piano. Emanuela: I take most of my pallet wood from a local nursery, which would otherwise dispose of it. It is important for me that the timber I use is upcycled and re-used, rather than buying new material. I also occasionally buy reclaimed Victorian floorboards from a local Architectural Salvage yard. 72 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
What comes first, the design or the wood? Andrew: Having trained at university as a designer, for me the design always comes first. I then look into the most appropriate wood to use based on what is available to me locally. David: When it comes to designing a pen, sometimes I’m led by the features of the wood and other times, I will have an idea and try to replicate it in wood. Sometimes it comes off, but not always; one of my passions is to keep trying different designs and I’m always on the lookout for new materials. Emanuela: I always have a broad idea in mind but the final outcome and design is often inspired by the material I have available. What tool or technique is vital to your work? David: My workshop has many pieces of equipment, but I’m pushed for space so it’s important for everything to have a place and tidiness is paramount. As for a favourite tool or technique, I like many and it will depend on the type of pen I am creating and the process. Emanuela: My most important tools are my electric sander and my multipurpose adjustable mitre saw. Working with reclaimed timber means that I have to spend many hours cleaning and preparing the timber to make it workable.
Andrew: The most vital tool I use is a power tool called a router. I currently make quite small intricate designs and this tool allows me to make my ideas a reality as trying to make some of my designs by hand would be impossible. Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
What tips would you give to those beginning to work with wood? Emanuela: Go for it! If you really love what you are doing, you will be appreciated and your customers will love to own a piece that they know is unique and handmade. There will be difficulties and you probably won’t get rich but if you are passionate about it, you will overcome any obstacles and enjoy every single minute of your working life. Nowadays it is fairly straight forward to create an online business. There are plenty of very good, affordable ecommerce websites available to purchase, and all you need is a good online presence and a place to work in. It will take some time, but it is definitely worth trying. Andrew: I only have one tip really for anyone wanting to work with wood, just start. Start making, start designing. You don’t need many tools to create functional designs that people could fall in love with. It’s the idea/design that’s important. David: I would urge those thinking about starting woodturning, to have some qualified instruction. A lot of the tools and processes can be dangerous, and early guidance will prevent a mishap. Used correctly, there’s so much pleasure to be found taking a raw piece of timber and turning it, with your own skill and ideas, into something beautiful and useful. Have the courage to try and don’t be put off if you fail occasionally. Wood really is one of those rare things that when it dies, it can be given new life. 74 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
For information on joining the Makers Directory, visit: www.ukhandmade.co.uk/makers-directory For more information on the Makers, visit: www.artepovera.co.uk www.pensunique.com www.andrewpetercunningha.wix.com/furnituredesign Images courtesy of Emanuela Suraci-Neve, David Shepherdson and Andrew Cunningham
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MADE Brighton & Brighton Art Fair Last year, MADE Brighton celebrated ten years of bringing the most exciting contemporary designer/makers to The Dome Corn Exchange for its annual show. This year, the event presents fifty of the best makers in the country selling unique and original work, ranging from cutting edge ceramics and contemporary jewellery, to textiles and blown and kiln formed glass. Because a refurbishment programme for the Corn Exchange begins in Autumn 2016, this year art and craft unites. Brighton Art Fair and MADE Brighton will combine and run side by side, presenting fifty of the best artists, printmakers, sculptors and photographers showing and selling their work direct to the public. Brighton Art Fair features some of the best contemporary artists from the UK and abroad, and the fair always promotes an excellent balance in established and emerging artists. The work on show will be varied, fresh, exceptional and of the highest quality. 76 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
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The Grade 1 listed Brighton Dome has had many guises. Over its 200year history, it has been used as a stable block, a temporary hospital, a roller rink and is now the south coast’s leading multi-arts venue. A café on site will provide space to relax and take refreshment. Tutton and Young are delighted to be presenting outstanding art, craft and design in this beautiful historic building in the centre of eclectic Brighton. Venue: The Dome Corn Exchange, Brighton, BN1 1UG Opening times: There is a Private View from 6pm - 8.30pm on Thursday, 22nd September. Private View passes are by invitation and ticket only; a limited supply of tickets are available at £15 each. 10.00 - 18.00 Friday 23rd September 10.00 - 18.00 Saturday 24th September 10.00 - 17.00 Sunday 25th September Standard Admission: ‘Early bird’ tickets are available online for £4 each until August 31st, 2016. Tickets can be purchased on the door £7.50, with free entry for children under 14. For more information, visit: www.brightonartfair.co.uk www.madebrighton.co.uk Images courtesy of MADE Brighton & Brighton Art Fair
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Ellen Mulcrone by Karen Jinks
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Walker, cook, dancer, weaver, designer, maker, yogi, listener, wanderer and painter, Ellen Mulcrone is a graduate of ‘Design and Craft’ at Brighton University. Drawn to the use of willow due to its flexibility, richness of colour and abundant qualities, her pod-making stems from the desire to have a space in which her introverted side feels nurtured. For her, weaving creates solitude and space, allowing her thoughts to wander, and her hands and body to dance whilst she sculpts. She believes that the time, care and energy she pours into her pieces, will be experienced by those who rest in them. How did you start using willow? The desire to make the Pods came first, and then the most appropriate material followed. This was willow, as it is totally sustainable and produced within the UK. I make sure that I don’t deplete the earth’s resources, working with our planet rather than against it ... in this respect, I like to keep things simple. It’s also important to me that I can transport my skill and with weaving and willow, I can set up almost anywhere. What inspired you to create your signature pods? I’ve often felt that I harbour a somewhat chaotic combination of introversion and extroversion. This results in a need to be amidst the buzz of modern society, whilst ideally being wrapped in a duvet. The Pear Pod seemed like the perfect answer, as these little nest-like spaces can provide a safe cocoon whilst being in busy public and social environments. We have one hung at home and it’s particularly useful to sit in whilst engaging in family affairs! Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
I envision them hanging in all sorts of highly populated environments - schools, offices, banks and prisons - allowing a safe space for people to retreat to, whilst still being able to be included in the surrounding happenings. The form, however, was inspired by my slightly mad obsession with pears. It began whilst studying art in Falmouth, where I found myself mesmerised by not so much the taste, but every other element of this seemingly mundane fruit. The colours, from brown freckles to multiple shades of greens, the splatters of pink and orange; the weight of the pear in your hand. I would draw the contours in fast motion with my eyes closed. I took a series of photographs (using film) of people holding pears whilst remaining expressionless, I made plaster casts of the form, and I even wore them in my hair. Once, I took over our shared kitchen, taped a huge (A0) piece of paper to the wall and created a giant abstract painting, using multiple brushes, hands and feet. My fellow housemates were ... delighted. Now this obsession is channelled through making Pods! Of course, I work with all shapes and sizes, but originally it came in the form of a pear, hence the name. 84 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
Do you create other things too? I hand-bind books, make jewellery from copper and recycled silver, work with waste-bound plastic, make large acrylic paintings, ferment things like kombucha and kefir, make cushions from collected vintage fabrics, draw, illustrate and collage. I’m also an avid vegan culinary creator. I see food as medicine and notice that my creativity is much higher when eating the good stuff i.e. plenty of carbs, veggies and fruit, and no sugar, fat or salt. Do you have any formal training? Despite studying Design and Craft whilst at Brighton University, we never learnt about willow. This was something I really wanted to do so I learnt through creating, teaching myself as I went along. This is actually one of my favourite ways of learning. I believe that we’re often misguided to seek wisdom externally, whereas so often, when put to the task, we will find we can answer a lot of our own questions through ‘doing’, like tapping in to a greater cloud of knowledge. What is the ethos behind your work? A quote from Kahlil Gibrahn’s book, The Prophet, springs to mind, “Love is work made visible”. I have to love what I am doing, as well as the cause for which I am doing it. By this, I mean both the process of the making and also the context within which it will be placed. For example, my latest project is building a giant nest to be used as a space for outdoor education in a London park. This includes an initial workshop I will run with isolated groups of the community on the subject of ‘Home’. Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
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Have you had any unusual commissions? I was once asked to make a miniature Pod. Not for a baby, but a ‘goddess basket’ for a family’s doted-on cat. It was great fun to make, and both the cat and the dog live in it now! How would you describe your perfect day? Wake up at 5.30am. Scribble down my dreams from the night before. Having risen with the sun, I shamelessly feel smug, knowing I’ve got a few extra hours to my day. Head straight to the vegetable patch for a couple hours of gardening, then take time making a hearty breakfast. Tidy my space. Write a ‘To Do’ list for the day. Discover a new, abundant, accessible waste material that looks beautiful alongside willow. Lose hours in the workshop, weaving and pondering. Cycle to the river for a quick wild swim and cool down (it’s a hot summer’s day). Receive an email from a UK prison that would like 7 Pods to be hung in and around their grounds. Write letters and make watercolours to send in the post to friends as surprises. Do a headstand for a long time. Have a good cry. Play the thumb piano whilst singing spontaneous gibberish. Make a divine vegan dinner. Curl up in bed with a good dream-inducing read, and the curtains all open so I can see the sky as it turns from white to deep dark blue. Lull off with gratitude and a smile. 88 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
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What does the term ‘handmade’ mean to you? If you break it down, making with one’s hands. If a machine was used, it doesn’t count. I think it is such a shame that schools now focus so much on the latest technology in Design and Technology classes. Whereas before we would have drawn out and made a (wonky but wonderful) jigsaw puzzle or wooden notepad, they are now often programmed in to a computer and laser cut-out, all perfect and shiny. A little bit of a tangent, but it’s an area that I feel is trampling over the handmade. If you could learn a new skill, what would it be? I’d really like to learn how to play the cello. Whenever I hear it, my ears prick up; I’ve had many dreams where I am playing and it feels really good. I love the strong feminine form, as well as its ability to encourage a good stance and posture. So if anyone has a cello lying around gathering dust, or would enjoy sharing their knowledge of playing the cello, I would be delighted for you to get in touch! Who are your favourite artists, designers and makers? I have a few creatives whose work I am inspired by. One person is Leona Quayle, who focuses not only on making but also re-educating. Whilst her work is beautiful, I mention Quayle for the intention behind her projects. Her focus is on encouraging people to
‘cobble together’ again rather than continue along our current, unsustainable path of ‘buy and throw away’. Another is Eve Olsen, an architect whose focus is to design multi-functional and beautiful housing for the majority rather than the wealthy minority, encouraging a mix between generations and classes. I find it refreshing to see this within the world of architecture. Her designs also seem to include progressive, sustainable materials which is important to me. Finally, there is Peter Hughes. Even though he has worked on a multitude of environmental projects, the work that inspires me the most are his ‘Eco Plazas’. These are specifically designed as replicable community centres that can be easily built in every town, village, city, and used as platforms for education and skill-sharing. Using sustainable processes and recycled materials, these ‘plazas’ are built with the help of all members of society, including unemployed, refugees and the homeless. What advice would you give someone starting a creative business? Firstly, ask yourself, if money wasn’t involved, would you still do this? If the answer is no, then don’t do it, as eventually you’ll either get bored or depressed and then the money you’ve made will be useless. Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
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Secondly, have clear intentions for your working. For example, mine is to create environments that, in a heavily extrovert-dominated society, provide
Contextually, I am interested in bringing these structures to places that I feel need them most; refugee camps, schools, prisons, offices. I believe
spaces that nourish people’s introverted side and reconnect. This way you can have a degree of clarity and confidence in your business, which is essential in both the making and the selling of your work.
that the nests can have an invaluable effect on people in environments of high intensity, stress and isolation. I will be looking to collaborate with charities, councils, businesses and individuals to realise this ambition.
Thirdly, as you are your own boss, I believe it is essential to make sure that you structure your weeks, timetabling in free, play time. Whilst you should be loving what you do - and perhaps because of this it can be difficult to switch off. It is easy to feel like every waking hour should be devoted to your work, which of course is unhealthy and won’t allow your business to thrive. To avoid a soupy mess of semiproductive time, make a clear timetable of work hours and play hours. You’ll be more productive and also enjoy your free time in its entirety. What’s next for Pear Pod? Aesthetically, I have a bit of a love-affair for turning rubbish in to something unrecognisably beautiful and desirable. I particularly like the combination of traditional crafts with modern materials. This is where willow might have the chance to dance with wasted plastic. In what form and where this will be, is yet to be revealed. Watch this space! I’ll be updating my website with the latest news.
Where can we find your work? I have a website devoted to my Pods and, at the bottom of this site, you can leave your email and send me a message! I also use Instagram for behindthe-scenes photos and videos of the making process as well as my life that surrounds this work! For more information on Ellen Mulcrone, visit: www.pearpod.co.uk www.instagram.com/ellenmulcrone Images courtesy of Ellen Mulcrone
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NEW WILD GARDEN by Bebe Bradley As most of us are aware, there is currently serious concern for the decline of pollinators and their habitats. The planting of meadows has become a focus of huge significance and creativity; from small city gardens to urban landscaping by local councils, and from country plots to Chelsea show gardens. Gardeners, wildlife lovers, professional designers and seed manufacturers are redefining what plants can be grown and the benefits that can reaped for both gardeners and wildlife. ‘New Wild Garden’ shows you how to adapt this important, ‘environmentallyconscious’ style for your own garden, regardless of its size or aspect, and uses achievable techniques to produce planting ideas and schemes. 96 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
Lauded by international designers, including the UK’s Dan Pearson and Christopher Bradley-Hole, this ‘meadow’ and ‘naturalistic’ style of planting is regarded as one of the most influential new movements in garden design today. New Wild Garden, by seasoned writer, editor, landscape gardener and architect Ian Hodgson, combines this new approach to garden design with the practical side of growing wildflowers. In his book, he demonstrates how wildflowers, real meadows and prairie-style planting can be successfully incorporated into your gardens and wild spaces. In his introduction to New Wild Garden, Ian explains the ethos behind naturalistic planting, telling us that, “There is a drive to create gardens and plant communities that are more in tune with natural processes and, more importantly, with our own local conditions”. Taking a nod from nature, “…encourages a more considered and efficient use of natural and manufactured resources so that ultimately our gardens tread lightly on the earth”. The premise is that we, collectively, can make an enormous difference and important contribution to wildlife habitat, and it literally doesn’t need to cost the earth to do so. Regardless of your garden budget, even the smallest gesture of just letting your grass grow can be valuable. Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
There follows 8 chapters, each containing detailed subsections, packed with information and interspersed with stunning images of glorious gardens and planting. Throughout the book, there are also 15 step-by-step projects for meadow and naturalistic planting. The first chapter focuses on Creating Naturalistic Landscapes and provides you with 5 sections which include ideas for wildlife habitats and Creating an Eco-friendly Garden. There are plenty of hints and tips, alongside planting ideas for beds, roofs, borders and allotments. Chapter 2 is about Planning a Wild Garden and here we learn how to Make Your Garden Wild. There is in-depth instruction on how to assess your site e.g. by testing soil acidity, looking at the garden’s aspect, ground preparation and longterm maintenance. The ‘basic planting tips’ are anything but and there are plentiful planting suggestions. Creating Meadow Effects is the subject of the third chapter and Ian tells us that, “The trick to recreating a meadow is to take the visual qualities of these natural, semi-natural or agricultural landscapes and translate their diversity of species, colour palettes and structure into scaled-down versions appropriate to your garden site and soil conditions”. There are, of course, factors to consider when sowing a meadow and these are all duly listed. From large plots to small raised beds, there are varying techniques of sowing meadows, ranging from annual seed mixes and mats, to perennial seed mixtures and meadow mats. 98 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
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Chapter 4 covers Naturalising Plants in Grassland, with recommendations for wild lawns and a list of bulbs for naturalising in your turf. We are all used to seeing crocuses, snowdrops and the ubiquitous daffodil peeping through parks, fields and lawns but the combination of Allium Christophii with grasses is quite something. There are also notes on the establishing of biennials, perennials, trees and shrubs on your hallowed turf, should you wish to do so. Chapter 5 takes Naturalistic Plantings and demonstrates how to enhance nature. With sections on Creating Prairie-style Schemes, Mediterranean Inspiration and Miniature Woodland Glades, alongside ponds and bog gardens, there’s enough choice here to keep the most indecisive gardener (i.e. me) busy for a very, very long time. If you don’t have a garden as such, and you are restricted to a yard or windowsill, the sixth chapter gives us inspiration with Wild Pots and Containers. Ian reminds us that, “Pots and containers provide valuable extra space for wild plantings of all sorts, allowing you to create mini naturalistic landscapes, even on a balcony or roof terrace”. There are helpful hints on choosing the right containers, compost types, feeding and watering, and we learn how to pot annual micro-meadows, prairies and mini woodlands. Some of the planting suggestions here are absolutely beautiful and in particular, the ‘corn 100 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
meadow’ with its field poppies, cornflowers, laceflowers and corncockles. There are also suggestions for potting perennials and bulbs, planted pots for pollinators and ‘wild water for small spaces’, with the creation of a Wild Barrel Pool. The penultimate chapter, the Plant Gallery gives you a truly wonderful selection of essential plants to choose from, ranging from annuals and perennials, sedges and rushes, to bulbs, water and bog plants, trees and shrubs. Finally, in the eighth chapter, we have a comprehensive Directory of Useful Contacts and Suppliers. Seed, plant, tree and shrub retailers and suppliers, wildflower and wildlife charities and garden designers are all listed here. New Wild Garden is a fantastic reference book, and possibly one of the best gardening books I have come across over the years. I would recommend it to any eco-conscious gardener, amateur or seasoned, looking to introduce naturalistic planting and meadows to their green spaces. New Wild Garden: Natural-Style Planting and Practicalities by Ian Hodgson, with photography by Neil Hepworth, is published by Frances Lincoln at £25. Available from all good bookshops. Images courtesy of Frances Lincoln ISBN-10: 071123728X ISBN-13: 978-0711237285 Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
Handmade at Kew Following on from last yearâ€™s success, Handmade in Britain returns to Kewâ€™s Royal Botanic Gardens, for the second craft spectacular, Handmade at Kew. Once again, Kew Gardens will play host to this innovative, global craft fair where more than 150 highly skilled international makers and galleries will showcase their ceramics, glass, furniture, textiles, metalwork and jewellery. Taking centre stage in the heart of the botanical gardens, this four-day selling event, housed in an elegant pavilion next to Kew Palace, will offer visitors the unique opportunity to meet and buy one-off pieces directly from artists, makers and craftspeople, and learn about the ideas and processes that shape their work. 102 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
LAURA BAXTER Set to become London’s leading international craft event, Handmade at Kew has found its perfect complement amongst Decimus Burton’s glasshouses, a feat of Victorian engineering and British craftsmanship. Your ticket to the event will not only give you access to the show but also to the whole of Kew Gardens, allowing you to soak up the delights of the world’s most famous botanic garden with its fine glasshouses and rare blooms, whilst browsing, buying or commissioning work directly from renowned craftspeople and artisans. It’s a fabulous day out for the whole family and a rare
opportunity to indulge in heritage, horticulture and shopping. We invite you to bring your family and friends, to make a day of it and enjoy Kew, in all its autumnal splendour. Ceramics and pottery are in vogue and this event clearly illustrates why. From cutting edge tableware to textural art objects, the diversity of this popular medium is showcased by leading ceramicists from the UK and beyond. Martin Pearce illustrates the medium’s infinite possibilities with his art-led ceramics in organic shapes and earthy colours. Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
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Often combining ceramics with unconventional materials, Pina Lavelli creates exceptional sculptural forms. Inspired by all things botanical and perfectly in keeping with Kew, Wallflower London crafts ornate flower heads in earthenware and porcelain. For functional objects, look no further than Linda Bloomfield’s contemporary minimal tableware, with dimples and visible throwing lines showing the hand of the maker. Glass is a dynamic medium that can be blown, moulded, sculpted or cut and shaped into a myriad of forms. Leading glassmakers will illustrate its infinite possibilities, showing a mix of sculptural and domestic pieces. Renowned glassblower Adam Aaronson uses painterly techniques to create traditional pieces with a contemporary edge. Thomas Petit creates beautiful abstract patterns in striking colourways on his modern vessels and bottles, and Julie Johnson sculpts glass to create dramatic stylized birds, animals and flowers. Discover exquisite silverware from talented silversmiths, including Stuart Jenkins, who uses contrast to create intriguing details by mixing rough with smooth, black with white. Heather O’Connor also plays on the idea of contrast, combining timelessly elegant pieces with a fresh, contemporary edge. Eileen Gatt draws inspiration from Scotland’s coastline, using playful and quirky characters to create fun, silver objects of luxury and beauty. Manipulating the medium, Zoe Watts adds twists, turns and curves to sculpt her textural and decadent hand-finished silver vessels.
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See an astonishing array of textiles across fashion and interiors from the likes of Phoebe Joan, who creates luxurious, delicate and sheer indulgent silk nightwear. Cosy up this autumn with the warm, organic colours and textures of Sarah Tyssenâ€™s woven woollen fabrics. Weaver Leto & Ariadne demonstrates the diversity of the discipline with very finely woven silk scarves in soft, contemporary colour palettes. For cutting edge design, look to Dutch makers PieterSZoon who create the most beautiful bags and accessories in contemporary shapes using quality soft leather. Leading jewellers, from both the UK and abroad, will be on hand to talk you through their inspirations and processes. Meet Maya Selway, who introduces unconventional techniques to create luxurious, enduring classics and jewellery, and furniture designer Simone Brewster, who works across scales to create sculptural statement pieces. Yen focusses on movement and fluidity, crafting molecular pieces that are at once soft and dynamic, and Germanbased jeweller Michael Berger, who looks to movement in his spare modern jewellery, adorning each piece with a kinetic twist. Work by the majority of the UK and international exhibitors at this show would never find its way to the average high street. Most of the artists are award winners in their own countries and only sell through, galleries, exhibitions or by appointment. Book your ticket now! 106 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
Venue: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB Opening times: There is a Private View from 6pm - 9pm on Wednesday 5th October; Private View passes only. 10.00 - 18.00 Thursday 6th October 10.00 - 18.00 Friday 7th October 10.00 - 18.00 Saturday 8th October 10.00 - 18.00 Sunday 9th October Standard Admission: Advance tickets are available online for £16 each (concessions £6). Day tickets can be purchased on the door for £18 each, with entry for children (4-16 yrs) £6 and ‘Friends of Kew’ £8. For more information and ticket bookings, visit: www.handmadeinbritain.co.uk www.kew.org Images courtesy of Handmade in Britain
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The National Trust Cookbook by Dawn Bevins When I think about the National Trust, I feel warm and fuzzy inside. In a society creaking under the weight of urban expansion, it’s the National Trust who we look towards to keep things the same, who preserve our heritage and protect what we can of the land from inevitable progression. The tea-rooms, restaurants and cafés situated at their properties also happen to make pretty good cake, so it makes perfect sense to celebrate what they do best by creating a book full of reliable and comforting recipes. I like that the front cover has moved away from the use of a single photograph (a current and apparently popular trend) in favour of a ‘blackboard menu’ illustration. It may not be an explosion of all-singing, all-dancing colour, but it is elegant and stands out just by being a bit different. 108 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
The introduction is written by development chef Clive Goudercourt, and it’s obvious from his words just how passionate he is about good food, good ingredients and the general ethos behind the National Trust. The idea is a humble one; to provide honest recipes that you can recreate at home. There are over 100 tried and tested recipes, grouped into chapters by season and accumulated from over 200 kitchens at National Trust properties around the UK. They are all classic recipes, with plenty of soups, quiches, tarts, salads, pies, stews and, but of course, cake! Occasionally something less traditional pops up, such as Spiced Soy and Star Anise Pork, but mostly it’s good honest fare. While the recipes might seem a bit predictable to some, this feels like a book that I would refer back to repeatedly. It has a sense of being traditional and reliable i.e. how I feel when I watch Mary Berry. No one is asking me to whip out black rice or nutritional yeast; it’s just good old meat, veg, butter, eggs, flour and sugar - although not all together at the same time (oh, and a mixed can of beans, which appears to be a staple ingredient). An all-round cookbook, there is also a selection of vegetarian and gluten-free options included, although you will have to search for them as they aren’t highlighted in any specific way. Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
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Interspersed amongst the recipes are little mentions of the National Trust properties, a story or background to the recipe, why it’s popular or whom it was inspired by. I would have liked a few more food photographs to support the recipes, although I realise that this would have taken up a lot of space. On the whole, the book looks wonderful and I love the inclusion of stunning images of National Trust properties and views which accompany the text. Recipes I look forward to trying include the Pearl Barley Risotto with Garden Greens and Rhubarb and Custard Tray Bake from the Spring chapter, and the Victoria Sponge from the Summer chapter, which is recommended in the introduction by Goudercourt. I have plenty of cookbooks on my bookcase shelves which are far more exotic than this one but they are rarely used. This book is going to be added to the ‘well-thumbed’ reliable pile that lives in the kitchen. It’s comforting, it’s familiar, it reminds me of my nan and it feels quintessentially British. The National Trust Cookbook is published by Pavilion at £20 and available from all good bookshops. Images courtesy of Pavilion; photography of recipes by William Shaw ISBN-10: 1909881708 ISBN-13: 978-1909881709 For more information on The National Trust, visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk
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Cold Hands, Hot Soup by Bebe Bradley
Autumn is my favourite season. With frosty mornings and clear bright skies, it arrives with a bounty of seasonal produce. If youâ€™ve been yomping your way through swathes of fallen leaves, thereâ€™s nothing better than a steaming bowl of home-made soup to take the chill off.
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SPICED SQUASH SOUP Soothing and smokey, this soup will warm the cockles of your heart. Serve topped with soft, creamy goat’s cheese and a sprinkling of roasted squash seeds. Serves 4 Ingredients For the soup: 1 medium butternut squash (or similar) peeled and chopped into chunks (reserve the seeds) 1 small red chilli, finely sliced 2 whole, unpeeled cloves of garlic A sprinkle of cinnamon, smoked paprika and cumin Olive oil 500ml of hot chicken stock 50ml of double cream or crème fraîche Soft goat’s cheese (optional) For the pumpkin seeds: 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil A pinch of table salt 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Place the squash in a roasting tray with the chilli and the garlic. Add a good glug of olive oil and toss together with the cinnamon, paprika and cumin.
Pop into the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until the squash is tender and caramelised at the edges. 2. Whilst the squash is roasting, prepare the seeds. Remove the fibres and pat the seeds dry with kitchen towel. Toss the seeds with the olive oil, salt and paprika. Spread them evenly over a foil-lined baking sheet and roast in the oven, alongside the squash, for 10-15 minutes. 3. Place the roasted squash in a large deep pan along with the stock. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skins and into the pan. Stir and season to taste, then blitz with a hand-held blender (or liquidizer, if you have one) until smooth, thinning with a splosh of water if required. 4. Stir in the cream or crème fraîche, and ladle into bowls or mugs. Top with a small spoonful of goat’s cheese - if using - and a sprinkle of the squash seeds, and serve with warm, crusty bread. Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
Roast Mushroom Soup There is a vast array of fungi to choose from – cultivated and wild – but don’t pick wild mushrooms unless you know exactly what you are looking for. For this recipe, I’ve used cultivated chestnut mushrooms although you may well be able to find wild mushrooms for sale. Ceps, otherwise known as Porcini or ‘penny buns’, would make you a fabulous soup. You can choose not to add goat’s cheese to this soup but, in my opinion, it adds a certain earthiness and makes it more autumnal. Makes 2 generous bowls or 4 starters. Ingredients I large onion, finely sliced 1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped 2 tablespoons of olive oil Sprig of fresh rosemary, finely chopped 250g chestnut mushrooms, stems trimmed and thickly sliced 2 heaped teaspoons of plain flour 1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock Soft goat’s cheese to taste (optional) 3 tablespoons crème fraîche 1 tablespoon creamed horseradish sauce Salt and pepper, to season
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METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. In a large roasting pan or dish, toss the sliced onion with the olive oil, chopped rosemary and garlic. Season well and spread the mixture evenly across the pan or dish. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and golden. 2. Add the mushrooms and stir well, again making sure that the mixture is spread evenly across the pan or dish. At this stage, feel free to add an extra drizzle of olive oil or a knob of butter. Roast for another 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked. 3. Whilst the mushrooms are roasting, make your horseradish cream by mixing one good tablespoon of crème fraîche with one good tablespoon of creamed horseradish. Season to taste and then refrigerate until required. 4. Transfer the roasted mushrooms and onions to a large pan. Over a low heat, add the plain flour and stir well, making sure that the flour is absorbed into the juices. Add the stock a little at a time, stirring well, and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Blitz with a hand-held blender (or liquidize) until smooth. 5. Crumble in the goat’s cheese to taste and stir to combine. Add the remaining crème fraîche and reheat until piping hot. Top with a swirl of horseradish cream and serve with warm, crusty bread.
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PEA SOUP So simple to make and so full of flavour. Makes 2 generous bowls or 4 starters. Ingredients The white of one leek, trimmed and sliced 1 large baking potato, peeled and diced 1 fat garlic clove, crushed A knob of butter 600ml of vegetable stock 500g of fresh or frozen peas 1 tbsp of chopped fresh mint A pinch of caster sugar A squeeze of lime juice 200ml of crème fraîche Salt and pepper, to season Peas shoots or mint leaves, to garnish METHOD 1. Place the sliced leek in a large pan along with the diced potato, crushed garlic and butter. Sauté gently for 10 minutes or until the leek is soft and golden, making sure that the potato doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. 2. Add the stock, bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes or until the potato is soft. 3. Add the peas to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Don’t overcook or you’ll lose flavour and colour!
4. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Add the chopped mint, sugar and lime juice to the pan and then blitz with a hand-held blender (or liquidize) until smooth. 5. Stir in a good couple of spoonfuls of crème fraîche and season to taste. Serve topped with a generous dollop of crème fraîche, a sprig of mint or pea shoots, and a drizzle of peppery olive oil. This soup can also be served chillled in the hotter months; just cool and then chill until required. The soup may thicken whilst in the fridge so, if you intend to reheat, just thin the soup with some water.
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VEGETABLE BROTH with Pesto This fresh, light soup makes the best of available seasonal vegetables and you certainly don’t have to stick to those listed here. If you begin with the hallowed trio of vegetables for your stock - onion, carrot and celery, otherwise known as ‘mirepoix’ - you can pretty much add anything else that you have to hand and still produce something full of flavour. Pesto is actually easy to make but please don’t feel guilty about using a good shop-bought one. I definitely don’t. Serves 4. Ingredients For the soup: Olive oil 2 fat garlic cloves, crushed I medium onion, finely diced 1 medium carrot, finely diced 1 stick of celery, finely diced A courgette, thinly sliced 200g of small waxy potatoes, thiny sliced 200g beans or peas A handful of leafy greens, finely shredded 1 litre of hot vegetable stock A handful of fresh herbs Salt and pepper, to taste Freshly grated Parmesan (or similar) to serve 118 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
For the pesto: 2 fat garlic cloves, crushed 50g of pine nuts or blanched almonds 2 x 28g packs of basil, leaves only 4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan (or similar) 4-6 tablespoons of olive oil A good squeeze of lemon METHOD 1. In a large pan, gently sauté the onion, carrot and celery in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 10 minutes, or until soft and golden. Meanwhile, whizz all of the pesto ingredients together in a blender (or use a mortar and pestle, if you are feeling industrious), adding more oil if a looser texture is required. 2. Add the crushed garlic to the vegetable mixture, and cook gently until softened.
3. Pour in the stock, add the sliced potatoes and bring to the boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender. 4. Add the rest of the sliced, diced and shredded vegetables, and simmer for 5 minutes more. Don’t overcook because you want the vegetables to retain some ‘bite’ (along with some nutrients). Tear in the herbs and season to taste. 5. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a spoonful of pesto and parmesan. Images courtesy of Bebe Bradley
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A Handful of Herbs by Lisa Margreet Payne Even if you have only the tiniest flat, herbs are a delightfully accessible way to grow something fresh in the home. A carefully chosen pot of your favourite herb, such as rosemary or lavender, can provide you with pleasure by bringing fragrance to your home and flavour to your food. A Handful of Herbs is a gorgeous, comprehensive guide, providing you with heaps of information on every page. I guarantee that you will find a different tip or titbit every time you read it, even if youâ€™re just flicking through the book and revelling in its sumptuous, evocative images. The book begins by profiling twenty of the most popular herbs, and these include varieties youâ€™re probably familiar with, such as basil, bay, lavender, rosemary and parsley. For each of the 20 herbs profiled, A Handful of Herbs describes the distinctive features of each, as well as explaining how to grow the plant, and its culinary and medicinal use. 120 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
The second section, Gardening with Herbs, covers cultivation. Even if you don’t have a garden, this part of the book explains how they can be included in your home, e.g. the use of herbs in decorating your home, in beauty products and in cooking. It also has some good advice about using supermarket herbs to propagate the more unusual varieties, such as lemongrass or the use of herb pots (otherwise known as ‘cut-and-chuck’) to fill in flavour gaps in your home-sown herbs. Section three, Living with Herbs, provides you with ideas for creating pot pourri, table settings and herbal wreaths, and also offers a fresh way of thinking about herbal sachets. Traditionally used to scent drawers, these are an ideal way to fragrance a room. By tucking them into the sides of cushions, down the sides of chairs or even popping them into the pockets of clothes, when the herb sachets are crushed or pressed against, the fragrance is released. The fragrance can be enhanced and refreshed when the herbs start to lose their own natural fragrance, by the addition of essential oils. Depending on the herbs and oils used, e.g. lavender, these can also help to ward off moths. This section also includes information on preserving your fresh herbs. When I ran my organic market garden, a tip I gave to my customers was to keep
your leafy cut vegetables in water, like you would with freshly cut flowers. This applies to the freshcut leaves of herbs as well as those leafy plants like kale, spinach or chard. To prolong their life for a few days, put them in a jar of water, cover the leaves and jar with a plastic bag, seal it with an elastic band and keep it in the fridge. Ideally though, you want to use any kind of herb or salad leaves whilst they are as fresh as possible. A Handful of Herbs also gives advice on other ways of preserving your herbs, such as drying or freezing, which is useful if you have a lot of herbs which you have harvested. Autumn 2016 | ukhandmade |
From using herbs in your cleaning products, to using them to scent ink for letter writing, there is a wealth of information on incorporating herbs
the section on herbs in the kitchen garden, to help me set up an accessible kitchen garden in raised beds and containers at my local community centre.
into your home life, with recipes for beauty and therapeutic treatments such as fresh herbal foot baths and herbal lip balms.
We’re growing vegetables and herbs for use in their community café, and the cultivation and harvesting advice has been particularly helpful in deciding which herbs to include and where to plant them.
In the fourth section, Cooking with Herbs, there are 35 recipes covering light dishes, main meals, drinks, sweet things, dressings and sauces. From the simplicity of a fresh avocado and tarragon creamy salad dressing or parsley sauce for fish, to the more complex flavours of a beef pho, herbs play an important part in flavouring food. Being able to harvest fresh herbs, whether from a kitchen garden or pot on your kitchen windowsill, reminds us of our connection with the land and seasons, and growing our own food. Using herbs in the home, whether as decorations or in beauty and therapeutic ways, also reconnects us with their original usage as medicine. The final chapter of the book provides an A-Z of 75 common herbs. It summarises each plant’s growing information, including its main characteristics and how to cultivate it. Also included is a list of suppliers of plant and seeds, dried herbs, herbal products and other useful resources. From this book, I have used the A-Z of common herbs, the information on the 20 Super Herbs and 122 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2016
In summary, A Handful of Herbs is a fantastic book for anyone looking to include herbs in their life, and you can do this whether you have a house with a garden or a flat with just a windowsill; whether you’re starting from seed or propagating a supermarket plant. Growing and using herbs can reconnect us with the seasons and cultivation of our own food and medicine, and that is a very powerful thing. A Handful of Herbs by Barbara Segall, Louise Pickford & Rose Hammick, is published by Ryland Peters & Small at £12.99 and is available from all good bookshops. Images courtesy of Ryland Peters & Small Photography by William Lingwood, Caroline Arber ISBN-10: 1849757194 ISBN-13: 978-1849757195
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See you in the WINTER
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