UK Handmade Magazine Winter 2017

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ukhandmade Winter 2017

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THE UK HANDMADE MEMBERS GALLERY Jacqueline James handwoven rugs

Rachel Elliott glass sculptures Lesley McShea ceramics

Designs of the Times handmade jewellery join our growing membership 2 | ukhandmade winter 2017

Welcome... our Winter issue. Wrap up warm against the winter chill and indulge yourself in the handmade treats we have for you. Discover wonderful prints, gorgeous ceramics, sustainable design and beautiful textiles, all alongside our regular selection of fabulous finds, features and events. See you in the Spring!

Bebe. x

Editor & Designer/Maker



Small Business Mentor


Artist & Graphic Designer

UK Handmade Magazine Copyright Š UK Handmade LTD 2017. 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.


PR Consultant & Journalist

Creative Director/Graphic Design: Karen Jinks Editor: Bebe Bradley Advertising: Events:


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our editor’s picks from around the UK


discover the gloriously detailed etchings of this Leeds-based printmaker

24 IT’S IN OUR HANDS the Incorporation of Goldsmiths launches its Ethical Making Resource


Lucy MacDonald’s beautiful textiles inspired by everchanging landscapes and seascapes


save the date and visit The Landmark Arts Centre in south-west London for this renowned annual event

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42 JENNI DAVIS unique luxury bags and accessories in simple contemporary designs, handmade in London

54 SELVEDGE FAIR visit Bloomsbury’s Mary Ward House for covetable haberdashery, vintage fabrics and textile treasures


stunning wheel-thrown porcelain vessels and lighting, imbued with years of experience and craftsmanship

70 DIGITAL RETAILING Tips to prepare your business for the festive season


a curated collection of handmade goodies for both gifting and keeping






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We Love...

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ANTHONY THEAKSTON ‘Sleeping Barn Owls’ ceramic sculpture, enquiries at

NOON MITCHELHILL ‘Silver & Gold Tube Necklaces’ enquiries at

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EMMA HABBESHON ‘Coastline Brooch’ bespoke commission, white, yellow & red gold with dendritic quartz, enquiries at

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VEZZINI & CHEN ‘Fragments’ limited edition, collection of 3 hand-carved porcelain vases, enquiries at

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JACK DOHERTY ‘Harbouring Vessels’ enquiries at

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JANE ADAM ‘Leaf Pendants’ anodised, dyed & textured aluminium & stainless steel, enquiries at

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IKUKO IWAMOTO ‘Spikyspiky Bowls’ porcelain sculpture (opposite)

ROB PARR ‘Queen Bear’ polished stoneware & gold lustre, (this page) enquiries at ukhandmade winter 2017 | 13

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JANIS GOODMAN From her Leeds-based studio, printmaker Janis Goodman creates monochrome etchings of her surroundings, looking for details that other people miss. As a result, her images are full of interest and narrative that draw the viewer in. Interview by Karen Jinks

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Who or what inspires you? I am quite a good ‘looker’. I walk around surveying the landscape; it seems normal to me but I realise I often notice stuff other people ignore. I think what inspires me, starts with juxtapositions and composition. I get a visceral sensation that there is an image there and it comes from the guts rather than the head. However, when a particular etching proves very popular and I run out of the edition, I do engage my head and think things like, “I’ll do another wren print”, but I have to want to do so in the first place.

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became a printmaker. Do you have any formal training? Yes and no... I started printmaking at an evening class at Leeds College of Art (now Leeds Arts University, and running no evening classes whatsoever). I took a general printmaking course but fell in love with etching from the beginning. I did as little screen printing and lino as I could manage and just concentrated on etching - even though, as I remember, we spent the first few weeks preparing the etching plate! I spent about four or five years there, until they decided to throw us out; many of us were there to access the equipment as much as anything else. 16 | ukhandmade winter 2017

Your work has a really interesting narrative quality to it. How do you develop your compositions? I think that the composition is always my starting place. I need the angle on an image before I can do anything with it. Again, I mainly just understand, in a non-intellectualised way, when something works. I also look out for specific subjects which I am interested in; I’m currently developing work examining the ways in which the natural world reclaims the built environment and am building up towards a solo show next year at Masham Gallery, with the title ‘Regeneration’. This is a subject in which I have a long-standing interest. Do you have a favourite piece? My usual reply would be the one I’ve just completed or the one that I’m working on. I’ve just finished a very large print called ‘Looping the Loop’ which shows a murmuration of starlings flying over the crazy roofscape of the Leeds Markets buildings. It’s currently on show in the Leeds’ Craft Centre and Design Gallery’s ‘Masters of Printmaking’ exhibition and I’m very pleased with it.

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I also have a particular soft spot for my print called ‘Cacti in the Orangery’ at Ripley Castle, which I completed earlier this year. It was a technically complicated piece and I was thrilled with how well it came together. What is your preferred printing method? I etch on copper plates and use ferric chloride to ‘bite’ the plates. In a less traditional way, I produce aquatints using car spray paint. I get a less even tone than from resin in an aquatint box, but 18 | ukhandmade winter 2017

providing I don’t spray it on when there is a wind blowing, I manage to get a fairly even spread. The finished plates are inked up and printed on my pride and joy, a Rochat etching press. Tell us about your workspace. In a way, a lot of my house is now devoted to my work. I do have bouts of studio envy, of the people with windows and doors going out onto fields and dramatic scenery. My press, inks and ferric chloride live in a strange windowless room, which is typical

of the deep, narrow terraced houses in Leeds. It’s behind the bathroom and borrows light from there and a roof light up a kind of chimney. My print, ‘Bird on a Press’ (right), shows this better than any photo. My designing and drawing work is all done in a more straight forward room, with a window facing out onto my back garden and the terrace of houses behind mine. My spare room often has prints drying on boards in it and downstairs, a dresser holds all my greetings cards. Do you keep sketchbooks? How important are they to your creative process? Most of my prints start with quite crude, quick drawings. Often this is all that exists before I start working on the plate, especially when it’s the kind of subject I don’t use a lot of visual reference for, such as my starling murmurations. When I’m working on a picture with a lot of specific architectural detail, I tend to use photographs so I’m not drawing everything twice. I do keep lists of ideas for etchings and these tend to be as important to me as the early sketches. What are your favourite tools of the trade? A good, straight, sharp etching needle. ukhandmade winter 2017 | 19

What does the term handmade mean to you? Red rag to a printmaker! To me, it means that it has not been spat out by an inkjet printer (known as GiclÊe) and is not a reproduction of an existing image. This is a subject which much of the public does not understand, largely because a lot of effort has gone into fooling them. I know that every one of my images has been drawn by hand onto the plate and then individually inked-up, surface wiped and then hand printed by me. Who are your favourite artists and designers? I think I’ll limit myself to printmakers; Paula Rego, Eileen Cooper, Katherine Jones, Anthony Ratcliffe, Bryan Ingham, Edward Bawden, Julian Trevelyan, Anthony Gross, Gwen Raverat, Norman Ackroyd and many more. What advice would you give someone looking to start a creative business? Remember that while everyone will envy you for your privileged choices, the reality will often be a bit mundane and also quite lonely. There is an awful lot of frantic paddling in order to appear swan-like. What was the best advice someone ever gave to you? Make sure you still get out of the house if you work from home. What are the most rewarding and most frustrating aspects to what you do? The most rewarding thing is when someone tells me how much my work means to them. They not only have paid out money to buy it, but they look at it and it engenders strong emotions in them. At a recent art fair, I was embraced by a complete stranger because my work had meant so much to him. Probably my least favourite thing is putting everything back when you come home from an art fair or show. All that 20 | ukhandmade winter 2017

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stuff has to be tidied up and put back in its place just when you feel at your tiredest. And the less you sell, the more there is to put away... Please describe your perfect day... I have different perfect days and I would be hard-pressed to choose between the two sorts. The first would be when I’m working on etching a plate, feeling sure that it’s going well and that my drawing or scratching is confident and steady; getting that sensation of being in the ‘zone’ for completing it as I want, being neither rushed or impatient but just loving the process. The second consists of making a sale to people who express their pleasure in and appreciation of my work. I need both days, they are the ying and yang of my working practice. If you had the chance to learn a new creative skill, what would it be? I’d love to try lithography and am rather tempted by stained glass. What are your goals for the future? Getting better at what I do. Where can we see your work? I have a website and love to get direct orders. You can also follow me on Facebook for updates of where I am exhibiting. I show my work in print, art and craft fairs, mostly in the North of England. Galleries which stock my work include the Leeds’ Craft Centre 22 | ukhandmade winter 2017

and Design Gallery, Masham Gallery, Cambridge Contemporary Art, the Zillah Bell Gallery in Thirsk; The Mere Gallery in Bowness on Windermere, Hawksbys in Haworth and Blossom Street Gallery in York. For more information, visit: To follow, visit: Images courtesy of Janis Goodman

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by Matthew Shelley

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LIKE MANY OF US, Alison Macleod aims to tread lightly on the Earth, buying fairly-traded goods at the supermarket and often choosing quality secondhand clothes and children’s toys over new. In recent years the jewellery maker, from Thornhill in Dumfries and Galloway, has begun to apply the same values to her work as she does to her shopping. It has not been straightforward but Alison has persevered and Elements 3, Scotland’s annual festival of gold, silver and jewellery, recently featured three of her specially designed rings in a showcase of ethically sourced items called It’s in Our Hands. This event, run by the Incorporation of Goldsmiths and the Lyon & Turnbull auction house, took place in Edinburgh in early November. It included a series of exhibitions, events and a selling fair featuring work by 50 specially selected makers from across the UK. For 2018, the Incorporation hopes that the entire Elements exhibition will be dedicated to ethically sourced work. One of this year’s exhibitions, ‘50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship’, featured pieces by some of the world’s finest designers and amongst them, curiously enough, was a disassembled mobile phone. This exhibit, called ‘What’s in My Stuff’, raised the question of how little we often know about the origins of the items we cherish. Where does the gold, metals and minerals in a handset come from? The men, women and children who work in the mines of the developing world often do so for as little as a dollar a day, and their lives and health can be at risk from unsafe conditions and exposure to toxic chemicals. As in other sectors, the desire to consume and produce in a way that supports economic development and ensures that the rights of others

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are respected, is gaining ground. Alison, who trained at Edinburgh College of Art and has built her handmade jewellery business around designs that are “traditional, with a twist”, is one of many moving in this direction. Alison says, “When I shop, it’s Fairtrade bananas and other things. When I’m buying clothes or toys for the children, I’ll often choose second hand ones rather than automatically buy new. I don’t like the idea of just adding more and more ‘stuff’ to the world if it’s not needed.” She adds, “I started to think that if this is how I shop, it should be how I work. It’s something that more and more customers are raising and I think it’s brilliant that it’s being talked about.” The Incorporation is helping to get people talking about this subject and a lot more besides. Its director, Mary Michel, hopes to see Scotland established as the world leader in ethical handcrafted designer gold and silver. They are working with silversmithing and jewellery 26 | ukhandmade winter 2017

departments at Scotland’s art colleges to create a pledge that puts ethical sourcing at the heart of the curriculum. The organisation will train student ambassadors to spread information among their fellows and it plans to support departments so that the precious metals they use are ethically sourced. College involvement means that ethical practice will be the norm for new generations of silversmiths and jewellery makers rather than something they must change their practice to achieve. In March 2018, the Incorporation intends to launch an online Ethical Making Resource that will provide information on where and how to access ethically sourced precious metals. For makers like Alison, this is a huge step forward. She feels that she needs more information herself; in November, she switched almost entirely to 18 carat yellow and white gold but is still having problems with ethically sourced chains and 9 carat gold. Alison says, “The resource will be brilliant. I registered for Fairtrade gold but it wasn’t that easy

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to do. There really is a need for somewhere to get information and where people can swap tips. What really needs to happen is for ethical sourcing to become easy and to be normalized, and the idea that Scotland could pioneer this, is great.” For Mary Michel and the Incorporation of Goldsmiths, the idea is a moral one that makes excellent commercial sense. Buyers, especially amongst the increasingly important millennials, want to know that beauty and ethics are in harmony. This isn’t surprising when jewellery is so often bought or commissioned to celebrate joyful moments – like birthdays, engagements and marriages – and filled with personal and symbolic meaning. Mary, who has previously worked in international aid and development, says, “Scotland is already a well-known centre for beautiful jewellery imaginatively designed by some of the finest craftsmen and women you can find anywhere in the world. Add to this a reputation as a trusted source of ethical jewellery and you can establish a very strong position in the world market, especially as so much is marketed and bought over the internet these days.” In addition to making sure that gold and silver can be traced back to an ethical producer, the Incorporation is also encouraging the use of recycled metals. For many makers, including Alison, this is another immense positive. She is amongst those who seek out recycled metal and who often work with clients to reuse materials already owned but not worn, helping them to create something they will love for years to come. The Ethical Making Resource will also assist makers with environmentally-friendly work practices. The overall aim is to edge the sector towards a 28 | ukhandmade winter 2017


more sustainable future, one where organisations like Fairmined - an initiative which certifies that its gold comes from small-scale operations who care about the environment and social development can flourish. This process has seen a renewal of the Incorporation’s sense of purpose. Founded by royal charter in 1687, but with roots that stretch far back into the middle ages, one of its roles has always been as the defender of Scotland’s gold and

silversmithing trades. However, it’s also Scotland’s oldest consumer protection body, overseeing the hallmarking process that guarantees the quality of precious metals. In the 21st century, catering for consumer interests could extend well beyond guaranteeing the purity of metals. As Mary points out, market reports show that in many areas of the economy, the brands with clear and authentic ethical policies are becoming the strongest. For makers inspired by the landscape and the image of purity and beauty that goes with it, transparent ethical sourcing and practice are a logical fit. If Scotland makes the transition it could bring substantial benefits, and not doing so could mean an opportunity lost. Mary says, “A few years ago, a friend from the Black Isle wanted an ethically sourced engagement ring. She was going to wear the ring for the rest of her life, and it was important for her to know where it had come from and who had been involved in its making. But she couldn’t find anything in Scotland and ended up buying a ring over the internet from Las Vegas. As a sector and a country, we must be in a position to meet this demand, especially when this fits so well with the story that surrounds so many high quality Scottish makers.” For more information, visit: Images courtesy of Alison Macleod and Mary Michel (p.28, photography by Colin Hattersley)

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ARRA TEXTILES Inspired by the everchanging landscapes and seascapes of the natural world, Lucy MacDonald designs and hand weaves beautiful scarves, homewares and accessories in her tiny studio in the North East of Scotland. Interview by Karen Jinks

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Who is Arra? Arra MacDonald was my great grandmother. She was a hand spinner who lived in the Orkney Isles when I was younger. Please tell us your background; do you have any formal training? I studied Textile Design, specialising in Weave, at Heriot Watt University for four years, with a semester spent studying in Finland as part of the Erasmus exchange programme. How did you become a weaver; is it something you’ve always wanted to do? I’ve always been creative and I enjoyed the structured, mathematical side of weaving when studying it at university. What is the inspiration behind your beautiful textiles? My designs are based around the natural world, particularly the coast. I wanted to create organic woven patterns that were flowing rather than linear and straight like a lot of weaving tends to be. Tell us about your gorgeous yarns. Is it important for you to keep everything as local as possible? When I started Arra Textiles, I decided that the quality and feel of the yarn - and resulting fabric was more important than where it was from. Being based in the North East of Scotland, using local wool would mean that the fabric would be quite rough and wouldn’t be very comfortable against skin. I use yarns that are spun and dyed in Yorkshire, so a little bit further away but still from Britain! ukhandmade winter 2017 | 33

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Who or what is influencing you right now? At the moment, I’m working on a new range of scarves which are influenced by my trip to Australia last March. The colours along the southern coast were so vibrant and different from anything I’ve seen in Scotland. Tell us about your workspace. I’ve recently moved into a small studio in Kincardine O’Neil, a conservation village on Royal Deeside. It’s just big enough for the loom, lots of cones of yarn and a small retail space. What are your favourite tools of the trade? I use traditional wooden fly shuttles when weaving. They’re much faster than hand thrown shuttles but do tend to make holes in the floor when they accidentally fall off the loom! What does the term handmade mean to you? To me, handmade is an opportunity to create something completely unique from start to finish. Who are your favourite artists and designers? I have a couple of new prints on the studio wall by Australian illustrator Marc Martin. He uses a colour palette that’s very similar to a lot of the yarns I use. 36 | ukhandmade winter 2017

What advice would you give someone looking to start a creative business? I would say take your time and don’t rush into anything. Lots of research is always good too! What are the most rewarding and most frustrating aspects to what you do? I love seeing people find a piece that they really love, and hearing about my work given as gifts. It can be frustrating trying to show the difference between handwoven fabric and mill woven fabric, as a lot of people don’t realise that its not the same thing. If you had the chance to learn a new creative skill, what would it be? I’d like to learn to play the piano.It would be nice to have a skill that was just for fun, rather than a job. What are your goals for the future? I’d like the business to continue to grow and hopefully one day, I’ll be in a bigger studio with more looms. Where can we see your work? My work is on display in my studio and my website. For more information, visit: Images courtesy of ARRA Textiles

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CONTEMPORARY TEXTILES FAIR 2018 – ECO TEXTILES 17th - 18th March 2018 38 | ukhandmade winter 2017

THIS CONTEMPORARY TEXTILES Fair is held annually in the magnificent Grade II gothic surroundings of the Landmark Arts Centre in SouthWest London. The fair is host to over 70 makers selling their work directly to visitors, alongside a programme of special exhibitions, talks and workshops. Featuring the best contemporary textiles in the UK, the event is almost unique in its focus on textile artists and makers, unencumbered by suppliers and other craft disciplines. Exhibitors present a vast range of contemporary work, from the needle-felted wool portraiture of Sarah Vaci, to the eco prints of Caroline Bell. The theme for the 2018 fair’s programme is Eco Textiles, an increasingly important subject in the textile world, and a focus that many emerging or practising artists and designers are incorporating into their own ethos. Ecology in relation to textiles is a broad subject; from taking care as to where and how raw materials are sourced, to rejecting the use of manmade fibres and dyes. Artists and makers are taking this a step further by introducing these considerations into their processes, and imbuing their work with these values. The Contemporary Textiles Fair will be celebrating this movement with a range of special exhibitions, talks and workshops for 2018. Local artist Debbie Lyddon has been invited back to the fair, to exhibit her work inspired by the coast and what she notices when walking through the landscape. Lyddon’s often sculptural pieces evoke moody skies and sweeping scenery, without becoming a direct representation of a particular vista. Her experimentation with non-traditional materials such as bitumen and sea salt, alongside her main staple of cloth, introduces an element of conscious, processbased decision making, informed by the natural environment.


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SARAH VACI The coast provides many opportunities for an artist to notice the man-made elements amongst nature; the bitumen used to protect boats, metal rings essential in sail making, the wax to waterproof cloth from the sea. Lyddon utilises these materials in her work, influencing a transformation of their use to create a multi-sensory experience of place. She notices the ecologies of an environment, whether through balance or imbalance, and this observance is imbued within her process-based artworks. Lyddon’s use of nature within her artistic activity has been particularly successful. Laying cloth in the sea creates a multi-layered process 40 | ukhandmade winter 2017

that leaves behind the natural salts once the cloth is dry, and also a delicate form of mark-making from the waves washing over them. Her direct use of place leaves behind a solidified memory of an environment. The Contemporary Textiles Fair will also see the launch of Raw Fibres, supporting and showcasing a selection of the best new UK textile artists. Raw Fibres offers a platform for graduates, students, and fledgling businesses to promote and sell their work to collectors, enthusiasts and local visitors alike. With space to launch their work into the textile art world, they will meet fellow artists and designers, and be given advice and encouragement to move their practice forward. For this inaugural year, the fair has selected four artists. Laura Marriott is the current Embroiderers’ Guild 18-30 Scholar. Her colourful designs - inspired by her travels, from crowded British towns to remote villages in Botswana - are sold as brooches, patches and made into other jewellery pieces. Bryn Pratt-Boyden is a designer-maker who graduated from Kingston University with an MA in 2016. His


interests currently lie with indigo dyeing and the Japanese mending technique Boro, making, fixing and creating garments, bags and other textile items. Emily Sladen is influenced heavily by the wild and rugged environment of her home on St Agnes in the Scilly Isles. Sustainability is important to her and her local community; her work is made from recycled fabrics and yarn waste, and her mixed media embroidery is used on lampshades as well as framed artworks. The fourth and final artist is Catherine Jackson, who has just completed her first year as a self-employed artist. Her main focus is embroidery and needle felting, and uses natural and locally sourced materials in her work. A variety of workshops will be available, but the workshop Colour from the Landscape, with Debbie Lyddon, brings the Eco Textiles theme into sharp relief. In this workshop, participants will explore how to produce paint using rocks and earth, to colour paper and cloth. Debbie will also give a talk about her work entitled Moments of Being and tickets for all events can be booked via the Landmark Arts Centre.

COLETTE MOSCROP Venue: Landmark Arts Centre, Ferry Road, Teddington. TW11 9NN Opening Times: 18.00 - 20.30 Friday 16th March 2018 (Preview) 10.00 - 17.00 Saturday 17th March 2018 10.00 - 17.00 Sunday 18th March 2018 Standard Admission: ÂŁ4 adults / ÂŁ3 seniors & students / Under 16s FREE LAC Members FREE For more information, visit: Images courtesy of The Landmark Arts Centre ukhandmade winter 2017 | 41

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Jenni Davis Working from her studio in North West London, Jenni Davis creates luxury bags and accessories under the name of DS London. Handmade in small quantites, each bag is unique with simple, contemporary design that makes each piece a timeless and affordable addition to any wardrobe. Interview by Karen Jinks

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wear, to trying my hand at pottery and ceramics. Whilst studying textiles design at De Montfort University, I specialised in Mixed Media Textiles. It was during this time where I truly fell in love with the qualities of leather and just how versatile it is to work with. I can remember a nearby leather merchant coming in to show us their latest range and I was completely mesmerised. The colours and textures of each hide, plus the luxurious feel... I was instantly hooked. I have always loved experimenting with textures and in the early days I would smock, embellish and laser cut my leather samples to see how far I could go with it. One of our projects was to construct a bag from a fabric sample we had created, and it just reinforced what I wanted to go on and do. There is something so satisfying about being able to hold a physical item that, only a few hours before, was merely a piece of leather or swathe of fabric.

Who is DS London? DS London is an exclusive independent British luxury accessories brand, specialising in unique luxury & bespoke leather bags, keyrings & travel accessories. Tell us your background; do you have any formal training? Ever since I was a child I’ve loved creating things, from painting, making little dresses for my dolls to 44 | ukhandmade winter 2017

Your bags have a very luxurious and high-quality finish. How did you go about creating such a strong brand? My branding has most definitely evolved over the years and become more refined as I’ve grown. From day one, I’ve known I wanted to use ethically sourced leathers and pride myself with sourcing them all from suppliers across the UK. Understanding my customers’ needs is a very important part of my branding. Making sure they are aware of what DS London is and stands for is essential. It also helps them get to know my brand and I, and most importantly, trust us. We are constantly running between meetings, lunches, nights out, etc., and we like to look our best without having to repack our bags for every outfit.

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I feel it’s my job to show my customers how my designs fit seamlessly into every wardrobe. The styling is simple but the attention to detail and workmanship is what stands out. It’s important to me that people feel they are truly getting something special when they buy from my shop, along with sense that they are buying something that will help make their life a little bit easier. 46 | ukhandmade winter 2017

How important is good branding and photography in selling your items? Branding and photography for me go seamlessly together. As my collection is aimed towards affordable luxury, my brand needs to reflect that too. I think very carefully about the colour palette that’s used throughout my brand from the website right through to my social media channels. I

want people to be able to recognise my brand, moving from my website over to my Instagram feed. Photography is how I bring my handbags to life. Being an e-commerce brand, it’s so important that people can really see what the bag is like when they are browsing, so that they know what they’re buying. This can range from the colour to the sizing of the item. Making sure each image is uniform and each design is photographed in the same way, helps keep everything looking consistent. I’m very particular about which photos make the cut and which end up in the deleted album. When I’m photographing my products, I always try and think what I would I like to see if I was buying the item. Putting myself in my customers shoes always helps me get the right images. It’s also just as important that my customers know they’re getting a handmade item. To demonstrate this, I regularly share videos of myself making orders for people to see. It helps to show them that everything is handcrafted and invites them to share the process with me, to see the amount of love and care that goes into each item. Do you take commissions and if so, what has been your most interesting request? I do take on commissions every now and then. I’ve been asked to make all kinds of bags in the past, from fully beaded bags to bags with feathers accents, and some have been very extravagant. To date, my favourite commissioned piece by far, has been a family heirloom keyring. It ukhandmade winter 2017 | 47

had seen better days, and I was asked to replicate the keyring to hold the metal heirloom back in the right place. It was so rewarding, being able to help a family keep something so precious to them, safe for many more years to come. Tell us about your workspace. All my bags and accessories are handmade in my home-based studio in North West London. I have a room where everything I need is in one place. Over the years, it’s grown and more shelves have been added to hoard the mountain of leather hides and skins. I like to be organised, having everything in a set place, so I don’t have to look too far for what I need. What are your favourite tools of the trade? I have more than a few favourites but my top three would have to be my craft knife, awl and steel ruler. These are the main tools that I use daily and I really wouldn’t be able to make anything without them. I have around 3 sets of each of them, just in case I misplace one. I love that in a matter of minutes, using these tools, the structure of a bag can be formed ready for sewing. What does the term handmade mean to you? For me, handmade means luxurious, of the highest quality and, most importantly, unique. There is something so magical about knowing that someone has taken the time to make something just for you, that it’s taken them years to tune and refine their skill to be able to create what they do. Having something that no one else in the world has, there’s something truly special about that for me. 48 | ukhandmade winter 2017

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Who or what is influencing you right now? Right now, I’m all about the beads and the embellishments, and looking back at past haute couture designers such as Christian Dior and Chanel. I adore intricate bead work and I’m really hoping to incorporate something similar into my collection in the near future. What advice would you give someone looking to start a creative business? Just start! For a long time, I held back my work because I was nervous about what the world might say or think about it. I didn’t have the right photographs, or I felt the designs weren’t quite right yet! One thing I have learned is that there is never a right time to put yourself out there. There will 50 | ukhandmade winter 2017

always be someone who doesn’t like what you create. You will always learn, improve and grow from where you began and that’s part of the journey. If you don’t start, you will never give yourself the chance to achieve your full potential. What is the best advice someone has given you? Progress over perfection, and don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. I constantly remind myself of these on a regular basis. I’m a perfectionist at heart and I’ll always find some reason to hold my work back. When I struggle to make something look how I feel it should, my fiancé usually steps in to tell me to just put it out there and change it on the next one. I must admit, it’s nice being able to see the progression DS London has made since I started it.

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What are the most rewarding and most frustrating aspects of what you do? The most rewarding thing is the feedback and people tagging me in their Instagram images, seeing how much they enjoy using their new keyring or bag. The most frustrating aspect can be printing the personalised text with the hot foil. I hate waste so if the heat press isn’t at the correct temperature or I’m working with a new leather, it can take a while to get the print to a standard I’m happy with. If you had the chance to learn a new creative skill, what would it be? I would love to try my hand at Calligraphy. I am in complete awe of the craft and it’s so therapeutic to watch. It would be lovely to take up a new hobby that maybe one day I could incorporate into my brand. What are your goals for the future? My future goals are to keep on steadily growing the brand, building awareness. I would love to see my bags in some boutiques across the UK and start taking part in large event like Stylist Live and the Spirit of Christmas. For more information, visit: To follow, visit: Images courtesy of DS London

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2nd December 2017

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ON DECEMBER 2ND, Selvedge will bring together a collection of 45 of the UK’s finest makers and merchants to sell their rare vintage fabrics, covetable haberdashery and skilfully handmade textile treasures for its festive London fair. Taking place at Mary Ward House in the heart of Bloomsbury, the Selvedge Fair will be the perfect place to seek out special handmade gifts and decorations, as well as meet the talented people who make them. Products on sale range from £5 to £500, and include knitter and felt maker Cecilie Telle’s signature bell and bucket bags, scarves and hats, Japanese shibori textiles designed and made by Romor Designs and monochrome cushions and blankets knitted from Yorkshire-spun Merino wool by home and accessories designer Rose B Brown. Merchants include textile specialist Noel Chapman of Bleu Anglais, which sells original Chinese indigo pasteresist patterned cloth; Antonia Graham, founder of iconic interior and gift store Graham and Green, and Jenpatola, which sources vintage and new handmade textiles from India. As well as shopping from the range of goodies in the fair, visitors will be able to take part in a series of festive drop-in workshops, which will run throughout the day. This is the first time Selvedge has brought one of its seasonal fairs to Mary Ward House, the Grade I listed Victorian

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building in the heart of Bloomsbury in London. For visitors who want to extend their day out in London, Selvedge has created a map of nearby historic Spitalfields, which will be given to fair visitors on the day. The Selvedge Fair is run by the team behind the renowned bimonthly textile magazine of the same name. Since the magazine launched in 2003, the brand has flourished into a springboard for makers and artisans with a strong community of textile-lovers at its heart. Selvedge now runs workshops and fairs throughout the year and has its own bricks and mortar and online shop. Venue: Mary Ward House, 5-7 Tavistock Street, London WC1H 9SN Opening Times: 11.00 - 17.00 Saturday 2nd December 2017 Standard Admission: ÂŁ5 For more information, visit: Images courtesy of The Selvedge Fair

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JO DAVIES Specialising in wheel-thrown and hand-built porcelain, Jo Davies brings years of experience and craftsmanship to every object she makes. The enjoyment of the making process and the continuing development of an evolving creativity are what drives her practice. Interview by Karen Jinks

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never really looked back. I enjoy the way you can make something with it using your own hands and this felt like a great way to have a completely autonomous experience where I was making all the creative decisions. It felt like being free. Do you have any formal training? Yes, I have a ceramics degree from Bath School of Art and a Masters in Ceramics from the Royal College of Art. What is your favourite clay to work with and why? Porcelain. There are lots of reasons for this but, in summary, I love the way that it’s so elastic when you work with it on the wheel - it moves and stretches in a unique way, different from other clays - and it’s amazingly smooth, so feels great when I work with it, making it incredibly malleable. It’s also white and translucent; the whiteness was my starting point but it’s good because this makes it a great ground for coloured glaze. The translucency is an important ingredient for my lighting range.

Who is Jo Davies? I am a ceramicist, living and working in East London. I mainly work with porcelain to create wheel-thrown vessels and lighting. Why did you decide to be become a ceramicist? I discovered clay at school, where I was lucky enough to have a ceramics department and teacher who knew all about it and assisted me in the early days. I fell in love with it quite quickly and have 60 | ukhandmade winter 2017

Your work has a strong, minimalist style, yet it feels very organic too. Where do you get your inspiration from? My inspiration comes so much from the materials and processes I’m using. When I’m developing a design, I will start with a function or the idea of a function, such as a bowl or a rose bowl or a bowl that pours and, from that point, work my aesthetic around it. Because I’ve been working with clay for so long, some of my original inspirations have been forgotten or have informed such small details that now my work is mainly referencing itself, like a creative conversation twenty years long.

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Is it important that your pieces are functional too? Yes, but if I were to make something that isn’t very functional or only references functionality, then I don’t worry about it too much. I like function but I’m not a purist about it. Do you take commissions? If so, what is the most interesting or unusual piece you’ve been asked to create? Yes, I do take commissions. However, I like to work under my own creative steam so the commissions I produce seem to be bespoke versions of what I already make - larger, smaller, etc. 62 | ukhandmade winter 2017

Tell us about your workspace. My studio is brilliant. It’s in an old converted Chocolate Factory, set around a cobbled courtyard in Dalston, East London. It’s on the ground floor, which is perfect for ceramics because of all the potential for heavylifting, and it’s a beautiful space with lots of natural light and a great community around me. It’s run by one of the artists and his wife, so there is very much an emphasis on the community element, rather than it being a money-making exercise like so many London studios have become, especially in the area we’re in. I feel very lucky to be there.

Do you keep sketchbooks? How important are they to your creative process? I keep all my sketchbooks from the past but I don’t often use them now or have one ‘on the go’. This is because my development happens in the clay rather than in the sketchbook. When I make new objects, I want to visualise them immediately and a drawing is just a pale comparison of what’s in my mind or what I can create three-dimensionally. I’m far more likely to have a notebook than a sketchbook, so that I can verbalise thoughts or note inspirational things that I’ve seen. What are your favourite tools of the trade? My ‘Shimpo’ wheel and a small group of my simple hand tools that are steel, boxwood and plastic for differing strengths and tolerances when I’m throwing. I’ve noticed that there are lots of special tools on the market now for throwers made from all sorts of amazing new materials, but I’m afraid I was taught in an old-school way so have my oldschool tools to match. What does the term ‘handmade’ mean to you? It means a fundamental and very important connection between one person and someone else who has made an object. It means that someone has taken pains over something and that it has innate meaning because of that. It means the process has been an autonomous one, where one person has taken charge of the design and the making of the object. It doesn’t necessarily mean the object will be good. ukhandmade winter 2017 | 63

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So often, ‘handmade’ is deemed as a mark of quality - most of the time in fact - but it’s not a given. Who are your favourite artists/designers? I really love the work of Barbara Nanning, Lucie Rie and Ewen Henderson. They are all favourites of mine. What advice would you give someone looking to start a creative business? Keep going even when it’s tough. Look to develop a distinctive style of your own, rather than chasing trends or being tempted to create products that are purely commercial. I so often speak with young new graduates who are making products unrelated to their practices, that they dislike, because they think it will earn money. It dilutes your practice and if you’re going to spend a lot of time doing something you dislike, you might as well get a parttime job. Always lead with creative integrity. What was the best advice someone ever gave to you? Do what you love and sooner or later, other people will love it too. What are the most rewarding and most frustrating aspects to what you do? The loss rate with porcelain can be quite high. I always have to make more than I need because a slight fault will make an otherwise lovely piece completely worthless. That is truly frustrating. Please describe your perfect day… A good breakfast to start - not too early - and perhaps something with ‘Hipster’ overtones, like ukhandmade winter 2017 | 67

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smashed avocado on sourdough with freshly foraged mushrooms. Then a morning spent developing new vessels at the studio, using clay that my assistant has already wedged and weighed for me before I arrive. As this is a dream day, it all goes well, there is no existential angst and I have made a group of new work that won’t crack in the drying, crack or warp in the kiln, and they will take the glaze perfectly with no pin-holing or crawling (all technical terms). I have lunch at my favourite kebab shop near the studio (I have an enormous choice in Dalston) just after 1pm. After lunch, as it’s a summer’s day and a good temperature of around 28 degrees, I go for a beautiful walk in the countryside with my husband, Matt. We have dinner and ale at a cosy pub (fireside) and then get the train home (window seats around a table on a near empty carriage). It’s a day of good company, good food, good making. If you had the chance to learn a new creative skill, what would it be? I’ve done a bit of basketmaking and would love to know more about it. It feels like the creative potential is huge. What are your goals for the future? To continue to develop new work and evolve the creativity of the objects I will leave behind. Where can we see your work? The Contemporary Ceramics Centre in Bloomsbury, London, hold a stock of my work but I’ll also be part of a three person exhibition there from February 15th - March 10th, 2018, entitled Porcelain3. For more information, visit: To follow, visit: Images courtesy of Jo Davies

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Digital Retailing: PREPARing YOur Business FOR The Festive Season by Heidi Burton and Diana Stainton 70 | ukhandmade winter 2017

With Christmas fast approaching, we asked marketing guru Heidi Burton of Digibloom and product photographer Diana Stainton to share their tips on how to prepare your online shop and mazimise those festive sales! HEIDI SAYS: Get organised! Planning ahead of the Christmas rush can save time, money and stress. Not only should you try to have stock and supplies prepared, but a social media plan/calendar is also useful, as is creating a strategy for running ads and promotions. Have all your (festive?) design collateral and copy ready to go! You can even schedule social posts ahead of time using a platform like Buffer. Do some housekeeping. Optimise your shop for searches. Go through your product listings and weed out irrelevant keywords such as ‘Halloween’, ‘Father’s Day’, etc., and replace with relevant Christmas and gift-centric phrases. Platforms such as Etsy have a storefront search function; use this to find sneaky out-of-date keywords quickly! Market your products towards your intended audience. When creating product descriptions and brainstorming keywords, think about your ideal customers and the phrases they will search for. Remember that, in the run up to Christmas, the majority of shoppers will be buying gifts for others. Use search engines, e-commerce platforms, Google Adwords keyword planner, etc., to discover new keywords and phrases you may not have thought of. For example, to help the right people find your ‘novelty mug for dad’, you could use keyword phrases such as ‘funny coffee lover mug’ for a different angle, to further the reach of your product.

Offer all the answers. Look at your product descriptions from a customer’s point of view or ask a friend to read them. The last thing you need, whilst busy with Christmas orders (and decking your halls with boughs of holly!), is to be bombarded with enquiries about your products. Prevent email overwhelm by writing no-stoneunturned FAQs, describing everything from the measurements, colours and materials, to what it feels like, weighs and looks good with. Tell them if it comes framed or packaged, can be customised, offered with gift wrapping/notes and so on. Use photos that show scale, texture and what it looks like on a person, etc. Be clear as to what the customer will receive, how many units (if more than one is pictured), and when they can expect to receive it. Finally, clearly state your last posting dates and when/if your shop will be ‘on holiday’. Run a promotion! To create a buzz around your shop, spread the word and holiday cheer, offer a promotion in the run-up to Christmas. Social media giveaways that encourage entrants to share your product images/links can further your reach and generate new leads. You may choose to participate in well-established annual sales such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday when shoppers will be breaking the internet in search of bargains! Offering free shipping can also entice shoppers to purchase your products. For more information, visit: To follow, visit: ukhandmade winter 2017 | 71

Use a tripod. I always find styling my photoshoots easier when using a tripod, especially when there isn’t much daylight in the winter months. Make a set by the window to make sure you have a good amount of daylight, and keep your camera in the same place using a tripod. Place your products and props in the set, and keep moving and nudging them until everything is in the perfect place. Christmas is the busiest time of year for sales for most people, so take your time to get it right.

MIJMOJ DIANA SAYS: Start early! The busy Christmas period tends to sneak up on us so, when photographing new products throughout the year, try and take some festive ones at the same time... even if it is in the middle of summer or start of autumn. This way, you will be armed with an array of newsletter, catalogue and social media content so that you can concentrate more on making and fulfilling orders come December. Keep it simple. Whether you are using the same styling and backgrounds as your usual product shots or going for a whole different look and feel, keep it simple. Adding just one or two props that have a festive feel will be enough to give you a Christmas vibe. You can use baubles, pretend snow, pine cones or have some twinkling fairy lights in the background for example. 72 | ukhandmade winter 2017

Show that it’s giftable! Adding elements to show that your product is giftable will help to inspire people when they are doing their Christmas shopping. You could have a few group shots of items for specific people e.g. ‘Gifts for Men’ or ‘Gifts for Mum’, which is a good way to give people ideas and advertise your products. For more information, visit: To follow, visit: Images/photography courtesy of Diana Stainton With thanks to Tara Osborne Jewellery, Rosa and Clara Designs and Mijmoj

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Simple Treasures... With Christmas just around the corner, we have sought out a selection of handmade treats and treasures; for that perfect gift for a loved one, or to decorate your home for the festive season.

STONEWARE STUDIO miniature pottery houses and white church, enquiries at ukhandmade winter 2017 | 75

PRISM OF STARLINGS folk peacock 2018 diary, enquiries at

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KATIE MORGAN DESIGN twiggy lampshade enquiries at

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EMMA LOUISE CORRY ‘Home for Christmas’ glass dome decoration, enquiries at

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FIONA HUMPHREY ‘Tattoo Angel’ linocut christmas card, enquiries at ukhandmade winter 2017 | 79

THE WAY TO BLUE fine bone china blue butterflies mug, enquiries at

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VANILLA KILN white porcelain feather brooch. enquiries at

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JUBILIQUE AND LOUISE illustrated face ceramic trinket dish, enquiries at

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JACK LAVERICK CERAMICS blowing tree porcelain candle holder, enquiries at

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See you in the Spring...

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