a showcase for the work of talented UK designer-makers
Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
Summer Weddings 2013 | ukhandmade |
WHY BUY HANDMADE? 1. Many designers, artists and makers produce items that are bespoke. This means that you will receive an uniquely personal item at surprisingly affordable prices, as many do not have the same overhead expenses as shops. 2. Buying locally reduces your carbon footprint because the products havenâ€™t been shipped from the other side of the world. 3. Buying locally means that the money you spend, stays in your area and boosts the local economy. 4. Independent designers, artists and makers care about the things they make so, by building a relationship with a local designer, artist or maker, you are guaranteed outstanding customer care and quality. Add your name to the Buy Handmade campaign by signing the pledge on our website and show your support for British designers, artists and makers. 2 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
contributors: Autumn 2013
finds: Editor’s Picks From the stories of a successful co-operative and a grow-yourown community group, to the life-changing advice of a business coach, this Autumn’s issue has something for everyone. If you are thinking of taking the plunge and ‘Doing It Yourself’, we have exclusive
tips and hints to encourage and inspire you. We
finds: Kit Yourself Out
meet: The FIG Co-operative
meet: Handsome Frank
selection of gorgeous handmade goodies,
tutorials and reviews, so close the door, light the fire and settle down for a cosy and creative Autumn.
Bebe. x Editor & Designer/Maker
meet: Cloth & Clover
make: Leaf Crown
make: DIY Decals
review: The Belle & Boo Craft Book
lifestyle: Autumn Treats
lifestyle: From Tower Block to 4 Acres
lifestyle: Pickles and Preserves
lifestyle: DIY for Wildlife
scene: The LONDON Design Festival
scene: Edible York
business: Starting Out
business: The Tipping Point
business: The Value of Handmade
FRONT & BACK COVER IMAGES feature handmade ceramics by Katrin Moye; photography by Iwan Essery and styling by Holly Bruce.
Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
AUTUMN 2013 Contributors... Lisa Margreet Payne Craft Educator & Writer www.lisamargreet.com
Handloom Weaver www.chrissiefreeth.wix.com/weaver
Teresa Verney Brookes
Education Officer for the RSPB and Forest School Teacher
UK Handmade Magazine, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.ukhandmade.co.uk • Copyright © UK Handmade LTD 2013. 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 2013
Creative Director & Artist/Designer www.karenjinks.co.uk
Graphic Designer & Illustrator www.askeyillustration.co.uk
Deputy Editor & Designer/Maker www.dawnbevins.co.uk
26 Meet:Cloth and Clover
Finance Director & Maker www.myfuroshiki.com
Writer & Maker www.leadandconnect.com
Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
Autumn finds: by Bebe Bradley
AIDEN SPENCER: Beach Ring from www.ohbotherdesign.etsy.com
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JILL SHADDOCK: Tiny layered semi-porcelain slipcast vessels with unglazed interiors, ÂŁ21 each (including P&P) from www.madebyhandonline.com/by/jill_shaddock Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
KIRSTY ELSON: ‘The House of the Rising Sun’, from www.kirstyelsondesigns.co.uk
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ROBIN & MOULD: Hand Screen Printed Cat Pillow in Mustard Yellow, ÂŁ20 each from www.robinandmould.etsy.com
Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
JANE ADAM: Large Dyed Aluminium Necklace (detail), enquiries at www.scottish-gallery.co.uk/artist/jane_adam
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ELLUL CERAMICS: Sage Leaf Cone Bowl (detail), ÂŁ405 from www.madebyhandonline.com/by/ellul_ceramics Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
The FIG Co-operative by Nicola Mesham In the current economic climate, the thought of setting up a bricks-andmortar shop may seem too daunting for many designer/ makers. The high street is not in great shape, and as many as one in six shops across the UK, lies empty. Yet amongst the negativity, there are glimmers of hope. The concept of working as a co-operative in order to share the burden of costs, has created a vibrant retail outlet for six designer/ makers based in Bristol. We talked to Jemima Lumley and Jane Ormes, two members of the Fig co-operative, about how this business model could offer a way forward for bricks and mortar retail. 12 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
Fig was founded four years ago by a group of six designer-makers who had previously shared another workspace together. The group consists of two printmakers, Jane Ormes and Chitra Merchant, jewellery designer Jemima Lumley, glass artist Robyn Coetzee, and textile artists Kate Tarling and Sinead Finnegan. Jane Ormes explains “Our old studio was on its last legs and in a very quiet residential street. Due to the start of the recession, there was a glut of empty shops on our local high street - the fantastic Gloucester Road in North Bristol - which is full of amazing independent businesses. We found a property to suit us, with reasonable rent, gave it a major overhaul and we’ve been going strong ever since.” Despite higher overheads, Fig was now placed on a thriving street which was well supported by the local community. What they lost in actual work space, they gained in a huge increase in individual sales and it created a professional platform for selling their work. Initially, Fig ran half the shop floor as workspace, and half as a designated selling area. Customers could see the designers working and it emphasised the point that all the products were handmade. The shop section became so successful that the team decided to expand the retail space.
Jemima Lumley Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
They now create work from their various off-site studios. Jemima Lumley outlines the impetus behind forming the co-operative, “I looked at it this way, I needed somewhere to work from because I did not have space at home, and I needed somewhere to store tools and machinery. Fig allowed me to have a place to work, store things and sell directly to customers with no middle man. I’ve made it sound simple, but Fig made it much less daunting. Sharing the costs was the only way forward, and I was lucky to know Jane (Ormes) and a selection of other crafts people so we could set up together.” Many people bemoan the homogenisation of the high street, and the same chains seem to crop up from Birmingham to Brighton. Retail space operated by co-operatives can counteract this and offer shoppers a unique buying experience. Jane explains why Fig is different to other shops, “Stencilled under our shop window is ‘handmade here’! We sell unique, handmade pieces created by the six of us, from silver jewellery, cushions and screen prints to glass birds, embroideries and hand printed babygros! Customers really seem to enjoy ‘meeting the maker’. We take it in turns to be present in the shop and people are fascinated by our individual crafts and the processes we use. 14 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
Serving the customers ourselves means that they get a real insight into how our things are made. She elaborates, “What’s lovely is that you hear the story behind the purchase; the intended recipient, why they love it, where it will go, etc. Obviously, it’s very satisfying to receive the full recommended price on our work too. We plough a percentage back into the co-op to help pay our overheads and advertising. We’ve also learnt interesting things along the way, such as the two different music licenses we have to pay so that we can play music or the radio, health and safety issues, how to deal with tricky customers, publicity, window displays and how to price our work.” Both Jane and Jemima agree that working as a
Robyn Coetzee: Kiln-formed Glass Hanging Birds
group of six is better than going it alone. “There are plenty of hands to the wheel. Whether it’s manning the shop or having to switch off the burglar alarm at 11pm, one of us can do it! We are all supportive of each other, share ideas and information and promote our differing crafts to our customers. We constantly give each other feedback, whether it’s about display, pricing or customers comments.” Jane also feels that their work has evolved as a direct result of working with artists together in a shared space.
Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
Jane Ormes: ‘2 Go Mad in the South Hams’, limited edition of 50, £215 unframed.
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She says, “I’ve learnt a huge amount from other members of our co-op. Jemima, our silversmith, has superb business acumen and is amazingly generous
Jemima concludes that the co-operative experience has been extremely positive, “Fig has given us all opportunities we couldn’t have had on our own,
with her knowledge. Kate has learnt to linoprint after watching Chitra at work. I think we are often subconsciously influenced by being around each other’s work. Currently, we have a lovely selection of birds and butterflies in different media! We’ve all learnt something from each other, one way or another, whether it¹s technique or information that can be shared.”
and helped us all to learn from each other and from our customers. I hope that our business encourages crafts people and artists to take a leap of faith, and a relatively small cash investment, to make a go of their craft away from galleries and craft markets. Strangely, the current economic climate is a good time to do this. Landlords are willing to negotiate rents as they’d rather have tenants than not and (some) councils are still offering rate discounts. Also, I think that the attitude towards buying local has never been so good.”
Naturally, working in a co-operative means that a designer/maker cannot be completely autonomous and this may not suit some people. The mix of work and personalities needs to be right for any co-operative and there will be compromise along the way. But, Jane reiterates that “the support and goals that can be achieved by a group all striving for the same thing, can be priceless.” The future looks bright for Fig, as Jane explains “We have weathered the financial storm of the last four years since the shop opened. People in our area of Bristol love to support local business and enterprise, and we have many regular customers who continue to want to buy something that¹s unique and made with love. We¹ve all carved ourselves a little following locally and long may it continue!”
Fig is blessed with being located on the Gloucester Road in Bristol. It is a unique place; in fact, it contains one of the largest collection of independent shops in Europe. This doesn¹t mean a co-operative business model couldn¹t be replicated elsewhere. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of the High Street, consumers should consider supporting independent shops in their home towns and cities. By nurturing businesses such as Fig, we can support home grown talent and perhaps the bland face of the high street can be changed for the better. For more information on FIG and its artists, visit: www.figshop.co.uk Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
SCENE: The LONDON Design Festival This September sees one of the most important events on the design calendar, the London Design Festival. Now in its eleventh year, the Festival will be celebrating the very best in design with more than 250 partners and over 300 events. The Festival is a key constituent of London’s Autumn creative season, alongside London Fashion Week, Frieze Art Fair and the London Film Festival. Its role is to celebrate and promote London as the world’s design capital and gateway to the International design community. From the 14th to the 22nd of September, the Festival will deliver its own varied programme of commissioned projects, with highlights at St Paul’s Cathedral and its hub venue, the Victoria and Albert Museum. Ben Evans, London Design Festival Director, says “It is a strength that design can interest a public as well as professional audience. The London Design Festival is designed to do just that, with trade fairs alongside public installations. Design is for everyone.” 18 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
Endless Stair: Image by Cityscape
The ‘Endless Stair’ at St. Paul’s Cathedral: In collaboration with AHEC, Arup, dRMM and Seam Design. The London Design Festival revives its longstanding relationship with The American Hardwood Export Council in this highly ambitious public project. The ‘Endless Stair’ will be installed against the poetic backdrop of one of the city’s best-loved landmarks, St. Paul’s Cathedral. It will invite visitors to climb a series of 20 Escher-like interlocking staircases made from a prefabricated construction using 44 cubic metres of Tulipwood.
The structure will be positioned carefully, in line with the Millenium Bridge, leading directly to the Tate Modern and providing an impressive view of the River Thames. Alex de Rijke, co-Founder of dRMM Architects, says “Endless Stair is a three-dimensional exercise in composition, structure and scale. The ambitious structure is both marker and meeting place, on axis with the Millennium Bridge. The Escher-like game of perception and circulation in timber playfully contrasts with the religious and corporate environment of stone and glass in the city.” Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
London Design Festival at the V&A: The Festival continues its unique collaboration with the worldâ€™s leading Museum of Art and Design, the V&A. The Museum will become the focal venue for the Festival for the fifth year running, and will again host a broad range of activities, spread throughout the Museum, including installations, events, talks and workshops. The V&A and the London Design Festival began its collaboration in 2009 and has offered a packed programme of lunchtime talks, gallery talks, handson workshops and provocative debate every year. This year will see each day of the programme having its own dedicated theme, enabling visitors and participants to make the most of their time and interests during the Festival. The themes for each day are: Future, Materials, Making, London, Science/Nature with the programme content consisting of contributions from a wide variety of Partners and Collaborators. 20 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
8 â€“ 18 The Typographic Circleâ€™s Circular Magazine
8 –18 The Typographic Circle’s Circular Magazine: The V&A’s Core Study Area hosts an exhibition of issues 8 - 18 of ‘Circular’ magazine, the awardwinning collectable publication from The Typographic Circle, a ‘not-for-profit’ organisation formed in 1976 to bring together anyone with an interest in type and typography. Domenic Lippa, partner at world-renowned design studio Pentagram, has been designing Circular since 1999. He describes the practice as a ‘labour of love’, combining his interests in both typography and magazine design. Issues 8 - 18 have no set style or consistency; each issue is designed from scratch and is unique. Work on display includes pieces from some of the best graphic designers, including Vince Frost, Stefan Sagmeister, Alan Fletcher, North, Tom Hingston and Spin. Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
True to Life
True to Life: Dutch designers Scholten & Baijings transform a V&A room into a lived-in space with a life-like (and recently deserted) dinner setting in place. The installation challenges visitors to think differently about designed objects, which are frequently displayed on plinths or behind glass. 22 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
By showing objects in their everyday living environment where the focus is led by their function/purpose, Scholten & Baijings will create a more adventurous and natural way of viewing design. Boundaries between exclusive design and mass products blur, and prejudices disappear.
The Design Fund:
Digital Design Weekend:
The Design Fund supports the acquisition of
The weekend of the 21st and 22nd of September
contemporary design objects at the V&A. These new acquisitions significantly enhance the V&A’s holdings of contemporary design, a collection which reflects what is new, influential, innovative or experimental, and representative of contemporary trends in design and society. The fund was created by fundraiser Yana Peel in 2011, having discussed the idea with London Design Festival Director Ben Evans. Their aim was to raise £100,000 per year from private patrons to fund new acquisitions. It has since enabled the Museum to purchase a number of objects by designers such as Joris Laarman, Fredrikson Stallard and nendo. The latest pieces backed by the fund will be shown at the V&A during
celebrates collaborations in digital art, design and science. Events include interactive installations, bacteria textiles, hacking and tinkering projects, biotechnology, and inventive electronics. ‘Garden of Russolo’, Yuri Suzuki’s interactive installation of voice activated sound work ‘White Noise Machine’, will also be on display throughout the Festival. For further information on The London Design Festival and events, visit: www.londondesignfestival.com For further information on the V&A, visit: www.vam.ac.uk
the London Design Festival 2013.
Graphics Weekend: The Graphics Weekend, on the 14th and 15th of September, will celebrate the creative diversity of graphic art and content across all platforms. It will consist of workshops, debates and installations around print, paper, web, typography and more. Highlights will include a typography workshop by Type Tasting, and digital experiment in collaborative publishing from Six:Thirty which will continue until the 22nd of September. Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
BUSINESS: Starting Out by Karen Jinks Sarah Kent works with professionals from across the whole business spectrum; those who have recently started out on their own, or who are thinking of going it alone as their own boss. As a Business Coach, Sarah can help you find the answers and direction you need to be in control of your selfemployed career. By taking all those questions that compete for space in your head and simplifying them, Sarah advises and enables you to be completely clear about where you are going, what it will take to get there, and gives you the confidence to decide exactly what you should do next. 24 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
You have had an incredibly varied career. What inspired you to start out on your own path of selfemployment as a Business Coach?
Being self-employed can be very rewarding but also very demanding with long hours. How do you manage your time and keep a life/work balance?
I was inspired by the idea that our work can be more integrated into who we are. I designed my work so that I could spend time doing the things that I really enjoyed; that were viable, meaningful and made a difference to others.
My intention was to create work that really suited me and this meant being clear about what was really important to me, what would keep me at my best, so that I can both be of the most help to my clients without compromising other areas of my life. It’s still a challenge but if I’m honest about what is important to me and how I want to spend my time, then everybody wins. We can get pulled into thinking that work and life are different but, in reality, they share the way we use up the time we are allocated.
How do your own past experiences enable you to coach others so successfully? I talk my walk. I have been there. I know how hard it is to make big changes for ourselves voluntarily, and the various types of support that we need along the way. Having a varied background means that I can offer options from different industries and this is important due to the current pace of change. What types of clients do you work with? The common theme with the people I work with is that they want to make an epic change, and they know that it will take time effort and investment in themselves. It’s not just people who are transitioning to self-employment. It’s also business owners who want to upgrade the way they market and sell to better reflect how the world works now, or those who have successfully built a business and want to recalibrate and reassess where they are at and what is important to them.
It can be incredibly daunting for people to take the first step into self-employment. What advice do you give to people who are thinking of taking the plunge but are held back for fear of loss of income, etc? Start small. Test out ideas in a small way first then reinvent and refine as you go. Managing the uncertainty is a big part of what I do with people. We are stepping out of the areas in which we are highly competent, where we are used to knowing what we are doing. There is also a lot of unlearning that needs to happen because what worked well when employed won’t necessarily work in the same way when you are starting out on your own. Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
Before I encourage people to build a firm foundation from which to launch from. This involves becoming clear on who you are, what keeps you at your best and what motivates you when things get tough. The technical elements of starting out - like building a customer base, putting in processes and the legal and financial elements - are relatively easy. At UK Handmade, we see more and more people leaving the corporate world to follow a more creative path. Do you think there is a cultural shift and why? Absolutely. The world has changed beyond recognition in just the last 7 years. We are using tools in all different areas of business that didn’t even exist back then. The ways in which we do After business, think about work, access information and set our priorities, are broader than they’ve ever been. Because of this, we are seeing our work as more than just a way to earn an income. Many designer/makers find themselves swamped by their own successes. How would you assist them in finding a more productive path? Yes, this is really common! It happens to all of us and it’s part of the growth of a business and its owner. When I work with people at this stage, we focus on all of the things that are impacting them, what’s working and what’s not. There are practice 26 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
tools or techniques that are helpful or sometimes it entails looking at what the business needs to work well, such as marketing, branding, selling and/or systems. We break this down so that it becomes really small and do-able. This relieves some of the stress on our system so that we can think creatively again and work well. Recognise that you don’t have knowledge because it’s new to you, and that the nature of creativity and growing a business means that there will always be something new and exciting happening. Conversely, there are people who have worked hard and still feel like their business isn’t working. What can they do in this situation? Yes, I have been here as well and it’s very common. It’s really important to get some support with this because we can start to lose confidence and motivation, or we can start to panic and lose focus. All are normal responses. The best thing to do is recognise that there is not one right way that works for everyone. There are hundreds of different things we can do that might work for us but not for others and vice-versa. Go back to basics and look at what you want your business to be and look at what your immediate priorities are. It’s easy to get locked into looking for one answer when there are so many variables to consider, and we may not be able to do that on our own.
Get support, find a network, find a group, reach out to others or work with a business coach.
What are your goals for the next five years? I don’t tend to set long term, linear goals. I have a sense of where I am headed about 6 months to a
Creative blocks can happen to anyone at any time. What are your tips to get the creative juices flowing again? Although it may not seem like it, the creative process is a very physical one and it can take a lot out of us. It’s important to refuel and recharge regularly. The simple things like taking breaks, exercising, getting enough sleep and eating well, can easily be overlooked when we are in mid flow. It can help to see these things that really support you in doing this, as non-negotiable overheads or investments in yourself and your business.
year ahead. The pace of change is so fast now that it’s an advantage to be flexible enough to roll with what comes along, and be ready to take up any opportunities as they arise. For more information on Sarah Kent, visit : www.sarah-kent.com Images courtesy of Sarah Kent.
Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
“Hello, Handsome!” by Mandy Knapp
It all began with Frank. Frank and Kate had three daughters and, in turn, their daughters had eight children. Ninety-three years after Frank was born, Handsome Frank was founded by two of Frank’s grandsons, cousins Jon Cockley and Tom Robinson. 28 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
Following successful careers in publishing and advertising, they pooled their skills and launched illustration agency Handsome Frank in 2010. Handsome Frank represents some of the most talented and original commercial illustrators in the UK.
Once you had decided the premise of the business you wanted to launch, how did you decide on the name? We played around with a lot of names, some of which were really bad. Because of our family connection, we wanted to refer to it in the name of the agency. Frank is our Grandfather (94) and once we had set upon that, handsome (as he’s a dashing gent) seemed the natural fit. What made you want to develop an agency to represent illustrators? More than anything it was because we love the medium. I’m quite a creative person myself and I’ve always enjoyed photography, but I don’t have enough ability to make a living out of it. So the next best thing seemed to be working within the industry, but on the business side of things. I love the fact that we help incredibly talented individuals find commercial avenues for their work, which ultimately allows them to keep doing it!
Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
What different skill-sets do you both bring to the company? My background is in sales and publishing, whilst
the ‘boutique’ size of the agency. Working closely with a smaller number of artists and maintaining a personal rapport with our illustrators is key. We
Tom has worked in advertising agencies until now. In theory, I’m the business guy and he’s the creative one. In reality, I think our skill-sets are a little more intermingled than that though. We complement each other well; his experience of big agencies and how the creative process works within those companies is invaluable. I make good coffee.
don’t want to get too big.
What sets you apart from other agencies? We like to be proactive and give people a reason to consider our artists. Our ‘Tweet-a-Brief’ exhibition was a good example. We wanted to showcase the talent that we have on our books but we also wanted to do something a little more engaging and interactive than just a themed exhibition. The Tweet-a-Brief concept was to ask our followers to suggest ideas for our artists to depict. It not only helped us to spread the agency’s name and make new friends and contacts, it really pushed our artists creatively and resulted in some of the best work they’ve ever produced. Aside from that, we’ve also created pop-up shops at ‘The Frontroom’, Cambridge, and exhibited at ‘Pick Me Up’ graphic art fair at Somerset House. Another difference is that we’re also keen to retain 30 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
What was your first big break? About six months after we started the business, we worked on a major advertising project for Toyota through their US advertising agency Saatchi LA. It really opened our eyes, not only to the full potential of the business, but also the international markets which are now a big part of what we do. UK illustration - and creativity in general - is a fantastic export. We now work regularly with the US, Europe, Australia, Japan, and even India and China. Advertising campaigns still offer the best opportunities for illustrators to earn a good living from their art. When you present an illustrator’s work to a potential client, is this done in person or digitally? Our preference is always to meet face to face and show printed portfolios. It gets a far better reaction then showing work on a laptop or ipad. I think we’re all sick of staring at a screen all day and the chance to look at beautifully printed work on good quality paper will always appeal to creative people. That said, obviously time constraints and deadlines mean that this isn’t always possible, so it’s equally
The Frontroom important to have an accessible and intuitive website as well. Your artists all have such different mediums and styles. Tell us about Joël Penkman who works in egg tempera. Joël originally hails from New Zealand but now lives
in Liverpool. After a career as a graphic designer, she started experimenting with an old technique of painting with egg tempera, essentially egg yolk and powdered paint. Apparently the practice pre-dates the invention of the more ‘modern’ alternative of oil painting.
Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
The results are stunningly photo-realistic with a real depth and vivid colours. Twinning this old fashioned method with contemporary subject matter - often food - Joël has worked with some great clients including EAT and Phaidon. She’s also exhibited at the Royal Academy. By contrast, Andrew Lyons produces work digitally in a totally different style. What exciting projects has he been working on? Andrew is fantastic talent who has actually only been illustrating professionally for a few years, not that you’d ever know it. His process is predominantly digital, working with Illustrator and Photoshop, but he still retains real warmth to his work. He recently worked on a great project with London design agency Pearlfisher, developing a series of bird illustrations that have been used as the packing for a new range of nutrients. When a new artist presents a portfolio to you, what are you looking for? The key things that we look for are a strong signature style, and a consistency and high quality to the work. It’s much better to have less work of a high standard than lots of work of varying quality. Quality control is very important. The other thing we’re constantly mindful of is making sure that work is commercially applicable. 32 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
We see lots of fantastic work that is stunning and we’d happily hang it on the wall and stare at it all day, but you’ve got to go back and ask how it could be applied. If a brand wouldn’t want to associate with it or a publisher can’t use it to sell books then how can it work commercially? What advice would you give to someone wanting to become an illustrator? You need to find your ‘thing’. Far too many people seem to look around at what everyone else is doing and follow the trends. Whilst it’s fine to be influenced and inspired by peers, you need to make your own mark and develop a unique signature style. Then within that style you need to retain the ability to flexible and be able to apply it to widely varying subject matter. Trends will come and go, if you want a long career, you need to do something different. It’s also all about hard work, long hours (often late and over bank holidays) and being prepared to drop everything and prioritise work when a job comes along. Some of the biggest jobs have the shortest deadlines! For more information on Handsome Frank, visit: www.handsomefrank.com Images courtesy of Handsome Frank.
Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
Kit Yourself Out by Jo Askey
HAWTHORN HANDMADE: Snail Needle Felting Kit, ÂŁ15 from http://hawthornhandmade.co.uk 34 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
SIAN ZENG: Bear Kit with Glasses and Tie, ÂŁ14.95 from www.sianzeng.com Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
HELEN RAWLINSON LIGHTING & TEXTILE DESIGN: Lampshade Making Kit, ÂŁ14.95 (inc.P&P) from www.helenrawlinson.bigcartel.com 36 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
BEETLE CHERRY, ARTWORK by CLARE MUNDAY: DIY Papercut Pack - Birds in Love, £6.50 from www.beetlecherry.com Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
CLOTHKITS: Big Birdie - Adult Skirt Kit Size 8-18, ÂŁ39 from www.clothkits.co.uk 38 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
LINOCUTBOY: Linocut Starter Kit from www.linocutboy.etsy.com
Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
GIFT HORSE KITS: Sleepy Sailor Doll Kit, ÂŁ19.50 from www.gifthorsekits.co.uk 40 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
NANCY NICHOLSON: Teapot Sew Kit, ÂŁ14 from www.nancynicholson.co.uk
Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
Cloth & Clover by Bebe Bradley
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Influenced by the past and traditional arts and crafts, Cloth & Clover designs and produces beautiful fabrics and accessories. Inspired by relaxed and comfortable interiors, Cloth & Clover believes in the art of eclecticism; combining the old with the new, and mixing styles and genres to create individual collections of pattern and colour. Cloth & Clover’s fabrics are designed and printed in England by skilled craftsmen and women, and use traditional techniques and processes. Founder and designer Tania McIvor grew up in Worcestershire and, whilst she may be based in London, her heart is firmly rooted in rural England.
since. My first job was with Laura Ashley where I worked on the home furnishing collections and it undoubtedly instilled my love for textiles and
Why ‘Cloth & Clover’?
Please tell us about the ethos behind your wonderful fabrics and accessories. The Britishness of the collection is important. I’m keen to harness and support British craftsmanship, hence it’s designed and manufactured in the UK. I want to create products that are beautiful and have an inherent worth.
I wanted to use the word ‘cloth’ in our name because it has a very straightforward, practical feel; it tells you exactly what we do. Clover is a symbol of good luck and I like the thought of us being ‘in clover’. How was Cloth and Clover borne out of your past experience and training? My degree was in The History of Art and Visual Studies. I learned a cross section of practical creative skills and was taught the classical principles of art and design which, along with a love of art and architecture, have stood me in good stead ever
interiors. I next worked as a creative director in a global brand licensing agency, where I advised many well-known businesses on their brand and product development strategy. Founding Cloth & Clover was a natural step for me and I guess I’ve returned to where I first started. I’ve come full circle and, perhaps, my time working with big business and retailers has made me appreciate the value of true craftsmanship. I’m taking a more artisanal approach, and creating because I want to make something I really love.
It’s not just about the end product, it’s the processes involved in their creation that fascinate me; how the cloth is woven, the process of creating the screens, the printing itself.
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I liken it to the Slow Food Movement, where the provenance of the ingredients is as integral to the overall process as the skills of the craftsman involved in their making. ‘Slow Fabrics’ if you like. Cloth & Clover products have a highly traditional and distinctive style. Who - or what - influences you? My Grandmother was a huge source of inspiration. She had a very definite and individual style, both in her dress and how she decorated and created her home and garden. She was a great collector of things; antiques, china, fabrics, furniture - what we’d now call vintage, rather than grand antiques - and would always have some craft project on the go, whether it was sewing a quilt or needlepoint. She opened a craft shop/gallery in her cider barn in rural Worcestershire, selling all sorts of beautiful things that she had either found, or made either by herself or local craftsmen. Her sense of pattern and colour has left its mark on me and I have no doubt that she is the biggest influence on my own style. I like to know what’s going on in the world around me in terms of fashion and trends, but I invariably veer towards historical points of reference. I find antique textiles fascinating, the print techniques, the colouration, even the weave of the cloth. It doesn’t have to be fine printing. 44 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
I love rough hand-blocked prints as much as the most intricate copper plate engraving. I also love the English Country House style, from the grand - but comfortable - to the traditional. I’m drawn to many aspects of Scandinavian style, particularly vintage Swedish décor with their use of carved, painted wood, simple but with a soft prettiness. French antiques and textiles are a huge influence for me. I love the handwoven linen and hemp they used for their monogrammed sheets and kitchen textiles, their rich history in printed and woven fabrics, the subtle use of colour, and the characteristic greys and green-blues which I can’t resist. I am reading up on Toiles de Jouy at the moment. It’s riveting stuff! Your collection uses pure linen base cloth from one of the UK’s few remaining working mills and your fabrics and accessories are made in England. Why are these traditional skills and processes so important to Cloth & Clover? It stems from my fascination with the production process. I wanted to produce fabrics and products that have a crafted feel to them and this led me to my weaver in Scotland. The base cloth I use emulates the characteristic weave, look and feel of antique linen. Each batch is different because the flax will differ in its provenance and of course, because it’s a natural product, the weave and colour will vary slightly from batch to batch. Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
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I think this makes it even more appealing and there’s a definite degree of alchemy involved in its production. So much of how it looks is down to the
planet. For example, linen is made from the stems of the Flax plant, Linum Usitatissimum, which is an environmentally friendly plant because, not only
skill and knowledge of the weavers and finishers. The lovely creamy colour is achieved by partbleaching the cloth in small batches and this gives the fabric a lovely depth; fully bleached and tinted cloth tends to be much flatter in tone. It’s a very unscientific process because you are working with a natural product and we never quite know what shade we will get until the process is complete.
is it faster growing than cotton (100 days from sowing to harvesting), it’s also a robust species that requires fewer fertilizers and pesticides than most other crops. Around 130,000 acres of Flax are grown in Western Europe and every part of the plant can be used; the seeds for oil and the fibres found in the stem for linen, paper and rope. So linen is not only beautiful but practical and hardwearing too.
I print using traditional screen printing techniques and, whilst the machines are relatively modern, the process remains the same as in the past. I print in small batches, approaching each print run individually as the base cloth is often a slightly
Here at UK Handmade, we’ve noticed increasing numbers of designers and makers turning to small industry within the UK to produce their products, whilst maintaining a handmade element. Is this difficult to do, and are the skills and processes
different shade and we have to tweak everything accordingly by eye. Each run really is a one-off.
required easily sourced within the UK? Looking at the textile industry in particular, I have to say that I’ve found it difficult to find printers who are able to handle small to medium volumes. It seems to be either very small hand-printers, who can print on a flat bed and produce one-off’s, or larger companies who won’t talk to you unless you are able to print over 300m runs. Many of the smaller screen printers are converting to digital printing, because it’s clean, quick and there are no screen costs.
Is eco-friendliness important to Cloth & Clover and why? I am certainly aware and mindful of the impact that we make on the environment. I don’t think I can say that Cloth & Clover is wholly eco-friendly because I’m not in control of every stage in the process. However, it’s certainly my philosophy to do the best I can to produce our goods in the kindest way we can, and not cause undue harm to the
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Making up soft, sewn products is much easier, and there is definitely a plethora of small workshops that are thriving on small, bespoke and handmade
What makes Cloth & Clover unique? I don’t really feel comfortable with saying that Cloth & Clover is unique. There are so many amazing
designers and makers working and producing in the UK at present, who are all unique in their own way. I’d rather say that Cloth & Clover is individual, that we’re doing our own thing and creating something we really love and hope that other people love it too.
Have you seen a shift in the perception of craft in the UK, and what it means to own a handmade object? What does ‘handmade’ mean to Cloth & Clover? Yes, I think in an age where every High Street in almost any city across the world has the same shops, there is a desire to own something that is unique and has been created by hand. I can’t claim that every aspect of my collection is handmade, but I do work with a small group of skilled and talented craftsmen and women, so every batch of cloth is a one-off. What advice would you give to someone starting their own creative business? I think you have to be utterly passionate about what you are doing because the business takes on a life of its own and is all encompassing. You must become a ‘Jack of all Trades’, gathering knowledge about every aspect of business because you have to know what’s going on. Why employ expensive professional help if it’s something you can learn to do yourself? Lastly, you have to be true to yourself, honest and rather brave. 48 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
If you had the opportunity to learn or employ a new creative skill, what would it be? I’m afraid it is the anathema of handmade: I would learn the Creative Suite package on my Mac. I’m such a Luddite, I have somehow managed to spend my career never designing with a computer, though I should add that I had a team of people around me who did. I’ve always preferred to work manually, although I now realise it would be a great asset to know how it all works for myself. Who are your favourite artists, designers and makers? I love and admire a real cross section of artists and designers, both historical and contemporary, across many disciplines, so it’s really hard to list only a few. I guess my favourites depend on my mood and what I am thinking about at the time.
Your new wallpaper collection launches Spring 2014. What’s next for Cloth & Clover, and how can we discover more about your designs? The wallpapers will be an exciting development as it’s a very different medium, and I have ideas about other products that will sit with the wallpaper. With regards to what’s next, I want to keep fabric the focus of the collection, tempting though it is to diversify. I am working on the next collection now which, for me, is the most exciting aspect of the business by far! You can view the collection on the Cloth & Clover website and I also have a blog which gives a little more insight into what’s happening behind the scenes. We have a growing number of distributors who hold pattern books or samples, though it’s probably best to check the website first or contact me directly. I’m happy to give details of the best places to view our fabrics first hand or send out sample swatches. For more information, visit: www.clothandclover.com Images courtesy of Cloth & Clover.
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The Belle & Boo Book of Craft by Dawn Bevins I’m losing count of all the pretty craft books that I’ve read. After a while, the homewares, accessories and toys can begin to look a bit fluffy and predictable. However, ‘The Belle and Boo Book of Craft’ is so utterly beautiful that I’ve immediately fallen in love with it. If you haven’t already heard of Belle and Boo, then let me introduce you. Belle is a little girl with bobbed hair who is best friends with Boo the rabbit, and they love adventuring. They are the creation of artist Mandy Sutcliffe and feature in their own story books as well as on a range of stationery, fabrics and homewares. 50 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
This book features 25 projects that help bring the sweet and nostalgic style of a childhood from yesteryear into your home. The projects range from the incredibly easy to the fairly competent. If youâ€™re new to craft, the easier projects include a wonderfully effective cut-andstick hot air balloon mobile, and a simple playtime headdress. For those of you who are confident with a needle and thread, there are more timeconsuming projects like the Explorerâ€™s Satchel, full of exciting pockets to collect things in, or the Quiet Book, with its pages full of fabrics and textures. My absolute favourite projects show you how to make your very own Boo from shrunken knitwear, and an adorable Pull-a-long Elephant. Each project lists the materials needed, and instructions are broken down into numbered steps with accompanying numbered photos. Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
The steps are also sub headed Being quite traditional in style, so that you know which part of some of the projects appear the project you are working on, gender specific (a girl is shown without having to read all the way through. Instructions are clear and concise, with only the occasional step (Boo’s tail) causing me to reread (although it is always harder to follow instructions without an actual project in front of you).
in a play house, a boy is shown with a pirate tent) but it’s nice to see projects also geared so beautifully towards boys as I think they sometimes get forgotten in pretty craft lifestyle publications. There are plenty of gender neutral projects too though, such as The book is well designed, and the button pictures and lollipop features the most wonderful soaps. full page photographs by Laura Edwards. I also love how Belle and There is a section towards the Boo illustrations are incorporated back of the book for techniques, throughout, with some included acting as a reminder of how to do within the photographs. It’s a sweet and playful touch. The aesthetics of the projects, made by Lucinda Ganderton and Lisa Pendreigh, feel well thought out, with the majority being a bit different from those in other books. With simple accents, like adding acorns to bunting, projects are elevated to new levels. 52 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
certain stitches or hems. I found that the images supporting the embroidery stitches weren’t close up enough, but the sewing stitches and the hemming images were great. A large selection of templates are included, that you can either trace or photocopy, along with information on how much they need to be enlarged.
The style of The Belle and Boo Book of Craft makes you think of childhood days gone by, where you could drink lashings of ginger beer. It’s a million miles away from some of the entertainment that children are exposed to today, and it captures the warmth and innocence of childhood, bursting with a sense of adventure and imagination that every child deserves to experience. The Belle & Boo Book of Craft by Belle & Boo, is published by Quadrille at £14.99 ISBN-10: 1849492670 ISBN-13: 978-1849492676 Photography © LAURA EDWARDS Illustrations © MANDY SUTCLIFFE
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MAKE: A Leaf Crown
by Larissa Joice
A lovely Autumnal walk with the children can also incorporate a bit of leaf hunting and fun for when you get home. Quick and simple, this Leaf Crown is a gorgeous thing to make in the Autumn when the leaves are turning and beginning to take on the most delicious colours.
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YOU WILL NEED: Some leaves and wild flowers (make sure they are not protected) A child (or adult who likes to channel their inner child) Scissors Sewing machine (ideally) Green, orange or brown thread, depending on the colour of the leaves and stalks A long piece of scrap fabric, 4-5cm wide
METHOD: 1. Visit your local woods for a nice walk (or find some suitable trees and greenery in your garden). 2. Collect some leaves and wild flowers (this does not work with dainty stemmed flowers). 3. Go home having enjoyed lots of lovely fresh air. 4. Measure the piece of fabric to make sure that is long enough to fit around your childâ€™s (or adultâ€™s) head, with enough extra length to tie a bow or knot. Mark with a pen or pencil where the leaves will start and finish, and trim the length if necessary. 5. Choose the appropriate colour of thread for your sewing machine, and get ready to stitch. Lay the fabric on your sewing machine, and arrange the leaves and flowers onto the fabric from the first mark.
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6. Begin by sewing at the bottom of the fabric and the leaves, and as you sew, layer the leaves and add little twigs and flowers. Use a long straight (basting) stitch because, if the stitch is too small, it will simply cut a line through the leaves. 7. Continue to arrange and stitch the leaves and flowers onto the fabric, to the last mark. 8. When you have sewn to the last mark, turn and stitch to the opposite edge, and then sew back to the first mark so that there are two rows of stitches to hold the leaves in place. 9. Snip off the end of the leaves, and trim the twigs and stems along the bottom of the crown. 10. Take your child or adult and go have fun being pirates, Elven kings & queens or fairies. Images courtesy of Larissa Joice.
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AUTUMN TREATS by Bebe Bradley If you’ve spent the day trudging through frosted swathes of colourful leaves, then there’s nothing better to come home to than hot mugs of tea served with sweet and savoury treats.
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PEAR & ALMOND CAKE
4. Mix 2-3 tablespoons of the whisked whites into
Sweet, dense and deliciously moist, this flourless
the almond mixture to loosen it up and then, using a large metal spoon ( I use my tablespoon), gently
and fatless cake is especially good with a dollop of cream and a drizzle of melted chocolate. Ingredients: 3 medium eggs 150g of caster sugar 175g of ground almonds The zest and juice of 1/2 orange A pinch of cinnamon 2-3 firm but ripe small pears, peeled and halved Icing sugar
fold in the rest of the whites. Don’t worry if there’s a wee bit of white showing in the mix. You don’t want to lose the air in the whisked whites, otherwise you’ll end up with a large biscuit rather than a cake. 5. Pour the mixture into the tin and decorate the surface with the prepared pears. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until slightly risen and golden, though still soft centred. 6. Set aside to cool on a wire rack before dredging with icing sugar.
You will also need a 20cm round cake tin. METHOD: 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4/350°F. Grease the cake tin and line it with greaseproof paper. 2. Seperate the eggs, whites in one large mixing bowl and the yolks in another. Beat the yolks with 125g of the caster sugar, until thick, pale and creamy. Fold in the almonds, orange juice, zest and cinnamon to make a stiff paste. 3. Whisk the egg whites to the soft peak stage, and then gradually begin to add the remaining sugar. Keep whisking until the mixture is glossy and stands in stiff peaks. Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
Carrot Cake Pumpkin oil adds a distinctive, nutty flavour to this moist and fruity cake. Ingredients: 175g soft brown sugar 175ml pumpkin oil (or sunflower oil) 3 large eggs, lightly beaten 3 medium sized carrots, trimmed, peeled, and grated 100g sultanas or raisins The finely grated zest of an orange 175g of self-raising flour 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda 2 teaspoons of ground mixed spice FOR THE GLAZE: 175g of icing sugar 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice You will also need a shallow, square 20cm cake tin.
1. Preheat the oven to 180째C/Gas 4/350째F. Grease and line the tin with greaseproof paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar with the pumpkin oil and eggs. Stir in the grated carrots, raisins and orange zest. 2. Mix the soda and spices with the flour, and sift 60 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
into the bowl. Mix the ingredients together, making sure that they are well combined. 3. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until firm and springy to the touch. Set aside to cool for ten minutes and then turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 4. In a small bowl, beat together the icing sugar and orange juice until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the carrot cake, and leave to set before cutting into squares and serving.
Toffee APPLES At this time of year, small British seasonal apples are ideal for dipping in toffee. My Aunt always used Coxâ€™s although an Egremont Russet or Spartan is a good choice too as the toffee adheres well to the skin. Ingredients: 6 - 8 small English eating apples, washed, dried and stems removed 400g of caster sugar 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar 100ml of cold water 6 wooden lolly sticks or chopsticks METHOD: 1. Push the sticks into the apples and set aside ready for dipping. If you are using apples which may have been waxed, remove the coating by plunging the apples into a bowl of boiling water. This will remove the wax and help the toffee adhere to the apple skins. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper to set the dipped apples on. 2. In a heavy pan on a low heat, slowly melt the sugar together with the vanilla extract, vinegar and water, stirring occasionally until the crystals dissolve. Stir continuously over a medium to high heat until the
sugar caramelises to a light golden brown colour. Check the set of the toffee by dropping a small amount into a glass of cold water; when the toffee is ready for dipping into, it should set in the water immediately and be brittle. 3. Remove the pan from the heat, and quickly dip and coat the apples completely in the toffee before it sets. Warm the toffee gently if it starts to thicken. 4. Place the apples on the tray lined with greaseproof paper, stick upright, and leave to set.
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Cheese & Apple Scones Perfect served with a Ploughman’s lunch (see our seasonal pickle recipes on p. 90) or mugs of spicy Pumpkin soup. Ingredients: 225g of self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting and rolling 1 teaspoon of baking powder A pinch of salt 60g of unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small dice 1 teaspoon of mustard, whichever you prefer 75g of mature cheddar, coarsely grated 1 medium eating apple, like a Discovery or a couple of Cox’s Pippins 1 egg 100ml of milk A wee squeeze of lemon juice Method: 1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6/390°F. Line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper and place in the oven to heat whilst you make the scones. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Working lightly, rub the butter into the flour mixture until you have a rubbly breadcrumb texture.
2. Using a fork, lightly mix in the mustard and 50g of the cheese. Coarsely grate the unpeeled apple into the mixture, discarding the core and pips. Lightly mix again to coat the apple with the flour. 3. Add the lemon juice to the milk and stir. Whisk the egg and add to the milk, setting a little to the side to ‘wash’ the tops of your scones before they go into the oven. Gradually add the liquid to the bowl, using a butter knife to bring the mixture together to form a soft dough. 4. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and roll out to around 2 cm thick. Cut into rounds - about 6 or 7cm - using a cookie cutter or a small floured glass. (Don’t twist as you cut or you will end up with a wonky scone. Personally, I don’t mind. It doesn’t affect the flavour and they are homemade, not factory made.) Gather together your trimmings, reroll and repeat until you have used all of the dough. 5. Place the scones on the heated baking tray. Quickly brush the tops with the egg-wash and top with the remaining grated cheese. 6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until well risen and golden, and then leave to cool on a wire rack. These scones are best eaten on the day of baking, and preferably warm from the oven. Images courtesy of Bebe Bradley.
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BUSINESS: The Tipping Point by Mich Yasue Sluggish sales, browsers not buyers, carping critics and bigger businesses jumping on the bandwagon? Has the handmade market had its day? Sluggish sales? From talking to fellow makers and reading the forums, itâ€™s clear that most people have seen a downturn in sales at more traditional craft fairs. Thereâ€™s a concern that the market is saturated; too many fairs and so many makers that inevitably, products become repetitive. Combine this with the impact of austerity and challenges from stalls with cheap, bought-in goods, and itâ€™s no wonder that sales are sluggish. However, whilst people have been predicting the demise of smaller craft fairs for some time now, they still retain a place as one of a range of channels available to designer/makers. Personalised websites and online marketplace shops are easy to set up to reach a broader audience while small, local markets provide for more immediate feedback at relatively little risk. 64 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
This is not to say that all markets are equal. Pick your market carefully and think about how it fits with your products and who will visit. Check the
craft fairs and offered some excellent advice on managing attitude and expectations. Craft markets are a place to market your business, build customer
organisers; what’s their track record, do they vet applicants to get a good mix of genuine handmade products and what will they do to promote the market? Even having done all this, you will still experience bad days. Nonetheless, looking at the designer/makers that I have met through local craft fairs, it’s inspiring to see how they have gone on to success both online and at larger national markets.
relationships, receive feedback on your products and network with fellow designer makers. Markets present an opportunity to generate sales, not only for today but also for the future.
Folksy, the UK’s most popular site for handmade gifts and supplies, recognises the benefits of a combined approach and is expanding from being an online marketplace to engagement in craft fairs. Asked what drove this decision, Folksy CEO James Boardwell, noted. “The main reason is that it was what our customers wanted. Our main goal is to enable creative people to showcase and sell their work. It shouldn’t matter where that is, so we’re exploring how to do that and we’re working with partners who have loads of experience in this area. How on and offline work together is going to be really important to our future.”
Carping critics? Most of us have encountered the carping critic, the craft fair customer who picks disdainfully over a stall, sniffs, and mutters in a loud whisper, ‘£x?! It’s only a bit of material / some beads / a few splodges of paint.’ Don’t be disheartened, it’s nothing new. As Oscar Wilde so pithily observed back in the 1890s, “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Yes, particularly in these straitened times, everyone wants value for money but this doesn’t just mean the lowest price.
Browsers not buyers? In a recent article for UK Handmade, Kirsten Miller of Quernus Crafts, pondered the fall in sales at Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
Before It’s about letting people know what extra value they’re getting, what makes handmade special. What the story is behind the product; the inspiration, the design, the materials and the skill involved in the making. As a customer, I like to feel that I’m buying something more than components, something unique and something that’s been made with creativity and care. In doing so, I’m contributing to my community and buying something that has probably been made with more concern for the environment, that I’m supporting skilled labour and buying something I can keep and treasure. It’s also about giving shoppers an easy, enjoyable experience; a welcoming and attractive stall, an enthusiastic but not overwhelming encounter. After Handmade shouldn’t be hard work. Customers are not required to suffer for our art! It’s easy to be demoralised when a fair is going badly but that’s no reason to hide behind a book or huddle in a corner with other stallholders. If we’re not interested in what we’ve made then why should others be? To quote P.T. Barnum, another man from the late nineteenth century with a way with words, “Politeness and civility are the best capital ever invested in business. Large stores, gilt signs, flaming advertisements, will all prove unavailing if you treat your patrons abruptly ... people don’t like to pay and 66 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
get kicked also.” - from The Art of Money Getting or Golden Rules for Making Money.
Bigger businesses board the bandwagon. We’ve all seen them and groaned at the ‘handmade’, ‘handcrafted’, ‘artisanal’, mass-produced items on sale in High Street stores. It’s easy to raise a cynical eyebrow but let us stop and consider. A big business, with a marketing budget we could only dream of, has consciously chosen to style something as ‘handmade’. They’ve adopted the little touches, such as labels printed on nice card, attached with colourful ribbons and tiny safety pins, not bland tooth-wrecking plastic tags. Surely that’s an acknowledgment of a public perception that handmade is a good thing? But does it, at the same time, debase the meaning of handmade?
Has the handmade market had its day? James Boardwell predicts two big trends that will impact handmade in the next ten years: “Firstly, I believe, the rise of ‘product machines’ like 3D printers, will exacerbate the rise in people designing and making things. You’ll be able to design your own bike or jumper for a similar price to a mass produced version. A lot of it won’t be pretty or beautiful but that’s irrelevant. It will be a massive cultural shift and a game changer.
The second, related change will be how handmade is perceived. I think people will care less about things being made by hand, and start to take more interest in the story of how something came to life. ‘Handmade’ is now such a generic catch-all-term, it’s almost meaningless. Telling stories about how things are made will be key to being successful. Because of these two things, I think we’ll also see a ‘defensive’ craft movement thrive, based on traditional skills and materials.” So, developments in technology are driving changes in the way that designer makers sell (through online marketplaces), build relationships with their customers and each other (social media) and create (product machines). Alongside this, changes in the economic climate have made customers more conscious of value, of investing in something special to keep. Not so much an end for designer and makers, but rather more of an evolution. Images courtesy of Bebe Bradley.
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MAKE: DIY Decals
by Karen Jinks & Mandy Knapp
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Waterslide decals are a fun and very easy way to add your own designs to different products, either to sell or to decorate plain ceramics in your own home. You will find waterslide decals on a number of online craft websites. Be sure to read the instructions carefully before you start, as they all vary slightly and require different equipment. You will also need to look at their final usage as mugs and plates that need to be washed regularly may not be suitable for this technique, so be sure before you buy. We tried out two brands of decals that can be printed using an inkjet printer but there are also decals that require a laser printer. Acrylic or enamel spray is also required to seal the decals and, again, check the instructions which should be available on the website you buy them from. Warning! This is highly addictive, after youâ€™ve done this once, you will be covering everything in sight with decals. Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
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1. Choose the image you want to transfer onto the piece you wish to decorate. In your photo editing software, format the image to the size you require to print onto your decal sheet (which is usually A4 size). Follow the manufacturerâ€™s instructions to set your printer up correctly and print your design onto the sheet.
2. Depending on the brand of decal paper, you may at this stage need to spray the sheet with clear acrylic spray. Leave to dry and then cut around your design leaving a small border. Immerse in a shallow bowl of water for the required length of time to release the transfer from the backing paper.
3. Slide the transfer onto your ceramic, gently move into place and smooth out any air bubbles. Leave to dry. Depending on your brand of paper, you may need to spray the transfer to seal it.
Images courtesy of Karen Jinks and Mandy Knapp.
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Craftydermy by Lisa Margreet Payne There isn’t much I don’t love about this book! Seriously, if my craft book proposal ever gets taken back out and dusted down, then I hope that it ends up looking something like Craftydermy. If you like your fun irreverent and your animals breathing but appreciate the macabre art of taxidermy - then this book is for you. Craftydermy is for the polycrafty amongst us, as it pretty much covers every craft discipline in its projects. There are nineteen projects in the book including projects for sewing, crochet, knitting, papier-mâché, and cutting and pasting the old fashioned way (e.g. without the aid of a computer). 72 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
If you prefer to stab your way to happiness with needle felting, then the adorable Bear Head Brooches are for you. But if you prefer to get your hands dirty, then may I suggest the Paper Mache Antlers? Got cold feet? Well then, my friend, you need to whip yourself up some Bear Feet Slippers. Editor Tracey Benton coined the term Craftydermy for an exhibition at her gallery Atelier in Devon, featuring work on a similar theme and some of the same designers. I was interested in her notion that the phenomenon of crafted taxidermy was: “predominantly female crafters responding to the predominantly male environment of hunting and taxidermy in a fresh and irreverent way”. If you gathered all the items in the book together in a display (much like Benton’s exhibition) then you’d have yourself a vegetarian version of the Horniman Museum. Not been? Well, if you ever find yourself in a little corner of South London called Forest Hill, I suggest you check it out. Unfortunately, it’s not full of specimens of male beauty stuffed and put on display, as the name might suggest. Instead, it’s chock-a-block full of taxidermied animals and other curios. (The famously overstuffed walrus is still the same one that a seven year old Lisa cautiously slipped her hand under the ropes to stroke, during a school visit to the museum back in the 1980s.) Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
I love the fact that I recognised many of the names who contributed projects to this book from the UK DIY craft scene. I was really pleased to see the Friendly Fox Fur by Kandy Diamond of Knit and Destroy featured in this book (page 36). It was this item that caught my eye when I was working with Craft Guerrilla and looking for designers to feature at the Knitting and Stitching shows a few years back. I was also chuffed to see Shadow Bunnies by Sanna King of Sannapanda (page 84). I had the pleasure of working with Sanna when I was running The Create Place, a community craft studio in Bethnal Green in London. Ziggy Hanoar and the team at Cicada Publishing have done a stunning job on the design. The photos are stylish and the project design is true to the DIY feel of the book. The choice of Courier font for the project typeface harkens back to the time of typewriters and is always a winner. It was the font I used on my ‘Handmade by Lisa Margreet’ labels and we often used it on the Craft Guerrilla zines. Typewriters always stir up nostalgic thoughts in people, and isn’t that the emotion that craft taps into as well? 74 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
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Out of the nineteen projects in Craftydermy, I’ve bookmarked seven to make, either for myself or as presents. That’s a pretty high ratio for me in a craft book! Most craft books that I’ve reviewed recently have had anything from twenty-five to thirty-five projects in them and, to be honest, I rarely find more than a couple of projects that I want to make. Craftydermy is the size of a paperback and for a little book it definitely packs a lot of crafty punch. I liked the slim size of it and the paper feels lovely and thick. Most importantly all of the projects feel manageable and accessible which to me is the whole ethos of DIY craft. So although Craftydermy may be small in physical size compared to other craft books, it’s certainly not small in terms of content or quality.
this is the kind of book that, if she was a girl, you’d want her to be your best friend. 76 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
Where patterns are required for the projects, they are included as templates at the back which you can photocopy to size. This also adds to the DIY vibe of the book. Despite the nice paper, lovely design and photography, there’s definitely something of the craft zine about Craftydermy and, to me, that makes it even more appealing.
All in all, this book does a good job of capturing the feel that I get from a large part of the UK craft scene. Stylish but approachable, slightly off-beat and with a quirky sense of humour, this is the kind of book that, if she was a girl, youâ€™d want her to be your best friend. Craftdermy, edited by Tracey Benton & Ziggy Hanoar, is published by Cicada and available in paperback at ÂŁ12.95 ISBN-10: 1908714034 ISBN-13: 978-1908714039
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The Value of Handmade by Jutta Nedden Margaret sits by her stall at the local market. It’s winter, bitterly cold and despite her gloves, she can barely feel her frozen fingers. Recently, she has seen the sewing pattern for a small stuffed elephant in a magazine, and has made the elephant as a pin cushion. But people don’t seem to be interested, neither in her stall nor in the little elephants. Times are bad and the economy is low. Suddenly, a little girl stops and gazes at the elephant. “Daddy, can I have one, please?”“No”, replies the father, “your mum doesn’t need another pin cushion!” “But it’s for me, it’s so cute, I want to play with it… please?” she pleads. Reluctantly, the father buys it. Sound familiar? This particular story occurred in the late 19th century in a little town in southern Germany, but could have happened anywhere in the UK last winter. Take heart if you’ve had a similar experience, wondering how on earth you can make your customers understand the time, effort and care that has been put into your product. 78 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
This particular Margaret was none other than Margaret Steiff and that local market was the beginning of Steiff, the world-renowned soft toy company famous for collectable, handmade teddy bears. We wouldn’t question the quality or value of one of those bears now, would we?
The Real Value of ‘Handmade’: What Margaret Steiff learned about her customers from this little girl and her father, is still relevant today. High quality, bespoke made-to-order products, combined with good service and an opportunity to support local small businesses, are all important points when buying handmade. However, how an item connects to a customer emotionally and on a personal level, can be just as important as practicality and need when it comes to the value of a product. How else could you explain somebody spending over 2 million dollars at auction on a teddy bear. Consider that, even in a difficult economic climate, people will always spend money on products. They will buy for the ones that they love and care for, they will buy products that they fall in love with for themselves, and they will buy items connected with a certain status or style that others don’t have. If they really desire something, the price isn’t necessarily important. Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
Love is the key word and the real value of handmade. We need to reach the heart of our customers, not just the head... How to reach your customer’s hearts: As designers and makers, this is something that we can do so much better than any high street shop. It’s the story behind our art and our products, and knowing who our customers are, that enables us to connect with them and address their hearts.
Do you know: • Who your customers actually are? • Why they buy from you and what they like most? • How to make them feel truly welcome and seen as an individual? • What they would like to buy before they even know it themselves? • Why they didn’t purchase this time and what they may have missed? • How to make them come back even if they haven’t bought anything? • How to give them information on your products in an interesting fun way, but without bombarding them so that they can really appreciate what you offer them? 80 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
• How to build a network of happy customers around your business in tune with your values, without feeling like a salesperson? We shouldn’t treat customers how we would want to be treated; we should learn about them and treat them as they want to be treated. Customers need to see and hear why your art and products are special. You cannot rely on the customer to instantly take a keen interest in you and your products above your competitors. You have to give them some of your time, and let them know who you are.
Why you need to ‘educate’ your customers: We live in a disposable society and knowledge about traditional art and crafts has faded away. In the past, handmade items were handed down from generation to generation and ‘DIY’ was normal. Today, low quality, mass-produced rubbish fills our landfill sites, and it’s difficult to help the customer understand the value of handmade, when they are unaware of the costs and time that it takes to design and make something. As a designer/maker, you can’t necessarily expect your customer to be able to distinguish between mouth-blown and pressed glassware, prints from painted originals and hand-stitched from machine-sewn seams. It is up to you to tell them your story and explain the difference, so that they can make an informed Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
decision on whether they perceive your product to have any added value for them. Who else can do it?
gift wrap to make the item even more special. • Avoid the hard sell and awkward feelings; get into the habit of showing your passion for what you do.
How to inform your customer:
Forget the “BUY IT! BUY IT!” message, and go for the “I want you to share my passion for good quality and style, even if you don’t buy anything now” message. • Don’t just hang out with your fellow artists and crafters; find out where your customers hang out. Be present as a person, not just online, particularly when you don’t run a shop and work from home. Grab the opportunity to talk about your passion to old, new and potential customers, and invite them to be part of your network. • Share your knowledge on how to make things and let your customers have a go. Not everybody wants to be creative but you can show your expertise, build up personal contacts and help them appreciate
Here are some ideas that you may have already had yourself. • Don’t feel offended or defensive when your customers ask about the price. Use it as a chance to explain the work and time invested and why a product is worth the money, not because you want to “talk” them into it, but because you understand their lack of knowledge about the worth of material and skills. If people really love something, the money is not the problem. • Give information whenever you can, in small, digestible bites. Not everybody wants to know the whole story but, if they ask, be prepared. • Display pictures of your working process in your shop front, at shows and fairs. Find amusing ways to explain what you do; be entertaining (but not unprofessional) and make them stop at your stall. • Demonstrate your skill and make something whilst you sell. Your customers don’t need to be constantly supervised and it can offer a good opportunity for conversation. • When they buy something as a present, explain why it is such a special gift from the perspective of making it. Offer your own unique, complimentary 82 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
what you do. Importantly, remember that the emotional value added to your product by the potential customer is as individual as they are. After you have told them your story, they may still not see the value and that’s okay. That individual may just not happen to be your customer. Images courtesy of Bebe Bradley and The Contemporary Craft Festival.
You don’t have to do it on your own. Join UK Handmade’s “Buy Handmade” campaign and become part of the movement. What you do to build a positive image of traditional or contemporary art and craft of high quality, will help other crafters and designers, and vice versa. However, simply joining the campaign is not enough. We all need to work on the image of ‘handmade’. If you ask people what they associate with ‘handmade’, all too often you are still met with the same dusty, old-fashioned stereotype. It takes years to build up a reputation, but if it’s something that we genuinely believe in, then we all need to keep working on it. For more information on our ‘Buy Handmade campaign, visit : www.ukhandmade.co.uk/buy-handmade-campaign Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
LIVE: From Tower Block to 4 Acres
by Lisa Margreet Payne
You know the dream; you’re living close to the land and nature, growing your own food and running your own business. There are chickens involved. Well, I keep pinching myself because, apart from the feathered dinosaurs, I’ve been living that dream for the past six months. (And seriously, there’s something weird about chickens, with their beady eyes and pecky beaks. They’d eat us if they could, and grind us up in their gravel-filled gizzard.) So, how did I go from living in an case, neither of these are true and artist’s studio on the tenth floor it all started with a little seed I of a Brutalist tower block in East planted back in 2007.
I’d trained as an aromatherapist in my mid-twenties but it wasn’t enough. I hankered after
London, to running four acres of organic market garden in rural But let’s begin a bit before that. Cheshire, complete with orchard About ten years ago, I was in a and small wood? ‘proper’ office job when I first expressed my desire to be a I don’t know about you, but I’m farmer. I was met with derision; a always pretty harsh when I read friend of mine laughed and said about people ‘escaping the rat I was “so London, I didn’t even race and living the rural dream’. I’ll know it.” However, living close to think they’re either a trustafarian the land and trying to be in sync or have a very rich partner. Most with nature seemed like common of the time, I’m right but in my sense to me.
something I’d never had but which felt right. I looked into doing some kind of agricultural qualification but wasn’t sure; I was about to turn thirty and who’d heard of a thirty year old woman going to farm school? I’d be an ancient townie compared to all the eighteen year olds who’d grown up in farming families. I studied for an English degree with the Open University instead.
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Images courtesy of Lisa Margreet Payne Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
But the yearning was still there. Iâ€™d trawl the internet looking at opportunities to work on farms to gain experience. (This is called WWOOFing - World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms - and they have a website where you can sign up to volunteer your services at www. wwoofinternational.org) It was on one of those late night internet searches that I first came across Oakcroft, the organic market garden that I now run. The landowner, Mehr Fardoonji, ran the garden for forty years, taking on tenants when she was in her early seventies so she that she could look after her husband who was ill. For many years, Mehr had WWOOFers who helped her work the land. It just so happened that when I clicked on the website to find out more about volunteering, Mehr was seeking a new tenant to manage the garden. Mehr is now my landlady, mentor and friend. 86 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
I donâ€™t know what possessed me to decide that I could run a market garden with next to no experience, but I had enough passion and enthusiasm to convince my boyfriend that this was an opportunity we needed to apply for. We made an initial inquiry then wrote a business plan. We were invited to visit on a couple of occasions and, on our second visit, were interviewed by Mehr and a Soil Association representative. I can remember walking around the garden afterwards and standing in the woods at the bottom of the field, barely able to contain my excitement. Could all this be mine? Could I really leave London and realise my dream to be close to nature and live on the land? No, was the answer. Mehr turned us down in favour of a couple who had more experience. Of course, I was disappointed but the sheer fact that weâ€™d been interviewed, that our business proposal Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
had been taken seriously, was amazing to me. I sent a thank you card to Mehr and that was that.
February and within three weeks, my first batch of seeds were sown, temporarily housed in the
Just before Christmas last year, I received a text message from my sister. “Answer your landline,” it said, “you’ll like this call.” The phone rang and with curiosity, I answered it. It was Mehr, wondering if I was still interested in running the gardens. Was I ever! The card I’d sent to her years before included my old contact details but thankfully, it was the address and phone number of the flat where I’d lived with my sister. When Mehr came across
kitchen whilst the propagating house was being repaired.
the card - which she’d saved for the past five years - and phoned, my sister was able to give her my new number.
any college course. It helps that I already knew about running my own business, having managed my aromatherapy and craft businesses alongside office jobs for nearly fifteen years. I certainly think that craft and gardening have a lot of transferrable skills; my sewing and quilting rulers have found new homes in the greenhouses as they’re great for working out planting spaces!
Made redundant in 2012, I’d finally gone freelance in my day job of copy writing and web design. Once I’d run the financials, it meant I was able to move within a couple of months. I was in Oakcroft by the end of 88 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
As mentioned previously, I have little gardening experience but my enthusiasm, thirst for learning and an aptitude for research (thank you, Google) have stood me in good stead. Add the fact that Mehr - with fifty years of organic growing experience behind her - is mentoring me and here I am, hands-on and learning more than I would have done on
In a venture like this, an aptitude for DIY is also required, something which most crafters have in spades (pun intended). Being able to think creatively and repair things has already saved me a fair bit of money and again, I put that down to my crafty background. A friend asked me the other day, “Is it really as idyllic as it all sounds?” And the answer is, yes. Yes, it is. It’s not all romantic walks in the fields in white eyelet dresses though. It’s hard, physical, dirty work and it’s crazy long days, especially in the summer. But the thrill of seeing vegetables that you’ve nurtured from tiny seeds, mature into tasty and healthy food is immense. There is a real satisfaction in taking bags of salad leaves with edible flowers in them, dark green, glossy courgettes, and the amazing jewel coloured stems of rainbow chard to market; fresh, local and healthy food produced the way it should be. I take pride in knowing that the only ingredients to have gone into my veg are sun, soil, water and a whole lotta love. Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
PICKLES & PRESERVES by Bebe Bradley
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The last few hazy days of summer are beginning to merge with the crisp, misty mornings of autumn. The summer’s fruit and vegetable crops are coming to an end so why not take advantage and indulge in a bit of culinary DIY? Pickles and preserves are surprisingly easy to make and should see you through until the next glut of summer bounty. Always make extra if you can, jars of delicious jelly and jams or crunchy, piquant pickle make a great, much-appreciated gift. HINTS & TIPS:
1. Containers: You can buy brand new preserving jars but I make a point of hoarding suitable jars and bottles throughout the year. Just make sure that they have sealable lids.
2. Sterilizing: The containers you use must be spotlessly clean and I sterilize mine in the oven. Wash them in hot, soapy water and rinse. Place them upright on a lined baking sheet along with the lids, put them in a cold oven and then turn it on to 110°C/225°F/Gas ¼. Leave for 30 minutes, then switch off the oven. This method also ensures that the jars are warm when you decant the preserves into them. If you add boiling preserves to a cold jar, it will crack. If you are using a jelly bag or muslin, you will also need to sterilize it. Set the bag or muslin over a bowl and ‘scald’ it by pouring boiling water through it. Discard the water and use a clean bowl for the jams or jellies.
3. The Setting Point: To test jams or jellies, spoon a small amount onto a chilled saucer. Pop into the fridge and, after a few minutes, check the consistency by pushing the jam or jelly with your finger. If it’s thick and wrinkles, it’s ready for decanting. You can also use a sugar thermometer. The rule of thumb is that when the temperature reaches 105°C/220°F, the jam or jelly is ready. Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
Apple & Lavender Jelly This lovely, fragrant preserve will transport you to a summer garden even in the coldest, darkest months. Ingredients: 1kg of apples (wild, windfall or supermarket), peeled and chopped into chunks 2 litres of water 1kg of caster sugar A handful of fresh lavender stems
Method: 1. Place the apple chunks in a large, heavy pan with the water and a couple of lavender stems. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently for about an hour, until the fruit is soft and pulpy. 2. Pour the apple pulp into a large jelly bag (or a sieve or colander lined with muslin) set over a clean pan or bowl. Leave to drain for a few hours or overnight. Tempting though it may be to squeeze the bag or force the pulp through the muslin to extract more juice, DONâ€™T because this will only make your jelly cloudy. 3. Discard the apple pulp and measure the quantity of juice. To each 600ml of juice, add 400g of sugar. Mix the juice and sugar together in a large, clean pan. 4. Heat the mixture gently and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for approximately 10 minutes or until the setting point has been reached. Remove the pan from the heat. 5. When you boil the mixture, a foamy scum will develop on the surface. Remove this with a slotted spoon. Ladle the jelly into the warm, clean jars. 6. Trim the lavender stems to fit into the filled jars. Fill a cup with water from a freshly boiled kettle and plunge the stems into the boiling water. Shake off the excess or blot on kitchen paper, and then insert a stem into each jar of jelly. Seal the jars whilst the jelly is still hot.
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rosehip & apple Jelly Shiny, red rosehips from the hedgerows give this jelly its gorgeous colour. Ingredients: 1kg of apples (wild, windfall or supermarket), peeled and chopped into chunks 500g of rosehips 2 litres of water 1kg of caster sugar Method: 1. Place the apples in a large, heavy pan with the water. Bring to the boil and simmer steadily for about an hour until the fruit is soft and pulpy. Chop the rosehips coarsely (use a food processor if need be) and add to the pan. Simmer the mixture for a further 10 minutes. 2. Pour the apple and rosehip pulp into a large jelly bag (or a sieve or colander lined with muslin) set over a clean pan or bowl. Leave to drain for a few hours or overnight. Again, tempting though it may be to squeeze the bag or force the pulp through the muslin to extract more juice, DONâ€™T! 3. Discard the apple and rosehip pulp, and measure the juice. To each 600ml of juice, add 400g of caster sugar. Combine the sugar and the juice in a large clean pan.
4. Heat the mixture gently and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 10 minutes or until the setting point is reached. Remove the pan from the heat. 5. If necessary, remove any scum from the surface of the jelly with a slotted spoon. Ladle the jelly into warm, clean jars, and seal the jars whilst the jelly is still hot. Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
ROWAN BERRY Jelly You know Autumn is on its way when Rowan trees are laden with jewel-bright clusters of berries. Similar in its tartness to Cranberry jelly, this preserve makes an excellent accompaniment to game and other rich meats. Just remember to leave plenty of berries on the tree for the birds in the coming Winter months. Ingredients: Approx. 1kg of Rowan berries, washed, sorted and removed from the stems Caster sugar Water Method:
1. Place the berries in a large pot, adding just enough water to cover. Simmer gently until the berries are soft and you can crush them with the back of a spoon. 2. Pour the berry pulp and juices into a large jelly bag (or a sieve or colander lined with muslin) set over a clean pan or bowl. Leave to drain for a few hours or overnight. As always, restrain yourself from squeezing the bag or forcing the pulp through the muslin to extract more juice, if you require a crystal clear set.
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3. Measure the strained juice and decant into a large clean pot. For every 600ml of liquid, add 450g of sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer steadily until the setting point is reached, approximately 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. 4. If necessary, remove any scum from the surface of the jelly with a slotted spoon. Ladle the jelly into warm, clean jars and seal whilst the jelly is still hot.
WILD DAMSON CHEESE Not a cheese as such but a good, old fashioned fruit paste that is wonderful with cheeses, red meat and game. Ingredients: 1kg of Damsons (wild or supermarket), washed Water Caster sugar Method: 1. Place the damsons in a large, heavy pot with just enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for about an hour, until the fruit is soft and pulpy. Remove from the heat. 2. Using the back of a spoon, rub the fruit pulp through a sieve set over a clean pot. 3. Return the pot to the heat and simmer the damson puree gently until it is thick and has reduced by approximately a third. Measure the puree and for every 500ml, add 380g of caster sugar. 4. Continue to cook the puree and sugar mixture, stirring continuously, until you can draw your spoon across the mixture and leave a gap in the bottom of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat. 5. Damson Cheese has a thicker, more solid consistency than jams or jellies so it’s best poured into clean and lightly oiled shallow trays and bowls. This means that you will be able to remove the ‘cheese’ easily and cut it into slices for serving. 6. Seal and store for about a month or two in a cool, dark place before eating. Its high sugar content means that you’ ll only require small amounts for serving, and it will keep very well if stored properly. Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
Pickled Pears Fruit isnâ€™t just for jams and jellies! This spiced pickle makes an impressive and unusual addition to the cheeseboard. Ingredients: 1kg of small firm pears, carefully peeled with stalks intact 600ml of white wine vinegar 225g of caster sugar 5 star anise 5 cloves 1 large cinnamon stick Method: 1. In a large pot, heat the vinegar and sugar together, until the sugar dissolves. Add the pears to the pot and gently poach for 15 minutes. 2. Add the spices to the pot and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Carefully remove the pears from the pot and pack them into the warm, sterilized jars. Continue to simmer the syrup for 15 minutes and then pour it carefully into the jars over the pears. Make sure the syrup covers the pears completely. 3. Cover and seal whilst the pickle is still hot. Stored for in a cool, dark place, this pickle will keep for up to a year. Once open, keep in the fridge and use within a week. 96 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
COURGETTE PICKLE This is one of my favourite pickles, and a surprisingly easy and delicious way to use up a glut of courgettes. It’s perfect for an autumnal ploughman’s lunch with fresh crusty bread, a wedge of good, strong cheese and a seasonal Cox or Russet apple. Ingredients: 1kg of courgettes, trimmed and cut into thin slices 2 red onions, halved and finely sliced 50g of salt 350ml of cider vinegar 350g of light brown soft sugar ½ teaspoon of black peppercorns ½ teaspoon of turmeric
Bring to the boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the courgette, onions and finely sliced chilli (whole or half, whatever takes your fancy).
4. Bring to the boil again and then remove the pan from the heat. Spoon the pickled courgettes into warm, clean jars, and top up with the remaining liquid. Cover and seal whilst the pickle is still hot. Store for about a month in a cool, dark place before eating. Images courtesy of Bebe Bradley.
1 tablespoon of mustard seeds 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds 1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely sliced Method: 1. Place the sliced onions and courgettes in a large bowl. Mix well with the salt, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours. 2. Drain the courgette mixture and rinse well - in a colander - under cold, running water. Drain again and pat dry using a clean tea towel or kitchen towel. 3. Put the vinegar, sugar and dried spices in a pan. Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
SCENE: Edible York
Throughout its history, the strategic city of York has seen its fair share of onslaughts, but never has it been taken by storm so easily or so prettily, than by Edible York. Edible York was launched with the aim of providing the city with the ultimate fast food; local and free fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs and all at the end of a street. 98 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
It is now a thriving enterprise and, in several beds throughout the city, the regulation Council plants have gone and flourishing in their place are herbs, beans, lettuces, blackcurrants, courgettes, tomatoes, swede and squash to which anyone can help themselves. The flagship beds can be found outside The Barbican Centre, Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma Gate and Peasholme Green and, along
by Chrissie Freeth
with providing free food, they are also designed to encourage others to start similar projects of their own. As well as wanting to create a project on peopleâ€™s doorsteps that would inspire them to get involved in their environment and community, Chloe Smee the chair of Edible York - found lots of individuals, groups and
communities who desired to turn unloved patches of land into useful spaces but didnâ€™t always know to go about it, or navigate the Councilâ€™s red tape. Edible York has been able to step in and help out, and they now support around thirty groups including mental health charities and those involving young people. Local businesses, not just volunteers, are encouraged to help maintain the beds. The Quilting Museum has provided a hose and help to water the bed on its doorstep. Once ugly and municipal, it is now a beautiful growth of colour. It is a win-win situation, and the local businesses who are working with community projects are vital to their sustainability, says Chloe. Geese and Wood Pigeons are the only vandals who have taken an interest, and a lower level of antisocial behaviour is seen in towns with similar projects. Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
A sense of local pride has taken Edible York has worked with its place; people are less likely local schools and communities to damage something owned to plant 199 trees, enough to and cared for by the community provide a piece of fruit for every school child. If you fancy a bit instead of the Council. of natural foraging, Edible York Edible York is also an umbrella has also produced a Google organisation for several vibrant map highlighting public and initiatives finding and growing community beds alongside local food across the city. Looking naturally growing produce, which after its fruit trees are Abundance, lets you know what is about urban harvesters who gather the to become ripe. Apples, pears, fruit and distribute them to local blackberries, plums, chestnuts, charities including homeless damsons, horseradish and garlic shelters and Sure Start centres. mustard are literally there for the Apples for Eggs helps growers picking. and makers swap food, recipes and tips. Local businessman Nigel Parker of Yorkshire Chillies, provides seedlings. Now restored, the York-based Holgate Windmill grinds its own flour which can be bought at the mill itself or in numerous shops across the city. The El Piano restaurant hopes to grow fresh food up the walls of its building, and the University will create edible beds across its colleges. 100 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
The Edible York project was inspired by the Incredible Edible Todmorden project which sought to use any scrap of public space it could to grow fresh food. No space is too small to be used to a greater benefit, says Chloe and it gives a lot of pleasure to see a corner of the city given love and attention; not for profit but just because people care about what their city and environment.
Edible York is creating a city-wide community out of people who want to grow their own food; individuals, schools, businesses, community projects. They are also passing on skills, creating a new generation of growers, promoting the appreciation of local seasonal produce, supporting a thriving local food
economy and giving access to food not mediated by the supermarkets. In their own words, they are growing connections and creating an edible future. It is a simple concept, says Chloe, but it has profound consequences for the local community. Images courtesy of Edible York.
To discover more about Edible York, its partners and their initiatives, and how you can get involved, visit: www.edibleyork.org.uk There are similar projects across the country and you can find the nearest to you by visiting: www.incredibleediblenetwork. org.uk Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
DIY For Wildlife by Teresa Verney Brookes As the days begin to get shorter and the temperature begins to fall, creatures large and small will begin to search for somewhere warm, dry and safe to spend the long cold months ahead. With this is mind, there are lots of really cheap and easy ways that, with a bit of DIY, will help the wildlife on your local patch this autumn.
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I am sure that, like me, you have read with a sinking feeling the worrying news about the
a corner or behind and under the other, topped with old roof tiles to shed, as this will make a snug make it nice and waterproof. We winter abode for a variety of then stuffed it full of a variety of
drastic decline in the number of pollinating insects in the press recently. Lots of insects hibernate over winter and one thing that we can all easily do, is to leave cutting back in areas of your garden until the spring. I guess this could be referred to as ‘Don’t Do It Yourself’ (DDIY).
creatures, including hedgehogs. Once the weather improves in Spring, these spiky chaps will emerge and happily munch through large quantities of slugs and snails, so they are certainly very welcome in my garden!
The hollow, dead stems of many herbaceous common garden plants and shrubs, like Elder and Buddleia, provide an excellent winter ‘des-res’ for a variety of overwintering insects and their larvae, so don’t be tempted to cut them back too much. Also, leave an area of longer grass in a quiet hidden spot and create piles of old logs and stones or rocks. These will all make ideal hibernation sites for a variety of insects, spiders, frogs, toads, newts and some small mammals too. Rake-up piles of dead leaves into
If you do fancy a bit of DIY, our crowning glory is the superduper ‘Bug Hotel’ that we have just created in our front garden (so that the rest of the street can ‘marvel’ at our green credentials)! As regular readers of my article will know, I am fully committed to the culture of DIY; partly because I get a real thrill out of reusing and recycling materials and partly because, due to necessity, I lead a very frugal lifestyle. (Or, as my children would have you believe, I am just “stingy and tight”!)
materials such as old flower pots full of dry grass and moss, dead hollow stems cut from shrubs and herbaceous plants in the previous spring, bamboo canes, corrugated cardboard, broken bricks and rocks, old carpet, old pen casings, drinking straws … all of which provides lots of cozy nooks and crannies for some of the 1,500 or so invertebrates regularly found in the average garden. To finish it off, my children then made a rather lovely handed painted wooden sign which now stands in front of our Bug Hotel, advertising that we, the ‘Snug-As-A-Bug Estate Agents’ now have ‘Winter Apartments To Let’ (all local wildlife welcome).
So, whether you decide to go in for a spot of DIY or DDIY, you can be rest assured that The structure is made of recycled you will have done your bit to pallets, stacked one on top of the help wildlife in your local area. Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
Daisy image courtesy Larissa Greeno .
‘Bug Hotel’ image (left) from My First Nature Book by Susan Akass, is published by Cico Kids at £9.99 and is available from www.cicobooks.com For more information and ideas on how to help the wildlife in your local patch this Autumn and Winter, visit: www.rspb.org.uk www.buglife.org.uk www.mammal.org.uk www.bbc.co.uk/nature
104 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
Mandy Knapp if you wish to advertise in the next issue email www.mandyknapp.co.uk
firstname.lastname@example.org Autumn 2013 | ukhandmade |
Skills winter 2013
106 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2013
From the stories of a successful co-operative and a grow-yourown community group, to the life-changing advice of a business coach, this Autu...