AUTUMN: 2014 速
a showcase for the work of talented UK designer-makers
Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
The UK Handmade Showcases buy the best in handmade and show someone you care www.ukhandmade.co.uk/showcase
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 2014
contributors: Autumn 2014
Editor’s Picks There’s a change in the air; the nights are drawing in and summer is fading. It’s time to snuggle up indoors and get cosy
and comfortable! This issue is all about the ‘Abode’ - inside and out - and we meet the artists, designers and
makers whose creations give our homes and gardens unique and individual twists. We also explore what branding means, and we find out how to market
also have our regular selection of wonderful features, finds, seasonal recipes and reviews.
review: Decorate with Flowers
lifestyle: Take Comfort
A Woman’s Shed
business: Marketing Interior Products
From Tower Block to 4 Acres
Buy British Day
The Blue Carrot
handmade items for interiors. If that’s not inspiration enough, we
Editor & Designer/Maker
FRONT COVER: www.humblesticks.co.uk; BACK COVER: www.minimoderns.com
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AUTUMN 2014 Contributors... Lisa Margreet Payne
Craft Educator & Writer www.lisamargreet.com
Creative Director & Artist/Designer www.karenjinks.co.uk
Deputy Editor & Designer/Maker www.dawnbevins.co.uk
Artist & Designer www.sarahhamiltonprints.com
Handloom Weaver www.chrissiefreeth.wix.com/weaver
UK Handmade Magazine, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.ukhandmade.co.uk • Copyright © UK Handmade LTD 2014. 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 2014
Meet:Salix Arts Teresa Verney Brookes
Education Officer for the RSPB & Forest School Teacher
Hannah Elspeth Marshall
Design & Creative Events Organiser www.beachshackproject.co.uk
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CAMILA PRADA ‘Gold Digga’ money box, £50 from www.camilaprada.com 6 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
FUN MAKES GOOD Mixed ‘GEO’ table mats, £30 from www.funmakesgood.etsy.com
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OBE AND CO ‘Berry’ illuminated coffee table, enquiries at www.obeandco.com 8 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
BLACKPOP ‘Duprez’ luxury wallpaper, from www.blackpop.co.uk
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BLOCK DESIGN: ‘Sketch Desk Tidy’ in black, (left) £24 from www.blockdesign.co.uk
WITSHOP Perpetual Calendar, (opposite) £21 from www.witshop.co.uk 10 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
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Humblesticks by Bebe Bradley
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Humblesticks was established in 2013 by the husband and wife team, Richard Holman and Katy Shooter. They have always enjoyed renovating and rejuvenating found objects, but as there are only so many re-upholstered Ercol chairs and nests of G Plan tables that a small cottage in South Wales can hold, they decided to start selling their furniture online. What is Humblesticks? Humblesticks is an online, upcycled lighting and furniture shop, run by us from our studio in South Wales. What backgrounds do you have and how was Humblesticks borne out of this? I (Katy) studied sculpture and have worked as a painter and interior designer. Richard was the founder and Creative Director of a TV design studio in London and also works as a photographer. Weâ€™re both creative people but have always worked on separate projects so Humblesticks was the perfect opportunity to spend more time together and pool our ideas. We also feel strongly about the need to consume less and the importance of innovative reuse rather than disposal. Humblesticks is definitely borne out of our love of junk shop finds, combined with a strong environmental conscience and craving more time together. Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
What is the passion and inspiration behind your products? We share a passion for Mid Century design which stems from a huge respect for the craftsmanship of this era. We love the sturdy utilitarian design with clean lines, hard wood and unfussy detail. Designers like Donald Gomme and Hans Wegner were producing pieces that have proved to be as relevant today as they were back in the 50s. The fact that we are still able to source furniture that is structurally in such good shape after decades of use, is a tribute to how well made it is. We also love the pop colour, bold graphics and touches of humour that are associated with post war design. It was a bright positive era for all the arts. Upcycling allows us to put great design centre stage again, but with a distinctive 21st century feel. Weâ€™re not so much about celebrating the retro as bringing it dancing and cheering into the present and with a riot of colour, pattern and humour. Humblesticks wants to annihilate snobbery around design and have a bit of fun with it. 14 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
What comes first, the pattern or the piece of furniture? Usually, it’s the piece of furniture. Each find comes imbued with a personality that tends to inspire a treatment by its shape, wood colour or era. It’s easy to come a cropper by trying to impose a favourite pattern or colour on a piece it doesn’t suit. We try our best to let the furniture do the talking rather than drowning it in a treatment that doesn’t work. What draws you to a certain piece of furniture? How do you source your furniture, and what inspires the decoration and upholstery? I tend to go for simple, well-made and unfussy pieces preferably in hard wood. Something that is structurally sound but maybe cosmetically in need of a lot of TLC. We find furniture on eBay, in charity shops, auctions, house clearances, through friends and at flea markets, basically everywhere we can! The piece itself is what inspires the decoration or fabric used. I look at what the shape suggests to me, what Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
What makes Humblesticks unique? Well, each of our pieces of furniture is a one-off and our ideas are our own. We have a continual influx of new finds and ever changing ideas.
compliments the wood colour and I like a treatment that will raise a smile; giving something that was once sad and dilapidated, back a bit of character. Your rejuvenated furniture and lighting has a highly distinctive and bold graphic style. Who - or what – motivates your creativity? Scandinavian textile design such as Marimekko, Spira Jaffa and the ilk. The childlike spookiness in the illustrations of Maurice Sendak and Edward Gorey. Painters such as Franz Kline, Patrick Heron, Motherwell and Helen Frankenthaler, for their bold use of colour, and the graphics of Paul Rand, Stig Lindburg and Lucienne Day. Lyrics in great music often spark ideas too as you’ll see from the titles of some of our products … 16 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
Have you seen a change in the perception of ‘craft’ in the UK, and what it means to own a handmade or hand-finished object? I think that, in the last few years, the perception of ‘craft’ as woolly lumpen objects made by ‘socks and sandal’ types has morphed into a greater respect for crafts people as skilled designers and makers. It has less hobbyist associations and has reverted back to the true sense of the word; the crafts-person as artisan. Owning a handmade or hand-finished product means owning something unique, you are investing in something that will fill your home with character and last a lifetime. To us, ‘handmade’ is something that is not mass-produced and has been handled with care, skill and thought. What advice would you give to someone starting their own creative business? Never underestimate the power of ‘word of mouth’. Meet other people doing the same thing and ally with them rather than seeing them as competition. Make sure that you really love what you do because you’ll be working at it day and night.
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If you had the opportunity to learn or employ a new creative skill, what would it be? I’ve always fancied a go at ceramics. I’ve dabbled but it would be wonderful to have some formal training. Oh, to go back to school! Who are your favourite artists, designers and makers? Print makers Esther Cox and Sarah Bagshaw, Aussie designer Beci Orpin and the gorgeous creations from Inaluxe, artists Marcus Oakley and Jason Craigshead, Falconwright and their amazing patterned work. So many talented folks everywhere! Where can we find out more about Humblesticks and your products? Please take a look at our Facebook and Pinterest pages. We also have a blog on our website which documents our and other inspiring folk’s practices. What’s next for Humblesticks? We’re dead excited as we’ve been working on some designs for print and fabric which we hope to put into production by the end of this year! For more information, visit: www.humblesticks.co.uk Images courtesy of Humblesticks
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BUSINESS: Branding by Sarah Hamilton
Buzz words fly around like wasps at a picnic, and branding is most definitely in the air at the moment. If you’re an Artist or Designer/Maker, making artwork and running a creative business, chances are you’ve heard someone talk about your ‘brand’. I certainly have and the term hasn’t always sat comfortably with me because it’s my artwork after all, not a high street coffee shop. Branding can seem a million miles away from our journeys of discovery, experimentation and creativity, and the rebel in me instinctively thinks “I’m not a BRAND, I’m an ARTIST!” However, it’s always good to have an open mind so I cast my reservations aside to talk to three successful design businesses about how they understand their ‘brand identity’. Turning our passion into sales is often our most demanding creative challenge so it’s always worth identifying and exploring avenues which may give us a head start. Put simply, the word ‘branding’ applies to a design philosophy; the overall presentation of your work and interests. It is about identity and it doesn’t need to be corporate. Branding should be about creating the story which describes your work. 20 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
Starch Green, Mini Moderns and Jane Foster have each skillfully defined an overall strategy which brings together all the positives of their work, influences and passions. They’ve each created a distinctive look and feel which ensures their creative work stands out from the crowd. Have a look at their websites and social media platforms, and read below how their brand works to express their individuality. STARCH GREEN A small studio in West London, set up by Artist/ Designers Jonathan Mercer and Kate Fishenden. Their focus is on hand-made design, using craft skills to create and produce design, artwork, distinctive pattern papers, illustrations, prints and products.
STARCH GREEN mugs & pegs
Jonathan says, “The term ‘Branding’ has a slightly bad reputation in some quarters, especially in the creative fields, as it can seem more appropriate for products like Cola and Baked Beans. Perhaps it’s a bit naff for arty types? We look at it a bit differently. For us, the principles at the heart of branding are very simple; how can we present what we do in the most authentic, compelling and consistent way possible? We started with our name ‘Starch Green’ as it’s where we live and we loved the image it conjures of crisp clean washing hanging on the line, so it’s more about a feeling and a place.
We chose PRINTMAKERS & PATTERNSMITHS as a strap-line. Most of what my partner Kate and I do as Artists/Designers is indeed printed and is a pattern and SMITHS adds a very particular artisanal quality. Printmaking is nothing if not joyfully repetitive! Kate drew our logo by hand, slightly influenced by David Hockney lettering, faintly 3D, but a bit wonky. We’ve many versions, kept alive by varying colour and scale. Ultimately our brand is about how Kate and I feel about what we do. All our products are made in small runs with a handmade ingredient. We only make things we love, simple as that really.” Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
MINI MODERNS Launched in 2006 by London based designers, Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire, Mini Moderns is an interiors brand specialising in applied pattern across a range of products including wallpapers, fabrics, cushions, rugs and ceramics. “We approach the Mini Moderns brand with the principle of ‘three C’s’. First, there is clarity. We want our brand to be clearly defined so that our audience understands our offer and our point of difference. Importantly, this clarity is a creative benchmark too, helping us assess new products and ideas against our clearly defined principles; we always assess new work and say ‘is it truly Mini Moderns?’
Second, there is consistency. We present our brand in a consistent way so that customers can easily recognise our work and can be sure that it comes from a trusted source. A consistent brand means both visual consistency e.g. colour, typography etc., and also a consistent tone of voice in all your written communication. Third and finally, we have creativity. This applies not only to our designs but to our brand. Successful brands keep finding creative ways to surprise and delight their customers. Whether we’re coming up with new collection ideas or working on our collaborative Remix projects, that’s what we try to do at Mini Moderns.”
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Keith Stephenson (left) and Mark Hampshire (right) of MINI MODERNS
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JANE FOSTER Simple, colourful and retro designs screen printed and sewn by Jane at her studio in Devon. With a strong Scandinavian influence, she produces bold, happy designs which appeal to children and adults alike. Jane says, “I really thought about my ‘brand’ in detail when having my website built four years ago. Prior to this, I’d used different business cards with varying images and I realised that more continuity was needed, so started to develop a more concise look. I created my logo from a simple pencil selfportrait and, as I have a short fringed bob haircut, it felt fitting! There’s a quirky element to it with the eyes facing to one side, and it’s a simple, clean, onecolour print that represents my work well; I usually screen print in one colour. It’s recognisable, works well in different sizes and can be used across my packaging. My blog, Facebook, Pinterest sites plus my website really help define my overall ‘brand’. They reflect who I am and what I want my business to stand for, and it gives an idea of the real person behind my brand which is so important. I try to ensure the ‘tone’ is friendly as I want to come across as likeable, trustworthy and sincere. You’re choosing to engage with people, so it’s vital to come across as your genuine self.” 24 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
These insights paint a compelling picture of the importance of branding and how to develop a distinctive creative identity. All artists and designers
With the very kind help of three wonderful creative businesses, I have come to the conclusion that far from being negative, branding is worthwhile and
need this; we just need to think about how apply this within our own personal environment and I would suggest the following:
can cast a very positive light. It’s about personal creative identity and can be the means to express individualism and imagination. So Artists, Designers and Makers, let us rise to the challenge and rebrand what we do, establish a personal identity and outshine the boring with colour, texture and original design.
1. Consider your work carefully. What makes your work unique? What is the story behind your work? Describe your influences, background and inspirations.
2. Create a distinctive identity. You need a logo so perhaps you could employ a designer if this isn’t your forte. Do your homework; there are many designers on Twitter/Social Media. Excellent visuals are key to developing a vibrant look but remember the visual associations pointing to your business are not necessarily obvious. They can be quirky and delightful e.g. Starch Green and washing lines, and Jane Foster and her gorgeous haircut. How obvious are these associations?
Images courtesy of : www.starchgreen.com www.minimoderns.com www.janefoster.co.uk For more information on Sarah Hamilton, visit: www.sarahhamiltonprints.com Sarah will be at ‘The Handmade Fair’, presented by Kirstie Allsopp at Hampton Court Palace, on the 19th - 21st September, 2014.
3. Send your newsletters/press releases to your mailing list with a distinctive header and always use your logo. Take time to get your logo right and stick to it!
For more information, visit: www.thehandmadefair.com
4. Always present your work beautifully. Think of the buyer. A successful brand will lead to sales. Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
Buy British Day Buy British Day is a brand new initiative from the team behind Best of Britannia, encouraging consumers to support brands and businesses that design and manufacture their products in Britain. Launched in July at the House of Commons and attended by some of the most influential names in British design and manufacturing, the first ever Buy British Day takes place on the 3rd October, 2014. The launch was hosted by Wayne Hemingway MBE (non-executive director of Best of Britannia), with a panel discussion on ‘Why consumers should buy British’ featuring leading British business owners and directors; Timothy Everest MBE (Owner of Timothy Everest Fine Tailoring), William Church (Managing Director of Cheaney), Will Butler-Adams (Managing Director of Brompton) and Cressida Granger (Managing Director of Mathmos). Wayne Hemingway says, “I decided to get on board with Buy British Day because the time is right for it and we need a lot more consumers, British manufacturers and British brands to support British business.” Antony Wallis, one of the founders of Best of Britannia, comments, “We have championed British-made brands and businesses at the annual 26 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
Best of Britannia event for several years now, and launching Buy British Day is the next logical step for us. There are so many top quality British made products out there, so the time is right that we have a day to create consumer awareness around the subject and encourage people to support these brands and makers.” A range of quality British made products were on display at the Buy British Day event, including bespoke suits from Timothy Everest and Brompton bikes. The Buy British Day is the brainchild of the team behind Best of Britannia, the event which showcases the very best in British-made brands and products, and which returns to the iconic Farmiloe Building in Clerkenwell on the 2nd, 3rd & 4th October 2014 for its third year.
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Wayne Hemingway 28 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
Buy British Day has been launched to coincide with the first day of Britain’s largest pop-up department store and the focus will be on the provenance and quality of the huge range of amazing products that Britain still produces. Best of Britannia will be showcasing over 200 British-made brands, making it the perfect place to buy British and discover the very best in fashion, grooming, furniture, food and drink, and more. Brands from last year returning to 2014’s Best of Britannia include Beulah Home, Chapman bags, Charnwood, Cheaney, Cherchbi, Do Book Company, Finisterre, Fletcher Boats, G Plan, Gillies Jones, Hetty Rose, Jeffery West, Moulton, NPS Solvair, Nyetimber, Penrose Products, Romney Marsh Wool, Silver Tree Crystal, Simon Frederick, Susannah Hall, Vickers, Walsh, and White Dove & Wonder. The Made in Britain stamp has long been denoted as a badge of quality overseas but less so at home; Buy British Day has been launched to try and change this. The ‘BoB’ team firmly believe that the provenance of what we purchase is increasing in importance here in the UK, and also for the international consumer. When you attend ‘BoB’, the quality of each item produced is clear, whether it has been created lovingly by hand or in the oldest running factory in the world. Support Buy British Day on the 3rd October by seeking out the fantastic range of British-produced goods on offer throughout the UK or at Best of Britannia. For more information, visit: www.bestofbritannia.com Images courtesy of Best of Britannia Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
Parris Wakefield by Mandy Knapp
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Parris Wakefield Additions is a range of contemporary interior products by UK designers Sarah Parris and Howard Wakefield. Lovers of colour, their bold, graphic patterns and designs are inspired by colour palettes from nature through to art and fashion, and can be found on an array of items including cushions, fabrics, rugs and wallpapers. They are proud that their cushions, fabrics and lampshades are all manufactured in Britain. We love your designs at UK Handmade, they are so uplifting! What would you say is your signature style? I think what makes our designs unique, is that they are created purely digitally. First and foremost it is about the colour. The colour palette is selected first and then the process of building up the pattern comes next. This is why we do not produce the same pattern in different colour-ways. The advantage of digital design means we do not have to hold back; we are not limited in the design in any way and this is so liberating. Our designs are a real, â€˜no holds barredâ€™ expression of our love of colour and pattern. Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
The patterns quite organically take shape and evolve during the design process, and we have no fixed idea of the pattern when we start. It begins like doodling on screen, building up layers adjusting and focusing on areas we like, until we reach a point where it just clicks and “that’s it, don’t do any more”. Where do you find inspiration for your designs? Inspiration comes from all around, from anything with colour. The first designs were mostly inspired by paintings but also nature and fashion. Our latest design ‘Chance’ was inspired by a photograph I took, of layers of peeling paint at Ipswich docks, and the squeegee paintings of Gerhard Richter. When designing digitally, there is the element of control in understanding how to manipulate the colour but also an element of chance, as you never know exactly how two layers are going to interact. Richter also embraced this element of chance in his paintings and we love this quote from 1990, when he was interviewed by Sabine Shulze: “If I don’t know what’s coming - that is, if I have no hard and fast image - then arbitrary choice and chance play an important part.” 32 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
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Where do you print your designs? All of our designs are printed in Britain. As this is our first venture into production, the thought of
Handmade Alliance makes that possible. Working with them also makes good business sense. They really care about what they do, the quality of their
dealing with overseas manufacturers and having to cope with language and time problems was something we did not want to contemplate. Thankfully, Britain once again has a healthy textile industry, in both weaving and printing. It made sense to keep everything here. We can go and meet the manufacturers and see the factory, we know working conditions are good, quality is high and any issues can be dealt with quickly; we are not wasting time and money unnecessarily transporting goods around the world.
work is extremely high, and they are able to make small batches for us which helps with cash flow. Itâ€™s a win-win all round.
Tell us about the connection with the Handmade Alliance. They contacted us offering to make a sample and quote on producing our cushions. I am so glad that they did and we have worked with them ever since. Handmade Alliance is such a wonderful organisation; they are a social enterprise, training prisoners to produce high-quality, hand finished products for British designers. The alliance is founded on a desire to help prisoners learn through making, and to give practical and emotional support to help them reintegrate into society on release. At Parris Wakefield Additions, we believe that design should be beautiful and socially responsible, and the 34 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
How exciting has it been to be able to develop a range of wallpaper? Wallpaper has been the most difficult and frustrating product to produce. We encountered so many issues with colour, quality and trimming that in the end, we had to admit defeat and sadly withdraw the product. Once we got the colour right, the trimming was not accurate enough. However, we are currently exploring alternative ways to bring the wallpaper to market, but we will have to wait and see. For now, we are concentrating on the textile side of things. Is it tricky to find partners to get your designs just right for production? Yes, it was quite difficult to begin with. Many UK manufacturers are very difficult to even find let alone work with. If they have a website, it is usually very poor and not a good indication of what they do. When we did manage to make contact, they were quite wary of us as newcomers to the industry and therefore reluctant to take us on.
We had to push hard in some cases and show them we were serious, which always means money up front to minimise their risk. This meant that we had to do our homework on our chosen manufacturer, ensure all samples were signed off, read the T&Cs carefully, ask loads of questions and keep our fingers crossed. Initially, we had to find someone who would do short runs to get us started, but this was not the best option long term as we increased production. With digital printing, you are limited by the base cloth available from the manufacturer so you have to find someone who is flexible on the run length, able to provide a wide range of good quality base cloths and has excellent colour reproduction. We tried several different manufacturers before we found the right one for us. We are always looking into new manufacturing options as they all offer something different which new designs in the future may require.
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Where can we find your designs for sale? Everything can be bought from our online store. There are also some wonderful interior designers
We first came across your work at TENT London. Will you be participating again this year? Yes, we will be back exhibiting at TENT London in
who have our fabric books, and some who stock a selection of products in their own shops too. These are all listed in our stockists’ page and hopefully, people can find someone near them to view the designs and get some expert interior advice on the use of colour.
2014 and you can find us in the main hall (T1 stand E17). We have tried a few different shows over the last couple of years but TENT is most definitely our favourite. It has a very special atmosphere, there’s a lovely camaraderie between exhibitors and a real buzz of excitement about what is on show. We will be launching a new design called ‘Forget-Me-Not’ and collaborating with Jane Richards Interiors on some specially designed chairs. We have never been involved in furniture design before, so this is very exciting for us.
We have taken part in a couple of pop-up shops with WISE Creative too. WISE is a select group of independent luxury labels based in Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England, who are dedicated to manufacturing their products in the UK and we hope to do more with them in the future. We are also associate members of Designer Makers @21, a fantastic group of crafts people in the Diss, Norfolk area. It offers local designers and makers a retail outlet and studio space, and you can visit the studios, watch the designers at work and take part in workshops. We often have sample sales or special offers exclusively available at the Designer Makers’ studio so, if you are in the area, it is well worth a visit! We are constantly looking for new retailers and interior designers so if any is interested in stocking any of our designs, please do get in touch. We would love to hear from you.
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If you could have one of your designs adorning anything, what would it be? We are still thrilled every time we see our fabric being used on a piece of furniture. We were delighted to see how Out of the Dark and Galapagos Design up-cycled their chairs with our fabric and now we have the newly designed chairs with Jane Richards. Howard is a massive F1 fan and to design a car’s livery with our patterns would be his dream. And for our fabrics, I think upholstering the seats in the London underground carriages would be a huge honour. The designs of London underground fabrics have become iconic, and to have our designs join them and be seen by so many would be amazing!
Hopefully, our colourful patterns would give some of the commuters a smile on their faces on their journey to work. What is next for Parris Wakefield designs? We have been collaborating with Camira Fabrics, Britainâ€™s leading textile company who are recognised for their product and environmental innovation. With them, we have re-interpreted our â€˜Zig Zagâ€™ pattern using colours that co-ordinate with their range of plain fabrics. The design is pushing digital print technology to the limit by digitally printing onto wool, which gives it a new look and feel; this is a very exciting development for us and we hope to be able to do more similar collaborations in the future as well as build on our own fabric collection. For more information on Parris Wakefield, visit: www.parriswakefield.com Images courtesy of Parris Wakefield
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Marketing Interior Products by Hannah Marshall The ‘Interiors’ market is a huge growing trade that requires a slightly different approach when promoting your handmade creations. Whilst smaller items like cushions or lampshades may be easier to sell through traditional avenues, larger items like furniture and pattern specific products, that speak volume in situ, can be harder to publicise.
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Lifestyle photography is a great method of putting across your brand and style. With interior products, it can also be a great way of seeing your creations ‘in action’. Good lifestyle shots can really boost your credentials and show you are serious about your work. High quality photography is very important and useful, whether you are selling online or in person, to retailers, the press or to clients. Think about how you would imagine your product being used in an environment, and make your product the focus.
Ask local establishments - hotels, cafes, etc. - whose style you admire, if you can photograph your products ‘on location’, perhaps in return for some free products. Even better, find out if they would be interested in displaying some of your products on loan. Both parties will benefit; you are able to promote your work in a desirable location and the business gets decorated with beautiful, free products. Architects and interior designers are your friends in this industry, as they are constantly looking for new innovative designers that echo their ethos or what their client is looking for. The task could simply involve one job with an individual client or involve rebranding an entire chain of hotels. There are many ways to find them (e.g. by attending specialist trade fairs) but you could also start local and approach a few companies yourself. Emily Dupen is the designer behind Dupenny, an interiors brand producing homewares such as wallpaper, fabrics and ceramics, emblazoned with their distinct 1950’s pin-up girl illustrations. She explains, “We prefer independent shops and interior designers wherever possible. We attend trade fairs and have found these to be an invaluable way to meet press, stockists and clients for bespoke projects. However, it is really important to do your research and find the right show for your products as they take a lot of time, money and effort!”
Emily Dupen Specialist trade fairs are an excellent way of promoting your products and a route many designers choose to use. Jorunn Hustoft runs Nnuroj, a contemporary knitware company that specializes in high-end and bespoke, textural soft furnishings and fashion. “Exhibiting at Milan Design Week allows me to reach an audience of retailers, interior designers, press and general public from all over the world,” says Jorunn. “The contacts and exposure gained, in addition to the access of direct feedback from such a broad background of design enthusiasts, has been invaluable to the development of my brand and my understanding of the opportunities available, both in and outside of the UK.” Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
Whilst small local craft fairs may not offer the same benefits as an international trade fair for larger and more expensive items, it is a great way to network and get feedback. Collect customer data by signing people up to your social networking sites or creating a mailing list, especially if you are just starting out, so any additional sales you do make are a bonus. Perhaps you can offer to deliver items that are bulkier for free within a certain radius? It may entice people to make a purchase! Social Media is another method through which you can share your products to a mass audience. It’s worth embracing, whether you do this through blogging (Tumblr, WordPress, etc.) or by sharing shorter updates and images (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Pinterest). The trick is to find one that works well for you and use this often, rather than doing them all sporadically. Each has their own benefits, but they all need constant updating to see results. “At DuPenny, our best seller is the ‘50’s Housewives’ wallpaper, one of our most recognizable designs,” says Emma. “We use a lot of social media and we find that Pinterest works especially well for us because it’s such a visual medium. Our images get shared and re-pinned!” 40 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
A static website with your portfolio works as a good calling card and shows you are a professional designer who takes their work seriously, whilst having an ecommerce platform will also increase sales from the general public. Again, product and lifestyle photography is key, as people are not viewing your item in the flesh. Create clear photos that display many angles and close-ups of your work so that your customers can appreciate every detail of your item. Many designers who create interior products find that in most cases a traditional small gallery may not be the best setting for some niche products. Specialist interior outlets where products are displayed in a lifestyle setting, instead of tucked away in packaging, are the most promising places. This is a place where people go when they want to decorate their home and the shop is usually able to arrange delivery of bulkier items. There is a growing market for pattern designers and illustrators too, so licensing your designs is an option. Your client or customer can choose a design they like and manufacture it onto the product they desire. Katy Clemmans is a pattern designer based in Brighton. â€œGetting my patterns onto products is difficult unless I manufacture them myself, which involves a certain amount of financial risk. Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
I find it best to have multiple avenues for selling my patterns,” she says. “As well as licensing my artwork for use by companies on their products there’s a big market for downloads of digital artwork on sites such as Creative Market. I sell my own manufactured product range through Etsy and at craft fairs such as Makers Boutique. I also apply my artwork to products on ‘print-on-demand’ sites such as Society6 and the fabric site Spoonflower. Most recently, I diversified slightly into more illustrative-based, printed artwork which I sell through Not On The High Street, opening my work up to an established customer base. If I am licensing my artwork to established companies in the industry, they are generally able to visualise how they would use my designs, though even then I find it’s best to create product mock-ups in Photoshop to enable me to market my work.” When finding stockists, interior designers, architects or licensing agents, make sure you carefully select places that you think represent your style and audience. For maximum effect, you could create a catalogue that could be printed and posted directly to them, or emailed to them on request (but don’t clog their inbox!). If you don’t have a catalogue, you could just email a few low-resolution photos or link to an online portfolio. Always make sure you do not spam! 42 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
Tailor a cover letter or message to the business, explaining all about yourself, what you do and why your work would be a good fit. Sell yourself! Do some research and call or email places to find out how you go about showing them your work. Make sure that each company you approach has a personal response as to why your products would work well there. Ask questions too, as it leaves your enquiry open to a response and could start a conversation. How would I go about stocking your shop? How can I submit work? Do you have any feedback for me? With so many routes to market, a new designer can be bamboozled. The best way to navigate it is to choose the best method for your work. Donâ€™t try to juggle too many different methods at the same time; some techniques will work better than others. As long as you are making products you love and have confidence in your work, itâ€™s just a case of finding the people and businesses who love your products as much as you do. Images courtesy of Dupenny, Katy Clemmans, and Nnuroj.
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MADE London MADE LONDON - The Design and Craft Fair returns to One Marylebone to present the very best in contemporary craft and design. Showcasing over 120 highly original makers and designers from the UK and Europe, the show offers the perfect opportunity for visitors to view and buy unique hand crafted pieces in a friendly, informal and beautiful atmosphere. MADE LONDON exhibits long established and well known makers alongside new emerging makers, so the mix of work is truly varied and exciting. Selling direct to the public enables the designer/makers to build a relationship with buyers, collectors, galleries and curators. From colourful glassware to the softest knitted textiles, functional ceramics to dazzling jewellery and classic furniture to beautiful fashion, MADE LONDON offers something for everyone. 44 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
WWW.LUKEBISHOP.COM Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
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One Marylebone is a stunning building, a beautiful converted Sir John Soane Church in central London, directly opposite Great Portland Street tube and right by Regents Park. MADE LONDON will make use of all 3 floors, including the double height crypt and mezzanine. A cafe in the crypt provides space for visitors to relax with a drink and a bite to eat. You can get a feel of exactly what the fair is like, by watching this short film on VIMEO. To receive a ‘2 for the price of 1’ ticket to this event, please complete the form by 20 October, and a voucher will be sent to you in the post before the event. MADE LONDON: 24th – 26th October, 2014 One Marylebone, London, NW1 4AQ (Directly opposite Great Portland Street tube station) Opening times: 18.00 – 20.30 Thursday 23rd October – Private View (by invitation only) 11.00 – 20.00 Friday 24th October 10.00– 18.00 Saturday 25th October 10.00 – 17.00 Sunday 26th October Tickets £10 on the door . Children under 14 free . For more information, visit: www.madelondon.org For a full exhibitor’s list, visit: www.madelondon.org/gallery Images courtesy of MADE LONDON Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
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East London is firmly established as the most creative and forwardthinking design destination of all and Tent London is at its heart, taking place this year between the 18th and 21st of September at the Old Truman Brewery, London. Constantly evolving and always thought provoking, the design trade shows Tent London and Super Brands London return for their 8th year. Over 280 companies from 29 countries will be presenting a vast and diverse range of products by leading global brands, established independents and undiscovered talent. Tent London’s exhibitors provide an ideal showcase for the world-class design that can be found in East London. Labels that started out small, when Tent London was first launched 8 years ago, are now fully established and continuing to grow. These brands continue to return the show and reflect its role as the central hub for this design district and beyond. Exhibitors for 2014 include Vera & Kyte, Tori Murphy, Kosmos Project, Aditi, Sonya Winner, Tøt/Gesicka, Tamma Design and Sebastian Cox.
‘Gob Stopper Lights’ by Curiosa & Curiosa Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
Ginger & Jagger and Fatboy. Super Brands will also be showcasing MG’s new initiative, championing young British designers in automotive design.
Recognising that a presence in East London is essential to the development of their brands, an impressive roster of design labels are now investing in retail space in the district and are showing at Tent London’s sister event, Super Brands London. Found in the same location but with its own strong independent identity, Super Brands showcases international design brands that want to increase their profile in the UK market. Those taking part in Super Brands this year include Graham & Brown, BoConcept, Armourcoat, Munna, Branca Lisboa, 50 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
This year’s event has a strong international feel; in addition to the exhibitors from 29 countries, 100% Norway will be moving into the Tent London building for 2014, showing alongside one of the star turns of Milan, Tokyo Designers Week, who are coming to Tent London for the first time. Japan has never had a significant presence at the London Design Festival before, so this is an exciting first and Tokyo Designers Week should certainly be on your to do list. A major retrospective into the country’s design, it offers an in-depth overview never seen before in the UK. Using the theme of ‘TOKYO IMAGINE,’ this exhibition cherry-picks Japanese creativity and technology in interactive design and art, motion graphics and design technology expressing Tokyo and Japanese contemporary culture. Highlights include a new type of Japanese ‘Merry Go-Round’ installation that blends fantasy and sparkling motion videos designed by contemporary artist Asami Kiyokawa. Also on show will be the ‘Oh! Furoshi Exhibition’, offering unique insight into the culture of Japanese wrapping, and international collaboration with a slew of designers including WOW, Marcel Wanders, Jaime Hayon and Karim Rashid.
‘Grid IV Marquetry Sideboard’ by Christine Meyer-Eaglestone Also new this year, the DANISH MADE exhibition at Tent will see exciting, new and independent Danish talent reinterpreting classic forms by Danish furniture designers Børge Mogensen and Hans Wegner. The exhibition coincides with Mogensen’s and Wegner’s centenaries in 2014, highlighting both established and up-and-coming Danish design. A highlight of last year’s show, the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland return with their latest exhibition ‘Weathering’, a showcase of the most noteworthy Irish designer/makers working today. Big and bold installations have been few and far between of late. The global brand Heineken
is working with young designers to create a sprawling installation just outside Tent London, a huge lounge and party zone especially for design week. As Jimmy MacDonald, founder & director of Tent London, comments: “We are busy focusing on bringing all the diverse and exciting elements that make East London one of the most creative zones in the world together under one roof, creating a show that continues to lead the way.” Spectacular installations, a Super Design Gallery, inspirational talks and presentations from country pavilions will make this one of the largest and most popular design destinations during the Festival.
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Origami Wallpapers by Tracey Tubb
Tent London and Super Brands London will take place from the 18th to 21st of September at the Old Truman Brewery, Hanbury Street (off Brick Lane), London, E1 6QR. Opening times: 10.00 - 19.00 Thursday 18th September 10.00 - 20.00 Friday 19th September 10.00 - 20.00 Saturday 20th September 11.00 - 18.00 Sunday 21 September Ticket Prices: Adult £10, Child £5, Under 5’s FREE. Discount Advance tickets at £8 are available to purchase before 13th September online. Tickets allow entry in to Tent London, Super Brands London and its associated gallery events. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or on-thedoor at the ticket desk. For more tickets and more information visit: www.tentlondon.co.uk Keep up to date on the latest news via: twitter.com/tent_london facebook.com/TentLondon pinterest.com/tentlondon instagram.com/tentlondon Images courtesy of Tent London
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‘Driftwood Tapestry’ by Lee Borthwick Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
The Blue Carrot by Chrissie Freeth
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From her farm-based workshop in Cornwall, florist Susanne Hatwood uses flowers she herself has grown to create stunning natural arrangements. She is an artist and a craftswoman, and her materials are petals, stems and leaves; she takes floristry to a new level. Here she tells us how she got started, and how she keeps going. Please tell us about yourself and how you got started. My husband and I live in a small village on the Cornish Coast. Iâ€™m German and we met in Berlin. He took me to Cornwall on holiday and I fell in love with this part of the world. Could you tell us what prompted you to become a florist? It all started with the desire to work for myself, close to home. I had a job in a nursery that supplies plants to a large number of Cornish gardens and garden centres. I loved it, but it was a two hour round trip each day.
Jemima Lumley Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
I found a farmer who was willing to rent out a little, very overgrown walled garden only a five minute walk from home. The Blue Carrot was born and started its life as a market garden, selling vegetables from the gate. The name was a joke, because I really couldn’t grow carrots. Then the flowers began to take over, starting with a row of sweet peas and just a few dahlias. Slowly but surely I became completely hooked on their beauty. I couldn’t stop thinking about combinations and new additions to my patch. I took a floristry course and during it, it became clear to me that my idea of flower-arranging was very different from traditional floristry. First I was very confused and anxious about that, but I soon realised that this different approach was exactly what many people were looking for. I think I look at flowers with the eyes of a gardener. I just adore the natural way they grow, how they move and come together. Can you tell us a bit about your workspace and can we take a sneaky peek? The garden itself is about a quarter of an acre in size and on a south-facing slope. It’s sort of half-walled and for generations, was the kitchen-garden of the neighbouring manor house. It is about a mile outside our village and feels like an oasis of calm. My landlord used to run a dairy farm and the little shed that I’ve transformed into my workshop, was the place where they washed all the milking equipment. 56 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
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How do you come up with ideas for your work? I find inspiration almost everywhere. Nature, landscapes, music, paintings, photography, even the
What do you love most about what you do and what do you find the most frustrating? I absolutely love the creative side and finding
way people move and it all influences my designs. Another huge source of inspiration is the internet and social media. There are so many amazing floral designers out there doing exciting work, but my favourites are still a handful of American designers that I discovered when I started being interested in flower arranging. Sarah Ryhanen of ‘Saipua’, Nicolette Camille, Studio Choo, Sarah Winward of ‘Honey of a Thousand Flowers’ and Erin of ‘Floret Flower Farm’; these are my flower heroes and have influenced my style right from the beginning. I’ve attended The Little Flower School recently and this has given me an enormous artistic boost.
new, exciting combinations in colour or texture. And there is no better reward then seeing how my flowers can move people; the expression in a brides face when she finally sees her bouquet is the sweetest and best part of my job. I like the early mornings in my garden. When I’m pottering along on my plot or create in my workshop, I completely forget time and space, and it feels like being a child again, totally in the here and now. I find the business side of things the most frustrating. I had to learn the hard way about how important it is to get the pricing right. But I’m getting better at it.
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Do you think you have the work/life balance right or is this something you are always working on? Ha ha! That’s the biggest problem when you love your work, I never really switch off. I wake up in the middle of the night and write down flower varieties to sow or answer emails in the middle of a late night movie. But after a mad busy season last year, I’ve made the conscious decision to take on much less weddings this year, get the pricing right and focus on recharging my creativity. Do you ever have creative slumps? What do you do then? That’s a good question. I’ve recently learned something extremely helpful. What really exhausts me is the stress of getting a specific flower at a specific date and working to a receipt. I now try to explain to my clients that I can’t really promise any specific flowers as every growing season is different, but if they give me a rough idea about the colours and the look and trust me with the rest, they get the best out of me. I thrive on trust and it’s so much better not to be tied to very detailed descriptions. I’m getting more assertive in this matter, as experience has taught me that working for a client that doesn’t trust leads to a very unsatisfying experience for both sides.
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What is your favourite piece you’ve made and why? Usually the bouquets I put together with wedding leftovers turn out to be my favourites, as I’m relaxed and not feeling any pressure to produce. And I love the results from my photo shoots with Sarah Falugo. It’s such a joy to work with someone that completely gets you and you get them without much communication. What advice would you give to someone starting a new business? Be very clear about what you really want to do and think about what gives your business the edge, makes it special. Be prepared to work sooo much harder then you ever imagined and most importantly, get your pricing right. It’s so frustrating to work seven days a week non-stop and find out that you made a loss at the end of the financial year.
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What jobs did you have before this? I’ve been jobbing around quite a bit. From waitressing, shop assisting, sport teaching and DJ-ing to working as a regular extra in a German hospital soap opera. But my last few jobs became more horticultural, working in a plant nursery and as a gardener. What are your plans for the next 12 months? Just to never stop learning and get better at this flower thing. Find new, exciting things to grow. Make new relations with other small scale growers to exchange products. And then there’s an idea in the back of my head, but it scares me to just think about it; I might start teaching...maybe. How do you get the word out about your work and where can we buy it? The internet - and in particular, social media - has been crucial to reaching my clients. Now it’s a bit like a snowball. I get a lot of enquiry from brides that other suppliers point in my direction. Venues, photographers, make-up artists and caterers all spread the word. I’m doing the occasional special delivery bouquet but my main focus is on wedding flowers and styling. For more information on The Blue Carrot, visit: www.thebluecarrot.co.uk and Facebook Images courtesy of Susanne Hatwood at The Blue Carrot; with photography by Sarah Falugo
Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
English Eccentric by Dawn Bevins English Eccentric isn’t what I expected. I was clearly expecting ‘eccentric’ as the title suggests, but I think the English part and the image used on the cover threw me. I was expecting a book full of wacky lords in stately homes but there are no lords or stately homes. Instead, there are some fairly wealthy, yet modestly sized homes - mostly in London – and it’s unlikely that you’ll find yourself picking up style tips, or ‘oohing and aahing’ with lust and longing. That’s not to say the homes aren’t lovely, but maybe they just don’t have the mass appeal that we’ll jump to emulate. However this doesn’t make them any less fascinating. 64 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
There are 14 interiors for you to potter around. I say potter as it feels more like you are stepping into the rooms rather than looking at images on a page. I think this is due to most of the owners being collectors and having masses of items on display, and it gives the impression that you have just walked into a room unexpectedly, rather than when the in-laws are due and you tidy as much away as possible. This isn’t just a picture book either; there is also a lot of background text on the owners enabling you to get a real understanding of how their style developed. I’ve found there are things to like about all the homes even if they aren’t to my personal taste. For example, I have no interest in American politics and even less interest in covering my walls in all kinds of related memorabilia and paraphernalia. However, I am amazed at how a collection can cover walls and shelves in such volume and yet still look so neat and orderly (as in the home Passion for Politics owned by The Right Honourable Simon Burns, Member of Parliament for Chelmsford and Minister of State for Transport). It should be like watching one of those frightening hoarding documentaries but it isn’t, because it’s far too refined to be just clutter. Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
It’s hard to choose a favourite interior from this book. I love the living space overlooking the garden of the cottage owned by jewellery designer Solange Azagury-Partridge. It’s a heady mix of clashing colour, texture and pattern, and yet it somehow works and comes across as the kind of cosy spot that you could curl up in with a hot chocolate (or glass of wine) and a magazine. I’m fascinated by Beetle Mania, a home with so many pops of bright colour and an established collection of circus memorabilia. What really excites me is the owner’s converted horse box that has been turned into The Insect Circus Museum. I love the thought, the care, artistic skill and dedication that has gone into creating a completely made up, yet entirely convincing, museum. Both Animal Magic and East End Hoard seem very otherworldly. Animal Magic has such an amazing taxidermy collection, as well as a menagerie of live animals, that it’s hard to know what is static and what is alive, and it feels like a natural history museum magically coming to life. East End Hoard has been stripped back to many original features, including wallpaper and paintwork (regardless of the condition), and it looks as though it has been frozen in time. It reminds me of 12 Grimwald Place in Harry Potter, although I doubt it has a house-elf. 66 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
The interior that talks to my taste the most is Bower Bird, owned by stylist Fanny Ward. Her rooms seem so full but her style is natural and homely, and it doesn’t feel over-curated. Each room, whether it is achieved with flowers, books, logs or magazines is filled with light and joy; every single item collected and displayed looks loved. This is a lovely selection of UK homes, which although quirky doesn’t fall into the realm of outlandishly wacky. The beauty lies in how the decor expresses their owner’s personalities so genuinely and generously. Although I’m not sure I’d actually like to live in any of these homes myself, I can appreciate their character and ingenuity, and it gives me a sprinkling of confidence when considering decorating my own home. Maybe I should be a little less Ikea and a lot more adventurous. English Eccentric by Ros Byam Shaw is published by Ryland Peters & Small at £30.00 Photography by Jan Baldwin ISBN-10: 1849755035 ISBN-13: 978-1849755030
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Salix Arts by Karen Jinks & Mandy Knapp
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Debbie Hall is a willow artist living and working in rural Cambridgeshire, where she takes care of all aspects of her craft; from growing and preparing her own willow to creating beautiful yet functional products for the home and garden. We caught up with her in her studio to find out how she breathes new life into this ancient tradition. Where did your interest in weaving start? I’ve always been creative and attracted to natural materials (and been fond of baskets), but didn’t really think of giving it a go myself until my late 20’s. We had just bought a house in Duxford with a featureless garden and at the time, there was an amazing garden pot shop in the village. They had a few beautiful, tall hazel and willow plant supports that I thought would give the garden some instant interest. I bought two and whilst installing them was struck with the thought “I bet I could do that!” The rest is history!
Jemima Lumley Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
I set about finding somewhere to learn, which didn’t seem easy at the time, but ended up finding a lovely teacher, Joni Bamford, who lived in Rutland just outside Stamford. I made my first basket whilst pregnant with my oldest daughter, so I can always remember just how long I’ve been working with willow. Nineteen years now! I loved it, and my first attempt looked like a basket and functioned like a basket! It wasn’t just the end result that I liked, I really loved the process. Weaving willow in the round has a wonderful rhythm to it, and I find it amazingly relaxing in that it requires enough mental energy to keep you from thinking too much about other things but not so much that you find it taxing in itself. When I get into the rhythm, it’s almost meditational. Joni offered weekend courses and when my children were very young, my weekend workshops became my ultimate treat. My husband’s parents live a bit further up the A1 and on those weekends, my husband would drop me off at Joni’s and take the kids up to his parents for the weekend, picking me up on the way home. Joni also did B&B and so I got to spend Saturday evening pouring over wonderful basketry books in the extensive collection in her studio. 70 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
I remember that I learned one of my favourite knots from a beautiful Japanese basketry book; the instructions were in Japanese, but the illustrations were excellent so it didn’t matter! I am very grateful to Joni (sadly no longer with us) for the part she played in helping me find the medium that I have been so continually inspired by. Tell us about your workspace, and where you source your willow. We moved to our current location in Shudy Camps just over five years ago. A big attraction of Blacksmith’s Cottage was the large garden with existing studio that offered the perfect place for me to work in and run courses from. I enjoy working outside and the beautiful garden is inspiring to weave in. It also had polytunnel ideal for storing the willow that I had already started growing myself in Abington. I have 6 main varieties on the willow beds in Abington, and they are grown organically, handharvested and sorted. I love growing my own materials and now crop enough willow annually to supply 100% of my needs on all fronts; my own sculpture and baskets, teaching and living willow projects. This year, I have had enough to supply a couple of other basketmakers and Audley End’s kitchen garden too. Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
Tell us about the how you work through the seasons when working with willow. I like having control over my own supply. Although nature makes sure the crop is slightly different every year (weather can be a significant factor in quantity, length, straightness and even colour), I can exploit unusual and rich bark colours, making my baskets and other structures unique. Growing and using your own willow allows you to get to know it well. My years of familiarity with it, at all stages of its life, means that I know how each variety weaves, how long each needs soaked to get it ‘just right’ to work with, and which ones work best for one job or another! Though preparation of willow is fairly straightforward, a lot of planning is involved. Many willows take 2 weeks to soak before they’re weavable, and I have to be on the ball preparing for workshops, making sure I have enough materials ready for both my own and teaching needs. I also need to plan storage carefully; I keep some in cool shady spots so that the willow remains flexible longer for larger garden projects, and let some dry out quickly in the polytunnels so that it can be soaked for basket making. Being involved with the whole process allows me to tune into the natural world and my working year is tailored to the cycle of the willow. 72 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
Harvest takes place in winter after the leaves have dropped and the plant is dormant, usually between late December and March. This is also when I plant living willow structures. In early/late spring and early summer, I work with the larger willow whilst it’s still flexible with its own sap. I make larger garden pieces and teach workshops in plant supports, garden structures and sculpture.
During the summer, I’m often found making work to decorate festival sites and I also start teaching baskets and other smaller items using willow from the previous year that has been dried and re-soaked. (Willow prepared in this way doesn’t shrink as much as mellowed fresh willow, which is important, as you don’t want to end up with a loose, saggy basket!)
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Autumn means I can begin working and teaching with the current year’s willow and I try to continue offering seasonal workshops. Autumn might include berry-picking baskets and a bird lover’s workshop, with participants making birdhouses and feeders useful for the upcoming cold spells. Finally, there are Christmas decorations before the whole cycle begins again. Throughout the year, I work outside in all conditions and I feel truly blessed to interact with nature in all her guises. Lise Bech, a Scottish basketmaker who also grows and weaves with her own material, talks about working with willow “from bud to basket” and I haven’t yet been able to think of a better description! What do you love most about willow? Willow is such a versatile medium to work in and it has kept me interested for nearly twenty years. I can’t imagine a time when I won’t be able to think of something new to make with willow and I find that sense of possibility very exciting. Each piece of willow is different, and every rod has a thick (butt) end and tapers to a thin (tip) end) and whilst you get to know the characteristics of the different varieties, I love the fact that I have to work with the inherent qualities and shapes to get the best results. I like the challenge of that too, and get quite bored with the evenness and dull colours of other basketry materials like cane. 74 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
One of the things I like most is that there is very little interaction with tools. Like potters, basketmakers shape each of their creations directly with their hands, it’s a ‘hands-on’ medium. There are a few tools that make parts of the process a little easier (like a basketmaker’s bodkin) but to make a basket, all you really need is a sharp pair of secateurs and a weight to hold it steady as you work on it. Though you need to prepare materials in advance, by soaking and mellowing, making a basket or willow sculpture can be a very immediate thing. In a day, you can transform a bundle of sticks into a beautiful, practical piece that can be used right away. If kept indoors, a willow basket or sculpture could last fairly indefinitely, its only real enemy being a very damp environment (goes mouldy) or wood worm! I love that brown willow (the term for dried willow with the bark on, regardless of its actual colour) has a look of the ancient to it, even when it’s just made. I like to play with this characteristic and, with careful choice of colour and weave, often try and produce pieces that are obviously quite contemporary, but also have an ancient or traditional essence. The cycle and ease of growth makes willow the perfect ecological material to work with. I grow it without any chemicals and once dry, the only thing you need to make it workable again is water.
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I am proud that the materials I choose to work with have so little negative impact on the earth. Because I plant so much of it in a year, I’m sure the small
cross-bred to produce a wide range of materials for basketry. I grow 6 varieties in quantity at the willow beds at Abington, and a few more at home which I
amount of diesel I use to transport it, is more than offset carbon wise!
have in nursery beds, until I have enough cuttings to plant a decent size chunk with the others. Growing my own allows me to bring a variety of colour to my work. Not only does each have its own distinct colour, but this also varies due to seasonal weather conditions, position in the beds (those on the edge get more sunlight) and where it’s stored. My willow is stored in dark sheds and a bright warm polytunnel, and I get different colours in each. For example, Salix purpurea ‘Dickie Meadowes’ ranges from a khaki grey, when stored in the dark, to a peachy lilac when ‘sunburnt’ in the polytunnel. Further colour is achievable by steaming willow after soaking (I use a household wallpaper stripper
When working outside with willow, I relish that I am not completely in control. With living willow, I plant and shape it initially (sometimes I continue to shape and prune it) but once it starts growing, it takes on a life of its own. With non-living willow, I shape it initially but then it gently rots away over several years, taking on new textures and colours as it changes with the effects of the weather. The final stages of a once strong and colourful piece are fragile, delicate and grey; a very different but equally enticing beauty! I get to see nature’s full glory every season and although working outside in the winter can be hard, I have become a firm believer that you can do anything in any weather if you have the right clothing. My favourites are my merino wool long johns and my soft warm Croc wellies. When we visited, we were amazed at the array of colours in the different types of willow. What makes them all so varied? There are hundreds of different varieties of willow. Many of them occur naturally in the wild, and many of them have been specifically cultivated and 76 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
for this), and this generally makes any variety go a shade or two darker. When I create living willow structures, I like to make the most of colour and often plant three or more different varieties. This not only gives different leaf and stem colours, but different leaf shapes and increased biodiversity! The majority of my basketmaking willows are purpureas. These willows have greater salicylic acid content in the bark which makes them great for people like me who want to grow organically. They taste very bitter so are not
so tasty to potentially damaging insects and larger nibblers like rabbits and Muntjac. We loved seeing the example of living willow in the chairs and outside â€˜classroom.â€™ Where have you installed this type of work? A sizeable part of my business is creating and maintaining living willow structures. This is seasonal work as willow is only plantable in the dormant season (usually between the end of December and March). Iâ€™ve been planting and weaving living domes, tunnels and sculpture in schools, nurseries and private gardens for 15 years now. I still get to see some of my early creations when I go back to maintain them; some of the main growing rods in the older structures are as thick as my arms! Most of my work is in schools where domes and tunnels provide interesting play areas, functioning as open air classrooms and providing leafy shade from the summer sun. Learning to look after a living structure can also tie in seamlessly with the national curriculum. For example, during an assembly on looking after a new living structure, children learn about photosynthesis and transpiration (why the structure dies if leaves are pulled off or rods are bent!). Many insects and birds particularly like to live on and around willow, and you can often watch the entire lifecycle of certain insects, such as ladybirds. Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
You are always experimenting with different ways of working with willow. Do you have a trademark method that you feel you have mastered? Although I constantly experiment with new shapes and designs, over the past few years I have been developing an oval-based handbag shape that tapers in at the top and has a wooden handle (sometimes thick willow, sometimes driftwood or similar). When I am asked to teach by other groups, this particular style is often requested as it’s different to anything others teach. Last September, I taught this basket for the Basketmaker’s Association’s 3 day residential course at Shropshire’s Westhope Craft College. At the end, it was great to see many baskets inspired by my own designs and, as with all my teaching, I picked up some ideas from my students too! Another development from this shape has been larger shoulder bags, with leather or hessian tape straps. The beauty of being in control of your own designs, methods and materials, is that you can change them when necessary. I realised from using the last shoulder bag I made, that I didn’t like the way the curve made it bounce against my hip. The latest ‘upgrade’ is on its way, and this time the base is made in an elongated kidney shape, to gently curve round the hip rather than nudge against it.
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In terms of particular weaves, I feel that my speciality or trademark is zigzag weave (sometimes known as reverse French randing). It’s not commonly used by many basketmakers, probably because the transition between rows looks rather complicated (it’s fine when you get used to it). It’s a little more time consuming than other weaves and the willow has to be in very good condition because the materials have to undergo quite radical bends. Why do I like it? It looks great, giving an impression of strength and openness at the same time, and it’s quite hard to get it looking good. It is very unforgiving if you make a mistake but I really like a challenge. Tell us about the workshops you run from your premises. What can people achieve in a two day course with you? I run workshops making all sorts of things from willow, from large sculptures (one couple made a giraffe earlier this year!) to tiny bird houses. Many of the courses are day workshops and focus on things that can be made using just a few techniques, such as trays and platters. Plant supports also fall into this category, and people are often amazed and delighted that as complete beginners, they can go home with two lovely, decent sized examples.Though you can make a basket in a day, you do need to learn quite a few techniques to produce a successful one. I much prefer to teach basketmaking over 2 days, giving participants plenty of time to work slowly and carefully, letting the new learning sink in properly. Taking time also means that participants get to practice a border - the basket’s most complicated part - on a special jig before trying it out on their actual basket! Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
What is the most ambitious piece you have made from willow, and what would be your favourite thing to make? The most ambitious piece I’ve ever made was a 9m long, living willow slave ship, for a school in Olney, Northamptonshire, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery. You could go inside the ship, and one end of it had a living dome cabin, the other end a slave ‘cell’. I remember the 2 masts were fairly tricky to construct. There were also living willow slaves, chained together with their heads bent low in submission and 2 dome structures connected by a short tunnel, the floor plan of which mirrored the shape of shackles. The ideas were all based on sessions that I had organised earlier in school, and so the children were very involved in the planning stage. Interestingly, kids are often much more ambitious in their ideas than adults! My favourite thing is to have time to experiment, and then build on the original idea if I can see further improvements. If I have a new idea, I love to be able to try it out straight away but this doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. I’ve very recently been given a large chest freezer by a friend, and I plan on using it to store pre-soaked willow so that I can be spontaneous; if I fancy making something, then I could have materials ready in a matter of minutes rather than days. I have tried it out on a very small scale, by wrapping rods round the drawers of my small freezer and it seems to work, so I am very hopeful. For more information on Salix Arts, visit: www.salixarts.co.uk Images courtesy of Karen Jinks
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Decorate with Flowers by Lisa Margreet Payne â€˜Decorate with Flowersâ€™ is a beautiful hardback book with a gorgeous design. It aims to provide inspiration for creative ideas for flowers and containers in your home. It certainly has the style of a high quality interiors book or magazine with fantastic photography and clearly laid out projects. The book is divided up into eight sections whereby you can see the design background of the authors in the way they approach each chapter with an image of a mood board for the coming section. The eight sections are Natural, Pastels & Neons, Market, Happy Brights, Coastal, Neutral Pop, Girly Glam, and, Black & White.
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I love flowers, but the thing I really love about them is that you can roughly pick a bunch from your garden and chuck them in a jam jar; they’ll look more approachable than and as rustically delicious as those hothouse flowers intensively grown then flown across the world to sit carefully arranged in your grandmother’s antique vase. But maybe that’s just me. So I did wonder, why do we need a book on flower arranging? That being said, one idea that resonated with me was using herbs for the ‘green’ element of a display. You could even make a display of herbs for the green and edible flowers for the main part. Then you could eat the arrangement before it sat there slowly dying in front of you. Or have it as an interesting way for your dinner guests to garnish their food! On that note, there is a lovely idea for decorating a celebration cake with flowers together with tips on choosing organic, non-toxic flowers in the book. Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
“Creative ideas for flowers and containers around the home” the cover proclaims. But surely there are only so many versions of “take a container, put some paint / string / glitter on it, insert water and flowers” that you can go through before things start to get repetitive? (Perhaps the authors realised this and that was the inspiration behind the flowers stuck to the wall with washi tape idea?) But as I started to go through the book, it began to grow on me (if you’ll excuse the pun). It probably started with the “Coat Hanger Wreath” step by step project. I don’t know what it is about wreathes but I’m a sucker for them! FINALLY, a use for all those annoying thin metal coat hangers that seem to multiply on their own, rattling noisily whilst gleefully dropping your clothes on the floor every time you open the wardrobe door. More than likely though it was the suggested use of jam jars full of flowering chives, lavender, mint and fennel; chamomile in a ceramic pedestal vase, and meadow cuttings in glass bottles that softened me up. A sprig of rosemary tied up on a napkin on a place setting was the icing on the proverbial (edibleflower-strewn) cake. I won’t be taping any flowers to the wall anytime soon, but it did encourage me to go and pick some of the wildflowers from my garden and chuck them in a jam jar. No arranging required from my newly acquired skills from the book, but it looked very nice. 84 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
If you’re having a special occasion party or dinner and fancy decorating your house or table with something more than a supermarket bunch of flowers stuffed in a vase, then there are some interesting and unusual tips in “Decorate with Flowers”. I think the secret with this book is the same as trying to eat your way through that edibleflower-strewn cake: little pieces at a time. Don’t try and digest the whole book in one go, just dip in and out when you’re looking for inspiration to complete your event or fancy doing a bit of self-love by making a “just-because” arrangement for yourself. After all, you just can’t help but to smile when you see a bunch of flowers, can you?
Decorate With Flowers by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring, is published by Jacqui Small at ÂŁ16.99 Images courtesy of Jacqui Small ISBN-10: 978-1-906417-92-5 ISBN-13: 9781906417925
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TAKE COMFORT by Bebe Bradley Say goodbye to summer salads and welcome cosy, comfort foods. Letâ€™s celebrate the pleasures of bright crisp mornings and snuggly evenings in, with simple, seasonal ingredients and hearty, warming food.
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Spiced Roast Squash Soup Soothing and smoky, this soup will warm the cockles of your heart. Serve topped with creamy goat’s cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds. Serves 4. Ingredients For the soup: I medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks (reserve the seeds) I small red chilli, finely sliced 2 whole, unpeeled cloves of garlic A sprinkle of cinnamon, smoked paprika and cumin seeds Olive oil 500ml of chicken stock 50ml of double cream (or crème fraiche) Soft goat’s cheese For the pumpkin seeds: 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil ½ teaspoon of table salt 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
Pop into the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until the squash is tender and caramelised at the edges.
2. Whilst the squash is roasting in the oven, prepare the pumpkin seeds. Remove the fibres and pat the seeds dry with kitchen towel. Toss the seeds with olive oil, salt and paprika. Spread evenly over a lined baking sheet and roast in the oven alongside the squash for 10-15 minutes. 3. Place the roasted squash into a large pan along with the stock. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skins and into the pan. Stir and season to taste then blitz with a hand-held blender (or liquidise, if you have one) until smooth, thinning with a splosh of water (or milk) if required. Stir in the cream or crème fraiche. Ladle into bowls or mugs, and top with a spoonful of soft goat’s cheese and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds. Serve with crusty bread.
METHOD: 1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6/400°F. Place the squash in a roasting tray with the chilli and garlic. Add a good glug of olive oil and toss together with the cinnamon, paprika and cumin. Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
COTTAGE PIE Straightforward, simple comfort food. For the vegetarians amongst us, simply replace the minced beef with green lentils. Serves 4. Ingredients For the filling: 1 tablespoon of olive oil 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 large carrot, grated 1 stick of celery, finely chopped 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped A sprig of fresh rosemary, finely chopped 500g of British minced beef (or 2 tins of green lentils, rinsed and drained) 1 x 400g tin of good quality, chopped tomatoes 200ml of hot beef stock (or vegetable stock, if using lentils) For the mash: 500g of floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper or King Edwards, peeled 50ml of hot milk A large knob of butter 50g of grated cheddar cheese Fresh nutmeg, for grating METHOD: 1. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan. Gently sautĂŠ the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and rosemary until the onion is soft and golden. Add the minced beef (or lentils), and cook for approximately 10 minutes, until the meat is browned and broken up. 88 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
2. Add the tomatoes and hot stock. Simmer gently for 20-25 minutes, until the mixture is thick and unctuous. 3. Preheat the oven to 190째C/Gas Mark 5/375째F. Cut the potatoes into even-sized chunks and place in a pan with enough boiling water to cover them. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until tender. Remove from the heat, drain the potatoes and then return to the hot pan. Leave the potatoes to steam for 5 minutes and then add the butter, hot milk and a good grating of nutmeg. Mash until smooth and season to taste. 4. Pour the filling into a mediumsized, oven-proof dish. Spread the potatoes evenly over the mixture, using a fork to roughen the top (this will give you crispy, golden peaks when baked). 5. Scatter the cheddar over the top of the pie and season with black pepper. Bake for 35 minutes, until golden. Serve with seasonal greens. Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
BlaCKBERRY PAVLOVA Marshmallowy meringue, topped with clouds of whipped cream and lustrous, juicy seasonal fruit. Don’t be put off by the thought of making a meringue; minimal ingredients and a little bit of elbow grease produces a surprisingly simple but stunning result. Serves 4/6. Ingredients: 5 medium egg whites (reserve the yolks) 250g of caster sugar 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar 1 teaspoon of good vanilla extract 300g of blackberries 2-4 tablespoons of blackcurrant liqueur (or similar, I like Chambourd, a black raspberry liqueur) 300ml of double cream 1 tablespoon of icing sugar You will also need a baking tray lined with baking parchment. METHOD: 1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/Gas Mark 2/300°F. Wash and dry both the bowl and whisk thoroughly before using (or you can rub both with a slice of lemon). Any traces of grease or egg yolk will prevent the eggs from whisking properly. 90 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
2. Place the egg whites in the bowl and whisk until middle to hold the cream and the fruit. they form stiff peaks (when you lift the whisk, the 5. Pop into the oven, on the middle shelf, and bake peaks of the whites will hold their shape). 3. Keep whisking and begin to add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Make sure the sugar is well combined before adding the next tablespoon, and continue to whisk until the mixture is glossy and thick. 4. Place a dinner plate on the baking parchment and draw around it with a pen or pencil; this will be the size of your meringue. Spoon the meringue mix onto the template, making sure that the sides are higher than the centre; you want a little well in the
for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and leave the meringue inside to cool completely. 6. Setting aside a small amount of blackberries, put the rest in a bowl and squash the fruit lightly with a fork. Add the liqueur to taste and also to loosen the mixture, and set aside. 7. Whip the cream to soft, cloudy peaks and gently fold in a spoon or so of the crushed blackberries. Dollop the creamy mixture into the well of the meringue, and top with the remaining berries.
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BANANA & HONEY FUDGE CAKE Thickly sliced bananas, drizzled with honey and served with custard must be one of the ultimate comfort foods. This is my version in moist, fudgy cake form, and reminds me of the days when almost every pudding seemed to entail cake and custard. Ingredients: 175g of baking margarine (I use Stork) 200g of muscovado sugar 100g of caster sugar 2 tablespoons of runny honey 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 150g of good quality white chocolate, broken into small squares 3 medium eggs, beaten 2 large or 3 small/medium bananas, mashed 100g of self-raising flour 1 teaspoon baking powder You will also need a shallow, greased and lined square (or round) 8” tin. METHOD: 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4/350°F. Place the butter, sugar, honey, vanilla and chocolate in a large pan over a very low heat. Gently stir until 92 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
QUICK CUSTARD SAUCE If you’ve made the Blackberry Pavlova, you will have leftover egg yolks. Don’t throw them away; make this quick custard sauce to serve with my Banana and Honey Fudge Cake. Ingredients: 280ml milk 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract 2 medium egg yolks 1 heaped tablespoon of caster sugar
Images courtesy of Bebe Bradley all of the ingredients have melted and are well combined. Remove the pan from the heat. 2. Beat in the eggs and bananas, and then sift and fold in the flour and baking powder, until well combined. 3. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Cool in the tin, and then turn out and cut into squares. Scoff on its own or serve with our Quick Custard Sauce and a drizzle of honey. Wrapped in grease-proof paper or foil and stored in an airtight container, this cake should keep for up to a week.
METHOD: 1. Heat the milk in a small, deep pan and bring just about to the boil. Remove from the heat and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla extract, until pale in colour. 2. Pour the hot milk over the egg yolks whilst you whisk them vigorously. When completely combined, return to the pan. 3. Continuously stir the custard over a low heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. This will take around 6-8 minutes. 4. Don’t worry if the custard is a wee bit grainy; you can remedy this by whizzing it with a hand-held blender or by straining the custard through a fine sieve. Pour into a jug and serve warm or refrigerate until cold. Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
A Woman’s Shed by Dawn Bevins I was sceptical of the seemingly unimaginative and dated title of this book; I imagined that it was going to be full of floral bunting and jam-making, tucked away behind a shed door. Not that there is anything wrong with bunting and jam, but I feared the book might fall into some traditional stereotype. However, I needn’t have worried and the author, Gill Heriz, explains in the introduction that the title stems from her initial online research for ‘women’s sheds’. The first results related to women’s weight-loss (which is shockingly sad) and the search asked ‘Did you mean men’s shed?’ In essence, Heriz is simply trying 94 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
to take the shed back from the male stereotype. Sheds included come from the US, France and the UK (a majority appear to be in Norfolk and Suffolk) and I should point out straight away that this isn’t a book exclusively about designer/makers and where they create. Many creative spaces are included, but the sheds and their owners cover a broader spectrum; these sheds are places for women to retreat to for numerous reasons. The wrap-over cover features a pleasant image from the book. For me, a hidden gem is the simple lo-fi grey board cover beneath, with white text that lets the texture of the card show through. Much like your average shed, it’s charming but unassuming. The book is split into 6 chapters, grouping the sheds into purpose: Sheds for Painters, Sheds for Living, Sheds for Makers, Sheds for Sculptors and Potters, Sheds for Growers, Sheds for Working and Sheds for Builders. What I love about the content is how ‘real’ the sheds feel. They aren’t overly pretty sheds for show; they are real places that women use, regardless of whether they are large, small, neat, messy or even falling down. Some sheds have been bought, some have been built, and some have been rescued and restored. Some are for art, some for relaxation and some for housing garden tools.
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The detail of each shed varies. We are told who owns them and we may just be given a description of it, told how it was made, or we may be given a brief but personal snippet of that personâ€™s life and why their shed means so much to them. There are wonderful internal and external colour images of the sheds throughout, but I sometimes felt that there needed to be more. If something had been described within the text, I wanted to see it but occasionally there was only an external image. I personally preferred the sheds that satisfied my curiosity, where I felt like I could snoop around. At some point in the future I would love to have my own shed to create in, so the sheds belonging to makers obviously really appealed to me. My favourites in this book belong to painters Chris (a sweet layout with a desk at one end and a sofa at the other) and Gill (a large rebuilt garage with a lovely veranda). I also felt intrigued by the sheds that are used as homes; I love the idea of being self-sufficient, and have so much respect for those willing to give up large purpose built houses for a much simpler life. The least interesting sheds were those used just as sheds, to store tools in and only ever for that particular purpose. I wasnâ€™t quite sure how some of them even made it into a book, they were that unimpressive. Still, there is something quite charming about a humble shed and, if anything, it has made me reconsider some of my more grandiose ideas gathered from Pinterest and realise that I donâ€™t necessarily need a huge, shiny new shed. Autumn 2014 | ukhandmade |
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Seeing less desirable sheds and looking at how they were built, has made me ponder on some of the more practical aspects that I might need to face. For example, brand new sheds can warp and bend once exposed to the elements if they haven’t been treated correctly; how would I let in more light, windows are expensive and would I ever consider a perspex roof? My one criticism is that it would have been nice to have a section at the back of the book telling you where you could see the work of those featured. It seems a shame that when you are shown something as personal as a creative refuge, that you can’t seek out more of the owner’s work. ‘A Woman’s Shed’ by Gill Heriz, is published by CICO Books at £19.99. Images courtesy of CICO Books; photography by Nicolette Hallett ISBN-10: 178249099X ISBN-13: 978-1782490999
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LIVE: From Tower Block to 4 Acres
by Lisa Margreet Payne
Autumn is traditionally the main time of harvest, although of course in a vegetable garden you’ll be harvesting at different times throughout the year. I still get that ‘back to school’ feeling in early September and find myself full of new resolutions. But “I will hand all my homework in on time” has now been replaced with “Next year, I will keep on top of all my weeding”. Autumn is my favourite season. I love a good harvest festival, which is then followed by Halloween a month or so later, with bonfire night as the grand finale. So many fun things to celebrate all in one
in the autumn are the delicious ‘Victoria Plums’ and dark purple damsons. I’ve got two big blackberry bushes which provide lovely snacks at this time of year but I should probably cut them back as they’re
season and I love the weather too. It usually starts out warm but as the season progresses, the weather becomes crisper in the morning and evenings, like the leaves on the trees.
leaning on the rabbit fencing. They might provide the chance for an opportunistic bunny to jump into the garden at a low point in the fence and feast on all my crops! The autumn fruiting raspberry canes will provide me with raspberries until the end of the season, unless the birds get to them first. I keep toying with the idea of putting up a fruit cage but it would make harvesting them much harder. I’ve been told that if you leave a yellow hose out by the raspberry canes, the birds will think it’s a snake and leave the berries alone! I’ve yet to try that, but I’ll let you know how it goes if I do get round to it.
Autumn in the market garden means apples. My bedroom overlooks the orchard so I get to watch the apples progress from blossom in April, to tiny apples in July, growing steadily rounder and riper as the summer proceeds. Come autumn, the first variety of apples are ready to eat, a sweet red variety called ‘Discovery’. The other new harvests 100 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
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As well as harvesting and planning what to do with any gluts (seriously, there are only so many things you can make with a cucumber!), autumn also means sowing for the winter and early spring crops. Last year, we were having our largest mobile greenhouse renovated in the autumn and this year, I’ve been growing in it for the first time. Due to its large size, I’ve got tomato plants which are almost two metres tall! Next year, I think I’ll grow cucumbers in there too as they’re another vine plant that likes to sprawl, and they’ll certainly have room to do that. Once the summer crops of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers have finished yielding in the greenhouses in November, both the top and bottom mobile greenhouses will be moved over to their winter positions. In July, I sowed clover under the summer crops to provide a boost of fertility to the plants when they started fruiting, and to help feed the soil over winter. Once the crops have been removed and put on the compost heap, the clover will remain. It will grow on for a few months until it’s eventually killed off by the weather towards the end of winter, leaving the soil fertile and ready for the spring crops to be planted. In September, the last of the winter salad crop is sown. 102 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
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I’m bringing the seedlings on in module trays in the propagating greenhouse and will plant them out in the outside area of the mobile greenhouses. They’ll be outside for a few weeks and then covered up when we move the greenhouses to their winter position at the end of the autumn. I’m also going to plant some broad beans so they can get a bit of a jump start when it comes to spring, together with an autumn planting of onions and garlic. I lost a lot of onion plants in the spring due to birds pulling out the young onion plants and I’m hoping that the longer growing time over winter, when less birds are around, will give my onion crop a better chance of survival! As the year rounds out and moves towards the end, I’m still growing crops for harvest. Thanks to the inside space provided by my unheated greenhouses, I can give my plants protection over winter. Plants no longer flower and fruit in the autumn, what with the cooler weather and decreasing daylight, but the green leafy vegetables do well. Crops such as purple sprouting broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, leeks and brussel sprouts all come into their own during the colder months.Providing people with access to locally grown, fresh, healthy fruit and vegetables all-year round has become my aim. As long as I’ve set myself up well this summer and autumn by continually sowing crops, I should be able to harvest salads, leafy greens and brassicas for my farmer’s market customers throughout autumn and the coming winter. Although I’m looking forward to being able to have some fresh green leaves to eat, I’m not looking forward to freezing my fingers picking baby salad leaves in mid-winter! Images courtesy of Lisa Margreet Payne
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by Teresa Verney Brookes
When I was asked to write an article about ‘abode’, I immediately thought ‘Hogitat’, which is the official name for an artificial, man-made hedgehog home. One of the UK’s favourite creatures, hedgehogs really are a gardener’s friend as every night, they munch their way through a variety of garden pests such as slugs and snails. However, despite their iconic status as the ‘national treasure’ of the natural history world, their numbers have declined by 50% in the last 25 years. Sadly, this decline is continuing and if nothing is done to reverse the trend, our spiky friends could become extinct in some areas by 2050. The reasons for this worrying drop in numbers on prominent view in these ‘untidy’ areas to show are complex. Factors include the intensification of that they are being positively managed for wildlife, farming, the increase in roads and traffic, and the fact that gardens are becoming far too tidy and are paved over for parking and/or enclosed by impenetrable fences and walls.
rather than just neglected! You could also buy or make a ‘Hogitat’! After seeing a lovely posh version in a garden centre, we set about making our own DIY version using a big, thick cardboard box.
Do your bit to help our prickly friends by leaving rough, uncut areas in your garden. They also like compost heaps so leave piles of dead leaves and other vegetation for them to use as shelter. These ‘untidy’ areas can be behind the shed or in an area of the garden where you would rather not venture. Make a big sign saying ‘Nature Reserve’ and place it
First, we made an entrance hole - about 15cm in diameter - and put air vents in 2 of the sides. We then filled it with dry grass and leaves, covered it in a thick bin bag (to stop the rain getting in) and popped it into an overgrown area of our garden (which in my garden isn’t that hard to find!).
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Making sure the entrance was facing south, we covered it in twigs to make a dome-like shape, then dry grass and leaves , and put a ‘To Let’ sign
Also, if you see any hedgehogs, please contact Hogwatch as your sightings will help to build up a picture of these wonderful, yet threatened
outside! For more ideas and designs, see www. britishhedgehogs.org.uk or see the Hedgehog Preservation Society’s Hogalogue which has an offthe-shelf version.
creatures. Now I really must go as I feel I have been hogging the limelight!
Feeling inspired, my children then decided that we needed to open a hedgehog restaurant in our garden too. We placed an upturned plastic storage box (approx. 12” x 18” or bigger) made an entrance hole in the narrow end (about the size of a large fist) and popped a brick on top to prevent it being pushed/blown over. Cat or dog food is on the menu most nights, placed well inside the box and out of the reach of a cat or fox leg! Do remember that bread and milk is NOT good for them. If you use a transparent box, there is the added bonus of being able to see the hedgehogs tuck in to their evening meals. Hedgehogs have quite a large territory, covering on average 4-5 gardens, so try and make small holes in perimeter walls or fences so that they can easily amble through your patch. A brilliant new campaign called Hedgehog Street is providing help and advice on how to create whole hedgehog friendly neighbourhoods. 108 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2014
Useful links: www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk www.hedgehogstreet.org www.rspb.org.uk Hedgehog Embroideries courtesy of Lisa Toppin and available at www.agnesandcora.etsy.com
Mandy Knapp if you wish to advertise in the next issue email firstname.lastname@example.org
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There’s a change in the air; the nights are drawing in and summer is fading. It’s time to snuggle up indoors and get cosy and comfortable!...