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ukhandmade

a showcase for the work of talented UK designer-makers

SUMMER: 2013 Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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WHY BUY HANDMADE? 1.

Many designers, artists and makers produce items that are bespoke

which 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

haven’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.

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www.buyhandmadecampaign.co.uk


Contents... 4

contributors: Summer 2013

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finds: Editor’s Picks We may not be able to guarantee you actual sunshine with our beloved British ‘summer’ but, with this issue, we can at least try and bring a little colour into your lives! So set aside your wellies and scarves, and join us as we meet inspiring designers, artists and makers. Shake out that picnic blanket, grab those buckets and spades, and take a stroll with us down the beach. Come and explore this little island and

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meet: Francesca Iannaccone

30

meet: Janet Bell

56

meet: Kirsty Elson

discover glorious things to see and do this summer.

Bebe. x Editor & Designer/Maker

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make: Seashell Tealights

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review: Handmade Glamping

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68

scene: This is Your Kingdom

review: The Forager’s Kitchen

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review: My First Nature Activity Book

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scene: Craft Destination Bovey Tracey

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lifestyle: Scrapstores

scene: Vintage Vacations

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lifestyle: Rockin’ the Rock Pools

72

lifestyle: Summer Refreshers

82

lifestyle: Wish You Were Here

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business: Make It British

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business: Marketing 101

www.passerine.co.uk

COVER IMAGE by JANE ORMES, ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ - hand-printed screen print in a limited edition of 80, £265 from www.janeormes.co.uk

Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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SUMMER 2013 Contributors... Lisa Margreet Payne Craft Educator & Writer www.lisamargreet.com

Nicola Mesham

Designer/Maker www.pouchbags.co.uk

Larissa Joice

Photographer www.giggleicious-photography.com

Sarah James

Director of the Contemporary Craft Fair www.craftsatboveytracey.co.uk

Teresa Verney Brookes

Education Officer for the RSPB and Forest School Teacher

Mandy Knapp

Printmaker www.mandyknapp.co.uk

UK Handmade Magazine, info@ukhandmade.co.uk, www.ukhandmade.co.uk • Copyright © UK Handmade LTD 2013. All rights reserved. Reproduction or redistribution in whole or in parts without written permission is strictly prohibited. The editor’s decision on all printed material is final. Unsolicited work is accepted but does not guarantee inclusion into the final edition. The views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of UK Handmade or the editor. Creative Director: Karen Jinks info@ukhandmade.co.uk • Editor: Bebe Bradley editor@ukhandmade.co.uk • Design: Jo Askey design@ukhandmade.co.uk Deputy Editor: Dawn Bevins dawn@ukhandmade.co.uk • Advertising: advertising@ukhandmade.co.uk • PR: pr@ukhandmade.co.uk Events: events@ukhandmade.co.uk 4 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


Karen Jinks

Creative Director & Artist/Designer www.karenjinks.co.uk

Jo Askey

Graphic Designer & Illustrator www.askeyillustration.co.uk

Dawn Bevins

Deputy Editor & Designer/Maker www.dawnbevins.co.uk

26 Meet:Janet Bell

page

Mich Yasue

Finance Director & Maker www.myfuroshiki.com

Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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Summer finds:

VICTORIA WALKER: Daisy Locket in sterling silver and 18ct gold, ÂŁ545 from www.vwjewellery.co.uk 6 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


ANNE HONEYMAN: Machine embroidered ‘Cottage Garden’ bowl, £48 from www.chocolatefrog.folksy.com Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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LUCIE ELLEN: Kite Brooch, £11 from www.lucie-ellen.com

ANNA WISCOMBE: Meadow Necklace, £28 from www.annawiscombe.com 8 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


JANE FOSTER: Scandinavian Flower Fabric Rabbit, ÂŁ17 each from www.janefoster.co.uk Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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SCENE: This is Your Kingdom by Bebe Bradley Designed with the curious and inquisitive in mind, ‘This is Your Kingdom’ is a place where you can share and discover lovely things to see and do, in and around the UK. From grand adventures to simple pleasures, and all the exciting nooks and crannies in-between, ‘This is Your Kingdom’ celebrates the very best that the British Isles has to offer. Founded by old school friends Hannah Needham and Rebecca Gaunt, they left successful careers in law and publishing to pursue the dream of running their own business. They would often meet for tea and a chat, and it was on one such occasion that they conceived the idea for ‘This is Your Kingdom’ (TiYK), a website where people would be able to show and tell others of finds and delights in the UK, from blustery walks and secret picnic spots, to favourite benches and independent shops. Whether you are searching for a hidden foodie hangout on a remote Cornish peninsula or a special spot

A few recent favourites of Hannah and Rebecca’s added

in London to go cloud watching, you can browse the

to the TiYK list include The River Exe Café in Exmouth,

site and discover the treasures scattered across this little

Devon, Trebah Garden in Falmouth, Cornwall, The Courts

island with ‘Potter & Shop’, ‘Escape & Explore’, ‘Create &

Garden in Holt, Wiltshire, and the weird and wonderful

Indulge’, ‘Observe & Ponder’ and ‘Eat & Drink’.

finds at the Ardingly Antiques Fair in West Sussex.

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Each special spot is shared by a team of contributors

all, the experience has been truly life changing. We have

from across the UK; creative, curious and adventurous

met some amazing people - including our mentor, Time

types who love to unearth those special places off the

Out’s chairman and founder Tony Elliott - and gleaned

beaten track. Members currently include ‘The Papered

both the knowledge and expertise to turn our idea into

Parlour’ (voted one of Time Out London’s Best of the

a commercially viable business.”

Year), the Editor of ‘91 Magazine’ (Women in Publishing New Venture award winner 2012) and authors from

Hannah and Rebecca also attended a very special event

‘Decorators Notebook’ (one of The Telegraph‘s Top Ten

earlier this year, which started with an ER embossed

Interiors Websites) and ‘Lobster and Swan’ (one of The

envelope in the post, “… we received an invitation to

Times’ World’s Best 50 Design Blogs).

pitch our business at an event hosted by Prince Andrew in association with S4CS at Buckingham Palace. The

Since its launch in 2010, TiYK has unearthed hundreds

evening was a fantastic success and, supping our tea

of hidden gems, received some fantastic press and

from ER bone china teacups in one of the state rooms

worked with some of their favourite brands including

of Buckingham Palace, Rebecca and I both had a bit of

Dorset Cereals, Tiptree, Cabbages & Roses, BEG Bicycles

a surreal moment when we realised how far our journey

and Alistair Sawday. In 2012, TiYK graduated from the

had taken us!”

‘School for Creative Startups’ with First Class Honours. Hannah elaborates further, “We were thrilled to be

And what does the future hold for This is Your Kingdom?

selected to take part in the ‘School for Creative Startups’

Hannah says, “Our plans are for TiYK to continue going

(S4CS), a fantastic course spear-headed by Doug Richard

from strength to strength and become the trusted place

(of Dragon’s Den) and designed to teach creatives

to share and discover lovely things to see and do in the

business skills. This programme has been vital to our

UK. “

business success, offering a series of workshops and boot-camps on everything from identifying channels to market, building a budget, pricing services and creating a brand. We completed the course in June 2012 and were delighted to be invited back to support the 2013 programme, recently joining fellow students in a fabulous Startup Showcase exhibition at Somerset House. All in 12 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


This is Your Kingdom aims to help you find wonderful things to see and do. To achieve this, they need your help. If you are an adventurous sort who loves to wander off the beaten track and are naturally curious, TiYK would love to hear from you about joining their team! Each writer is a celebrated member of the TiYK community and has their own dedicated page on the site; not only is it a brilliant way to fly the flag for your county but a fantastic way to raise awareness of your blog or business amongst a similar minded audience! UK Handmade interviewed Hannah in 2010 for ‘The Road Less Travelled’, shortly after the launch of This Is Your Kingdom. Read the article here: www.ukhandmade.co.uk/content/inspire-road-lesstravelledhannah-wiltshire For more information on TiYK, visit: www.thisisyourkingdom.co.uk For more information on S4CS, visit: www.schoolforcreativestartups.com Image of Hannah & Rebecca courtesy of www.rosiebray.com Illustrations by Jess Linares

Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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MEET:

Francesca Iannaccone by Bebe Bradley

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Think of ‘Mrs Eliot Books’ as one of

does. Francesca finds inspiration

be! It has made me very open to

those lovely little shops you come

everywhere, from the shape of a

trying new mediums though and I

across in a new neighbourhood

piece of discarded paper, to elastic

do still like to mix it up.

and can’t help but pop into; it’s

bands lying on the floor. Her style

full of colour, great graphics and

is

charm. Inside, you’ll find a range

palettes, textured layers, shapes and

rewarding aspect of your work?

of prints to update and add colour

pattern.

Waking up to lovely feedback,

distinctive

with bright colour

to your home, greeting cards

What do you regard as the most

or when someone emails me for

a-plenty, postcard sets for you

Who is Francesca Iannaccone ?

advice. It’s nice to know that they

to send or frame, and homeware

I am a Londoner, mum, artist,

feel I might be able to help. Selling

such as mugs, trays and cushion

collector and Columbo fanatic.

to customers around the world is

covers.

extremely rewarding and I never get Tell us about the ethos behind

over the fact that someone in Chile

your work.

has my work hanging up in a frame

Graphic Design and Illustration

I describe it as breaking down the

on their wall.

before working briefly in book

detail into shape, colour and pattern.

Francesca

Iannaccone

studied

What do you regard as the most

publishing. Gripped by the travel bug and the urge to do her own

What kind of formal education

frustrating aspect of your work?

thing, she spent a couple of years

or experience do you have that

At the moment just the time

making and selling t-shirts from her

applies to what you do?

constraints, as I can only work when

Portobello Market stall, and from

A BA in Image Making and Design

my little one is at nursery, so I have

shops in the UK and Australia. She

which was basically graphics and

about two and a half hours every day.

opened her first Etsy shop in 2006,

illustration, but with film and

It’s just about manageable, but the

selling little wooden books and since

photography mixed in. The open

admin and packing takes up quite

then, her collection has grown along

nature of the course left me with

a lot of valuable time and I tend to

with her retailers around the globe.

little idea of what I wanted to do.

do that quickly in the evenings. I’m

It’s been a gradual process, juggling

Basically, I just wanted to mess

also frustrated by pricing up my trays

pregnancy and motherhood at the

around and make things for a living

for wholesale; the margins are a bit

same time but she loves what she

but I wasn’t sure what that job might

tight! Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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Your work has a distinctive and highly recognisable style. What or who - inspires you? I’m a bit of a sponge when it comes to inspiration, so it can be just seeing a shape or pattern out of the corner of my eye - something that isn’t meant to be a design but inspires me, takes me on a little journey. I’m definitely inspired by midcentury styles and shapes, and children’s games and toys from 60s and 70s, they turn up a lot in my work. Describe your work setting for our readers. My work setting, aka ‘mummy’s work room’ is a spare room in our house, big and light and a tad messy. Neither of us is very handy with a drill so I have lots of posters and ‘works in progress’ taped to the wall student-style! I’m always trying to sneak up there to do a bit of printing, and I am often followed by my boys, especially my 3 year old.

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There will often be toys lying around, items of clothing or Moshi Monster cards. They like to spread their littleboy-stuff all over the house! What keeps you motivated? I have dinner regularly with a couple of girlfriends where we just talk about work. We’re in different businesses but all creative, and we give each other a lot of ideas and support. I always come home motivated and often, one of them will send me a quote that will hit exactly the right spot at the right moment. I would really recommend a support network like this, especially if your businesses are slightly different. It helps you think outside the box sometimes. What

makes

your

business

unique? I have just started making little animations of my new prints. I’d like to do more of that and bring my work to life. It’s hard to stay unique especially when you are surrounded by images from Pinterest, blogs and Instagram, but it’s what I strive for. 18 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


If I’m working on something and

If you had the opportunity to learn

that no one has done exactly like

then find that someone else has

a new creative skill, what would

that before.

done something similar, I often just

you choose?

drop it.

Screen printing. I’d love to print

What’s next for Mrs Eliot Books?

my own cushions and totes, and

Hmmm, I’d like to know the answer

I know I should probably take more

even make some one-off wall

to that question. This year, I’d like

notice of trends business-wise, but

pieces. I did it at school and loved

to find an agent. I’ve just started

I get bored seeing the same thing

it but things have moved on since

licensing my designs for stationery

over and over again, and I want to

then. Apparently you don’t have

which is an exciting direction for me,

be different. Having said that, some

to cut every different colour out of

so definitely more of that. I’d also

of my work is very geo-centric and

newsprint anymore. My style is a lot

love to collaborate on something,

that’s still everywhere! I try to do

about layering colour and pattern so

maybe with a textile artist or a

other different things though so that

I think silkscreen would complement

ceramicist, or a film-maker. I’d like to

I’m not a one-trick pony.

it really well.

see my designs brought to life by a skilled craftsperson, which I am not!

What advice would you give

Who are your favourite artists,

to someone starting their own

designers and makers?

Where can we purchase and find out

creative business?

I have many. I’m very inspired by

more about your products?

Go for it!

Don’t be too hard on

women artists and their stories -

You can purchase directly from my own

yourself; try not to compare your

Rosalie Gascoigne, Lucienne Day,

shop or alternatively, my Etsy and Folksy

work to other people’s too much.

Anni Albers. I also love the abstract

shops, and you can also find out more

Be brave and grab opportunities.

expressionists, the St Ives school and

about me on my website!

Believe in your style and way of

the Colorfield movement. For more information on Francesca and

working but don’t be afraid to try something new to find your niche.

What does the term ‘handmade’

her work , visit :

mean to you?

www.mrseliotbooks.com

I’d like to share this little film which I

Holding something special in your

think says it all:

hands that you know has come from

www.vimeo.com/24715531

someone’s imagination, something

All images courtesy of Mrs Eliot Books

Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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BUSINESS: Make It British by Mich Yasue

Kate Hills’ light bulb moment occurred whilst she

“I want to make it easier for designers to find makers and

was working as a buying manager for a large High

raw materials,” explains Kate.

Street retailer. Spending all of her time travelling or responding to emails at odd hours, made her

“For a relatively small island, our suppliers do not make

hanker for the days when the manufacturers she

it particularly easy for people to find them, and many

worked with were based in the UK and, if there was a

of them aren’t even on the internet! There is a Make it

problem, it was easy to ‘pop in’ and sort it out.

British manufacturer’s directory launching very soon, as well as networking events planned to help designers

Then, whilst researching leather goods manufacturers

and buyers connect with those that can make their

still left in the UK – with a view to establishing a

products.”

handbag collection – she discovered so many inspiring brands and manufacturers, that she dedicated her Make it British blog to supporting them and spreading the word. Today, driven by Kate’s passion for products made in Britain and her previous buying experience, Make it British has grown to include a directory covering a diverse range of great British products, and a manufacturer finding service. More exciting initiatives to help designers, manufacturers and suppliers to connect with each other are also in the pipeline.

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Taisir Gibreel - www.taisirgibreel.co.uk (photography - Daniela Flores)

“One of the key strengths of British manufacturing is the

manufacturer. Kate notes, “Many designers send an

ease of communication that is offered by having local

email as a way of introduction, and then wonder why

suppliers. Being able to visit the person that is making

they never hear anything back. I always recommend

your products and talk face to face with them, because

that people make a phone call and then try and visit as

they are only a short distance away, offers substantial

many manufacturers as they can so that they can find

benefits. Another important factor, particularly for new

the right one for them.”

designers starting out, is how simple it is to get a UK made product delivered to you, without complicated

b. Recognising that it’s a two-way relationship. “It’s a

import duties or shipping methods factored in.”

myth that the factories are all sitting there waiting for work. You need to give them a pretty convincing reason

Key to the success of using British manufacturers for

to take on your business, and that means showing

your business is to build on the advantages it offers by:

that you are committed and that you are looking for a

a. Developing a face-to-face relationship with a

manufacturing partner for the long term.” Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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Before

After

‘The Big Smoke’ Typographic Print, £38 from www.betsybenn.co.uk 22 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


There is something of a balancing act here. The Made

Made in Britain when only the final stages of assembly

in Britain label with its connotations of quality, history

or production have taken place here.

and class is a key selling point, attracting fashion houses and high street retailers alike. Add to this the economic

This is an issue that Kate is keen to address, by

arguments: rising labour and transport costs diminish

highlighting ‘Fake it British’ products on the Make it

the attraction of overseas manufacturing whilst, in the

British website and also, by launching an e-petition

UK, customers increasingly appreciate the benefits of

for a standardised Made in Britain logo, which will give

buying British for jobs and the environment. However,

consumers assurance that a significant proportion of a

after years when British manufacturing was generally

product was indeed made in Britain.

seen to belong to the past rather than the future, manufacturers face challenges in ensuring that the

To sign Kate Hills’ petition, visit HM Government

skills and the infrastructure are in place to support the

e-petitions:

demand.

www.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/46536

As Kate observes, “One of the main issues are the skills

For more information on ‘Make it British’, visit:

that we are in danger of losing in Great Britain, because

www.makeitbritish.co.uk

many of those working in manufacturing are nearing retirement age. We need to make sure that young people can see that it is rewarding to make something with their hands, and are encouraged to take up apprenticeships in manufacturing. There are some great apprenticeship programmes now that cover a broad range of sectors, and companies that have invested the time in taking apprentices on - such as Mulberry - are reaping the rewards and growing their UK manufacturing base.” Whilst some companies are investing heavily in British manufacturing, others adopt a less rigorous approach and label their products as Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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SCENE: Craft Destination Bovey by Sarah James Bovey Tracey is in South Devon, a short drive from Exeter and just up the road from Plymouth. The town has an interesting history with key battle sites of the English Civil war at nearby Heathfield. Quietly nestled in the foot hills of the Dartmoor National Park, it is known as the ‘Gateway to Dartmoor’ and, to many more, famous as a Craft Town. It is a perfect base to explore the area. Why should I go there? Bovey Tracey (or ‘Buvvy’ to the locals) is surrounded by jaw-droppingly beautiful countryside and it’s just a short hop and a jump up to Haytor, the first of Dartmoor’s many impressive and haunting tors. The town has a variety of beautiful churches to visit and the stunning Riverside Mill, home to the Devon Guild of Craftsmen, sits proudly on the River Bovey. The annual extravaganza that is The Contemporary Craft Festival held in Mill Marsh Park each June, attracts makers and visitors from all over the UK. The pretty high street is full of independent shops, many selling locally produced food and craft. What will I find when I get there? The HQ of the Devon Guild is based in Bovey Tracey and is the mother of all things craft, representing 250 makers from across the South West. You can spend an afternoon browsing the vast shop, Jubilee gallery and round off with a cream tea in The Terrace cafe upstairs. 24 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


Just up the road from the Devon Guild is Spin A Yarn, a heaven for knitters and a mecca for lovers of yarn. Packed full of colours and textures, this shop sells locally produced organic wool alongside yarns from around the world, and also plays host to lots of courses and workshops. Serendipity, is another inspirational supply shop, this time for lovers of quilting and patchwork. Other craft hot spots are Bovey Handloom Weavers, and independent awardwinning jewellers Lasting Impressions (they made the diamond brooch that the Queen wore on her Jubilee day, get them!). If you’re after a good food hit, then head to the beating heart of Bovey Tracey, Mann and Son. This fabulous deli has been trading since 1837 and has a real passion for quality local food. Don’t worry if you can’t get there as they also do a fine trade in Devon Cream teas and a host of other edible goodies via their website. Just next door to Mann and Son is The Cheese Shed, winner of Best Independent Food Retailer by the Observer Food Monthly Awards. They specialise in West Country cheese and have pioneered their towering, cheese wedding cakes. Where can I eat locally sourced food? The Terrace Cafe at The Devon Guild is popular for lunch and great for coffee on the roof top terrace. Home Farm Cafe at Parke run by Ashburton Cookery School serves fresh food every day using vegetables grown on the estate. Ullacombe Barn Café is a few minutes’ drive towards the moor and well worth a visit for a hearty lunch and the finest sticky toffee pudding in the West! Grab, possibly the best fish and chips in the world from Bovey Fish Bar and zoom up to Haytor to scoff it with panoramic views of the English Riviera. We especially love their pint of whitebait and homemade tartar sauce. Yum! Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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The Café at The House of Marbles comes highly recommended and, for a special treat, the champagne cream tea at Bovey Castle is to die for! Can I stay somewhere with a bit of character? Bovey Tracey has numerous cosy and comfortable B&Bs to choose from and there are also a number of small hotels and pubs with rooms in the area. Our favourites are The Edgemoor Hotel, The Yurt Camp for

ultra-comfortable

camping

and, for ultimate luxury and utter gorgeousness, Bovey Castle is just up the road. What’s nearby? So, you’ve visited Jubilee Gallery at The Devon Guild and need another craft fix, take yourself to watch glassblowing at Teign Valley Glass at the legend that is The House of Marbles. If you can munch through their whole cream tea whilst you are there, you’re a legend unto yourself. To walk it all off, there is the lovely 26 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


Emma Purdie Design Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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Parke Estate on the edge of Bovey Tracey, home to the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust Visitor Centre. I never tire of walking on the Parke Estate, which I do a couple of times a week. You can now round off your trek with a great hot chocolate at Home Farm Cafe. Just outside Bovey is Yarner Wood with more beautiful walks, free children’s activities and events such as night-time lantern walks. Head to Ashburton if you love antiques and food. There are treasures galore housed here, including our favourites Apollo Antiques and The Snug. Enrol at the Ashburton Cookery School or treat yourself to some of Ella’s Artisan Bread or exceptional takeaway food at The Fish Deli. If you are a National Trust member, you are spoilt for choice with numerous

properties

30 minute drive.

within

a

My favourite is

Cotehele near Plymouth. Alex McCarthy Ceramics 28 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


You must also make time to explore the splendour of Dartmoor. Visit Hound Tor (of Baskerville fame) and get a cup of tea from the hilariously named ‘Hound of the Basket Meals’ mobile snack bar. If climbing, mountain or road cycling is your thing, you won’t be disappointed as Bovey was recently one of the host towns to the Tour of Britain Bike Race. Bovey is also perfectly positioned for trips to the secluded coves and sandy beaches of the South Hams. The best time of year to visit Bovey Tracey is in June during The Contemporary Craft Festival, obviously! Celebrating its 10th anniversary on June 7-9th, the Festival is one of the largest and acclaimed in the country. As well as meeting and buying directly from 200 of the UK’s finest makers, the Festival hosts workshops, demonstrations and talks. If you can’t make the festival, you can find a large selection of top makers who exhibit at Bovey Tracey on the online craft boutique www.madebyhandonline.com. The Contemporary Craft Festival, Bovey Tracey, Devon 7 – 9 June 2013 Open 10am-5pm daily Adult daily ticket £8, concession £7 Adult weekend ticket £15, concession £13 Workshop bookings: 0845 155 1014 For full event information, tickets and workshop information visit: www.craftsatboveytracey.co.uk For tourist information, visit: www.visitsouthdevon.co.uk All images courtesy of The Contemporary Craft Fair Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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MEET:

Janet Bell by Mandy Knapp The Janet Bell Gallery was born in the pretty town of Beaumaris, Anglesey in November, 2007. What began as the studio where Janet worked and sold her original paintings, prints and cards, has since

become

gallery. response,

a

fully-fledged

Following Janet

customer

realised

that

people liked what she did and introduced work by other artists that complemented her own. By only selling the work of artists and designers that she loves, she Today it is very much a family

mother, father and brother-in-law

has created a beautiful, quirky mix business; Janet’s husband/sidekick

do a fantastic job of printing and

of unique products that appeal to all is in charge of the day-to-day

framing. Janet still paints several days

ages. Beginning with Poppy Treffry’s

running of the gallery, maintaining

a week and balances it all by keeping

tea cosies, the Janet Bell Gallery now the website and all other forms of

the business running smoothly and

stocks the work of over 60 different

graphics and advertising, lifting and

seeking out new products to keep

artists and designers.

carrying. Janet’s Danish mum works

the gallery’s customers happy.

for her a few days a week whilst her 30 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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Describe your studio/workspace

essential as I don’t want to take it

Your work has a very strong visual

in Anglesey.

for granted. My gallery is a 3 minute

language, how has this style

My studio is at the back of the

walk from home too.

developed?

gallery in Beaumaris.

I didn’t study fine art and I am a

The gallery

itself is in an old Lloyds bank which

Where did you train?

self-taught painter, but my textile

had many staff so I guess my studio

I did the usual Art foundation

background has influenced my

is in what would have been an old

in Wrexham, and then studied

painting style. I work with quite flat

staff room. One wall is all windows

Multimedia Textiles at Stockport. I

colours, simplifying the shapes then

so I get lots of natural light. Luckily,

specialised in machine embroidery

drawing into it after the paint has

there is also a large kitchen for tea

and screen printing, and I particularly

been applied, as I would have do

making and paint brush washing.

liked mixing the colours for the

with my fabric and stitch work. I am

printing inks. This was my first taste

influenced by my surroundings and

of paint and colours.

my style has changed since moving

It’s a one minute walk to the beach so a stroll down to the sea every day is

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to Anglesey.


We love how your works translate so well in to textile designs; do you have to employ a different technique in these designs? I have taken favourite parts of my paintings and worked with a designer friend to turn them into repeat patterns in Photoshop. It is something I am planning on mastering myself in the next year or so, when I have the time. How do your trips to Denmark impact on your work? Being half Danish, I have grown up surrounded by great design. I adore Scandinavian design and surround myself with their ceramics, fabrics and furniture, and I’m sure it has influenced me heavily. I remember so very clearly my grandmother’s tablecloths and tea towels from the 70’s. She was always crocheting; I have stacks of her crocheted tablemats, coasters and blankets. I also love Scandinavian architecture, there is still a modern edge in their old buildings and their colours influence my palette too. Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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When I am working on more rural landscapes, a Nordic palette definitely comes through. You represent other artists at the gallery. What do you look for in other peoples work? Yes, we sell the work of over 60 UK artists and a few from Sweden and Denmark. I will only sell something that I would choose for my own home or wear myself. I try hard to find work from local artists but above all, it must be original, well made and bring me joy! If you could learn any other skill or technique, what would it be? Photoshop. The fun I will have with that one day! Apart from your own gallery, can we purchase your works anywhere else? I mainly sell my own original paintings but I am exhibiting a selection of Devon scenes in May at Baxter’s Gallery in Dartmouth.

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I have prints and cards published with Calypso cards, The Art Group, Milkwood Publishing and they are sold all over the world. NEXT currently sell a canvas of one of my beach hut paintings and more will follow. I also have cross stitch kits in John Lewis and many other retailers, and I am working on wallpapers, gift wrap and other homeware items at the moment. As an artist and gallery owner, what advice would you give an artist looking to approach a gallery? Be professional. Never turn up out of the blue with work to show as this annoys proprietors immensely. When I started out, I spent weeks researching galleries that I thought my work would suit. There were galleries I had on a dream list but, at the time, didn’t think I was good enough for. It was a long time ago and I sent CD’s upon CD’s in stamp addressed envelopes with a CV. I spent hundreds of pounds on producing a brochure of my work and prints, and sent them out to approximately 300 galleries. I had 2 replies! Luckily, one of those was a large publishing company and that was my break. Times have changed now though. I ask artists to email me images and I know instantly. I’m not really interested in where else they show because if I like it, I like it and I will give it a try. Do you have any exciting projects or promotional events coming up? The exhibition in Devon, and fabrics, cushions, wallpapers, gift wrap and mugs are all in my near future. For more information, visit: www.janetbellgallery.com All images courtesy of Janet Bell

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dO:

Scrap Stores by Nicola Mesham When I was a child, I loved nothing better than

‘what could I make with that?’Scrapstores offer affordable

making stuff out of bits and bobs destined for the

craft materials to a wide range of bodies working in

bin. I have lost count of the number of cardboard

education, training, arts and culture, environment and

box, tin foil and loo roll monsters I made when I was

conservation, as well as projects involving children

little. A pile of cardboard, string, glue and poster

and young people. By taking familiar objects we all

paints fired up my imagination and made me think

recognise from everyday use and encouraging children

“what shall I create today”?

to use them in new and unusual ways, Scrapstores foster creative expression. The organisation has already

There is a network of ‘Scrapstores’ across the UK, that

helped out over 80,000 community groups by providing

continue this tradition of helping children to use their

access to an exciting variety of materials. Whilst local

imaginations and create something with their hands.

branches operate as separate entities, ‘ScrapstoresUK’

Each Scrapstore is a treasure trove of clean, scrap, waste

was set up in an attempt to coordinate the work that

materials, donated by businesses to be reused by local

individual Scrapstores do across the UK. ScrapstoresUK

children in whatever way their creative urge takes them.

acts as a champion for the movement and raises public

The range of materials in any of the Scrapstores changes

awareness, facilitates fundraising and attempts to

each day and could include: card, paper, textiles, paint,

make each Scrapstore run in an effective and efficient

cork, wool, cardboard tubes, netting, gauze amongst

way. They also offer a useful online directory of all the

many other things.

Scrapstores, so if you feel inspired to find out more, their website will have all the information you need to track

Scrapstores promote ‘play without rules’ and understand

down your local store.

the importance of creative play in a child’s development. Every child needs to have the chance to squish clay, get

All Scrapstores have different means of accessing

covered in paint, and look at a pile of scrap and think

their scrap materials. In some you need to pay an

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individual membership fee whilst at others, you simply

can find a wide selection of goods including art supplies

pay for the scrap you take on the day. Membership is

such as glue, paint and modelling clay, and they also

generally offered to groups who work in creative play,

stock puppets, wooden toys and musical instruments.

care, educational and therapeutic settings. A number

Every other weekend, Artrageous throws open its doors

of Scrapstores also have shops open to the public

and invites children to come along and try out the craft

selling good quality art and craft materials from glue to

materials.

paintbrushes to complement the scrap. We paid a visit to my local Scrapstore which is based in Bristol to find

These ‘Super Saturday Sample Sessions’ encourage

out more about the work they do.

children to gain hands-on experience of creating a finished crafty item from scratch. The friendly staff

The Bristol Children’s Scrapstore is one of the oldest in

encourage kids to get their hands on raffia, felt, glitter,

the UK and has been open for over thirty years. You need

crayons and lots of gloopy glue. All the proceeds from

to be a member to access the main scrap warehouse,

Artrageous support the Children’s Scrapstore and help

but the Bristol branch also operates a craft supplies

maintain local community projects working with local

store called ‘Artrageous’ which is open to the general

children.

public. Artrageous is a thriving business where you 40 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


Alongside Artrageous is the adjoining Children’s Scrapstore warehouse. There is an abundance of crafty delights; large containers filled with netting, colourful gauzes, plastic tubes, surgical masks, piles of remote controls, reels of sparkling paper, mounds of foam shapes, towers of take-away cartons and even the odd shop mannequin. Each item was destined for landfill and through Scrapstores, it can now find a new life in a creative project. The Scrapstores movement is something to be cherished and supported. By encouraging creative play, children learn communication skills, creativity and problem solving, team work, collaboration and a willingness to experiment. As with all charity projects, Scrapstores need resources to keep functioning; whether you donate scrap, volunteer your time or become a member, there are many ways to keep your nearest branch operating. Now that I’ve discovered my local Scrapstore, it would take a gang of foil covered, paint daubed, googly eyed cardboard box monsters to keep me away! For more information, visit: www.scrapstoresuk.org www.childrensscrapstore.co.uk www.childrensscrapstore.co.uk/Artrageous.aspx All photography courtesy of Jessica Chappell: www.kingofthesheep.blogspot.co.uk Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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BUSINESS: Marketing 101 by Karen Jinks

Marketing is the process of understanding a customer’s needs and communicating the value of a product or service in order to attract sales. However, before explaining the fundamentals of marketing, you need to ask yourself an important question... ‘Do I want to sell my work?’ Seems like an obvious question, doesn’t it? But if you want to make a living from your work then there’s a tough road ahead and you must be prepared to invest time and effort in order to succeed. For some, the process of creating is a release from the daily grind and money isn’t their motivation. That’s absolutely fine. However, there are a few basic skills required should you want to sell your work and once you make that decision to sell, two things happen. First, you become a ‘professional’ and second, you step into the retail world and you must start thinking about acquiring customers, and managing their expectations. You may be a talented and creative individual who produces stunning, original work that you are passionate about, but you must start thinking like a retailer and put processes in place that will make earning through your creative work a whole lot easier. 42 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


Market Research: You love what you do, but will people buy it? Friends and family may sing your praises but that’s not the same as appealing to the general public. Do your market research. Look around craft fairs, galleries and websites; see if other people are selling similar work successfully. Hire a stall at a local craft fair (at a busy time of year), take part in a group exhibition, speak to people who look at your work and get honest feedback. Value Your Work: You also need to work out your pricing. This is always a difficult subject as artists and crafters are notoriously bad at valuing their own work, and don’t always understand how customers will pay what are perceived to be high prices. In order to make a living, you need to set yourself a living wage. Measure the time it takes to produce your work as well as the actual cost of the materials. Set yourself an hourly rate. This is your wholesale price, now DOUBLE it. (Yes, I said DOUBLE it!) This is your retail price. Your prices may seem astronomical but again this goes back to the first point, you can sell to make a living, or you can do what you love and be financially supported by other means. Find Your Target Audience: This is why market research is so important. You must ensure that you are selling to the right audience, via the correct channels. For example, a £500 quilt may not sell at a craft fair but may sell in a gallery. You could take the quilt to a craft fair, demonstrating your talent, but have affordable items to sell instead. Try approaching shops that sell work that complements yours and see if they are prepared to sell it for you. Like galleries, they will take commission and this is why you must set your retail prices correctly. Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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Presentation: The basis for successful retail is trust. To part with hard earned cash, customers need to see as much of a product as possible, and need to know that they are going to receive their product well packaged and in good time. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you buy anything if photos were poor or customer service dreadful? If your work is good but the presentation is poor, then potential customers will go elsewhere. 1. Create your brand identity This isn’t as daunting as it sounds. As a creative, you already have an identity that’s unique to you. For the purposes of reaching customers, it needs to be transcribed into something that can be used on business cards and websites, etc. Quite often, it can be as simple as using your own name. Choose an appropriate and attractive typeface (NOT Comic Sans) and voila! You can, of course, design yourself a logo or invest in a designer to do it for you (but only when you are confident that you are ready to sell). It’s easy to spend money in the very early stages only to discover a few months down the road, that you’ve made a mistake and want to rethink things, and then pay for more work to be done. Don’t be afraid to take your time. 2. Engage With Your Customers You have your art, your passion and a unique identity but how do you convey this to customers? Customers are more likely to buy from someone they know something about so don’t be afraid to tell your story. If you have a craft stall, talk to them and engage with them. If they see how passionate you are, they’ll be more inclined to buy from you and tell their friends and family about their purchase. Don’t forget to give them business cards so that, even if they don’t buy there and then, they will have a way to contact you later on.

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3. An Online Presence The internet is an invaluable tool to an artist and there are many ways to get your work online. Join an online venue if you don’t have the means to build your own site, and make sure you have a blog too. Telling your story online as well as face to face - is a great way to continue engaging your customers from afar. Tell them about events you have coming up, show them new work, your interests and inspirations. Sharing the work of other artists is an easy way to get them to share your work in return and help spread the word. 4. Take Decent Photographs of Your Work Time and time again, talented artists and makers display substandard images of their work on their websites, and then wonder why their work isn’t selling. Customers, whether buying from a large retailer or small independent, need to be able to see what they are purchasing. Even if you only have a ‘point and shoot’ camera, you can still take decent shots of your products with a bit of research and time. Make sure there is good natural light and minimal or no background. A large sheet of white card is often all you require. Take a couple of photos from different angles and also have a ‘lifestyle’ shot, where your item is in situ so that the customer can get a sense of the size and how it will look in their home. Four images per product are ideal. Even basic image editing software can improve an image, just by increasing contrast and/or brightness and making sure that the product is cropped correctly. If photography is not your thing, then invest in a good photographer who will do this for you. This is an expense, but well worth it, as good photography can make the difference between success and failure. These photos can also be used for press releases to send to local and national press, and leaflets for events, etc.

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Help a customer believe in your work by showing them

Ask them to help by taking business cards into their

that you care about the presentation of your product.

workplace, especially around Christmas when people are looking for gifts and cards. Always have business

Network: Once the basics of your business are

cards to hand when you are out, you never know when

established, it then becomes a steady balance of

the opportunity will arise to put your work in front of

creating new work and promoting. You’ll spend as much

someone new. If it’s appropriate, wear what you make

time marketing as you will creating. There will be long

so if people say “I love your brooch”, you can tell them

hours and times when you’ll wonder if it’s all worth it.

that you made it and give them your card. Attend

Creating can be a solitary existence but the best tool in

artists’ private views and get into the habit of talking

your marketing arsenal, is your ability to communicate

to people; start by asking questions about them, have

what you do. This may seem like a contradiction. Many

a conversation rather than launching into a speech

artists don’t like to discuss what they do, and the idea of

about yourself, it’s a less intimidating way to get people

having to promote themselves and talk to strangers can

interested in you.

feel counter intuitive and stressful. However, if you don’t put yourself out there, then people won’t know you

Develop your online social network by joining sites like

exist. This is why communities such as UK Handmade -

Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, post your work but also

and many, many more - are great places to find advice

share and show an interest in others. This is a neat way

and support.

of getting others to share your work in return, but don’t be disappointed if they don’t, as it can be difficult to

Networking with other artists will help your confidence

respond to everyone. Build a mailing list of customers

grow, allow you to take part in group exhibitions (solo

and followers, email them regularly with updates, but

ones can seem expensive and daunting) and encourage

don’t pester or spam people. Fortnightly or monthly is

the process of talking to strangers (the buying public).

normal, (they don’t need to know every time you list

The traditional way for businesses to attract customers

something on your website). Keep it brief but interesting,

is to advertise but this can be costly and ineffective for

and entice sales by occasionally offering discounts.

one person, ‘word of mouth’ can be extremely effective and implemented online as well as in real life. Remember

Housekeeping: Make sure your website is updated

that you already have a small network of people at your

regularly. A stale site is as off putting to a customer as a

disposal, friends and family!

site with only a couple of items so remove old work and

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relist a month or so later. Keep sales records up to date and keep track of receipts so that your tax return doesn’t become a burden.Keep a diary with your marketing plan, special offers, events and press releases. If you blog, schedule posts in advance and try to make sure that something goes up at least once a week. If you struggle to come up with ideas, design a plan where you have themes that you can turn to when your mind is blank. On UK Handmade, we post items from people we find on our forum, and have themes for different days e.g. Wednesdays are for interviews with other makers. Of course, you don’t have to post every day but this kind of schedule can make blogging a little easier and make it interesting for your readers. Remember, readers are fans but could be customers too. Marketing your work is not rocket science but it’s integral to the success of every business, and the reason why millions of pounds are spent on it globally. Hopefully, these tips will start you on the journey to creative success. Good luck! All images courtesy of Karen Jinks and Bebe Bradley

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SCENE: Vintage Vacations We all live such fast-paced lives that sometimes, you just want to step off the merry-go-round of modern life and take a break from it all. This is where the innovative and quirky Vintage Vacations steps in. Based on the Isle of Wight, this time capsule holiday destination is perfect if you require a trip down memory lane to the family holidays of days gone by. From space age Airstream caravans to ‘The Mission’, a restored and converted ‘tin tabernacle’, there is something to suit all tastes and group sizes. Back in 2004, Helen and Frazer Cunningham brought their first ‘Tradewind’ Airstream over from America. The original idea was for the couple to use it themselves and maybe rent it out for the occasional 48 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013

by Nicola Mesham


holiday and photo shoot.

Once

they had the Airstream caravan, it triggered an idea of filling a whole field with retro caravans and as they say, the rest is history. Fast forward eight years and the running of Vintage Vacations has become Helen and Frazer¹s full time job. With a string of tourism awards under their belt, Vintage Vacations now boasts thirteen vintage American Caravans, four vintage British caravans, the above mentioned ‘Mission’, a beach hut called ‘The Shack’ and a classic 1960’s holiday chalet nicknamed ‘The Bungalow’. They have also recently added to the Vintage Vacations accommodation

However, it is the Airstream Trailers

necessary, new ovens and fridges

list, a property under the moniker of

that have really put Vintage Vacations

have been installed. All have full

‘The Scout Hut’, but put any ideas of

on the map. Beautifully streamlined,

safety certificates. Upholstery and

damp sleeping bags, campfire sing-

they are a design classic. Each of

mattresses have been renewed. Each

songs and woggles firmly from your

the trailers are the genuine, vintage

one has an eclectic mix of ‘props’:

mind. The Scout Hut definitely sits

article. Helen elaborates further,

ornaments, games, etc, but all china

more comfortably at the luxury end

“They are restored, not refurbished

and cutlery is new (it doesn¹t matter

of the spectrum with a flat screen

so keep their original character.

if anything gets broken that way).

TV, Wi-Fi access and of course, Helen

Each trailer has full cooking facilities,

Toilets are onsite, not inside the

and Frazer’s unique and evocative

fridges, showers and bathroom sinks.

caravans. I call it ‘Posh Camping’!”

styling.

They are well kitted out and where Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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With oodles of retro detail in every

It is obvious Helen and Frazer are

caravan

Vintage

passionate about their business.

Vacation’s holiday abodes are in high

It has taken a lot of hard graft and

demand for photo shoots and are

persistence to gain the planning

regularly featured in broadsheets

permission needed for their venture

through to glossy magazines.

but it’s clear to see that they love

and

property,

what they do. As Helen explains, Demand is so high, that the couple

‘the best part about running Vintage

have recently launched a sister

Vacations is meeting people. We’ve

site

www.jamboreebag.

had some lovely guests, many of

com which offers Airstream hire

whom come back time and time

for film, photography and events

again. The worst aspect is dealing

such as weddings, anniversaries

with the weather when it is bad. It’s

and any other extravaganza you

the one thing we cannot organise

can think of. Helen recalls the time

and the summer of 2012 was very

Free People (Urban Outfitters main

challenging.’

called

brand) travelled all the way from Philadelphia to shoot the Airstreams.

Helen and Frazer’s business grows from strength to strength. With an

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She says ‘I thought it was a wind up

expanding family of off-beat holiday

at first and didn’t really believe they

properties, this unique enterprise

were coming until they stepped

taps into our love of nostalgia and

off the ferry. Of course, we took

eccentricity. With an idyllic location

their decision to use us as a shoot

on a working farm boasting views

location as a huge compliment. They

over rolling downland and no nearby

loved how we styled our trailers and

roads or neighbouring houses, it is

needless to say, they fell in love with

clear that Vintage Vacations possess

the Isle of Wight and have since been

an appeal that even the British

back three times!’

weather cannot dampen.


For more information, visit: www.vintagevacations.co.uk All images courtesy of Vintage Vacations.

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REV IEW:

Handmade Glamping by Dawn Bevins We’ve dealt with some fairly stubborn cold spells this year, and with all the cold and gloom, we’d be forgiven for hoping for a decent summer. However, with many of us feeling the pinch, we can’t necessarily jet off to warmer climes and we will have to rely on the good old British summer holiday instead. We can’t guarantee you a sunny holiday but it doesn’t have to be miserable either. With some pretty fabric, a bit of wool and a love of craft, you can turn everyday camping into glamping

(glamorous

camping)!

Tents and caravans that have seen better days no longer have any excuse to be sad and dreary. You can make your temporary home as colourful and inviting as your actual home, taking what could be 52 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


viewed as a muddy uncivilised affair to new levels of bohemian chic. Charlotte Liddle and Lucy Hopping might be the ladies to help you with this transformation. In their book ‘Handmade Glamping’, you’ll find 35 projects that can help brighten your holidaying world - or even your everyday world – and turn it into something fun, homely and retro. The book is divided into 5 chapters: Recycling and Repurposing, Campfire Cooking, Pretty Decoration, Outdoor Living and Techniques. A range of crafts are covered, with heavy emphasis

on

sewing,

knitting

and crochet. Each project lists the materials and tools that you’ll need, and includes a colourful lifestyle photo of the finished item. The step-by-step instructions are accompanied

by

hand

drawn

illustrations and are easy to follow for anyone other than a complete beginner. I found the illustrations a little muted and would have preferred them to be bolder. I also thought that in some instances, Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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instructions could have been clearer with more illustrations. Projects that I thought stood out included the Honeycomb Patchwork Pillow, which utilises the holes in lace to let a second layer show through, and the quirky Vintage Plates, although I wish they weren’t merely for decoration. I’m also a big fan of the Clay Heart Bunting, Crochet Bunting and Pompom Garland, all of which are a welcome alternative to the usual fabric bunting. The techniques chapter at the back of the book contains brief descriptions of various stitches as well as useful templates that accompany some of the projects. The stitch techniques (particularly for knitting and crochet) serve as a basic reminder, as they aren’t detailed enough to teach to a complete beginner. It’s also worth noting that US crochet terminology is used throughout and you will find a reminder of this with each crochet project. The stitches in chapter 5 give both the US and UK names, so you can easily check should you become confused. All the projects in ‘Handmade Glamping’ are fairly simple, providing you own a sewing machine, and can crochet or knit. Many items are similar to those found in many other home crafts books, a cushion, a rag rug etc. However, the designs themselves are bright, cheery and endearing, so hard not to love. Glamping is a bit of a novelty and the projects tend to veer towards the decorative rather than practical, and why shouldn’t they? Why shouldn’t we work towards injecting a bit of novelty, colour and fun into our British holidays, regardless of the weather? Handmade Glamping by Charlotte Liddle & Lucy Hopping, is published by CICO Books at £14.99 and is available from www.cicobooks.com ISBN-10: 1908862742 ISBN-13: 978-1908862747 Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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Meet:

Kirsty Elson by Karen Jinks Multi-disciplinary

artist

Kirsty

My eldest son was very young and

I like using text in my collages, for

Elson conjures her magical work

I wanted to spend that precious

example a tiny word like “holiday” or

from upcycled driftwood and

time with him. Making cards – how

“beach” on a picture of St Ives.

other objects beachcombed from

I started out – gave me the flexibility

our very own British shores. Based

to do that.

in the beautiful county of Cornwall,

Why did you start working with driftwood?

Kirsty studied Illustration, and

Do you have any formal training?

I think primarily because there is so

specialised in Printmaking at

I did a degree in illustration, scarily

much of it to be found locally, and it

the Cambridge School of Art.

nearly 20 years ago, but it was a

is free! But driftwood has an amazing

After moving back to the South

career I never pursued. I didn’t have

quality. I love the bits with layers of

West and becoming mum to two

the confidence back then.

peeling paint, and the bleached

boys, she began making cards from

local

driftwood.

then,

she’s

created

nautical-inspired

Since

beautiful

pieces

pieces with worn edges. Plus every Tell us about your beautiful

piece is unique; meaning most of

collages.

what I create is unique too!

from

I started working in this way whilst I

stitch, driftwood and other found

was at college, I think because I am

Do you have your own workspace?

objects.

rubbish at painting! Using torn up

I do! I spent several years working at

bits of paper freed me up somewhat,

the dining table, so when I got my

Please tell us how you got started,

plus of course if you make a mistake

own room it was heaven! It is a lovely

have you always been creative?

you just paste another bit over it!

light room, where I do the decorative

I started the business, albeit in a

bits of my work. All the heavy duty

very part-time capacity, 9 years ago.

stuff happens in the shed.

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...inspiration is to be found everywhere...

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57


Who or what inspires you? My greatest inspiration comes from the materials I find, not only on the beach, but in junk/hardware shops where I come across all sorts of treasures! Plus, of course, living in Cornwall, inspiration is to be found everywhere - be it in the landscape, the coastlines or the great galleries we have down here. What is the most frustrating part of what you do, and the most rewarding? Packaging stuff up to go in the post is the worst bit! I get frustrated because it is so time-consuming, time that could be spent creating. I guess the most rewarding part is the customer’s reaction, especially if it’s a piece they have commissioned. Getting an excited message from someone when their parcel arrives gives me a real buzz. What advice would you give to someone just starting their creative business? Make sure you have a unique product – it is a very competitive market. Get your pricing right, which is easier said than done. Having faith in your product will help massively with this! 58 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


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What does ‘handmade’ mean to you? The best handmade things mean passion, love and personality: something unique and individual that you cannot buy on the high street. Hopefully something that will be cherished for years to come. Where can we buy your gorgeous pieces? I mainly sell through my website or my shop on www.madebyhandonline.com and I also sell a lot through my facebook page. At the moment I am gearing up for 2 exhibitions - Baxters Gallery, Dartmouth starting 24th May and Unit Twelve in Stafford, starting 31st May - plus for my stand at Contemporary Craft Fair, Bovey Tracey in June. After that, I’ll be taking on commissions again and restocking my web shops. What’s next for Kirsty Elson Designs? I would like to make some really large scale pieces but actually, I am really happy just the way things are. I reckon I would be content making little houses and boats forever. All images courtesy of Kirsty Elson. For more information, visit: www.kirstyelsondesigns.co.uk

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dO:

Rockin’ the Rock Pools by Larissa Joice If we are really lucky this summer, we will get a few lovely days where we can pack up our picnics, bags of towels, buckets and spades, and head off to the beach. I’ve never been one for just lying there and soaking up the sun so I always take the children off to explore. We toddle off, armed with our buckets and nets, boots on and trousers rolled up to see what we can discover. Exploring a beach is amazing fun

and maybe hear warblers twittering

and so very interesting; you can

in the sky. If you are lucky enough to

rummage along the tideline for bits

be near a harbour wall or jetty, you

of driftwood and mermaid’s purses,

can try crabbing (though rock pools

and can collect interesting (empty)

can also work). All you need is string,

shells, sea glass and maybe even find

bait and a bucketful of water ready

fossils close to the shore line. You

for your crab booty!

can explore rock pools and discover a vast array of sea life including

What I love most about beaches

crabs, anemones, shrimp, fish, snails,

are the small things; the hidden

limpets and starfish along with a

treasures and being able to see

variety of seaweed in an assortment

things from another angle. I always

of colours.

take my camera and macro lens with me, though a decent camera phone

If you go digging, you can find

is also actually very good for close

cockles and razor clams and, if you

ups of small creatures and shapes. I

search up high in the dunes, you can

love lifting up stones to see what’s

find beautiful flowers and butterflies,

underneath or lying down at sand

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level to see what I can find. The BEST way to get children involved is to build on their imagination and sense of wonder. Make it a big exploring adventure. Get them to draw what they find, take photographs or write stories. There are plenty of seashore and beachcombing books, and laminated sheets and seashore exploring kits for children (large and small) out there. Exploring on the shore can be fun but remember to BE SAFE and BE AWARE! Always keep an eye on the tide and whether it’s coming in or going out. Tide timetables are available as phone apps, online and from Tourist Information Centres. Be careful exploring caves for the same reason and watch out... rocks and groynes can be very slippy! If you are fossil hunting, be VERY aware of the cliffs that you are close to, particularly if they are eroding as you don’t know what could potentially land on your head. Always put rocks back where you found them, the same with crabs and other small creatures, and never take anything that is living, home with you. It won’t be happy. There are lots of books available online and from good bookshops. We recommend: Seashore Detectives’ Handbook by Camilla de la Bedoyere (Miles Kelly Publishing, 2011) ISBN 978-1848104815 Seashore (Collins Gem) by Rod and Ken Preston-Mafham (Collins, 2004) ISBN 978-0007178599 Naturetrails: Rocks and Fossils by Struan Reid (Usborne Publishing, 2010) ISBN 978-1409527695 For more information on beachcombing activities, visit: www.wildforms.co.uk/educational/seashore-exploration www.ukfossils.co.uk and www.thebeachguide.co.uk

Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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MAKE: Seashell Tealights

by Bebe Bradley

If you’ve returned from a trip to the beach with pockets full of seashells, then this simple and easy little project will help you put them to good use. These shell tea lights are ideal for dressing the al fresco lunch table or picnic blanket. You will need: A selection of sea shells, deep enough to hold the wax Tea lights A heat-proof jug or bowl A small pan or pot over which your jug or bowl will sit snugly Method: 1. To remove the wicks from the tea lights, snip the silver cover with sharp scissors and carefully remove. Watch those fingers as the cut or creased metal can be sharp! 66 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


Prise and pull the silver disc (attached to the wick) from the bottom. Cutting through the wax might help. 2. To avoid mess and wax spills on your work area, place your shells on a layer of kitchen towel or newspaper. If the shells are ‘wobbly’, embed them on a layer of cooking salt to help keep them steady whilst you pour in the wax. 3. Half fill your pan or pot with water and bring to a simmer. Put the leftover candles in the jug or bowl, and place over the simmering pan to melt the wax. 4. Place the wicks in the bottoms of the seashells. A dab of melted wax will help keep the wicks in position. Carefully spoon or pour the melted wax into each shell, leaving at least a centimetre or so of wick exposed. 6. Wait for them to set completely before using. As with all candles, please

do

unattended!

not

leave

lit

and Images courtesy of Bebe Bradley Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

67


REV IEW:

The Forager’s Kitchen by Lisa Margreet Payne Ah, local and seasonal. Who doesn’t love those words with regards to their food? And what could be fresher than food you’ve picked yourself for free? We’ve all become so separated from our food production systems that it feels radical to think of being able to find, pick and cook your own food for free. Nowadays, food generally means things

purchased

from

shop

shelves, or maybe a weekly organic fruit and veg box delivery. But if you’ve ever walked past a blackberry bush, picked off one (or several) of the heavy purple fruits and popped it in your mouth then you, my friend, have foraged for food. Like other traditional skills, foraging is having something of a revival at the moment. 68 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


There are plenty of foraging courses that you can go on, even (or maybe especially) if you live in a city. Once you’ve learned what is and isn’t safe to eat - which is rather integral to foraging, as you can imagine - then going for a walk becomes like going to the greengrocers. Except that you can see exactly where your food has come from and it’s free. The Forager’s Kitchen by Fiona Bird is an introduction to foraging, together with 100 recipes for you to make with your foraged food. It is divided into five chapters based on plant type or location: CHAPTER 1: Flowers and Blossom CHAPTER 2: Woodland and Hedgerow CHAPTER 3: Fruits and Berries CHAPTER 4: Herbs CHAPTER 5: Sea and Shore There’s a short section on ‘Foraging and The Law’ at the end of the book too, just to make sure you don’t get too subversive with your new found food freedom. Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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Reading the book is a pleasure. The

In wartime, people were encouraged

dinner table and, at the very least,

design is well thought out, studded

to ‘Dig for Victory’ and grow their

impress your friends. I mean, look

with gorgeous photography and

own food, which is synonymous

at those gorgeous Violet Macarons

Fiona Bird’s writing voice is lovely.

with ‘Make do and Mend’ from that

with Primrose Cream! Who wouldn’t

She tells us that she divides her time

same period. Both these ideas have

swoon at being served those? And

between “the stunning glens of rural

the same root, encouraging people

think of the bonus points you’d earn

Angus and the Outer Hebridean Isle

towards self-reliance by providing

when you told your guests that you’d

of South Uist”. I imagined a Gaelic

themselves with food and clothing.

not only cooked them but picked

lilt coming through as I read the text. Her writing style is informative and gently witty. I loved this little summary of foraging from the

....Reading the book is a pleasure.

some of the ingredients yourself! I’ve just relocated from East London where there was plenty of foraging

introduction: “Forage as you would

Now we are too reliant on others to

to be had, (especially around Tower

cycle: safely, mindful of others, with

provide our food and clothes for us.

Hamlets cemetery) to rural Cheshire

respect for the laws of the land and

Foraging for food is fun and enjoyable

to run an organic market garden. I’ll

with one final maxim, ‘if in doubt,

but it can also be a powerful way to

be growing my own vegetables to

leave it out’.”

remind yourself that food - as the

sell and to eat but, on a quick walk

fuel we all need to survive - is freely

around the garden today, I saw

One of the reasons I’m attracted

available to us all. I’m not suggesting

young spring nettles, chickweed

to

of

that we all become freegans and

and my greenhouse is absolutely full

alternative

forage all of our food (although if

of clover.

methods of food production. Eating

you’re interested in this as a notion,

is something which we all have to do

then you should check out this

So using The Forager’s Kitchen, I’ve

(apparently, on average, three times

article on a man who is doing exactly

got the basics for Poached Eggs and

a day every day), but modern eating,

that for one year:

Nettle Purée for breakfast, chickweed

shopping and cooking methods

www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/

in Autumn Forager’s Risotto for

have lead us far away from our roots,

could-you-live-100-wild-foraged-

dinner, and Carrot and Clover Cake

first as hunter-gatherers and much

food-year), but a bit of knowledge

for tea. Delicious!

later, as farmers.

could increase our offerings at the

foraging

is

reconnecting

the with

70 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013

notion


Go get yourself a copy of The Forager’s Kitchen and start subverting the food production system whilst tantalising your taste buds. As for me, I can’t stop dreaming about those Violet Macarons… The Forager’s Kitchen by Fiona Bird, is published by Cico Books at £16.99 and is available from www.cicobooks.com ISBN-10: 1908862610 ISBN-13: 978-1908862617

Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

71


SUMMER REFRESHERS by Bebe Bradley

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Summer Lemonade Think of summer fruits and you might think of strawberries. It’s not just about tennis, it’s cream teas from Cornwall or Devon, strawberries and ice cream, and ‘pick your own’ with punnets of red juicy gems on display in the sunshine. This lemonade is summer in a glass. Ingredients: 150g caster sugar 200ml of tap water The freshly squeezed juice of 4 large lemons 1 large punnet (450 grams approx.) of fragrant and ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced (set some aside whole for garnish) 800ml (approx) of chilled still or sparkling water Lots of ice Method: 1. Add the sugar and 200ml of water of water to a small pan. Bring to a steady simmer, and stir so that sugar dissolves completely. Remove the pan from the heat and cool to room temperature. 2. Puree or blend the strawberries until smooth. If preferred, pass the puree through a sieve to remove any pips before adding to the sugar syrup. Stir to combine and then add the lemon juice. 3. Combine the strawberry and lemon syrup mixture with the still or sparkling water in a large jug. For picnics and other jaunts, use a funnel to decant your strawberry lemonade into a sealable bottle. Stir well and add plenty of ice. Serve with thin slices of lemons and strawberries. Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

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Ginger, Lemon and Mint

2. When the ginger sugar syrup has

Refresher

cooled, strain it through a seive into a tall jug.

Lashings

and

lashings

of

this

Traditional Pimms Summer isn’t summer without a tall, tall glass of Pimms No.1 Cup!. Simple

homemade ginger refresher will

3. Add the lemon juice, some ice

hit the spot on hot summer days

and the mint leaves to the jug and

when you’ve been out and about

stir well to combine. Top up with

Ingredients:

adventuring.

sparkling water to taste.

1 bottle of Pimms No.1 Cup

to make and utterly delicious!

Chilled fizzy lemonade Ingredients:

1 cucumber, seeded and sliced into

100g of fresh ginger root, washed

long thin strips

but not peeled

Apple, cored, quartered and sliced

180g caster sugar

Strawberries, hulled and sliced

200ml of tap water

A handful of fresh mint

The freshly squeezed juice of 4 or 6

Lots of ice

lemons A handful of fresh mint

Method:

1litre of chilled sparkling water

1. Add one part Pimms No.1 Cup to

Lots of ice

two parts lemonade in a large jug. Add a selection of fruit, cucumber ,

Method:

ice and mint leaves.

1. Grate the ginger root and place in a small pan along with the sugar, 200ml of tap water and the mint stalks minus the leaves. Simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

74 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013

2. Stir, pour, drink and enjoy.


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75


BLUEBERRY Lemonade Fresh, sweet blueberries make or a very special lemonade. Ingredients: 150g caster sugar 200ml of water The freshly squeezed juice of 4 large lemons 2 punnets (400g approx.) of blueberries 800ml (approx) of chilled still or sparkling water Lots of ice Method: 1. Add the sugar and 200ml of water of water to a small pan. Bring to a steady simmer, and stir so that sugar dissolves completely. Remove the pan from the heat and cool to room temperature. 2. Puree or blend most of the blueberries until smooth, setting a few aside. If preferred, pass the puree through a sieve before adding to the sugar syrup. Stir to combine and then add the lemon juice. 3. Combine the blueberry and lemon syrup mixture with the still or sparkling water in a large jug. Stir well and add plenty of ice. Serve with thin slices of lemons and the leftover blueberries. 76 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

77


REV IEW:

My First Nature Activity Book by Dawn Bevins As much as parents love their little darlings, the whines of “I’m bored” that inevitably surface by week two of the holidays, are an understandable strain on the ears. If you’re already feeling apprehensive about your forthcoming role as entertainer then fear not because Cico Kidz has published ‘My First Nature Activity Book’. Aimed at seven years plus, it’s full of projects and a few games, but importantly, many

projects

use

recycled

and collected materials so all activities are relatively affordable. Furthermore, it’s a ‘nature’ activity book, so you can get the kids away from the games console and out into the fresh air. There

is

a

fairly

extensive

opening section that includes: an 78 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013


introduction, advice on materials, and tips on crafting and gardening. Four chapters then follow: In the Garden, Growing Fun, The Outdoors Indoors, and Outdoor Crafts and Games. Each project is presented with an attractive floral border and cute illustrated animal characters to appeal to children. Projects are laid out clearly with a title, brief introduction, supplies list, step-bystep

instructions,

accompanying

illustrations, and a large photo of the finished project. The language used is simple but thorough and, although at times it appears a little lengthy, seems to address the child. It would work well as a book for adults and children to read together. There are thirty-five projects in total with at least twentythree of them being really great ideas. Each project is also given a skill level enabling you to see how much planning or effort is required. Each level is represented by a smiley face, with one smiley meaning ‘quick and easy projects’, and three meaning Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

79


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‘special materials and adult help’ are required. I’m least excited about the nature journal. It isn’t a bad project, but I appreciate sketchbooks and collections now, as an adult, far more than I did as a kid and this reminds me of school. I imagine it will appeal to the conscientious child, rather than the one bouncing off the walls with energy. My favourite projects include the Tiny Terrarium (great for people without gardens) and the Miniature Garden (I made one of these as a kid and loved it!). There are many creative and educational opportunities that help to teach skills and open up discussion about natural life and the environment we live in. For example, you can use a colander to plant, learn about and then eat edible flowers. Or you can make wildflower seed bombs that can be dropped, in a guerrilla style mission, whilst out walking through uncared for grassy areas. My First Nature Activity Book has plenty for both boys and girls, whether it is an Insect Hotel or Fairy Posies, as well as a small amount of games that the whole family can play (Pebble Skittles). It’s a brilliant place to start if you need ideas for filling a summer holiday and what’s more, the projects will appeal to the adults as well as the kids. I for one would like to make a Pebble Bird Bath and a Treasure Trail, so it looks like I’ll need to make plans to visit my sister and her family this summer. My First Nature Book by Susan Akass, is published by Cico Kids at £9.99 and is available from www.cicobooks.com ISBN-10: 1908862726 ISBN-13: 978-1908862723 Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

81


Wish You Were Here by Teresa Verney Brookes As a long-standing listener and

Unfortunately, swift numbers have

such as mine! Indeed, when they

addict of Desert Island Discs, I

declined drastically over the past 10

have chicks to feed, swifts can

continually agonise over what

years. Once commonly seen nesting

gather as many as 100,000 insects a

‘one’ piece of music I would

in cliffs and caves, swifts these days

day! Incredibly, they eat, sleep and

take with me to my lonely, sun-

increasingly rely on roof spaces in

mate whilst flying and spend more

drenched retreat.

buildings where they will construct

time continuously in the air than any

a simple nest. The reason for their

other bird in the UK.

I have finally decided to choose

drastic decline is thought to be due

a recording of swifts as they

to building demolition, renovation

There are plenty of things we can all

swoop

rooftops,

and roof repair. Modern building

do to help. If you’re in the process

literally ‘screeching’ at each other

techniques and renovation materials

of purchasing or building a new

in groups, which are rather aptly

can also prevent their access.

house or extension, ask either the

around

the

called “screaming parties”. truly

amazing

birds,

These in

We are very lucky in Reading to still

fabricated swift brick into the new

flight look similar to swallows and

be able to witness these wonderful

walls or to install internal nest

house martins, provide for me the

creatures every summer, following

boxes behind the fascias and soffits.

soundtrack of summer. The moment

their epic journey from as far away

For existing buildings, specially

I hear their sound, I am instantly

as South Africa where they spend

designed swift nest boxes can be

transported back to my garden,

the winter months.

made or purchased and positioned

where I am sitting slumped in my

this grueling journey back to the

deckchair, book in one hand and

UK each year, to take advantage of

hopefully, a G&T in the other!

airborne insects in wildlife friendly

Groups such as the RSPB would love

(i.e. messy/overgrown) back gardens

to hear from YOU if you spot any

82 | ukhandmade | Summer 2013

which

developer or builder to fit a pre-

They make

on outside walls.


Swift image courtesy of Enna Bartlett Photography: www.flickr.com/erb20

Summer 2013 | ukhandmade |

83


low-level screaming groups of swifts

Image by Emma Allnutt of - this means that they’re breeding www.sugarcane.etsy.com nearby - or if you see them entering

a roof or hole in a building as they may be nesting. Bear in mind that if you can see the nest, it’s not a swift. They need sightings from anywhere across the UK and would even like to hear about any sightings you remember from the past. Another way to help swifts and other creatures this summer is to sow wildflower seeds. These will attract lots of insects and other mini-beasts which birds - including swifts - and other animals depend on and, even if it is in a window box, every little helps! Don’t forget to leave out fresh water too. So, as the sun goes down over my desert island and I sit listening to my recording of the swifts over my

For more information, visit:

garden in Reading, all I can say is that

www.rspb.org.uk/thingstodo/

‘I Wish You Were Here’ too!

surveys/swifts www.swift-conservation.org

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D.I.Y

autumn 2013

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UK Handmade Magazine Summer 2013