a showcase for the work of talented UK designer-makers
SUMMER: 2014 Summer 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 | Summer 2014
contributors: Summer 2014
finds: Editor’s Picks KIDS. We’ve all been one and some of us even have them. Alongside our regular selection of wonderful features, finds,
recipes and reviews, we explore what it means to be a creative mum, we find out how to produce handmade items suitable and safe for children, and we meet amazing
makers and educators who will encourage and inspire you. If, after all that, we still have time before tea, just pull on your wellies - it’s summer after all and come build a den and find fairies!
Bebe. x Editor & Designer/Maker
The Great Outdoors
Den Making, Kids and Nature
Down with the Kids
The FAR Academy
review: Making Bread Together
From Tower Block to 4 Acres
business: Social Media
The Story of Mum
Taking Fun Seriously
business: Aiming Products at the Children’s Market
business: Meet the Manufacturer
FRONT COVER: www.lornascobie.com; BACK COVER: www.mineheartstore.com
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SUMMER 2014 Contributors... Lisa Margreet Payne Craft Educator & Writer www.lisamargreet.com
Director of The Contemporary Craft Festival www.craftsatboveytracey.co.uk
Creative Director & Artist/Designer www.karenjinks.co.uk
Deputy Editor & Designer/Maker www.dawnbevins.co.uk
Finance Director & Maker www.myfuroshiki.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 | Summer 2014
Artist & Designer www.sarahhamiltonprints.com
Teresa Verney Brookes
Education Officer for the RSPB & Forest School Teacher
Meet:Claire West Nicola Mesham
Hannah Elspeth Marshall
Design & Creative Events Organiser www.beachshackproject.co.uk
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by Bebe Bradley
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SOPHIE TILLEY DESIGNS: Wooden Doll Kit (left) £20 from www.sophietilleydesigns.etsy.com
MOLLY & ISLA: Olive Knickerbockers (right) £22 (age 1-10) from www.mollyandisla.com Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
JANE FOSTER: Handmade Scandi Diamond & Flower Cats ÂŁ17 from www.janefoster.co.uk
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HOP AND PECK: Oak British Tractor ÂŁ65 from www.hopandpeck.co.uk
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I LOVE BREAD AND JAM: ‘Runaway’ Dress (right) 100% cotton, limited edition dress £32 from www.ilovebreadandjam.com
WIGHTSAILS: Child’s Deckchair with recycled sail cloth seat (opposite) £79 from www.wightsails.com Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
SIAN ZENG: Magnetic Dino Wallpaper, ÂŁ248 per roll from www.sianzeng.com
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COUCOU MANOU: Minaret Wardrobe, ÂŁ995 from www.coucoumanou.com
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Lorna Scobie by Chrissie Freeth
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Lorna Scobie works for a children’s publisher by day and in her own studio at night, creating light-hearted illustrations that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. She tells us how she got started and what inspires her.
Who is Lorna Scobie? I am an illustrator based in London and I primarily draw characters, animals and nature, although the odd person does creep into my work. London is a busy city and, whilst I’m not exactly surrounded by tropical beasts, I did grow up in a tiny village in the middle of the countryside. Because my head is still full of all the wildlife, I have no choice but to draw on experience. I work with paint, ink, pastel and pencil as I enjoy texture and mark-making. I love bright colours and try to keep my work as light hearted as possible. I’m part of the design team at Campbell Books - the pre-school imprint of Macmillan publishers - and I love it. It’s great to be able work with such inspiring people every day. When I left school, I was torn between a career in either engineering or art and design, which all seems very strange now as I can hardly hammer a nail in the wall, let alone build anything substantial. I chose the design route (RIGHT decision). Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
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I did an illustration degree at Kingston, which was fab, and Iâ€™ve been working as a freelance illustrator since I graduated, focusing on printmaking and primarily creating work for children. I live in a flat full almost to the brim with cacti, succulents and tropical plants. Amongst these lives my growing collection of model animals that I have collected from all around the world. My most recent acquisitions are my llama-wool llama which my dad brought me back from Peru, and a hand carved wooden Zebra brought back by my sister from Ghana. What do you love most about what you do, and what do you find the most frustrating? Being able to create something physical from something which starts off as just a tiny idea in my head is really rewarding, when it works out right! I love being in control of my own business and deciding which jobs to take on. It feels fantastic to get commissions; itâ€™s such a nice thought that someone has taken the time to look at my work and get in touch. I feel very lucky that I am able to do a job which I really enjoy. Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
I’m a perfectionist so I do get frustrated when my illustrations don’t work out exactly how I want them to. But, I’ve really tried to tackle this head-on in the past few years by deliberately using processes which are unpredictable, and forcing myself to lose an element of control over my work. This has really helped my illustration become a lot more spontaneous and I have learnt to enjoy the mistakes which (often) occur. Tell us about your workspace. I have a space at home where I do most of my work, and which is becoming increasingly like a jungle as my plant collection grows. I’m worried I’m going to start finding cacti growing out of my USB drive as it seems like every available space is becoming habited by plant-life. I actually end up working on the floor a lot of the time because I tend to want all my materials around me before I start work (there haven’t been any ink spillages yet, touch wood!). As I work in the Macmillan design studio during the week, it’s convenient for me to have a studio space at home rather than somewhere else. I live with a fellow illustrator and I’ve got all my books around me, so it’s still a very inspiring place to be! I do also enjoy leaving the confines of four walls and drawing on location; I take my sketchbook all over London and a few times a year to Europe, and just 18 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
draw what I see. It’s exciting not knowing what I’m going to come across and I love observing people, although I’ve had to get used to carrying excessive amounts of pens and paints around JUST in case I need to draw in some obscure colour. Do you have any special projects that you are working on? I have lots of personal projects in the pipeline at the moment which I’m really looking forward to starting. I’ve been lecturing at Kingston University and also working on a freelance design job for the last few months, so I’m keen to realise my new illustration ideas now that these other projects have ended. I’m planning a series of new screenprints of flowers and also some big, colourful animal screenprints, so watch this space! I’m also working on a couple of picture books but these are still in the early stages. There’s a few trips to Europe coming up and I plan to spend lots of time drawing.
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Who or what inspires you most in your work? I’m inspired by things I see out and about; funny conversations I overhear, great colour combinations or stories that people tell me. I love spending time watching animals, whether in the wild or the zoo, to try and get an idea of their character. There are so many fantastic artists and illustrators who inspire me, but I tend not to look too much at other people’s work when I’m in the middle of doing my own piece. Books inspire me; I’ve got a few big animal and plant encyclopedias, and I love to look through those for ideas for new prints. Running your own business is hard work. How do you balance your work and life, and what do you do to wind down? If I have one day a week where I’m not working, then I feel like I’ve had a good, balanced week. Since starting at Campbell Books, I’ve been working in the day at the publishers, and doing my freelance work in the evenings and at weekends, and it’s actually working out alright! Both designing at Campbell and freelancing are very creative things to do but they are different enough for me to feel motivated until late in the evening. I am a bit of a work addict. I really enjoy it, I don’t like sitting around and I’d rather be working than not. When I do take time off, I like to get away from my desk and visit galleries and events in London because there is always so much going on. (I also love a good bath!) Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
Do you ever have creative slumps and what do you about them? I have days where it takes ages for me to get into the swing of things and I just seem to churn out rubbish drawings. Taking a break helps and also talking to people. I really value the advice of my friends and colleagues, and sometimes it’s just good to get some reassurance on a piece of work. With a project always on the go in the background, I’ve continually got something to work on between commissions, something to ‘dip into’ if I’m feeling stuck on a project. I find that by just continuing to create work, I can get out of slumps. What is your main goal for the next 6-12 months? I’d like to start selling my work in more galleries across the UK, and produce a load of new animal prints for this purpose. I also really want to crack on with my picture book ideas! If you had the time, what new skill would you like to learn? I’ve got a huge craving to learn how to make ceramics and I’d love to create my own zoo of 3D weird animals. Last year, the hugely talented Sue Pearl taught me how to felt and it was such an eye-opening experience for me. I really enjoyed seeing my drawings turn into a 3D objects (I made a blue fluffy rabbit) and it has really inspired me to pursue new areas of craft. It’s just finding the time at the moment! 22 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
For more information on Lorna Scobie, visit: www.lornascobie.com Images courtesy of Lorna Scobie
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SOCIAL MEDIA – An Artist and Maker’s Very Best Friend by Sarah Hamilton Social Media can help you enormously with your creative business, and you should embrace it with open arms. You may already be a user wishing to get more from it, or a newcomer hesitant to sign up. My introduction to Social Media (SM) was a happy accident; two teenage daughters of a friend set up my Twitter account one New Year’s Eve for fun, after I’d quoted the usual trivial SM cliché about people only using it to discuss their breakfast. My account lay dormant for over a year and it only occurred to me, after considerable time and effort spent on a sparkling new website, that perhaps SM would be a good way to drive traffic to it. If I’d had any idea what a huge positive effect (in so many ways) it would have on my business, I’d have joined the party sooner. 24 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
Put simply, used creatively, SM can become your very best friend. Having been an Artist and Designer for over twenty years, wearing many hats on a daily basis - administrator, bookkeeper, photographer and publicist - anything which frees up precious studio time and saves money is invaluable. Joining SM has worked wonders for me and could also, genuinely, do the same for you. People often say to me “I don’t have time to do Twitter”. I used to spend hours preparing samples, researching, e-mailing, meeting potential stockists, publicising events, etc. The time I now devote to SM is minimal by comparison, yet the results are far better.
It’s important to stress that the benefits go far beyond sales and include: A. Connecting with like-minded Artists and Makers online, which often result in real life collaborations, mutual support and friendships. We set up a hashtag #TALKT (Take a Look Tuesday) for Makers to use on Tuesdays to show work and share events by re-tweeting when they see the tag. Imagine how many more people will hear about your show if Twitter friends re-tweet your invite. Your followers and all theirs see it, often in the thousands. You will, no doubt, make sales at shows to people who’ve heard about it on Twitter.
I’ve not sent out any promotional material for at least a year, yet sales have increased significantly. Shops, galleries and private clients find me through Twitter, Facebook, blogs or websites. Many contacts made at exhibitions - who’ve buried my card in the pocket graveyard - are reminded of my work by my Twitter presence. One example, among many, is the friend of a gallery owner who recommended my work having seen it at my Open House. The gallery owner viewed my site, really liked it and thought “I must contact Sarah”. A year later, I coincidently followed her on Twitter, she remembered me, came over and now a lovely gallery in sunny Deal stocks my work. If you’re not on Twitter, interactions like this cannot happen.
B. Sourcing suppliers. I was recently asked to print some of my designs on fabric. Having worked as a textiles consultant, there were people I could ask but they weren’t available. What did I do? I tweeted “Can anyone recommend any great textile printers please?”, and within minutes, there were numerous replies. C. Meeting journalists who use Twitter in their fast paced world. You may well spot a call out from a journalist writing a feature about exactly your area of work. An image, a quick response and you could see your product in print. Print press is often considered the cream of the crop, but don’t overlook the power of blogs. Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
After As a friend, Social Media Guru Charlotte Duckworth of Decorum wisely said, “If you get a blog feature, that’s an instant click on your site. The person doesn’t have to put the magazine down, go to their computer and get distracted on the way.” D. Selecting professional photographers to take pictures of your work. Follow a range; look at their websites and images. I’ve found great photographers online via Twitter. 26 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
My Top Ten Twitter DO’s and DON’T’s!
1. DO familiarise yourself with terminology. SM basically means the interaction of people online and could be Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn, etc. I prefer Twitter, but you may well find others useful. If you’re starting out on Twitter then pick a few Artists and Designers whose work you like, follow them and some of the people they follow.
2. DO build relationships. Don’t simply ask for
6. DON’T forget that you’re trying to familiarize
things or oversell yourself. Twitter is as much about conversation and mutual support as selfpromotion. “But I’ve been on Twitter for a year now, I’ve a few hundred followers but nothing has changed”, I hear you say. Well, think of those people who do a craft fair, huddle behind stock, fiddle on phones then wonder why they don’t sell - the same applies to SM. Chat, share your passion, engage and sales will follow. It helps to view SM as simply an online extension of real life. Networking takes time in the real world, but the breadth of who you connect with online is not hampered by physical distance.
people with your work by creating ‘the cosy aroma of freshly made bread’ used by estate agents to sell houses. I once saw an artist tweet (graphically!) about the revolting state of her teenager’s bedroom. Now this gross image springs to mind and I wouldn’t touch or buy her beautiful cushions.
7. DON’T ask makers directly for the contact details of their suppliers. People take years to source their contacts and may not wish to share these on the spot with a stranger. It is fine to openly ask on Twitter, you’ll very likely get a great response and this gives people the choice whether to respond or not.
3. DO thank people if they compliment you and by all means re-tweet it, but thank them first.
8. DON’T join a site which tells you who unfollows
4. DO be polite, friendly and approachable, and
you on Twitter. They often tweet your Twitter stats; this is incredibly boring and makes you look rather silly.
remember that behind 140 characters, there’s a real person.
9. DON’T be negative or swear too often. 5. DO re-tweet tweets which will be of interest to your followers and may help your Twitter friends, especially artist/maker shows. We all know how much effort goes in to putting on an exhibition; a simple click is a symbol of mutual support and helps a great deal.
10. DON’T favourite tweets without sharing them. Twitter is about sharing and support. Chances are if you find a Tweet worth ‘favouriting’, then others will too. Keeping it to yourself doesn’t help people much, does it?
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To help you get started after you’ve made a Twitter account, follow companies who make social media their business. I especially like Decorum (@DecorumMedia) and Muddywall (@Muddywall). They share great tips which you can learn from. I also suggest you read ‘Trust Agents’ by Julien Smith and Chris Brogan, which focuses on how to develop a presence online and is a surprising page-turner! Remember that it may take time to feel confident and build a SM network, but a little effort goes a long way. Focus on the bigger picture. In the longer term you’ll spend far less time searching for galleries and shops and promoting your events, and you’ll increase your reach from a few hundred to thousands. See you in cyberspace! It’s fun, friendly and believe me, IT WORKS. 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. For more information, visit: www.thehandmadefair.com Images courtesy of Sarah Hamilton
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The Story of Mum by Nicola Mesham Becoming a parent is a shock to the system. Nothing can really prepare you for the complete sea change in your life. Whilst parenthood can be filled with love and joy, it is also daunting. Your time is no longer your own, you have a tiny human who is completely reliant on you. For many women, and men, this can be hard to adjust to. Self-doubt can often creep in as we struggle to get to grips with parenthood. This is exactly the position Pippa Best found herself in after the birth of her two children. Craving an alternative to the â€˜perfectâ€™ image of motherhood we often see in the media, Pippa formulated the idea of creating a supportive space for parents to explore their new-found identities. 30 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
Galvanised by the loss of a close friend, who was also a mother of two small children, Pippa cofounded Story of Mum in 2011. Three years on and the site has developed into a community and art project designed to connect mothers with other mothers, to share the highs and lows of parenting and to help them reconnect with their creative side. The site has gone from strength-to-strength and the diverse work produced by the Story of Mum community has been exhibited in galleries located in Cornwall, London and New York. We caught up with Pippa to find out more about the background and future of this vibrant organization.
What led to the formation of Story of Mum and how do you think #somum differs from other parenting websites? Story of Mum was initially inspired by the challenges I faced after becoming a mother six years ago. Having defined myself by my ‘creative’ career in film, I felt I had lost my identity in motherhood. Feeling like a failure, I craved an alternative to the version of motherhood I saw in the media. That story seemed to be mainly about perfect post-baby bodies and all the things I ‘should’ be doing as a mother. Nothing in mainstream media encouraged me to trust in my own individual experiences and instincts, and embrace my own motherhood journey.
Penny & Pippa Best
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I wanted a community that was all about sharing the bits we don’t usually share in public; the messy houses, the bad mummy days, the real post-baby bodies, our stories of being afraid and our equally messy feelings about all of these. And I wanted somewhere to celebrate the small successes, and acknowledge the incredible value of what we do as mothers every day. I started to play with the idea of creative activities that might encourage tired mamas to carve out a little bit of time for ourselves, and gently explore who we are together. Could you explain why do you care about motherhood and womanhood? Because I’m living it, I’m fascinated by the particular physical and emotional experience of motherhood and the social context. That’s where I feel I have something to contribute, and that’s why I’ve created a Story of Mum, not a Story of Dad, though I could certainly see a value in that. I don’t wish to diminish the role of fathers or of non-mothers. I deeply believe we all have something powerful and individual to contribute to the world. For all our progress, I still don’t think society understands and acknowledges the value of women, and of mothers in particular. Mothers are quickly branded unworthy of society’s support when the politicians don’t need us, the “single mums”, “young mums”, “stay-at-home mums” and the quickly dismissed voices of “mommy bloggers”. Our complex lives are reduced to an easy sound bite. 32 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
Yet as mothers, we create people. There are few things more amazing than that everyday miracle. We teach them, inspire them, we shape our global future at its roots. We might not all be mothers, but we have all had a mother, even if our time with her was short, and in some way she has shaped who we are. If all of our mothers had been fully supported, nurtured, happier, more fulfilled, how might that have shaped each of us differently? How different would the world around us be? Why do you think creativity should be valued in motherhood? We might get to do fun creative stuff with our kids but we don’t often take time out to create for ourselves, and it’s a very different experience. For me, creative activity is a huge part of how I discover who I am, what I need and how to express that. It’s my time for me, it’s inspiring and revitalizing, and it’s a vital way I connect with other mothers. So much of our time is spent nurturing others, that it can be hard to remember that we need attention too. Creative play is a powerful tool for reconnecting with ourselves; it doesn’t have to be an epic creation, a simple doodle can often be just as impactful. Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
If you visit Story of Mum, at first you might just see a gallery of mums’ doodles, such as the ‘Book of Mum’ book covers. But there is so much going on underneath each image. First, there is each mum’s experience of physically making something, getting in touch with another aspect of her identity and emotions. Then her experience of stepping back and looking at what she made, making some sense of what came up, thinking about who she is and what kind of book cover would capture 34 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
something from her life. And finally, there’s the experience of sharing her creation in a public space. There’s bravery involved here, an opening up and sharing honestly, that can sometimes feel quite challenging but is often an empowering release. That sharing allows each mum to set her own story in the context of others, to see her individuality and our commonality, and to know that she’s not alone in her fears, challenges or successes.
Do you feel the site has changed or evolved as a direct result of connecting with other mums? Even the initial concept was developed with the help of other mums. We initially had a grant from Feast to work in Cornwall with Wild Young Parents Project (mums under 23, whom we’ve continued to work with throughout) and with older mums at a local day care centre, testing out activities with them and exploring what they would hope to get out of a project like ours. We launched the first website when my second child was three months old on Mother’s Day 2011, as the culmination of all the work we’d done together. From there, the project began to have a life of its own. It continued to evolve in response to what the mums using the site were most interested in. A good example is the first ‘Love Mum Body’ strand in 2012. This inspired a lot of mums (and even a dad) to share stories of how they felt about their bodies in motherhood and was transformational for many, including me. So we featured lots more guest posts from mums, and continued to expand our activities in response to this theme into 2013. On our first birthday in April 2012, we held a celebratory twitter party. We discovered that it worked really well to bring mums together to talk and attempt creative stuff on twitter, and this evolved into our monthly #somum Make Date, an empowering and
refreshingly honest community event. Here, we combine a fun creative activity with chat questions on the same theme, sharing photos of what we make as we go along, and we have had some incredibly powerful and open conversations. Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
Last year’s big vision was our first participatory exhibition tour, both on and offline. ‘The Story of Mum: Making an Exhibition of Ourselves’ combined virtual and physical exhibitions to explore motherhood and identity. With support from the Arts Council and Feast, we hosted ‘real life’ creative Make Dates and took mums’ creative submissions to galleries across England and on to the Museum of Motherhood in New York. We also created a ‘virtual tour’ where bloggers curated the online exhibition (choosing something created by another mum and creating something of their own to add), which generated 50 virtual tour posts from around the world. That was another really interesting way to connect, build community, and encourage mums to get creative.
can access any time of the day or night, perfect when you’re looking after small children and have such limited time. I remember being so relieved to find the #nightfeed hashtag in the early days of breastfeeding!
As we hear more stories about how Story of Mum has had an impact on mums in our community, we understand better what we’re doing and which bits work best.
When we come together for #somum Make Dates on twitter, it’s always a really supportive atmosphere. One that particularly stood out for me recently was when we made Encouragement Cards for other mothers and shared stories of our bravery. We heard amazing inspiring stories of overcoming loss, abuse, breakdowns and more, reminding us all of just how strong we are and how rarely we acknowledge that. I know of mums who have been supported by the Story of Mum community through post-natal depression, marriage breakup, social phobia, negative body image and more. Encouraging mums to take time out to think about our own needs can be an incredible gift when you haven’t done that in a long time.
Do you feel that many mothers lack the traditional support of an extended family and often reach out to online communities for advice and friendship? It’s certainly true of modern life that we are often separated from our extended family. As exhausted busy mothers, that can be particularly isolating. The online world provides a community that you
What’s the best and worst thing about running #somum? The best thing is getting a letter or email telling us that we’ve made a positive difference to another mum’s life, and knowing that we’re responsible for mums around the world feeling more deeply connected to themselves, nurtured and happy.
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I also loved the face-to-face connection of our Mamas’ Retreat, and the thrill of sending our new DIY Mamas’ Retreat Kit out into the world in the hope that it will encourage mums to rest, laugh and create together. The other really good thing about running Story of Mum is that it forces me to make creative time for myself! I have to spend time being creative because I need to invent a new and interesting activity every month, test it out and have a play. Plus I get the thrill of my dreams coming true, like working with a brilliant designer such as Sam Osborne to bring my Retreat Kit vision to life, hosting a real retreat in a stunning venue in Cornwall with lovely mums, and having regular inspiring twitter chats that boost me too. The worst thing is the time it takes to manage the website. Even though we have a very generous and talented web designer (Nick Harpley at Satzooma), we didn’t have a huge amount of money to build it so while it has all sorts of wonderful functionality, it has quite a complicated back end, with almost every page built by hand and very little is automated. So that means a lot of late nights for me. For love not money, of course, and again as a mum I’m used to that!
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What do you think the future holds for #somum? Well, I can’t believe that I’ve already fulfilled two big Story of Mum dreams in 2014 - the live Mamas’ Retreat and the DIY Kits - and I’m hoping that the year just keeps rolling on out like that! We had support from the Arts Council for the exhibition last year, which also included a chance to investigate all sorts of different ways to take our message out and work towards sustainability. Generating some sources of income would allow us to engage with more mums, as well as support other incredible organisations giving mothers a voice, like the Museum of Motherhood and Womankind Worldwide (10% of DIY Mamas’ Retreat Kit sales are going to these two). We’ll be hosting a series of workshops on and offline with Child and Community Psychologist Dr Emily Jane and a UK/French businesswomen’s network, B-New (Working Mama, Happy Kids) later this month that we hope to expand to all mums (not just mums who balance work and mothering). We’ll also be exploring an online Mamas’ Retreat and e-course that can take our vision direct to Mamas’ inboxes in a more interactive way. Finally, I’d love to host another Mamas’ Retreat too! For more information, visit: www.storyofmum.com Photo Credits: Pat Kelman Chris Webber Ian Kingsnorth
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Corby Tindersticks by Karen Jinks
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Corby Tindersticks is a unisex fashion and design label, offering 0-5 year olds and their parents a refreshing alternative to the homogenised children’s wear and accessories of the High Street. The aim is to create fun design and illustration for both kids and grownups and, launched at the beginning of 2012, Corby Tindersticks has been well received around the world by bloggers, retailers and parents alike. The label is extremely proud to be a home-grown British brand and its illustration-led apparel line is printed and manufactured in the UK. The soft toy range features striking, offbeat illustrations combined with an acute sense of humour. Each toy is ever so slightly different to the last as they are lovingly handmade and brought to life by designer Carly Gledhill’s own fair hands. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. My name is Carly Josephine Gledhill. I am 30 years old, and the designer and owner of Corby Tindersticks. My favourite drink is tea and I love playing darts. What is the inspiration behind Corby Tindersticks? Initially forged as a necessity for a creative outlet, it has developed into an alternative, imaginative
world, fully populated by a host of colourful characters and idiosyncratic personalities. Corby Tindersticks is the result of a northern upbringing, of drawing with lentils and making the toys from Sunday supplements. It’s mainly inspired by the underdog, paintings on crockery and vintage children’s books. Do you have any formal training? I have a degree in textile design and an MA in children’s book illustration. My work is a nice mix of both. Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
How did you get started? I really like making little characters and bringing them to life. I drew a fella called Corby and he was instantly my favourite. I made him into a 3D character and then took him around the world. He’s a well-travelled chap. It was the fun of character building and making that led me to start Corby Tindersticks. I had been working as a children’s clothing designer and thought that the public might like some of my designs. Was it difficult to make sure your products are ethically made / sourced from the UK? I make all the toys in my studio as I haven’t found anyone willing to make them in the UK! I was really lucky to find a fantastic clothing factory in the UK and I also buy all my jersey from a company who produce in the Midlands. It has been quite easy to source the people and the fabric but this also comes with a higher cost price. What advice would you give anyone thinking of setting up their own creative business? It’s important to do something you believe in and in your own personal style. There are so many people starting small creative businesses now and it’s important to stand out by doing your own thing! 42 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
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What does ‘handmade’ mean to you? It means that my products are made with a lot of attention to detail, using lovely fabrics and are of great quality! Who are your favourite artists and designers? Recently I have been admiring the work of Pilipo Giordano, Vincent Pianina and Kashink. I love bright colours and bold characters, and those three do it very well. If you had the chance to learn a new skill what would it be? I’d really like to be able to speak a foreign language, probably French. I’d also like to get better at cycling so that my new bike (Beryl) and I can go on more adventures. What’s next for Corby Tindersticks? I’m designing a new collection for SS15 which is quite different to what I have done in the past. *Spoiler Alert* I’m starting with a clean slate and saying goodbye to my old characters. In with the new! For more information on Corby Tindersticks, visit: www.corbytindersticks.com Images courtesy of Carly Josephine Gledhill and clothing images by LMS Photography Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
Aiming Your Products at the Children’s Market by Hannah Marshall With the toy sector pocketing £2.9 billion in 2013, and the children’s clothes industry estimated to be worth £6.5 billion in the UK, there is a lot of money to be made from specifically tailoring your product towards kids. But, if you are selling your products to the public, there are legislations to consider when aiming products at children. Anything aimed at someone under 14 is considered a child in the eyes of the law. This means careful testing to avoid being prosecuted in the event of an accident. With a myriad of rules and regulations, not to mention the high costs of testing products, most small businesses shy away from this daunting bureaucracy. But once you have navigated the vast information out there, the process becomes much simpler. 46 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
The Law Any toy that is sold must carry the CE mark. This is a mandatory conformity marking, that is effective for any item being sold in the European Union or exported from it. It means that the product has been tested and meets EU safety, health and environmental protection requirements. There is a myth that if a toy is intended for adults, you can simply state they are unsuitable for under 14’s, but this is not a safeguard. In fact, anything that is engaging to children is seen as a toy. Even children’s clothes need to be carefully considered as the fabrics could contain harmful dyes, so test certificates need to be obtained from manufacturers. Zippers, buttons & embellishments can contain nickel or become potential hazards as children explore and interact with their clothes. Even care labels need to be attached with clear instructions for washing and drying. Where to start? Your first port of call should be talking to your local trading standards agency for advice. There are also other groups like the Toy Makers Guild who provide helpful information and support. If you are making toys, you need to locate BS EN 71 and for clothes find BS 7907, both of which are documents that outline what regulations you will need to adhere too. You can purchase these online
or source them at libraries. A cheap way to legally test your handmade toy is to do CE marking selfassessments yourself. This entails obtaining test certificates for all the materials you use, and doing tests to demonstrate the strength of your products and flammability. Erica Martyn from Odds & Soxlets performs selftesting on her toys, “Once testing is complete, you will then be able to write up your paperwork and compile all the information into your technical file for the toy you have tested. If your toy has passed all the tests required, you will then be able to complete a DOC – a ‘declaration of conformity’ - which is the legal document to say your toy complies to the current toy safety directive and can now be placed on sale.” You can also go the easy route and pay to have everything done for you in a laboratory testing house, with an average cost of around £300 per product type. Matthew Snell, of Shed on the Hill which produces traditional wooden toys, said “Conforming to CE standards really wasn’t that difficult for me; I think that people get frightened by the possibility of miles of ‘Red Tape’ but, if you are organised and honest, it’s not that bad.” He was asked to keep a record of each toy made by marking it with a part number, company name and CE mark. Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
A register was also kept that could be used to trace each toy if there was a problem. He uses the same register to log batch numbers of any varnish or similar coating used on each toy, so that a chemical data sheet could be obtained if necessary. Matthew also makes sure that all parts of the toy are firmly attached. Problems for small businesses If you cannot source test certificates for your materials from the manufacturers then you need to have these tested by laboratories instead. This creates a huge problem for people working with vintage or one-off materials, or for those who create one-off designs. Once you have a declaration of conformity, this will only apply to that product made that way with those exact materials. Change one thing and the whole process starts again. The paperwork and huge financial costs of testing each and every unique product you design, if you work in this way, is terrifying. Erica came up with an amazing plan when she faced this problem with her sock toys and became increasingly frustrated at the cost of developing her ideas. She formed a support group on Facebook for other sock toy makers so that the testing costs of materials could be split between everyone. Members can buy test certificates for as 48 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
many materials as they please, and this money is reinvested in the testing of more materials. (Shortly after, a second group was started for soft toy makers.) She says, “During this time, a CE marking company called ‘Conformance’ had written a specific self-assessment pack for people who made knitted toys. After we started to correspond with this company, they began to realise the need for a pack for soft toys in general, to help people get to grips with the basics of the regulations, the testing required and the framework of paperwork that you would need for each type of toy you produced. The pack is now about £30 to purchase and well worth the investment as it takes the leg work out of trying to complete rather in-depth and legally required paper work by yourself.” Final thoughts If you are seriously thinking of selling your work, it is imperative that you follow the standards that are put in place to protect both you and the consumers using them. It would be fantastic if, in the future, more people created support groups like Erica’s, focusing on other parts of the industry like clothes, jewellery and other types of toys. This would help reduce costs, time, and create a large support group enabling people to legally and safely sell products with peace of mind.
The amount of information available to small businesses is sparse to say the least, particularly regarding the handmade sector, but with the right amount of time, planning and organization, it shouldnâ€™t be any more difficult or intrusive than completing your tax return! NB: This article is intended to help designers and makers find information regarding CE Marking in regards to their own products. UK Handmade accepts no legal responsibility for the content. Useful links: www.tradingstandards.gov.uk w w w.gov.uk/toy-manufacturers- and-theirresponsibilities www.gov.uk/clothing-footwear-and-fashion
Forms and help packs: British Standards Institution Conformance Self Assessment Packs Laboratories: The Birmingham Assay Office Intertek Support Groups for Handmade Toy Makers: www.toymakersguild.co.uk Sock Toys on Facebook Soft Toys on Facebook Images courtesy of Erica Martyn at Odds & Soxlets and Matthew Snell at Shed on the Hill
Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
Taking Fun Seriously by Sarah James When the Contemporary Craft Festival was founded back in 2003, my daughter was 3 and my son was just a few months old. From the beginning I wanted children and families, like mine, to enjoy the Festival in a way that was both meaningful and fun, and I knew that it would be a key element to the overall success of the event. Without sounding clichéd and blubbing “children are our future” schmaltz, I simply didn’t want to put together an event where my family and I wouldn’t feel welcome. The Festival has a ‘cradle to the grave’ approach to craft education, with workshops available for all ages. ‘Adult Education’ craft workshops are provided by Learn Devon, and these taster sessions are designed to lead the visitor into adult or further education. ‘Aim Higher’ then gives you the opportunity to see which courses might suit your particular interest. 50 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
The craft demonstrations, dotted around the Festival, let you see craft in action and have a twotiered aim; to inspire people to learn a new skill, to also appreciate those skills and value the work, and to help create new collectors of craft. The Children’s Craft Tent starts from pre-school to Key Stage 3. New skills are introduced to the children using materials and techniques that they wouldn’t usually have available to them. This is done by working with professional artists who teach weaving, screen printing, mosaic, print making, sculpture, clay modelling, knitting, animation and felt making. As the Children’s Craft Tent developed, we began working with other organisations that also specialise in children’s education. We’ve built a long standing relationship with the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. Known locally as RAMM, the museum has collaborated with the Festival to link our education programme with the national curriculum, using their historical collections as inspiration and relating it to contemporary craft practises. For example, Roman Exeter is one of the main features of the collection at RAMM and through the museum’s ‘handling’ collection, children can look at examples of ancient mosaics at the Festival and then have the opportunity to work
with contemporary mosaic artists in the Children’s Craft Tent. This year, the theme is Contemporary Landscapes and young visitors will be looking at the museum’s collection of landscape painting for inspiration. Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
Another partner is Big Hand, Little Hand, the pioneering children’s educational charity founded by the Devon Guild of Craftsmen. The Devon Guild is our main partner at the Festival sharing our aims of learning though making. As hands-on making in schools is hard to find, Big Hand, Little Hand funds professional makers to go to schools, colleges and community groups in the South West. They also work with us at the Children’s Craft Tent providing professional artists and makers to teach our young visitors. In recent years we’ve worked with whole host of amazing people; Devon Artists Network, Devon 52 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
Weavers Workshop, Crafts Council, Daisi (Devon Artists in Schools Initiative), UK Hand Knitting Association and most recently Exeter Phoenix. So when you visit the Children’s Craft Tent, I hope something special happens but, if all that your children remember is that they had fun, then that’s good enough for me. For more information, visit: www.craftsatboveytracey.co.uk Images courtesy of The Contemporary Craft Festival
Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
Claire West by Bebe Bradley
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Claire West produces bright, colourful art to make you smile. She paints because it makes her happy, and she hopes that her work makes you happy too! Who is Claire West? Three years ago, I decided to take the plunge and left my full-time job as an adviser for young care leavers. I became a full time artist and now work from my studio, a converted cattle barn on a working farm in the Yorkshire Wolds, along with my companion, Border Collie Flossie. Our commute to work is a walk along country lanes looking out for wildlife; hares running through the fields and owls that perch on posts, although my favourites are the Gold Finches that fly in and out of the hedgerows. At the studio, I spend most of my time creating paintings for gallery exhibitions, and sometimes I make art for the sets of television programmes. Occasionally, I also run workshops in printing and painting.
Jemima Lumley Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
Tell us about the inspiration behind your work. My main inspiration comes from the joy of making art, and I am constantly amazed at how different colours can work together to create uplifting effects. A major influence on my work is the illustrator Eric Carle; I have a vivid memory of seeing ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ for the very first time, and the colours and images just leapt from the page and made me happy. I always try to capture that feeling within my paintings for other people. It’s probably quite clear from my work that I love nature and wildlife, and I try hard to capture the character behind each creature. I often paint the animals that I have seen on my walks through the Wolds. What kind of formal education, training or experience do you have and how are your paintings borne out of this? I originally trained in Interior Design, way back in the 1980s, at Newcastle Art College and then worked for a few years for an architect. Having done this course, I soon realised that design was far too structured for me and that I needed the freedom of Art. Whilst working in a Job Centre, I trained part time - over 7 years - to gain a Degree in Fine Art. It’s been quite a journey since to bring me to this point, having spent many years working for the social services but also occasionally doing 56 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
freelance work, creating images for TV programmes such as Spaced, the IT Crowd and EastEnders. My background in design has strongly influenced my work in the use of colours and patterns, and also quite importantly, when working towards exhibitions and keeping to deadlines! Painting and printmaking are regarded as quite traditional art forms. What brought you to them? When I originally started to paint at college, I actually hated it because we had to use oils and I just couldn’t stand the smell or the ridiculous length of time it took for them to dry. Ten years ago, I discovered acrylics and only then did I really start to love painting. I am extremely impatient so when I have an idea, I just need to get it down on canvas. Acrylics allowed me to do this and the colours just look so fresh! I only started to print a few years ago; people would often comment that my work had print-like qualities so I took a day course in lino printing and became obsessed. I like that I get to use tools to create the image and it’s a very ‘hands on’, low-tech medium. Tell us the ethos behind your bright, colourful paintings. I suppose one of the main reasons for my “shout out loud” colours is because, as a child, I was very shy and these loud paintings beg for attention! Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
I have a strong belief in that we shouldn’t be restrictive in what colours are believed (or are supposed) to match. It’s very much a case of how you feel when you look at these colours and I find that a dash of pink or red will liven up most paintings. When I was a little girl having completed a piece of art, a teacher said to me, “Don’t you know that yellow and pink don’t go?” I hope I have proved her wrong! Your work has a highly distinctive style. Who or what influences and motivates you? Gosh, that’s difficult to answer! I feel that a lot of my painting is done quite instinctively and when I start a painting, I usually don’t know how it will look when it’s finished. I try to be really free with the paint and see where it takes me. In my own mind, my paintings are more about colour and shape rather than subject. I have a great admiration for any painters that use strong colours and probably one of the artists I most admire, is Barbara Rae. Her colours just jump out of the paper at you. Amazing! Have you seen a change in the perception of craft in the UK, and what it means to own a handmade product? I do feel that people are far more respectful of handmade products now. They’re able to access quality products through internet sites, and are 58 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
able to see how things are made through blogging, etc., and even contact makers and ask questions. In this throwaway society, people seem to want to own products that are to be treasured and admired, things that others do not have. I can only speak for my own buyers but they enjoy collecting works and following my progress, and many of these buyers have become friends. You canâ€™t do that with a
product that you have bought from a High Street store! What does handmade mean to you? When I think of handmade, I think of quality and of the hours invested on making that product absolutely unique. Money well spent!
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What makes your paintings and prints unique? I find that question almost impossible to answer, other than I know that my process of painting in layers of multi-colours is something that many other painters don’t do. Otherwise, my paintings are quite organic, in that they form within my head as I am working and aren’t preconceived. What advice would you give to someone starting their own business? Be prepared to put the hours in (and unfortunately, you have to do lots of paperwork too). Constantly market your product so don’t be shy! Facebook is a brilliant source for showing your product and engaging with people, and fun too. Listen to what people want, I often ask advice of my clients and get good feedback. Try not to compare yourself or copy anyone else. You will have lows but rise above them and believe in yourself. And not forgetting, finances can be very tight at times so it’s good to find a part-time job to guarantee some funds. Who are your favourite artists, designers and makers? The list goes on and on, and now that I am on Pinterest, I am discovering more all of the time! However, my long term loves are Eric Carle, Barbara Rae, Brian Wildsmith, Mary Fedden, John Piper, Robert Tavener and Raoul Dufy. I know that I will think of loads more now that I have told you these... 60 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
If you could learn a new creative skill, what would it be? I would probably be rubbish at it but I would like to wood carve! There are never enough hours in the day! You regularly run painting and printmaking workshops from your studio. What is the most important lesson that participants can take away from their workshop experience? I believe that people should just enjoy themselves with art and not compare their work to others, that they should embrace their creativity and learn to use their imagination again. Where can we find your work? Iâ€™m presently showing in exhibitions at the Itch Gallery in Oakham, Gallery Forty Nine in Bridlington, the Saltbox Gallery in Helmsley, and the Number Four Gallery in St Abbs. Later in the year, I will be showing at the Janet Bell Gallery in Anglesey, the Blue Tree Gallery in York and the Whitehouse Gallery in Kirkcudbright. For more information on Claire West, visit: www.claire-west.com and Facebook Images courtesy of Claire West
Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
BUSINESS: Make It British ‘Meet the Manufacturer’ by Mich Yasue Passionate about products made in Britain? June sees the launch of Meet the Manufacturer, a showcase of the best British manufacturers in the fashion and textiles industry. More than just a trade fair, Meet the Manufacturer will provide opportunities for UK manufacturers, designers and buyers to network together under one roof. “Our aim is not only to introduce buyers from companies of all sizes to factories that can make their products, but also to inspire them with a programme of thought-provoking seminars led by industry experts that can provide guidance on manufacturing in the UK”, says Kate Hills of Make It British and organiser of the event. 62 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
Over her 20 year career as a designer and buyer, Kate became increasingly convinced of the importance of a UK manufacturing base. Since setting up Make it British, a site dedicated to supporting UK manufacturers, she has been inundated with requests from designers, buyers and sourcing directors looking for quality British factories to make their products. The companies that are searching for these factories are everything from large High Street names to designers who are just starting out. Some are looking to bring their production back from overseas whilst for others manufacturing in the UK is an intrinsic part of their brand.
â€œAs enquiries for UK manufacturers increased significantly over the last year, I realised that there was no one sourcing event for buyers to attend to meet them all. The manufacturers were also contacting us looking to reach new customers.â€? Finding herself providing a matchmaking service between both parties, Kate quickly recognised the need for an event that could streamline this service and bring added value; Meet the Manufacturer was born. Meet the Manufacturer will host an exhibition of UK manufacturers such as lingerie manufacturers, knitters and weavers, dyers and finishers. Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
Attendees are expected to be buyers at major High Street retailers and established brands, catwalk designers and start-ups. Not only will buyers from companies of all sizes be introduced to manufacturers that can make their products, but participants can also attend a two day conference led by industry experts. This will include seminars on what it means to make fashion and textiles in the UK today and panel discussions. Working alongside Kate to bring Meet the Manufacturer to life, is the acclaimed fashion industry catwalk king, John Walford. John is the original founder of Vauxhall Fashion Scout and Director of Walford Shows. He brings to Meet the Manufacturer his extensive experience from working on numerous high profile events including Bath in Fashion and London Fashion Week. 64 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
Meet the Manufacturer will take place on 1112 June in The Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, an area that was once the home of many of London’s weavers and clothing manufacturers. “It felt important to host Meet the Manufacturer somewhere where there was a strong connection to fashion and textiles” Kate notes, “but that was also easily accessible to the buyers and designers that want to meet them. In bringing manufacturers from all over the British Isles to this vibrant part of London we hope to further invigorate an industry that is still very much alive and kicking”. To find out more about the show and seminar programme that will accompany the event, visit: www.meetthemanufacturer.co.uk Images courtesy of Kate Hills.
Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
The FAR Academy by Bebe Bradley
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Brent Lewis, founder of the FAR Academy, certainly never thought that he would become a teacher and run his own school. His early experience of education was a negative one but Brent has now been teaching for many years, in a variety of roles within education, and his passion for student engagement grows every day. Back in 2011, he was trying to find new ways in which to work with disengaged young people. Looking back to his childhood, Brent asked himself what had had the biggest impact on his youth and made him feel inspired and creative. Skateboarding was the answer; he had spent the happiest days of his youth meeting with friends, customising boards and trying out new tricks. He knew then that he had to share this, but how? In a moment of inspiration came the thought of creating a school where young people would be able to hand-make their own custom skateboards, skate and still gain qualifications. The UK and Europe’s first professional ‘Deck Design and Build Academy’, the ‘FooARage Skateboard Company’ (FAR) was born. Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
At the Academy’s heart lies the key message, ‘Changing Lives through Education and Skateboarding’. Like traditional schools, the FAR Academy teaches academic and vocational qualifications; these are tailored to the needs of the individual, group or embedded into existing state school programmes, and based on designing, hand-making and riding custom skateboards. Life skills and employability underpin all of the activities at the FAR Academy. Their unique ‘Project Based Learning’ (PBL) programme includes a wide range of skills such as Communication, Relating to People, Enterprise, Emotional Intelligence, Thinking and Applied skills, and its students are equipped with all of the abilities that they will need to flourish. ‘Enquiry Based Learning’ (EBL) is integral to the Academy’s curriculum, with students learning principally through Enterprise Projects, local businesses and the surrounding community. To root the students’ learning in the real world, advanced projects involve external commissions so that, whether it’s a custom skateboard to display for a local business or organising a skate park event, the student’s learning is authentic and actively involves them in local community life. The FAR Academy offers a supportive, personalised learning environment in which strong pastoral care 68 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
runs throughout the activities. This ensures that no young person gets lost within the programmes and that young people are able to build strong relationships with their peers and tutors, enabling them to tailor the curriculum to their individual needs and aspirations. Over the past three years, Brent has found that students relate well to skateboards and its counter-culture aspects; they are focused, attentive and apply themselves to complete their decks. ‘At Risk’ and ‘Over/Under Achievers’ easily grasp the learning concepts and excel in the teamwork and mentorship that naturally occurs during the build process. Brent’s students discover hand-working skills that they didn’t know they possessed, and the programme provides great flexibility to include required learning. Curriculum subjects can be worked into an individual school programme, for example: Environment: Skateboards have a ‘green’ approach to many topics, including transportation, locallyacquired materials, hand-built and non-toxic materials, and leave only a small carbon footprint. Art and Design: This section is generally the area that can be expanded the most and can fill an entire term; including deck graphic concepts, the history of deck art, design and application, and much more.
Woodwork: Maple veneer (especially Canadiangrown) is known to be the best in the world for skateboards. Learning about grain direction, strength of wood, preparing, gluing and finishing are all part of the curriculum.
Business and Entrepreneurship: An ongoing programme can be generated by building multiple decks with the reusable tools and Thin Air Press Kits. Create a company store, manage the funds and find sponsors.
Science and Physics: Skateboards are made with atmospheric pressure to press the veneers over a mold and into shape, and relevant experiments can be included about the physics and practical uses of vacuums.
Leadership: Once students have the skills to hand make a skateboard deck, they can then assist or teach others through mentorship, outreach, summer camps and after-school groups.
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Since the Academyâ€™s beginning, thousands of young people have been engaged in hand-making and building their own skateboards and longboards all over the UK. Making an item by hand gives an amazing sense of ownership and positive attachment and, in this instance especially, skateboard deck building can be used as a focus to include a wide range of subjects in the curriculum because young people can easily relate to it. Studies around the world have also found a direct link between the benefits of skateboarding and mental health. Skateboarding is a positive sport that builds communities and social structure for youth, and creates freedom whilst enhancing their overwhelming sense of belonging, positive attachment and community cohesion. The Academy is currently mobile but its popularity means a need for permanent premises. Brent has met with Kent MP Tracy Crouch to try and find a disused building or a plot of land near a skate park that could be donated to become a permanent home for FAR. Brent is also looking for a variety of people to become board members, trustees, volunteers and mentors to help guide and develop the organisation. He hopes to find suitable premises within the year, enabling the FAR Academy to become a studio school and continue to use skateboard building as the source of inspiration to educate young future entrepreneurs. For more information on the FAR Academy, events and courses, visit: www.fooarage.org Images courtesy of Brent Lewis 70 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
Making Bread Together by Lisa Margreet Payne One of the best apple crumble toppings I have ever had was made by the tiny, energetic hands of my niece and nephew when they came to stay with me last summer. Weâ€™d picked some apples from the orchard and while I cooked them down, the children rubbed the butter into the flour and sugar mix for the awesome topping. So I was hoping to get some new ideas for cooking things together for their next visit from â€˜Making Bread Togetherâ€™. There are certainly a lot of recipes to choose from in this book. Hadjiandreou has broken the book down into sections including getting started, breakfasts, lunches and lunchboxes, teatime with friends, and sweet treats. 72 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
Throughout the book are vignettes with ‘Fascinating Facts’ about various bread-making ingredients, such as yeast. There are also some experiments to try out, such as “The Magic Balloon” which demonstrates how yeast works, and others which employ gluten and starch. However, for me, I found the writing stilted and it was almost as if the book had been written for an adult audience, with the idea of including children in the baking process added later as an afterthought. Squeeze a few “ask an adult to help you” into the recipes, add some science experiments and factual vignettes to make it appealing for kids … et voila. I also wasn’t too sure about the recipe selection for a book aimed at children. Will they really want to make Gluten-free Potato and Raspberry Swirl Bread, Caramelised Onion Rye Bread or Potato and Onion Buns? Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
And as for actually making the recipes, I myself struggle with the words “prepare the pre-dough” - which needs preparing the day before - or recipes which involve multiple kneadings and risings over many hours. I wonder how a child will get on but maybe they’ll have better attention span than me. If your child has shown a lot of interest in baking then perhaps the recipes will hold their attention. In my opinion though, I’d say that the book is aimed more at older children than younger ones. I really wanted to like this book but it just seemed at odds with itself. At times, it was too sophisticated (such as with its recipe selection) and at times, too basic. The comments and sections for children seem jarringly at odds with the rest of the content. It would probably have worked better as two books, one specifically for children with more kid-appealing recipes, and one for adults with this recipe selection but with the other stuff removed. At least though, I’ve finally found a recipe for wholemeal pitta bread in the book. I’ve been looking for one like that for quite a while although it does require some kneading. I wonder if I can get those young helpers of mine back to give me a hand? Making Bread Together by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou, is published by Ryland Peters & Small at £16.99 ISBN-10: 1849754853 ISBN-13: 978-1849754859 74 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
DO: The Great Outdoors
by Teresa Verney Brookes
As an ‘Outdoor Education Specialist’ and mother of two, I guess you could say that I am well qualified on the subject of kids! If, like me, you spent your youth playing outside, making mud pies and rose petal perfume, you may be as shocked as I was to learn that less than 7% of today’s kids play outside, compared to 40% in the 1970’s. Here are some simple, cheap activities which I use - both at home and at work - that I hope will inspire you to “get out there”, either on your own or with your children. We use magic boxes e.g. empty egg boxes, to collect natural treasure. I will sometimes whisper secret ‘opposite’ words, like prickly and tickly or rough and smooth, to each of my children and off they must go and collect 3 of each. They then swap boxes, and have to try and guess what each other’s secret opposite words are. We also love to collect tiny pieces of natural material in each and every colour of the rainbow! We stick all of these little dabs of colour onto double-sided sticky tape (or laminate them) to make stained glass tiles and mosaics.
moss, bright coloured or unusual leaves, fir cones etc., and then use wool or elastic bands to tie them to a stick. My daughter added a star she made from a yellow leaf to the top of her stick, and it was instantly transformed into a magic wand.
If I’m in a mischievous mood, I lay a trails of arrows made of twigs or stones directing them to a fairy or elf table, which I will have sneakily prepared earlier. I also sprinkle a little pinch of glitter on these arrows, which my children now know is the fairy dust that falls from their wings as they land. The fairy table, Have a go at making “Mr Benn Sticks” or “Journey usually on a tree trunk, has acorns for cups, pine Sticks” when you are out and about. Simply collect needles for knives and forks, leaves for plates and interesting natural items e.g. small clumps of soft berries for food. 76 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
They then get stuck in making a fairy house around it to keep it safe. If they need any further proof that fairies and elves really do exist, I show them the little fairy boots which they hide in the flowers of white dead nettles. Once their boots are hidden, the fairies then put a spell on the nettle so that they will not be stung when they come back to collect them. White dead nettles don’t sting for precisely this very reason and what’s more, if you watch very carefully, you will often see Bumble Bees trying to take a sneaky peek at their boots. As an outdoors teacher, I obviously have quite a few ‘tricks of the trade’ up my sleeve but there are some great resources out there to inspire you. Visit The National Trust’s ‘50 Things To Do Before You Are 11 ¾’ website, or The Woodland Trust ‘Nature Detectives’ website which has fantastic and free downloadable activities and ideas. The Trust’s Project Wild Thing App will give you heaps of ideas, depending on whether you have 5 minutes or 5 hours to spare outdoors. Finally, to quote my much-used mantra, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”. Regardless of the weather the British summer might bring, just get outside and have fun. Not only is it good for you, even better still, it’s FREE! Useful links: www.naturedetectives.org.uk www.50things.org.uk www.projectwildthing.com Images courtesy of Siobhan Raymond at www.siobhiancarroll.com Pixie ‘Brushes’ by Redheadstock ‘Sounds of Faeries’ (opposite) reproduced with the very kind permission of Suzanne Stallard at www.jelly.org.uk 78 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
Down with the Kids by Bebe Bradley Making sure that your sprogs get their five-a-day can sometimes be a hard task. My youngest wasnâ€™t always the easiest when it came to eating so smuggling veg and fruit into his meals and snacks was a high priority. His elder brother, however, was renowned for devouring all and sundry with gusto, infamously including half a lemon: pulp, pith and peel! Five-a-day smuggling aside, one of the advantages to cooking and baking for your children is that you know exactly what is going into your food and, more importantly, what is not. It also enables you to get your children involved and, by stoking their interest in the kitchen, we can help them to enjoy good food. Hopefully, we can encourage them to understand and explore food, by touching, tasting, creating and eating. Here are a few simple, fun and fruity recipes to get them started. 80 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
Fruity Frozen Yoghurt A great alternative to ice cream, it can be made in pretty much any flavour you like. Quick and super easy to make, there are no custards to concoct or whipping, and can almost immediately fulfil that ice cream craving. Ingredients: 300g frozen fruit e.g. strawberries, blueberries, etc. 500g plain, natural yoghurt 2-4 tablespoons of clear, runny honey Cornets or wafers (optional) METHOD:
1. Place the frozen fruit in a food processor, or large bowl if you are using a hand-held blender. Whizz for 30 seconds then add the yoghurt and 2 tablespoons of honey. Blend until smooth.
2. Taste for sweetness, adding more honey if required. Because the fruit is frozen, you should be able to scoop and devour it straight away. If not, decant into a bowl and place in the freezer until firm enough to scoop. The frozen yoghurt can also be stored in the freezer, in a suitable lidded container, for up to two weeks (if it lasts that long).
Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
SUMMER FRUIT SMOOTHIE Smoothies are a fantastic way to get even the choosiest child to eat fruit and veg. A guaranteed method of making sure that your children get their five-a-day, they are packed full of vitamins and nutrients, and happen to be colourful and yummy too. A special smoothie maker isnâ€™t a necessity, and a food processor or hand-held blender will work just as well. All you have to do is take the fruit that you have in the kitchen and blend. Adding yogurts to your fruity concoction and using different types of non-dairy milk is also a great way to introduce variety to their diet. Ingredients: Fruit of your choice e.g. strawberries, bananas, peaches, etc. Yoghurt, dairy or non-dairy milks, ice cream (optional) Honey (optional) Chocolate chips and/or sprinkles (optional) Ice cubes (optional METHOD:
1. Blend your chosen ingredients in a food processor, or in a jug with a hand-held blender until smooth. 2. Pour into glasses or cups and garnish with fresh fruit. Add ice cubes, colourful straws and paper umbrellas for some extra summery appeal.
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Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
FOUR FRUIT ICES Refreshing summer lollies containing your favourite fruits, what could be easier? Get the children to experiment with flavours by using different fruity combinations. Ingredients: Peaches, raspberries and blueberries (or the fruit of your choice) Mango juice (or the juice of your choice) You will also need an ice lolly mould suitable for making 6 lollies. METHOD:
1. Prepare the fruit; gently rinse the raspberries and blueberries in cold water and leave to drain. Peel, stone and chop the peaches into small chunks. Divide the fruit equally between the 6 ice lolly moulds.
2. Top up the moulds with the mango juice. 3. Freeze until set, least 3-4 hours. 4. Remove the lollies from the moulds and consume immediately, preferably in a hot, sunny garden with a paddling pool. Any leftover fruit can be stored in the freezer in a freezerproof bag or box for future lolly making endeavours. 84 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
DATE, APPLE & APRICOT FLAPJACKS After a few hot and sweaty hours running round the park or playing in the garden, a more substantial snack is required to see them through to tea. This recipe is lower on sugar than most, using pureed dates and apple juice rather than the usual syrup and sugar. Packed full of fruit and energy, add chocolate chips or drizzle with melted chocolate for an extra special treat. Ingredients: 150g butter or baking margarine 150g ready-to-eat, soft, stoned dates 2 medium eating apples, grated to the core 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon or mixed spice 100g ready-to-eat dried apricots (chopped) 100g of milk or dark chocolate chips (optional) 225g porridge oats
3. Remove the pan from the heat and, using a handheld blender (on the lowest setting to avoid splattering or you can use a food processor if you have one), purée the date mixture.
4. Add the oats, grated apple, apricots and chocolate chips (if using) to the pan, combine well and then spoon into the prepared tin. Spread the mixture evenly in the tin and firm gently using the back of the spoon. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden. 5. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Cut into squares in the tin. Cool completely before turning out and cutting again to separate. These flapjacks will keep for 3-4 days stored in an airtight container. Images courtesy of Bebe Bradley
You will also need a shallow, greased and lined square (or round) 8” tin. METHOD:
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/374°F/gas 5. 2. Melt the butter or margarine in a large heavy pan, over a low heat. Chop the dates and add to the pan along with vanilla and spice. Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
DO: Den Building, Kids & Nature
by Larissa Joice
When a child builds a den, it’s not simply a shelter from the rain, it’s everything that dreams and imagination bring to it. It’s a fort to defend from pirates, a treasure island, a castle to defend from dragons and monsters or a shelter when lost in the wilderness and miles from civilisation. I am mum to two nature-loving children - 4 year old Tobias and 7 year old Brynn - and allowing my children’s imagination space to breathe isn’t the only reason I drag them out into the fresh air. I say ‘drag’ because my oldest is actually almost 8 and has begun her dalliance with being a teenager, preferring to sit on the sofa, bury her head in something electronic and occasionally grunt. I also do it because when I get them out into the great outdoors, I know that they will have fun. I want them to grow up enjoying getting muddy and dirty, knowing that they can build something really cool and fun if they set their minds to it, and enjoy the process of making and creating. I want them to learn to work with each other, to build the best shape of den for its purpose, and to learn to take advice too. 86 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
I want them to appreciate nature, to see the joy in just lying there on the grass and watching the trees blow in the wind, whilst they let a woodlouse crawl around their fingers. I want them to be proud of something they have made; to stand back, look at it and feel content. I admit that I also have a slightly selfish reason in that, after running wild outdoors for a few hours, my children are more agreeable. They are less prone to argue and moan, and are content to just be. I do think that in this world of anti-bacterial everything, and the media horror-stories that make us scared to set foot outside the front door, it can be so much more convenient to stay at home where it is warm, dry and safe. But I do think that both we and our children are missing out if we don’t both run wild and get a bit muddy once in a while.
Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
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“Max stepped into his private boat and waved good-bye and sailed back over a year and in and out of weeks and through a day and into the night of his very own room where he found his supper waiting for him and it was still hot.” ~ Maurice Sendak, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’
Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
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‘When I see birches bend to left and right… I like to think some boy’s been swinging them… One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.’ ~ Robert Frost
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Images courtesy of Larissa Joice For more information, visit: www.larissajoice.com Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
Bright Bazaar by Dawn Bevins I like books and blogs about style and interiors, but I wouldn’t say that I love them. I’ve followed a number of style blogs and after a short while, I become bored and let them go. The only interiors blog that I still follow regularly is Bright Bazaar. I don’t know if it’s the bright colours, the photographs of sunny destinations, or the incredibly likeable author Will Taylor (I dare you to try and dislike him), but for me, it is a blog with longevity and I was as pleased as Punch to discover that a Bright Bazaar book was being published.
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The book lives up to all my expectations. It’s a large, bright hardback that not only contains advice on how to inject colour into your home, but utilises its own advice to add bright detail to the actual design and layout. The edges of the pages are a cheery yellow, there are sweet candy-coloured diagonal stripes beneath the wrap-over cover and inside the board covers, you’ll find a fun repeat pattern. Although full of wonderfully vibrant images, it doesn’t rely on them to make the book attractive; the attention to detail means every centimetre is well designed and the whole package is inviting. Following on from an introduction, the book is divided into three key chapters: Colour Is Your Friend, Colour Cocktails and Bringing Colour Home. Colour Is Your Friend introduces you to some ways in which you can easily bring some bright colour into your home, if you haven’t tried it before and are a little apprehensive. There is great advice such as ‘take it slowly’, suggesting that you take time to consider which colours you are naturally drawn to, before reaching for a paintbrush and becoming overwhelmed. It also suggests that you try to find focus by choosing one key piece in your room and creating your colour palette around it. Examples are given where you might inject a single piece of bright colour, such as on front doors, staircases and pieces of furniture. Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
Colour Cocktails explains how to create a colour palette (cocktail) that is personal to you, and uses various examples to illustrate how ten different cocktails have been used in a selection of real-life decorating schemes. The cocktails are given catchy names including ‘The Candy Crush’ (sunshine yellow and salmon pink), and ‘The Strawberry Split’ (cardinal red and Greek blue). As well as the examples of real-life homes, there are also photos taken by Will which show the original inspiration behind his colour combinations, and a mood board containing items that you might include with your chosen cocktail. The final chapter covers each room in the home and advises on how to make the colours support the use of the space, such as creating a warm welcome in hallways or ways of keeping the bedroom calm while still injecting bright colours. There are around thirteen real homes used throughout the book - including Will’s own home - and it’s great to see that, although they’re very tidy, they still look lived in and are mostly of a modest size that many of us can relate to. Some rooms are repeated several times, so you may see an image of an entire room and then later, see various close-ups to highlight a particular point or detail.
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Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
98 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
Many books on interiors and style can seem a little predictable, austere, rustic or contemporary, and at the risk of taking themselves too seriously. Bright Bazaar however, seems to achieve a wonderful balance between adult style and a bright childlike heart and enthusiasm. If you are considering decorating your home in a fun and expressive way but fearful of committing to bright colours, then Bright Bazaar will hold your hand, inspire you and leave you itching for a paintbrush. We hope to start decorating our house soon and I think it’s a testament to the book that, in amongst my initial notes, are rough coloured sketches of what I hope will soon be my living room. ‘Bright Bazaar’ by Will Taylor, is published by Jacqui Small at £25. Images courtesy of Jacqui Small ISBN-10: 1909342203 ISBN-13: 978-1909342200
Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
LIVE: From Tower Block to 4 Acres
by Lisa Margreet Payne
Summer in the garden is the time of abundance. The reward for the labour of earlier in the year is paid off when the crops are ready to harvest. Peas and beans pop up all over the place with leguminous joy. The vine crops of tomatoes and cucumbers hang heavy and ripe, turning the greenhouse into a jungle, and courgettes practice their camouflage skills hoping to hide and grow into big fat marrows. At the height of summer, I need to harvest every day, whether that be salad crops, peas and beans, tomatoes or those prolific courgettes, masters of disguise. This abundance is something that I find amazing about the garden. We harvest and it gives us more. And more and more; the generosity of nature is wonderful. My role as caretaker of the garden is to make sure that the plants have all they need, to be their primary carer as it were. But then they give back so much; food to eat and plants and herbs for medicine; peppermint for digestion, lemon balm for headaches and chamomile for hay fever, to name a but a few common ones. And all this abundance starts from a tiny seed. My purple sprouting broccoli plants were one of my greatest teachers in the garden in my first year. 100 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
Those plants took a whole season to grow. I sowed the seeds in March, transplanted the young plants in July and then nurtured them throughout the autumn and winter. By February, they were five feet tall, only a few inches shorter than me, and then they produced their delicious purple sprouts. Iâ€™d had no idea that purple sprouting broccoli could grow so tall or took so long to come into fruition. Of course, there are other quicker and earlier cropping varieties but I feel that I learnt a lot from that plant. And the fact that each of those huge plants came from a tiny seed that measures about a millimetre (the size of a pin head) is amazing.
Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
I think it’s really important that we remind ourselves that all our fruit and vegetables come from seeds. One way you can do this, and which is fun for you and your children to start rebuilding the connection, is to save the seeds from vegetables that you have eaten and already enjoyed, and plant them up the following spring. Next time you have a lovely squash from the farmers market, save the seeds and pot them up. It really is that simple. When I’m planting my crops, it makes me smile to remember that a pea seed is, well, a pea! Last summer, the grass in my main field grew so high that my niece and nephew ran around with their Mum playing “Epic Hide and Seek” for hours. This year, they’re not as lucky because I’m not letting it grow so high. But another benefit of their game was that they spread about the seeds from the leeks which had flowered and gone to seed. So this year, I’ve got a bunch of leeks in the field which have self-seeded and I’ve not had to do anything to them. Sometimes we can worry too much; have I done this right, is this planted in the right place, in the right conditions? We need to let go more, turn life into an epic game of Hide and Seek, and wild sow a few seeds at the same time. Images courtesy of Lisa Margreet Payne 102 | ukhandmade | Summer 2014
Mandy Knapp if you wish to advertise in the next issue email firstname.lastname@example.org Summer 2014 | ukhandmade |
interiors autumn 2014
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KIDS. We’ve all been one and some of us even have them. Alongside our regular selection of wonderful features, finds, recipes and reviews, w...