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WINTER 2015 ukhandmade

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The UK Handmade Makers Directory UK Handmade is delighted to announce the launch of our new Makers Directory! Founded on our successful online magazine, website and forum, our carefully curated directory brings together the best of UK Handmade and will allow viewers to search through our community of makers, designers and artists by location and creative discipline. An effective and professional platform to promote your talent, choose from either a Standard Directory Listing or Premium Portfolio. To find out more visit www.ukhandmade.co.uk/directory-application

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Contents... 4

contributors: Autumn 2015

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Stepping out of your comfort zone can be challenging and requires a leap of faith but ultimately, it can also lead to wonderful discoveries about both yourself and your work. In this issue, we talk to artists, designers and makers who have taken the leap personally, creatively and professionally, whether that be a change of career, getting innovative with knitted textiles or putting a contemporary twist on repurposed paper. We also have our regular wonderful features, finds, recipes and reviews. See you in Spring!

Bebe. x

finds: Editor’s Picks

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finds: Guest’s Picks

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meet: Jennifer Collier

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meet: Hannah Watson

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live: From Tower Block to 4 Acres

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scene: MADE Brighton

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live: Small Pleasures

scene: Handmade in Britain

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do: Winter Visitors

review: Slow Stitch

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scene: Made in Clerkenwell

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scene: SELECTED 2015

meet: Elaine Bolt

review: Winter Garden

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business: Comfort Zones

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business: How I Did It

Editor & Designer/Maker

FRONT COVER: www.elainebolt.com; BACK COVER: www.pixabay.com

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WINTER 2015

Contributors.. .

Lisa Margreet Payne Craft Educator & Writer www.lisamargreet.com

Sarah Hamilton

Artist & Designer www.sarahhamiltonprints.com

Karen Jinks

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

Mich Yasue

Finance Director & Maker www.myfuroshiki.com

Dawn Bevins

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

Wendy Bohme

Artist & Workshop Facilitator www.wendybohme.co.uk

UK Handmade Magazine, info@ukhandmade.co.uk, www.ukhandmade.co.uk • Copyright © UK Handmade LTD 2015. 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 | Winter 2015


page

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Meet: Elaine Bolt

Teresa Verney Brookes

Education Officer for the RSPB & Forest School Teacher

Nicola Mesham

Designer/Maker www.meyouandmagoo.co.uk

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Winter finds

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HOLLY BERRY Morse-code ‘LOVE’ blanket made from 10% cashmere and 90% merino wool, £380 from www.hollyberry.bigcartel.com

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CHITO KURODA Hand Thrown Porcelain Vase (right), enquiries at www.chitokuroda.com

WILD & WOOD Cast Concrete Wall Clock with oak hour & minute hands (left), ÂŁ95 from www.wildandwood.co.uk Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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GABRIELLE VARY ‘Coast’ Lambswool Scarf, £55 from www.gabriellevary.co.uk

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TERESA WAKELING Origami Pinwheel Lampshade, enquiries at www.lumaroom.co.uk

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SARAH GROVE Porcelain Cylinder Vases, enquiries at www.sarahgrove.co.uk

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KATIE BAJIC Layered Lichen Brooch, ÂŁ68 from www.madebyhandonline.com

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ELIZABETH AURIOL PEERS Pinch Bowls in Britannia silver, gilt and enamel, from ÂŁ480 at www.elizabethauriolpeers.com 14 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


LEE BORTHWICK Mirror Tapestry with polished mirror steel and birch, ÂŁ900 from www.leeborthwick.co.uk

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MEET:

Jennifer Collier by Nicola Mesham

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Jennifer Collier creates contemporary craft with a vast array of re-purposed paper. Trained in textiles, she began to experiment with unusual materials at university to see how far she could push traditional sewing and weaving methods. Today, she uses a self-taught technique of bonding, waxing, trapping and stitching to produce unusual paper ‘fabric’, which she then uses as if it were cloth. Jennifer’s main aim is to give a contemporary twist on traditional textiles. Alongside her creative work, Jennifer is the founding member of Unit Twelve, a studio space based in Staffordshire that aims to champion contemporary craft. Unit Twelve was initially set up as a base for Jennifer’s operations and a space to develop different art workshop ideas, and since its creation five years ago, the studio space has grown into a creative hub for a small group of resident artists. More recently, Unit Twelve has also become involved in an exciting project for graduates called Cultivated. Described as “acting as a bridge between university and independent practice”, the Cultivated project aims to support graduates as they move from academic life into running a fledgling creative business. We talk to Jennifer about her background, inspiration, upcoming projects and the benefits of working in a shared space such as Unit Twelve. Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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What is your background and where did you study? I originally trained in textiles, completing a BA (Hons) in Textiles at Manchester Metropolitan University in 1999. This was a traditional textiles course specialising in Print, Knit and Weave. Towards the end of the course, I began to experiment with different materials - weaving with orange peel, melting fruit bags and all manner of things - which my tutors did not approve of. I honestly believe that the best way to learn is to not be afraid to make mistakes; this way you allow yourself to have happy accidents. All of the techniques that I currently use in my work are things I have taught myself since graduating, by experimenting with different media and techniques. More than half of my work probably never sees the light of day but through the other half, I have discovered something truly unique. How did you begin working with upcycled materials? I was always trying to emulate the qualities of found papers and books, so it got to the stage where it just made sense for them to become the medium for the work too. Now they are the media, as well as the inspiration for my work. I enjoy nothing more than finding a cook book splattered with food stains or a water damaged paperback, which I can save from land fill and transform into something beautiful. 18 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


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What creative processes do you go through when producing a body of work? I find inspiration in exhibitions, flea markets and charity shops, and I’m always looking out for interesting objects that I can translate into paper. The papers themselves serve as both the inspiration and media for my work, with the narrative of the books and papers suggesting the forms. For example, a sewing machine made from dress-making patterns or a camera made of vintage photographs. I tend to find papers by scouring charity shops and flea markets, and then investigate a way in which they can be reused and transformed, giving new life to things that would otherwise go unloved or be thrown away. Do you update your skills and is it important to know about the latest techniques? Not at all. My work is contemporary craft and is therefore rooted in traditional craft skills. You could say that I am going the opposite way, in trying to learn as many traditional hand and machine embroidery techniques as I can. Who are your favourite designers or artists working in the United Kingdom today? The list would be very long but constant favourites are Lucy Brown, Betty Pepper, Janet Ledsham, Sara Fanelli, Susie Freeman, Su Blackwell, Julie Arkell, Magie Hollingworth and Jayne Lennard. 20 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


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Unit Twelve acts as both a contemporary craft workshop and an exhibition space. As the founding member, tell us how the Unit Twelve Studios came into existence? Unit Twelve came about through the demand from my audience to have somewhere that they could come and see a coherent collection of my work. I wanted to be able to offer a more rounded workshop experience than was possible by just simply going to a venue with a portfolio of images. Now, workshop participants are able to gain a much greater insight into my working practice, by being able to see my studio, inspiration and work in progress. I knew that ultimately I would like to develop a hub for craft activity and be able to share many different types of craft with my audience. The exhibition programme also gives people a reason to keep coming back, as there is always something new to see. Do you feel your work has changed or evolved as a direct result of working with artists together in the shared space of Unit Twelve? It is very hard to say. I’ve almost always worked from a studio that has been open to the public and I’ve always had a separate studio space away from home, so I’m used to this way of working. I do believe that it has made me less frightened to make mistakes. Much of my work has evolved from the happy accident because I am not frightened to try something, even if others will see my mistakes.

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Would you recommend working in a shared space such as Unit Twelve to other designer-makers? Definitely. It’s amazing to have the help and support of fellow makers on a daily basis, to be able bounce ideas off and troubleshoot any problems. There are six studio spaces available at Unit Twelve. Alongside our permanent resident artists, we also have a space for our Cultivated graduates, currently Kerry Butterworth and Charlie Birtles. We aim to offer six months studio space and professional support to eight makers over two years. The selected graduates will be supported through the early days of setting themselves up in business as makers. We also give advice on how to build an audience and how to develop high quality contemporary craft. As well as the free studio space and business support, they also get a grant to help them support themselves whilst setting up their new business. In addition, each graduate hosts an exhibition at the end of the residency period. At Unit Twelve, we want to enable new makers to develop practices that are both sustainable and have integrity. To enable us to run the program, Cultivated is funded by both The Arts Council and Staffordshire County Council. Tell us about the workshops you hold at Unit Twelve; do you find teaching workshops an important addition to your creative life? This was one of the main reasons for setting up the space. I wanted a base where people could come to me, but decided to offer visiting artists workshops once a month, in order to broaden the skills that we could offer and tie the workshops into the exhibition programme. I also wanted to be able to offer a safe environment where established makers could try new things in workshops, and also for new makers to gain some workshop experience. I find that a good workshop is a learning experience for everybody and I’m constantly amazed by the new things I learn whilst running them. 26 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


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What are the best and worst things about running your own business? The best things are that I am able to produce my

looking at the narrative of the property and using archive papers to create site-specific work. As far as Unit Twelve is concerned, we have been open

own work and be my own boss for a living. I have luckily got to the stage where I only undertake the workshops I enjoy and I am able to say no to those that I don’t. The worst things are no sick pay, no holiday pay and very few days off. I may be my own boss, but my boss is a slave-driver! It is very hard to turn down paid work so I really struggle to fit everything in. I am trying to sell work whilst trying out new ideas, running workshops, doing exhibitions, undertaking commissions and residencies, and all alongside the massive demands of running a gallery. There is also a lot of paperwork to be done, which I didn’t expect when I started out; the tax returns, updating the website, replying

for five and a half years and the space has evolved nicely along the way. It’s hard to say what the future will hold, but I am more than happy to wait and see what the next exciting chapter will be…. For more information, visit: www.jennifercollier.co.uk Images courtesy of Jennifer Collier

to emails (I probably spend an average of 2 hours a day just on this!), producing publicity material and updating social media, etc. And I had such romantic visions of sitting sewing all day! What do you think the future holds for you? Do you have any interesting projects in the pipeline? I am about to start work on projects for two different National Trust properties. At this point in time I can’t give further details on the National Trust projects, but this is a direction I would love my work to go in. I would love to create entire room sets in paper, Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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SCENE:

Made in Clerkenwell Once again, Craft Central partners with The Goldsmiths’ Centre and removes the hassle of Christmas shopping with its annual Made In Clerkenwell event. From the 26th to the 29th of November, shoppers will have the opportunity to discover the very best handmade gifts, many of which are made in the heart of Clerkenwell. With three buildings featuring over one hundred designers, there’s no excuse to not buy handmade this Christmas! At the cutting edge of craft for over 40 years, Craft Central is a charity actively supporting high standards in craft and design, and nurtures an appreciation of fine craftsmanship in members of the public. It provides studio spaces, galleries and other exhibition spaces, promotion opportunities, business support and other valuable opportunities for designer/makers to connect with craft press, buyers, craft organisations and the buying public. Craft Central has a national member network of designer/makers in addition to those who are resident in the studios in the two Victorian buildings in Clerkenwell. 30 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015

SATO HISAO


The Goldsmiths’ Centre is the leading charity for the professional training of goldsmiths. Founded by the Goldsmiths’ Company in 2007, it is a charitable enterprise with the specific purpose of advancing, maintaining and developing art, craft, design and artisan skills, particularly those pertaining to goldsmithing. The Goldsmith Centre achieves this by providing managed workspace, education and training for public benefit, by fostering, promoting and extending public interest in art, craft, design and artisan skills, and by providing a knowledge base and community for those engaged or interested in these skills. Alongside the resident designer/makers, Craft Central has selected a further 55 network members to showcase collections throughout the event’s three venues of St John’s Square, Clerkenwell Green and The Goldsmiths’ Centre. With everything from high-end contemporary jewellery to interior home wares, Made In Clerkenwell is the perfect Christmas shopping event. Louisa Pacifico, Chief Executive of Craft Central, says, “This year’s selection of network members has focused on quality of design, craftsmanship and commercial appeal. We want to reflect on the outstanding talents of our resident designer-makers whose clients range from Dior and the V&A Museum, to Buckingham Palace.”

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For the very first time, Made In Clerkenwell will be FREE for all visitors. The opening evening on Thursday, 26th of November, will offer visitors festive drinks throughout all of the venues. There will also be a draw with prizes donated by designer-makers that will help the lucky winners give some really unique gifts this Christmas. Venues: 21 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DX 33-35 St John’s Square, London EC1M 4DS Goldsmiths’ Centre, 42 Britton Street, London EC1M 5AD Opening times: 17.00 - 20.00 Thursday 26th November 12.00 - 20.00 Friday 27th November 12.00 - 17.00 Saturday 28th November 12.00 - 17.00 Sunday 29th November* (*The Goldsmith Centre is closed Sunday) Standard Admission: FREE - avoid the queues and pre-register online For more information, visit: www.craftcentral.org.uk For full designer/maker list, visit: www.craftcentral.org.uk/designermakergallery Images courtesy of MADE IN CLERKENWELL 32 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015

PAPER TANGO


SALLY NENCINI

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BUSINESS:

The Comfort Zone by Mich Yasue There is a well known saying which states, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”. Four members of the UK Handmade Directory talked to us and shared their experiences of stepping outside their comfort zones. Elen Angharad left a secure full-time job producing websites for the BBC to pursue a creative career, specialising in handknit textiles. Tina Bone shocked her husband when she came downstairs one morning and announced she was going to be professional artist, whilst Caroline Brogden built up Sea Breeze Designs making simple pieces of jewellery and reinvesting the proceeds in tools and materials; she never thought that she would be able to earn enough to work full time but after a year took a massive plunge and jumped in at the deep end. Katrin Eagle left behind all of her local gallery contacts, craft fair network and inspirational friends when she moved from Scotland to Hampshire; she knew she had to give herself a goal so, on a cold February day earlier this year, booked a gallery space for a three week exhibition in October. Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone requires a leap of faith but as Elen, Caroline, Tina and Katrin have all discovered, it’s amazing what we can achieve when we challenge ourselves. 34 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


For Caroline, the biggest thing has not been about trying to learn and build her silversmithing skills - as that’s something she already loves to do - but developing the other skills she needs to run her own business, such as photography and accountancy. Similarly, Katrin realised that as the gallery was in a quiet spot, she needed to promote the exhibition herself and so pushed herself into the unfamiliar world of marketing, learning an array of new social networking skills on the way. It may be initially uncomfortable but the state of relative anxiety and/or stress caused by moving into the unknown can inspire greater performance. As Elen says, “Making mistakes is inevitable but gaining hands-on experience is far more valuable than anything I could read in a book”. Alongside setting up her own business, she has also returned to university on a part-time basis and can already see how the skills she’s learning will help her develop her business and take it in new and exciting directions. Although normally quite shy, having hired a venue, Katrin felt she had to put everything into making it work. She’s been demonstrating spinning techniques two days a week and has become ever bolder in engaging visitors with her work. She says, “Pushing at the boundaries has made me reinvent my brand, have a stronger belief in my artwork and have the confidence to tell new people all about my craft”. Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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In the ten years since she made the announcement to her husband at breakfast, Tina has experienced disappointments and setbacks but also inspiring moments of success. Putting herself out there has always been a priority and she exhibits at 10-25 shows a year. The feedback from these reminds her why she became an artist in the first place; she paints so that people can enjoy the natural world from their armchairs. And her husband? He’s now a fan! Caroline has also been through highs and lows, from a terrifying trade show to success at big commercial shows such as Country Living. As a naturally shy person, she found it a real struggle to stand up and sell her work, and was embarrassed to talk about her designs because she felt she didn’t know the correct terms for the techniques she used. But, as she says, “If somebody loves the work you do then that is all that matters”. Like the others, she jumped in at the deep end and found that she could swim! To find out more about the artists and makers featured, visit: www.elenangharad.com www.tinabonedtp.co.uk www.seabreezedesigns.co.uk www.katrineagle.com

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For membership information, visit: www.ukhandmade.co.uk/directory Images courtesy of Elen Angharad

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SCENE:

SELECTED 2015

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Presented by the Dovecot Gallery for the third year running, Selected 2015 brings together makers of contemporary craft, hand-picked by a panel of industry experts. From November 21st to December 23rd, this selling exhibition includes key pieces in jewellery, silversmithing, ceramics, glass, textiles and furniture by makers with Scottish connections. Amongst this year’s Selected 2015, are returning exhibitors Gilly Langton, James Donald and Julia Smith. There will also be makers using new technologies in their design or production process, including Lindsay Hill, Lynne MacLachlan-Eastwood and Kathryn Hinton. In addition to the makers represented by Selected 2015, Dovecot has also invited Timorous Beasties, Dashing Tweeds and Method Studio to be part of +Dovecot Selects for the first time. These three established design studios represent Dovecot’s close association with luxury craft making and collaboration. As members of the Walpole British luxury partnership, Dovecot and the +Dovecot Selects exhibitors are part of a mission to promote, protect and develop the unique qualities of British luxury: rich heritage, superior craftsmanship, contemporary design and style at the heart of

MISUN WON the industry. Dovecot Studios was winner of the Walpole British Luxury Craftsmanship Award in 2014, an accolade afforded by its commitment to the Tapestry Studio’s apprenticeship programme and ongoing collaborations with contemporary artists. The three +Dovecot Selects exhibitors will showcase new works which will be made available for purchase. Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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This year’s panel for Selected 2015 comprised Mark Henderson (founder of The New Craftsmen),

LINDSAY HILL

Dr Elizabeth Goring (Independent Curator), Geoffrey Mann (Scottish artist, designer and lecturer), Jo Scott (Craft Scotland) and Lili Vajda (Dovecot Studios). Venue: Dovecot Gallery, 10 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh EH1 1LT Opening times: 10.30 - 17.30 21st November - 23rd December Standard Admission: FREE For more information, visit: www.dovecotstudios.com Images courtesy of Dovecot

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MEET:

Hannah Watson by Bebe Bradley

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Designer/maker and artist Hannah Watson currently works from her studio at Unit Twelve Gallery in Stafford, creating beautiful knitted textiles and intricate, hand-cut paper art work. Hannah often derives inspiration from her surroundings, particularly natural form, patterns and architecture. Investigating the contrast of both man-made and natural elements in the spaces she encounters every day, she responds through drawings and knitting, with designs ranging from the strong, dynamic and heavily textured, to the light, delicate and beautiful. The exploration of different fibres and their interaction is an important element in Hannah’s textile pieces; wire, paper and contrasting yarns give the edgy and refined quality which defines her recent work. These unusual materials present an ethereal and almost spectral aspect to her textiles, pushing the boundaries of machine knitting. What experience or training do you have, and how has your textile art been borne out of this? I’ve always been creative since a young age. My Grandma always encouraged and inspired me to draw and paint, and I’ve always known that I wanted to go down the creative route with my education. However, it wasn’t until I attended the art and design foundation course at Chesterfield College and began working with textiles, that I found my niche. My work there mainly consisted of printmaking and embroidery, but as I became more daring and experimental with my work, I began to experiment with hand weaving. This was my first step into constructing textiles. Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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Following the foundation course, I continued to study Textile Design at Birmingham City University. I continued to explore and experiment with the construction of textiles, mainly weave and machine knitting. Having unlimited access to the university yarn cupboards allowed me to begin the exploration of different materials which I feel is one of the defining elements of my work today. Tell us about the ethos behind your beautiful textile work. There’s often a belief that to stand out, something has to be bright, colourful, loud and in your face. However, I believe that sometimes subtlety and simplicity can be just as striking and beautiful. With my work, I aim to draw attention to the subtle beauty of nature, the simple yet complex patterns found within plants and leaves which you can only see once you stop for a second and take a closer look. It’s within these intricate skeletal structures that you see how alive nature really is, and how there is a pattern and a formula to everything, no matter how organic and chaotic it may seem. I feel that the subtle colours and pattern, combined with the use of unusual materials, is what captures and holds the viewers’ attention. They are intrigued by the intricacy and delicacy, and makes them consider the organic beauty in the world that surrounds us. 44 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


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Tell us about the inspiration behind your work. Who - or what - is inspiring you right now? The intricate patterns, structures and textures in nature are a big inspiration to me and my work. Emulating the growth of these patterns in my knitted textiles is an effect I’m constantly driven to achieve. Although my work has a very organic feel to it, it’s the fractal geometry that forms these natural patterns that in turn, informs and inspires the creation of my own patterns. There are simple rules which inform how and why plants grow and look the way they do, namely self-similarity, iteration, branching and replacement. These rules describe how a simple branch or vein can repeat infinitely at different scales and angles to create the fractal forms in leaves and petals, and other natural forms. I use some of these rules whilst designing, which gives my work a similar organic, complex and intricate look, whilst being quite restrained and ordered at the same time. Your approach to your materials and a traditional technique is innovative; what drew you to this and has it been a difficult process for you to master? I was trying to find a way to reflect the intricate patterns I was seeing and creating with my hand drawn and paper cut-out patterns. This led me to both the Fair Isle knitting technique and the use 46 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


of unusual materials. I’d always found machine knitting to be my favourite way to construct fabric, so the Fair Isle technique was the most obvious way to me to create the linear organic patterns. It took a lot of experimentation, designing of punch cards and adaptation of patterns. I was knitting to create patterns which avoided being too geometric with obvious repeats, ensuring that I kept the natural flow but once I’d found the key to this, the technique worked beautifully. My approach to materials also comes from a lot of experimentation. I began using traditional yarns, wools, acrylics and cotton, but felt the resulting samples were too heavy and ‘woolly’ looking. I discovered through this experimentation with different yarns and combinations of yarns, that copper wire, paper and ‘invisible’ yarns such as monofilament and Lurex gave me the perfect sharp line quality I wanted to achieve, and helped to create the fractal, vein-like patterns I wanted to emulate. I think the most difficult element to master was how to use these unconventional yarns, which don’t stretch or behave like a normal yarn on the knitting machine. It’s taken a while to learn and react to how they like to behave whilst knitting, in order to avoid broken threads, dropped stitches, and a massive tangled mess! Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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Other than your knitting machine, is there a specific tool that you cannot do without? My craft knife is key to my design process! Another

pattern with a natural and continuous flow, so that it seems to grow across the page. Then I will often translate this into paper-cut pieces, which give the

element to my practice is my hand-cut, paper art work, which informs a lot of my structures in my knitted patterns. I think I’d be lost without it.

skeletal and other worldly effect I love to achieve with my work. Once I’ve found a design I love, I’ll translate it into a punch card for a Fair Isle knitting design. I tend to turn it into a repeat pattern as the punch cards are a restricting size, and this means that I can work on both large and small scale pieces. I make the patterns flow as naturally as possible and often I’ll adapt parts of the design as I’m knitting to give it a more organic feel as well. Once all the technical stuff is figured out, then comes the fun part of creating swatches and experimenting with different yarns!

Your work possesses an ethereal quality. What aspects of both the natural and man-made world do you most enjoy portraying in your work? I’m really inspired by the idea of nature becoming overgrown, and reclaiming the manmade. In my work, I often tend to use the synthetic or manmade wire yarns as the base for the paper pattern to seemingly ‘grow’ through as the piece is knitted. I feel that this adds to the unusual ghostlike effect that some of my work possesses, especially with the incredibly fine Lurex yarns I enjoy using, which have a ‘barely there’ quality. What processes do you engage to create a new piece or body of work? Do you design, knit or draw first? First, I get my camera out and go exploring to find new inspiration. From the inspiring patterns and textures I find and capture, I develop complex, hand drawn designs. Usually, I’ll use the information of how the pattern is growing or flowing within the organic structure, and continue this to create a

What do you most enjoy about what you do, and what do you find is the most frustrating? A lot of my practice is very time consuming and intricate, so whilst I’m quite patient and enjoy the processes, it’s the finishing of a piece that I find the most enjoyable and rewarding; being able to step back and see how all the hours of work have come together. I also really enjoy the experimentation, and having the freedom to constantly try out new techniques and materials. I find it exciting to try out contrasting yarns together to see how they react and behave with each other, sometimes with really surprising results! Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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The most frustrating thing is probably the machine knitting. As I’m sure a lot of other machine knitters will already know, some days the machine can be incredibly temperamental and just not do what you want it to. I’m sure mine is particularly bad because of the weird yarns I try and use with it, some of which are not very knitting machine friendly. Despite this, my machine does cope quite well with it all and I wouldn’t be where I am without it! Tell us about your current creative work space. I currently create my work from my studio space at Unit Twelve Gallery in Stafford. It’s an amazing creative environment, and being surrounded by such a broad and unique mix of makers is really inspiring. It’s so valuable to be able to work in an environment with other makers. As an independent maker, I feel that it can be quite isolating; sometimes you need other creative people around to chat to, whether it’s to discuss your work and get advice, or just to catch up. I think having such a dynamic space to work in has really helped me in the development of my work this past year. I’m constantly motivated and inspired by working in the space, and since there’s always so much going on, whether it’s a new exhibition or an artist workshop, I’m constantly meeting interesting people. I also think that it’s a fantastic way to meet and engage with my customers too. 50 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


You have collaborated with other artists to produce work. How do you initiate collaboration; do you choose an artist whose work or ethos is similar or completely opposite to your own? I already knew the practices of the artists I’ve collaborated with so far quite well. In each case, I feel our work has complemented the other quite nicely and naturally fitted together. A collaborative collection I’m currently working on with mixed media artist Emily Notman came about due to a common delicacy and organic style found in of both our practices. We both have a contemporary approach to traditional techniques within our work, so a combination of our own techniques seemed to make sense. When I was first introduced to Emily and her work, she was working in the studio space where I currently work. It was when I took over her space and we realised how complementary our work was, that the collaboration happened quite naturally. My collaboration with ceramicist Aimee Bollu came about quite naturally too, and was inspired more by the way we both work and the contrast of two completely different materials and techniques. Both our practices are quite playful; Aimee uses her beautiful, simple ceramics with found objects to create unique pieces with a story. We both shared a studio space whilst participating in Unit Twelve’s Cultivated programme and began playing with each other’s materials, creating some really unusual and unexpected pieces. The Paperworks collaboration with Isabel Moseley married both of our work with paper; Isabel’s beautiful and precise origami paper structures and books with my own intricate, paper-cut patterns. The contrast of the structural, geometric shapes and clean lines of Isabel’s work with the organic fractal geometry of my own work, complements each other beautifully and creates beautiful angles and shadows. Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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In 2014, you participated in Unit Twelve’s Cultivated programme for graduates. Tell us about your experience and the influence it’s had

exhibitions you love and aspire to show your work at. If you don’t try, then you’ll never know if you’d be selected and you could be pleasantly surprised.

on your work. Taking part in the programme has probably been one of the most defining experiences of my practice so far. The programme helped to bridge the gap between leaving university and entering the ‘real world’, which is quite daunting when you’ve no idea what to expect. Having the chance to work in the gallery alongside the other artists allowed me to see what it’s like to be maker - both the ups and downs - and seeing the drive and passion the other artists had was so inspiring.The programme has helped me to figure out what I love most about my practice and what route I want to take, whilst still allowing me to learn how to sustain a creative business in

As a recent graduate and a new maker, there are lots of offers for discounted stands out there and people are always looking for new talent to champion. Taking advantage of this would be really valuable in getting your work seen and would help to begin building your audience. Doing shows and exhibitions will allow people to see your work and people will start to recognise your work, especially if you have a unique and distinctive style. Another important thing is to always make work that you’re passionate about and believe in, no matter how unusual it is. These are the things which, when you find the right audience, will attract people’s attention and make them fall in love with your work.

an honest and realistic way. The mentoring and support from Unit Twelve has been so valuable, and I’m still learning from the team as I encounter new experiences with my practice. It has motivated me to continue to push and challenge myself and my work. What advice would you give to someone just ‘starting out’ and what is the best advice you have ever received? Take any opportunity thrown your way. Don’t be scared to take a chance; apply for any shows and 52 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015

Do you think that there has been a change in the perception of ‘craft’? I think there definitely has, and craft as a whole is becoming more interesting and inspiring. Fresh new talent is constantly emerging, taking traditional crafts down a contemporary route. Customers are more aware of what they are spending their money on; many of them are choosing to invest in something unique, well-made and beautifully crafted that will last and inspire for years, rather than cheaper, mass-produced items.


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What does it mean to you to own a handmade or handfinished object? Not only is it owning something that’s beautifully and skilfully made, it’s owning something which the artist or maker has put hours of work, dedication, thought, passion and soul into. It’s something that is lost completely when an object is mass-produced. Where can we find out more about your work? You can find out more through my website, and also through my Facebook and Instagram pages, where I post updates, works in progress and inspiration. You can also come and speak to me in person at my studio at Unit Twelve in Stafford, open to the public from Thursday to Saturday, 10am till 4pm! What’s next for Hannah Watson; do you have any new projects or exhibitions in store? I’m currently working on two more separate collaborative projects, with Emily Notman and ceramicist Aimee Bollu. These bodies of work will be exhibited at the Simpatico exhibition at Unit Twelve, from the 7th of January to the 26th of March, 2016. For more information, please visit: www.hannahwatsontextiles.co.uk Images courtesy of Hannah Watson

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SCENE:

MADE Brighton The city’s annual contemporary craft and design fair is celebrating its tenth birthday with another fabulous show in The Dome’s beautiful Corn Exchange. MADE BRIGHTON offers the public the opportunity to buy original and exceptional pieces of craft and design direct from the best makers and is firmly established as a friendly, accessible and top quality show. Over 5500 visitors attend, the majority of whom return year after year knowing that the work exhibited is exciting, fresh and perfect for Christmas gifts! MADE BRIGHTON showcases textiles, jewellery, ceramics, glassware, furniture, home accessories, fashion and much more. All the work is hand crafted, unique and quite often quirky. A café provides a place for visitors to relax and take refreshment. With so much work to see, many people like to make a day of it, spending the morning viewing work, stopping for a bite to eat and then returning to continue shopping. It’s wonderful! 56 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


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Venue: The Dome Corn Exchange, Brighton BN1 1UG Opening times: 11.00 - 17.00 Friday 20th November 11.00 - 17.00 Saturday 21st November 11.00 - 17.00 Sunday 22nd November Standard Admission: Advance one day entry £5.50, available online until 16th November One day entry £6.50, at the door Under-14s FREE For more information, visit: www.brighton-made.co.uk For full exhibitor’s list, visit: www.brighton-made.co.uk/gallery Images courtesy of MADE BRIGHTON

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BUSINESS:

How Do You Do It? by Sarah Hamilton Following an artistic path is richly rewarding in so many ways, and yet juggling a passion to design and make artwork with the reality of having to make ends meet, is one of the toughest creative challenges that artists face. Over the past few issues, I’ve used topical themes to help you tiptoe through this minefield. It can be daunting, however, to be bombarded by abstract advice without constructive examples of how they relate to each other and, most importantly, your situation. With this in mind, I thought I’d recount my own personal story as a designer/maker and share the key lessons that I have learned on my journey. After each point, there’s a brief account of why I have reached these conclusions and how they might help you stay creatively fulfilled, whilst making a living at the same time. 60 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


Like most recent art school leavers, upon leaving college with an MA in Fine Art, I was faced with the burning question, “How on earth do I follow my dream to become an artist and designer?” Unlike other graduates, there are no jobs to apply for. This was back when there wasn’t any easy access to digital photography and at this point, I didn’t even have enough funds to pay for a professional to photograph my artwork to send to galleries. I struck upon the idea of making handmade screen-printed cards, an inexpensive product requiring very little investment besides my time and creativity, but still within my field of expertise. Looking at cards in stores which reflected my aesthetic, I considered carefully how my work would both complement and bring something new to their existing collections. I then sent samples directly to buyers at The Conran Shop, Paperchase and Designers Guild. Fortunately, they liked them and all placed orders. LESSON ONE: Undertake targeted research and marketing; this can provide a more valuable and less expensive way to begin your design career. At this stage, with neither the funds to invest in a trade show like Top Drawer nor the capacity to cope with a large number of trade orders, I focused on making quality products for a discrete market which I’d researched carefully. Whilst events offer a route to market, it’s well worth looking for other ways forward - and this may be approaching shops or wholesalers directly - but always do your homework. Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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LESSON TWO: Find part-time work to complement and build on your area of expertise. Better to earn less and acquire skills and knowledge; it’s hard to

or selling online via my website and making many private commissions. This has been successful, as I’ve built a personal client base by keeping up with

go back if you’re earning more managing a coffee shop. I took a part-time job in a picture framer’s gallery and this experience, which went way beyond the invaluable practical knowledge of simply framing pictures, has served me well over the years. Dealing with customers and their choices for their homes is something I still regularly advise my clients on.

people who collect my work, be it cards or larger artwork.

LESSON THREE: Extend your range of work and seek out new challenges, but keep true to your own aesthetic. Never be afraid to alter course if you feel it could benefit you creatively. My cards were selling well and repeat orders were

LESSON FOUR: Collaborate and share with others. It’s constructive, friendly and beneficial for all concerned. Use your wider skills to swap ideas, goods and services, you’ll be amazed how you can help others and vice versa. As my business grew so did the urgency to leave the kitchen table workspace behind. Renting a space in a shared artists’ studio building was great for meeting like-minded people to swap skills and share ideas with. For example, I traded artwork for photography with a product photographer who

paying the bills. I’d also expanded the product range to include screen-printed framed mirrors and used the contacts made with the cards to sell to the same suppliers. However, although it was exciting to see my work in big stores, I felt I was losing sight of my dream of being an artist. I now had the skills to instigate my own projects or to work to a design brief, but wanted to interact with people who liked and bought my work so I developed a range of prints and bespoke furniture made to commission. This is how I mostly work today, producing ranges of homewares, including cards, for boutique galleries

had a workspace there and finally, I had a great set of portfolio images with nothing more than friendship and goodwill leaving the bank account. Yes, there may be people who want to copy your ideas, who’ll try to take more than they give and demand to know the names of manufacturers you’ve painstakingly gathered in your little black book, without even a “thank you”. However, in my years of experience, these are very few and far between and our creative community is bursting at the seams with generous, spirited like-minded people who delight in sharing and collaborating.

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LESSON FIVE: Welcome Social Media with open arms. If you only take one lesson away with you, it’s this one. However technophobic you are, you simply must engage with Social Media in some way if you want to establish the connections needed to find your way in the contemporary creative world. If you missed it refer, back to UK Handmade’s Summer Issue 2014 where I’ve written tips and advice on how and why this is so important. I entered the world of Social Media by chance when the two teenage daughters of friends set up a Twitter account for a laugh at a New Year’s Eve party. I’ve since used it every day to build connections with galleries, artists, suppliers and possible collaborators, and it’s made a huge difference to my business. Consider how you use each platform; if you love posting images on your personal Facebook page of your cat doing handstands, then set up a business page so you can keep a professional appearance to your work audience. Use Twitter or Instagram to bring people to your events and website. Set up these accounts even if you don’t use them so at the very least people can refer to your work and recommend you if they choose. LESSON SIX: Consider ways in which to use your transferable skills. Embrace the opportunities which come your way. I’m often asked to work with 66 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


people in many ways I couldn’t possibly have foreseen, which is first and foremost intellectually stimulating, but also often benefits the bank balance. When I was designing for Heals, a customer who bought a mirror became aware of my work. She recognised my skill with colour and, as she was a textiles consultant, asked me to work with her for a high profile Swedish textile manufacturer. This led to many visits to Sweden and other countries abroad. We worked on many challenging projects which were both very interesting and also helped pay the bills. I also often give interior design advice when making bespoke artwork as I have renovated a number of homes. This is a further string to my bow and one which is both enjoyable and a service I can offer. I hope my story has given you some insights into the diverse options you have at your fingertips. Recognise that you have many interrelated skills – all of which, with a little imagination, can be made to work for you and enable you to do what you crave the most – make artwork! For more information, visit: www.sarahhamiltonprints.com Images courtesy of Fiona Murray

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MEET:

Elaine Bolt by Karen Jinks

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Ceramicist Elaine Bolt creates fine objects and vessels which evoke a sense of ownership of pieces that have been unearthed, and have a history and a story to tell. We asked Elaine about her practice and what inspires her beautiful work. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started in ceramics? I have a background working in film archives and originally trained as a librarian, but I’ve also been making ceramics for about 20 years. A few years ago, I launched my business after studying for an MA in Ceramics. The MA has given a huge boost to my business; developing my ideas and skills as well as opening up opportunities. What is the ethos behind your work? I think a lot of my work is about serendipity. It’s a word, and a way of approaching my work, that I keep coming back to. The chance finding of things, or the process of letting things take their own course is something I try to encourage. I love finding objects on walks that will inspire me to make a new piece and when I’m making, I enjoy the markings, imperfections or variations that happen by chance. For me, this is what brings about the beauty in an object, giving the material and a finished piece more depth and life. Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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My work often explores themes around the intimacy of the home and the notion of belongings, focusing on making vessels and ‘curious utensils’. My recent work has increasingly begun to move focus towards the notion of the home in the wider sense, exploring the local landscape. Being based in East Sussex, this has led to a growing interest in the natural materials to be found in the Sussex Downs and Low Weald. Being close to both the countryside and the coastline, has given a rich context for my ideas and my work. What are your favourite clays to work with? I love the feel of porcelain in my hands. It’s like butter, it has such a smooth texture and it’s beautiful to work with on the potter’s wheel. But I’m also drawn to terracotta; it’s a basic and familiar type of clay but the firing technique I use turns it to a chocolatey dark brown/black, creating a striking contrast with the light tones of porcelain. We love your ‘objects’ and you obviously love curating museum-like pieces. What was the inspiration behind these unusual treasures? I think my background of working in archives has had a strong influence on the pieces I produce. I enjoy bringing items together to form a collection and making groupings of objects that work together. I’m also particularly drawn to the idea 70 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


that objects can evoke memories or suggest a narrative, telling a different story to everyone who encounters them. My ‘curious utensils’ are often made using ceramic forms combined with found objects, which have their own history and story to tell. Your vessels and utensils have a natural, ancient feel about them. Is there a particular period in history that informs your work or is it something else? I think some of my work is inspired by a love of Japanese ceramics and the aesthetics of traditional Japanese eating and drinking rituals. There is a huge reverence for ceramics in Japan that extends into the way they use them in daily life. I’ve visited Japan twice and fallen in love with its varied culture. I don’t know if it’s had a direct influence on my work but I think it might play a part, at least in the way I approach some of my ideas and presentation. Can you tell us about your beautiful muted glazes? I’ve never been one for strong bold colours or hard shiny surfaces. I tend to go for subtle tones and a quiet palette in my work. Most recently I’ve been working with a range of colours that reflect the tones I see in the Sussex countryside, the dark brown, mossy green and mushroom tones. Some of my work is left unglazed to allow the soft matt surface of the clay body to show. Where I use glazes, I more often find that I prefer satin or milky glaze finishes. This works well with the colours I use and offers a softer finish. Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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Tell us about your workspace. For the past few years I’ve been working from a workshop at my home in East Sussex, but I’ve recently moved to an exciting new space in Brighton. I’ve teamed up with wonderful ceramicist Silvia K, artists Sarah Young and Rhoda K Baker, and event organiser Jon Tutton. The new space will formally open its doors during Brighton’s Artist Open Houses event, running for four weekends starting on the 21st of November, with over 20 guest artists and designers joining us. I’m really excited about the move as it will give me a much larger studio, where I can talk and share ideas with fellow makers and feel part of a community of artists. The space also means I can offer one-to-one teaching as well as selling my work, direct from the studio. How did you find being part of the Craft Council Hothouse Programme? Being part of the Hothouse programme last year was an amazing privilege. There was tough competition to be selected and the quality of the makers taking part was very high. It was a challenging learning experience at times, but it’s brought so many rewards in terms of developing my business and my network. I now have a fantastic group of peers and organisations that I’m connected with and that has been a fantastic benefit to my business. This year, I acted as a ‘Hothouse Buddy’ for one of the latest

participants, talented ceramicist Jessica Thorn. This also gave me a great opportunity to stay involved and give something back. What advice would you give to someone looking to start a creative business? I hesitate to offer blanket advice on anything. I think running a creative business has to be about making sure you do it the way you want to, and following your own path. And what was the best advice someone gave to you? Follow your own path, and keep going. Who are your favourite artists, designers and makers? I love the work of artist Andy Goldsworthy; his surprising use of natural materials such as sticks, leaves and ice within the landscape, and the ephemeral nature of his work is inspiring. Barbara Hepworth also has to be one of my top favourite artists, with her fluid and striking sculptural work. They seem to have a very human side to them, even when on a monumental scale. Her former home in St Ives is also a favourite place to visit, with her workshop left scattered with tools and half-finished sculptures; it’s presented as if she has just popped out for a moment. Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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Do you have a favourite tool you can’t live without? I’m not sure I have a favourite, although I’m an avid collector of tools. I often buy them just because I like the look of them, even if I don’t know what they’re for! I have a great little collection of Chinese brushes that are almost too beautiful to use, although when I do use them, it brings me a bit of extra joy when I’m making. Do you have any new projects planned and what are you goals for the future? In 2016, I will be working on an exciting collaborative project with basket maker Annemarie O’Sullivan. She grows her willow at a former clay pit and brickworks in Sussex. We’ll be making together and running workshops in willow and clay. We will dig clay from the former clay pits and cut willow from the osier bed. Our aim is to be playful, to feed off each other’s ideas, and to produce new works both big and small, both individually and collaboratively. Follow our website for info and look for our crowd funding call out for opportunities to get involved. If you could learn a new skill what would it be? Probably accounting, but only if I could become naturally great at it overnight! 74 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


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What does ‘handmade’ mean to you? Do you think people’s perceptions of craft are changing? For me, ‘handmade’ means something that has individuality, a personality even. A handmade thing works best when it’s something that is noticeably different from a flawless manufactured thing. Its beauty is in its imperfections, in the marks left by the hand, in the subtle differences from the one next to it and the one next to that. I don’t know if perceptions of craft are changing. I do think there is still sometimes a difficulty in conveying the time and dedication put into making something by hand compared to something manufactured. But those that do really appreciate the value of handmade craft are often those that have the greatest joy in using or collecting or seeing craft in their home every day. Where can we find your work? You can visit my website and also follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. My work is also currently available to purchase through a range of galleries around the UK. From the 21st of November, you will also be able to buy directly from me at my new studio: Atelier 51, 51 Providence Place, Brighton. For more information on Elaine Bolt, visit: www.elainebolt.com Images courtesy of Elaine Bolt Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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SCENE:

Handmade in Britain

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ELIN ISAKSSON


Avoid the High Street this Christmas and opt for Handmade in Britain, the annual showcase of the very best in contemporary British craft and design at Chelsea Old Town Hall. Browse exceptional crafts, buy unique and original gifts or commission a bespoke piece of work directly from over 120 of the UK’s finest designer/makers, each handpicked by a panel of industry experts. The show is a wonderful opportunity to shop for exquisite ceramics, glass, furniture, textiles, jewellery and silverware in a beautiful, historic venue. Makers will be on hand throughout the weekend to talk to you about their work; learn how your favourite pieces are made and discover the story behind that perfect gift. On Saturday evening, headline sponsor Home of Artisans will be hosting an exclusive late night shopping event, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy browsing in a relaxed and festive atmosphere until 8pm. Find covetable pieces for your home from a select group of talented ceramicists. Meet Londonbased Elizabeth Renton who makes hand-thrown functional tableware in a delicate colour palette of muted tones, and Chito Kuroda who creates modern porcelain vases and bottles on a wheel using simple forms with clean surfaces.

CATHERINE HENDY

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SIAN PATTERSON

Jill Ford’s contemporary bowls, vases and vessels explore the organic characteristics of porcelain whilst Scotland’s Sian Patterson creates ceramics as functional still life and showcases a quiet collection of work both familiar and distinctive. With a nod towards knit and embroidery, Annette Bugansky produces tactile porcelain vessels with experimental and intricate textile surface patterns. There is an astonishing array of glassware at this year’s show, from the talented Samantha Sweet who uses traditional cutting techniques to decorate contemporary hand-blown lead crystal glass, to Assenden Glass who creates beautiful, colourful forms from recycled glass. Elin Isaksson makes hand-blown glass in sleek and tactile Scandinavian forms, whilst Vicky Higginson takes her inspiration from Japanese art and culture to produce elegant hand-blown glass art and functional vessels. Snuggle up this winter with cosy knits by Hattie Kerrs and Katie Mawson, and add a pop of colour to your wardrobe with Taisir Gibreel’s vibrant printed silks or a touch of elegance with hats by established milliner Karen Henriksen. For perfect accessories, look no further than Nell Harper’s leather bags celebrating traditional handcrafted skills in contemporary and functional form, and Catherine Aitken’s collection of bags embodying style, strength and luxury, made with Harris Tweeds, waxed cotton and Scottish linens.

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VICTORIA WALKER

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This is a rare opportunity to see a varied collection of original and beautiful work, all handmade right here in the UK. Discover Sabine Konig’s bold and striking precious metal jewellery which uses vibrant and unusual gemstones. Combining brushed silver with freshwater pearls, Sabine creates classic pieces with a modern twist. Victoria Walker specialises in fine kinetic jewellery inspired by the beauty of natural forms. Her signature seed-pod lockets feature tiny articulated flowers that emerge and dramatically unfold into bloom. Lesley Strickland uses innovative materials combining cellulose acetate and silver to produce colourful pieces, and Joana Cunha’s playful work blends traditional jewellery skills with new technologies and materials.

With Christmas just around the corner, Handmade in Britain could be the answer to your search for that really special gift. Venue: Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, London SW3 5EE Opening times: 11.00 - 18.00 Friday 13th November 11.00 - 20.00 Saturday 14th November 11.00 - 17.00 Sunday 15th November ‘Home of Artisans’ Late Night Shopping Event: 18:00 - 20:00 Saturday 14th November

You’ll find exquisite silverware from talented UK-

Standard Admission:

based silversmiths including Adrian Hope, who draws on the past to create nostalgic, tactile, simple and unique forms, and Jen Ricketts, who transforms iconic skylines into elegant, decorative pieces. Sally Cox takes classical elements and gives them a contemporary twist to produce her functional tableware, and Helen London utilises the traditional technique of filigree to create intricate pieces of sleek, contemporary design. For decadent forms and delicious texture, there are Zoe Watts’ lovingly hand-fashioned silver vessels.

Advance one day entry £8, online One day entry £10, at the door Concessions £8, at the door For more information and ticket bookings, visit: www.handmadeinbritain.co.uk www.rbkc.gov.uk Images courtesy of Handmade in Britain

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ECO finds

by Wendy Bohme

WENDY BOHME Ceramic Insect Home enquiries at www.wendybohme.co.uk 86 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


Wendy Bohme is an artist and freelance art workshop facilitator living in Cambridgeshire. She makes ceramics to benefit nature, such as birdfeeders and insect homes, and creates paintings and prints inspired by the natural environment. Where possible, Wendy uses materials that are gentle on the environment, such as waterbased or vegetable-based inks and paints, and paper made from waste from the cotton trade, or recycled. Wendy is a big fan of other arts and crafts workers who create beautiful objects using upcycled, sustainable or ethically sourced materials. so we asked her to pick her favourites....

GREEN SHOES Iris Boots Eco-tan handmade boots, ÂŁ390 from www.greenshoes.co.uk Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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MATI VENTRILLON Bespoke Fair Isle knitwear, enquiries at www.mativentrillon.co.uk

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MOLLIE SASH Baker Boy style hat with button detail on the peak, ÂŁ60 from www.molliesash.co.uk Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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QHERE My Tube shoulder bag made from bicycle inner tubes, ÂŁ65 from www.qhere.net

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HAIRY GROWLER Leaves and Apples of Silver, ÂŁ258 from www.hairygrowler.co.uk Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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LIVE: From Tower Block to 4 Acres

by Lisa Margreet Payne

An inspirational quote pops up on my Facebook news feed every so often, that always makes me smile. Adapted from an old Zen saying about meditation, it says, “You should sit in nature for twenty minutes a day… unless you are busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” Winter can be hard for many people, with shorter, darker days leading to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) for some. The urge to hide away and tuck yourself up with comfort food, blankets and Netflix is tempting and is, to my mind at least, connected with the urge to hibernate. But while that might be a

which provide us with the much needed vitamins, minerals and immune-boosting effects in what can often be a season of coughs and colds.

fun way of passing some time as part of your overall self-care plan, a long-term strategy for surviving winter it is not.

are in season, which includes cauliflower, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts. Vegetables harvested at this time will become sweeter after a frost, as the freezing process helps convert their starches into sugar. Root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and potatoes abound. Leeks will also benefit from a freezing and can last throughout the whole winter in the ground. If there’s going to be a severe frost or snow, you might want to consider covering up any growing plants, even the hardy ones, with removable covers, fleece or a good layer of straw to protect them.

Eating seasonally and being mindful of the practice is one way to help you connect with the goodness of this time of year and will also help you to remember that it’s all part of the cycle. The days and weeks will pass, and the light will return with the spring. Thankfully, nature is good at what she does and provides us with what we need, when we need it. The vegetables which are in season now are all ones 92 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015

The hardy cruciferous family of vegetables (otherwise known as Brassicaceae or Cruciferae)


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A garden that you can harvest from in winter needs to be planted in mid-summer. However, after the initial work has been done, apart from occasionally needing to cover up your veg on some days, it’s going to be pretty low maintenance. There are still a few things that you can forage at this time of year to add to winter salads or soups, or to make into immune boosting tonics. Cleavers (Galium aparine), also known as Goose Grass or Sticky Weed, can be eaten, which is good news as it often grows rampant in gardens and wild spaces. Harvest before the hard round seeds appear and use as a green vegetable. It can be picked throughout frost and snow, and is usually in such abundance that you can gather a decent bowlful. Plunging the stringy stems into hot water for a few minutes will remove the little hooks so that you can eat it. An alternative use for Cleavers

Shepherd’s Purse

is to pick the young shoots and juice them to add into your green juice or smoothie. The juice has been reported to help swollen glands and tonsillitis, and is good as an all-round health boosting tonic. Fat-hen (Chenopodium album) is another prolific plant which grows in gardens and waste land. It’s also often one of the first plants to grow after ground has been disturbed by roadworks or housebuilding, so you often see it poking up through cracks in the pavement. However, don’t harvest it for eating from areas where cars have been; choose it from as clean 94 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015

Dandelion


an area as possible such as waste ground or a garden that doesn’t use weed killer. Spinach is the domesticated relative of Fat-hen and its

Cleavers

use has now overtaken that of its wild relative. However when cooked like spinach, Fat-hen makes a good and healthy alternative with more iron and protein than cabbage or spinach, and more Vitamin B1 and calcium than raw cabbage, according to Richard Mabey in Food for Free. Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) can be identified by its heart-shaped leaves and is often seen growing in similar areas to Fat-hen. The leaves are best eaten before the flowers appear when they can be used fresh in salads and are rich in Vitamins A, B and C. It has a slight peppery taste and can also be used in stir-fries. One of the most familiar wildflowers is the common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). They can be found growing in proliferation in grassy places for the majority of the year, only being somewhat scarce after a prolonged frost or snow. The young leaves can be used to bring a ‘bitter’ note to a winter salad, much like Endive or Chicory. You can also brew the leaves up into a tea or cook them in butter like spinach to use as a green vegetable. Dandelion acts as a cleanser and detoxifier which can improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Fat-hen

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Spending time outside is good for both mental and physical health. If twenty minutes seems too long to be outside in the cold weather, then how about ten? Wrap up warm and get outside whenever you can. I find it easier if I have a purpose, so how about going for a quick foraging session for one of the previously mentioned plants? Or why not try the daily challenge that I did with some of my friends over the autumn. Get outside for 10 minutes every day and take a picture of something in nature which delights you. Upload it to Instagram and tag it with #winterdelights. Get a few friends on board for support, to encourage each other and share the natural winter beauty. The challenge is about making yourself feel good so if you can’t get out for a few days, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just get back out there when you can and catch up. Taking the time to notice and appreciate the nature around you has a positive impact on your mood, even if it’s just weeds growing in unusual places in the city. Include this activity as part of your selfcare plan along with mindful, seasonal eating and have a healthy, happy winter. Images courtesy of Pixabay

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REVIEW:

Slow Stitch by Lisa Margreet Payne The Slow Movement started in the mid-1980s with the beginnings of Slow Food in Italy. As a reaction against multi-national fast food companies, the movement encouraged a return to sustainable local production, an awareness of heritage, and strong connections to local culture and community. The idea behind the Slow Movement is not to do things slowly but mindfully, with intention and balance, savouring quality over quantity and enjoying the process as much as the destination. The Slow Food Movement has expanded into other ‘Slow’ movements including Slow Fashion, to encourage better practices in the design, production and consumption of fashion, and Slow Cloth which links the principles of the Slow Food Movement with textile making. In Slow Stitch, Claire Wellesley-Smith, a Yorkshire based textile artist, explores a range of techniques to enable you to slow your textile work down. Textile traditions from across the world are showcased for 98 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


inspiration, together with the work of other international textile artists who work in this way. This is not your usual textile project book. Nor is it a dry, academic reference book or even a stuffy over-principled ecocrafting book. Slow Stitch is a sumptuous read, full of intelligent writing, inspirational images and gentle guidance to get you thinking about new ways to explore your hand work. Where ‘sustainable’ craft books often rehash tacky upcycled projects, Wellesley-Smith’s approach is to mend and darn with old textiles, re-piecing fabrics and using stitches to build up texture. She uses threads which she has dyed with local plants and leaves gathered on walks in her local area. Her work is closely connected to where she lives and the natural environment around her. She weathers fabric scraps in her garden and stitches them with her naturally dyed threads to evoke a sense of place, and creates stitch journals to record the passing of time. This makes the work uniquely personal and very attractive to the maker who wants to become more aware of their creative process and to rediscover the simple pleasures of making. Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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The book is divided into four sections. The first covers an introduction to the Slow Movement and its relation to textiles. It also covers sustainability and localism, and presents a very evocative idea around natural rhythms and their cyclical and seasonal aspects in crafting practice. I was particularly drawn to her comparisons between crafting with your hands and agricultural activities. She comments that she tries to be aware of seasonality within her own textile practices and when planning community projects. “The warmer, lighter months are spent nurturing dye plants and engaging with the outside environment. The processing of colour is best done at the time of traditional harvest in the late summer and early autumn; the textile work, hand-stitching and making, through the winter. Change in the seasons is embraced in this way, cyclical patterns echoing cycles of nature and the reassurance that this will be repeated.� The second part of Slow Stitch covers materials and techniques. In this, Wellesley-Smith introduces the idea of setting limits to prevent being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of techniques available to the modern craftsperson. Learning to focus on just a few techniques, she argues, will enable you to develop your own authentic and personal voice through your textile art. She also explores the benefits of using materials which you already have, and offers ideas on where to source both old and new materials. 100 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


For new materials, she suggests that you look to see what is available and made in your local area, which may in turn lead to opportunities to engage in some collaborative working practices. She also suggests upcycling and reusing your old projects, and presents a number of ways to rework them, including overdyeing and natural bleaching. One of my favourite sections was regarding the slow dyeing of threads using local dyes. For her own practice, Wellesley-Smith uses plants which she grows in her own allotment or collects. The book provides an overview on how to do this, including details on which plants make which colours, and even on how to use dyes derived from your compost caddie, such as coffee grounds, tea bags and avocado skins. The colours created by these plant dyes are stunning, being much less harsh than their commercial counterparts. And of course, they bring an additional personal touch to your work, connecting it to a sense of time and the place where you gathered the plant material or nurtured the plants to make the dye. Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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The third part of the book looks at cross-cultural activity and covers the universality of textile making as a means of creating connections across the world, as well as the history of the practice. Wellesley-Smith also presents the history and techniques of Bangladeshi Kantha quilting and introduces new ways of thinking about mending, such as Japanese boro, “the heavily patched and mended domestic textiles from the rural north of 102 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015

the country”. Techniques of piecing and patching practices are also covered. The final part is Contemplative, covering reflective and mindful practice, with examples such as stitch journals and the creation of “stitch sketches” from walking and mapping local areas. She also discusses the communal projects for well-being and health which she has implemented in her local area.


Slow Stitch is full of gorgeous and evocative images. It will inspire you to think about and engage in new practices which will bring meaning into your life for many years to come. For me, it reminds me of how and why I love working with my hands, turning time into substance with meaning woven into every stitch. Slow Stitch by Claire WellesleySmith, is published by Batsford at ÂŁ22.50 and is available from all good bookshops. For more information, visit: www.batsford.com Images courtesy of Batsford Photography by MIchael Wicks and Claire Wellesley-Smith ISBN-10: 1849942994 ISBN-13: 978-1849942997

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Small Pleasures: by Bebe Bradley

What better way to show someone you care than by giving them a stylish and thoughtful homemade treat? There is no need for ostentatiousness, small can indeed be beautiful. In the run-up to Christmas, keep an eye out for suitable jars, tins, boxes, vintage cups and saucers to present your gifts in. Decorated with ribbon, cellophane and tissue paper, they will add the perfect finishing touch to your homemade goodies.

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TwINKLY STARS Ridiculously easy and almost instant, these little puff pastry stars are perfect for small hands to make a present for a favourite teacher. Quantity depends on the size of your star cutter. Ingredients 375g of ready rolled puff pastry 3 tablespoons of granulated or glitter sugar You will also need a greased and lined baking sheet. METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 220째C/430째F/Gas 7. Unroll the pastry sheet, lightly brush the surface with cold water and cover with a generous sprinkling of the sugar. Using the cutter (trees are good too), stamp out the star shapes. 2. Place on the baking sheet, leaving space in each between each shape for the pastry to rise and spread slightly. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until wellrisen and golden. 3. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with more sugar if required. Set aside to cool. Stored in an airtight container, these pastries will keep for 2-3 days. Present in a pretty box or wrapped in cellophane and tied with ribbon. Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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BITE-SIZE CHOCOLATE FUDGE BROWNIES No-one will be able to resist these small but perfectly formed, fudgy and delicious chocolate squares. Makes approximately 25. Ingredients 100g butter, softened 250g soft brown sugar 125g of good, plain chocolate (at least 50% cocoa solids) 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 100g plain flour ½ teaspoon of baking powder Cocoa powder, for dredging You will also need a greased and lined 20cm square baking tin. METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Place the chocolate, butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a pan and melt gently over a low heat until smooth. 2. Remove from the heat and add the eggs, flour and baking powder. Mix thoroughly to combine. 3. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes in the centre of the oven. Dredge with cocoa powder and then allow to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes before removing and cutting into small squares. Stored in an airtight container, these brownies will keep for up to a week. Present in a pretty tin or box, decorated with ribbons and tags. Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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SPICED FRUIT & NUT TRUFFLE SLAB

the microwave). Stir the chocolate until completely melted and smooth, and then remove from the Deceptively simple but definitely not short on heat. sophistication, this Christmassy chocolate slab 2. In a saucepan, combine the spices with the makes for a decadent ‘after dinner’ treat served cream and gently warm through to infuse the with coffee. flavours. Remove from the heat, and add the melted chocolate to the spiced cream. Stir well to combine. Ingredients 3. Scatter the fruit and nuts evenly over the prepared 150g of good plain chocolate dish or loaf tin and then pour the spiced chocolate 100g of good plain cooking chocolate (minimum mixture over the top. Smooth the surface with the 50% cocoa solids) back of a spoon or a spatula and refrigerate until set. ½ teaspoon of mixed spice 4. When the chocolate has set completely, use ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon the edges of the cling film to carefully lift the slab ½ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg from the dish or tin. Turn it onto a chopping board 2 cardamom pods, crushed seeds only (glass or marble works best) dusted with cocoa and 190ml of double cream carefully peel away the cling film. Dust again with 6 dried figs cocoa and cut to the required size. 85g of toasted, sliced almonds 60g of toasted hazelnuts 20g of candied peel Cocoa powder, to dust

Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, the chocolate slab should keep for up to a week. Dust with extra cocoa and bring to room temperature before serving or presenting as a gift.

You will also need a shallow dish or 2lb loaf tin, lined with clingfilm. METHOD 1. Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a large bowl, over a pan of gently simmering water (alternatively, the chocolate can be melted in Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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ALMOND BISCOTTI These traditional Italian twice-baked biscuits make an easy but impressive gift for the sweettoothed friend to dip in their coffee or Vin Santo. Makes approximately 25 slices. Ingredients 110g plain flour 1 level teaspoon of baking powder A pinch of salt 25g ground almonds 50g almonds, skins on 75g caster sugar 1 large egg, lightly beaten A teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract You will also need a greased and lined baking sheet.

and roll it into a log about 25cm long, flattening it slightly with the palm of your hand. 4. Place the dough onto the prepared baking sheet and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove, set aside to cool, and reduce the oven temperature to 150째C/300째F/Gas 2. 5. When completely cool, use a bread knife (or similar) to cut the biscotti into slices approximately 1cm wide. Place the slices back onto the lined baking sheet (you may need to re-line) and bake for 30 minutes until pale golden and crisp. Set aside to cool. Stored in an airtight container, the biscotti will keep for up to a week. Present in a pretty box, tin or cellophane packaging, decorated with tags and ribbon. Images courtesy of Bebe Bradley

METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 170째C/340째F/Gas 3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, and then add the ground almonds, whole almonds and sugar. 2. Mix well to combine, and then add the egg and the vanilla or almond extract. Stir well with a spoon and then use your hands to bring the mixture together to form a smooth dough. 3. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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REVIEW:

The Winter Garden by Dawn Bevins I’m not much of a gardener. Until recently I only had a small yard to play with, so a gardening book might seem like a strange choice for me to review. However, I am now the proud owner of an overgrown 140ft garden and really need to get to grips with this gardening thing. I thought it might be easier to begin with containers, particularly if I start them in winter. If it goes horribly wrong, no one will notice as they won’t be expecting prize-winning gardening skills in December! It’s the cover of Emma Hardy’s The Winter Garden that grabs my attention first. I love the colours and textures of the heather and ornamental cabbage. I do think that flowers are beautiful but I’ve realised that they don’t excite me as much as they do other people. 112 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


Emma explains in the book’s introduction that, “Shape, texture and foliage are important elements in the winter garden when flowers can be few and far between and, as much as I love spring and summer flowers for their colours and scents, winter plants have their own special place”. This is something that I can really relate to; I think I might like the challenge of balancing sizes, shapes and textures using a limited palette, and I love the cool

greens and purples that many of the plants come in. Included in this introduction are explanations of basic techniques and a list of Plants for Winter. As a novice gardener, these pages are very useful. They appear to be simple yet essential tips, such as using crocks for drainage (which I already know) and using bubble wrap for insulation (which I haven’t considered). I arrive at the first chapter feeling prepared and capable. Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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There are 36 projects spread throughout the book’s four chapters: Stems and Leaves, Beautiful Bulbs, Winter Colour and Winter Harvest. Each project features a clear list of the items that you will require, including the plants by both their common and scientific name, and step-by-step instructions which range from just two steps to eight. Although many of the steps are similar in each project, it’s worth reading carefully (especially if you are a beginner) because you might suddenly stumble across something slightly different. Also included is a lovely full page image of the finished container, alongside smaller in-progress shots numbered to correspond with the instructions. At the end of the project, there is helpful aftercare information and this will tell you, for example, how often the container needs to be watered or if any of the plants need to be removed and replaced once they have passed their best. 114 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


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There is something in The Winter Garden to suit all tastes and one of my favourite projects is Splendid Succulents. I love the different shades of green, and how juicy and plump the succulents look. For me, it’s the simplicity and modernity of the succulents’ shapes matched with a simple concrete shallow bowl that really appeals. By comparison, I find the dramatic Skimmia and Stone project flouncy and traditional, although I can think of many people who might prefer it. This book also appeals because not only are the containers low maintenance, they feel festive. I suppose it’s the ratio of foliage to flowers and the occasional use of holly and ivy (see Garden Gate Welcome). The Wreath of Succulents project stands out - even though it’s a living wreath that can last throughout the year - and I adore the Tabletop Trough, with its star-adorned white spruce centre piece. I could go on about textures and ornamental cabbages, but that’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of floral projects too, particularly in the second and third chapter. There are projects such as the Potted Amaryllis and Vibrant Cyclamen. I particularly like the China Tureen of Snowdrops, and the gorgeous Glass Jar Terrarium with its little pansies and black hellebore that remind me of a 116 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015


tiny woodland floor. This is a delightful book that has left me feeling very enthusiastic. Judging by how easy the projects are to follow, I would say it is perfect for beginners. I can imagine that a more seasoned gardener, although not needing to follow all the steps, would still find the plant suggestions and groupings useful. I’m now really looking forward to getting my porch tidied up so that I can place some welcoming winter containers in front of it. The Winter Garden by Emma Hardy, is published by CICO Books at £14.99 and is available from all good bookshops. Images courtesy of CICO Books, with photography by Debbie Patterson. For more information, visit: www.rylandpeters.com ISBN-10: 1782492380 ISBN-13: 978-1782492382

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DO: Winter Visitors

by Teresa Verney Brookes

Male Blackcaps are often seen in gardens and, as their name implies, have a glossy black cap. The females have a chestnut cap and fall into the category of, what we in the field call, ‘LBJ’s’, otherwise known as ‘Little Brown Jobbies’. This covers any species which are small, brown and hard to identify, with mushrooms often falling into this category too! Often referred to as the ‘Northern Nightingale’ because of their enchanting song, Blackcaps are members of the warbler family (which contains many ‘LBJ’s’ to the untrained eye). Until recently,

particular favourite. As an outdoor teacher, I spend many a happy, messy hour making bird feeders with groups of children who thoroughly enjoy making a yucky mixture of lard, black sunflower

most Blackcaps would head for the warmer climes of Spain and Africa during the winter. However, new research has revealed that many are now choosing to over-winter here in the UK and this is thought to be mainly due to the increase of bird feeders in our gardens. Feeding birds - and supplying fresh water too - really can and does make a difference!

seeds, chopped apple, cheese, unsalted bacon and stale cake, etc. This gooey combination can then be ‘squidged’ into upturned yogurt pots or moulded into balls, and then placed around gardens and other outdoor areas. Such high-fat treats can be a vital food source for many garden birds, particularly as the weather turns and the temperature drops. The only downside is that I’m sure the staff in my local shop must think I’m the un-healthiest person on the planet, as I regularly appear at the checkout with a basket full of lard. If you want to avoid this kind of embarrassment, you can buy ready-made.

Blackcaps feed mainly on insects and berries, and will frequent garden feeders and bird tables when both of these are in short supply in winter; suet bars, especially those impregnated with dried flies, are a

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However, please do remember to take the fat balls out of the netting in which they are typically sold, as it can injure the birds whose feet and beaks get caught up in it. Along with other summer visitors to the UK, such as swallows and swifts, some Blackcaps will head south to avoid the cold winter. During October and November, other migrants, such as Redwings and Fieldfares, will arrive in the UK from Scandinavia and beyond. Both Redwings and Fieldfares are members of the Thrush family and come here to feast on the berries of the hawthorn and rosehip trees which colourfully adorn our native hedgerows at this time of year. They can often be seen feeding in flocks in local parks, so keep an eye out for them. Redwing

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Fieldfare

Redwings have a distinct red flash on their underwings which is clearly visible as they fly. A few years back when we had heavy snow, I spotted both of these migrant birds in my garden, which happens to be in a very urban part of Reading. They were great at eating all of our over-ripe fruit and the apple cores which I was throwing out for the robins and blackbirds. In fact, in order to improve my health credentials in my local shop, I asked them to put aside their over-ripe fruit for me too ‌ although I am pretty sure they thought that I was secretly going home to deep-fry them in lard. Now there’s a thought! For more advice and information, visit: www.rspb.org.uk Winter 2015 | ukhandmade |

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See you in the SPRING 122 | ukhandmade | Winter 2015

UK Handmade Winter 2015  

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be challenging and requires a leap of faith but ultimately, it can also lead to wonderful discoveries...

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