AUTUMN: 2015 Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
Summer Showcase Handmade Showcase UK Handmade 2015
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contributors: Autumn 2015
Venturing ‘into the woods’ doesn’t always mean a dark and dangerous journey; it can also be a voyage of discovery and adventure. In this issue, we explore the woodlands and discover how workshops and courses can lead to new beginnings, both personally and professionally. We bring you exclusive interviews with designers and makers who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and creativity, from glass making to traditional wood carving. We also have our regular wonderful features, finds, seasonal recipes and reviews. See you in Winter!
finds: Editor’s Picks
meet: Hatchet + Bear
meet: Amanda J Simmons
meet: Serena Smith
live: An Apple A Day
scene: Handmade at Kew
do: Flutter By, Butterfly
review: How To Style Your Brand
scene: A Treasure Trove of Delights
scene: Dazzle @ Dovecot
scene: MADE London
live: From Tower Block to 4 Acres
FRONT COVER: www.hatchetandbear.co.uk; BACK COVER: www.pixabay.com
review: A Girl and Her Greens
review: Snail Mail
business: Presentation Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
Autumn 2015 Contributors... Lisa Margreet Payne Craft Educator & Writer www.lisamargreet.com
Artist & Designer www.sarahhamiltonprints.com
Creative Director & Artist/Designer www.karenjinks.co.uk
Deputy Editor & Designer/Maker www.dawnbevins.co.uk
Finance Director & Maker www.myfuroshiki.com
Textile Artist www.littleadesigns.co.uk
UK Handmade Magazine, email@example.com, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org • Editor: Bebe Bradley email@example.com • Design: Jo Askey firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Editor: Dawn Bevins email@example.com • Advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org • PR: email@example.com Events: firstname.lastname@example.org 4 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
Meet: Amanda J Simmons
Teresa Verney Brookes
Education Officer for the RSPB & Forest School Teacher
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ANNEMARIE O’SULLIVAN Large ‘Screw Stool’, £130 from www.annemarieosullivan.co.uk
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YUKIHIRO AKAMA Miniature Houses (right), from £110 at www.theshopfloorproject.com
MELODIE STACEY ‘Gold Mood - Black Trees’, hand painted plate (left), enquiries at www.melodiestacey.etsy.com Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
HANNAH LOUISE LAMB Rolled Map & Twig Brooch, enquiries at www.hannahlouiselamb.co.uk
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LIZZIE FAREY ‘Nest II’, willow wall sculpture, £650 from www.lizziefarey.co.uk Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
KATE KATO ‘Honey Bees in a Bee Hive’, recycled paper sculpture, enquiries at www.kasasagidesign.com
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ELAINE BOLT ‘Horam Wood’ collection, in ceramic and mixed media, enquiries at www.elainebolt.com
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CATHERINE AITKEN ‘Wanderlust’ Backpack, in Brilliant Orange Harris Tweed, £225 from www.catherineaitken.com
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CLAIRE MOYNIHAN ‘Hornet Bug Ball’ (detail), enquiries at www.clairemoynihan.co.uk
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Hatchet + Bear by Nicola Mesham
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Hatchet + Bear creates a beautiful selection of handcrafted wooden utensils and objects for the home. Run by EJ, a woodworker with a background in arboriculture, she is perfectly placed to understand the visceral pleasure of crafting with wood. Her work blends traditional methods and simple hand tools with locally foraged timbers to create pieces that have a timeless quality. Alongside her range of products, EJ runs regular spoon making workshops, many of which combine camping, cooking and carving. We talked to EJ to find out more about her influences and what the future holds for her business. EJ has always been a maker of things, creator of low-tech inventions and ambitious DIY projects. She spent her twenties living in London, working in bars and not feeling connected to her creative side. She explains how unfulfilling her work was and the decision she made to turn her life around; “I was not listening to or taking my creativity very seriously at all. Eventually, I came to my senses - I felt unsatisfied. Actually, I felt ill. Over time, I had amassed a jumble of design ideas and design opinions in my head, that I thought were amazing and yet I wasn’t doing anything about them. I have always loved trees and being in the woods, so I studied Arboriculture with the Royal Forestry Society. I then went on to do an Art and Design Foundation at Trowbridge College, which was brilliant. I was on a roll so studied further, in Product and Furniture Design at Kingston University which taught me a lot, including what kind of designer I did not want to be. I left university and tried my hand at a few traditional and heritage crafts. Green Woodworking was the one that really got me. I merged everything together, and here I am”. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
EJ describes her love for working with wood and explains why this particular medium drew her in, “I have always been more drawn to wood, over any other material for making things with. I find it fascinating; it had its own life before, as a tree and it grew from the ground! That’s an amazing thing and something I never take for granted. I like it best when it’s left as raw as possible, with just some oil and wax to realise the beauty of its colour and the drama of its grain. Don’t get me wrong, it can be as temperamental as hell. The really beautiful thing is the gamble, the surprise. I never know what is going to be within the log I’m about to split. It could be a hideous rotten mess or it could be an amazing arrangement of colours and patterns. It keeps me coming back every time”. EJ’s work has a traditional style with a contemporary edge. Many of the tools and techniques EJ utilises have been used for hundreds of years. She tells us more about her working processes, “I primarily use four tools; a saw, a small axe, a straight-edged knife and a crooked knife. They are incredibly efficient at what they do and they are wonderfully pleasurable to use. They have their limitations though and that’s what gives my work its traditional look. The designs themselves are influenced by everything that is going on around me at present; from across the design board of fashion, graphics, textile, surface and experience to economic, social and environmental issues … to sometimes just staring at the sky, looking at shadows and daydreaming. I also have a keen interest in trend, psychology and pattern”. 18 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
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It is obvious that the past influences EJ’s designs and what inspires the work she creates for Hatchet + Bear. She says, “Wooden ware was the business in medieval times. They had certain popular styles back then and I often bring these into my work, such as the medieval eating spoon. Before the Romans tried to ‘civilise’ us with their fancy silverware, we were all eating with wooden spoons. No one had a set of cutlery. You had your own wooden eating spoon and your own wooden bowl. I like this idea, of personal utensils and so I promote it within some of my designs. For example, ‘this is your spoon - eat well’; I think it complements a conscience approach to food and the way we eat it”. EJ breaks down the creative process when producing a body of work or a range of products as, “sometimes it starts with me needing or wanting something for a particular task, like the poking spatula. I wanted a spatula for myself, one that was designed to prod and poke foods in the pan. I’ll then put things in the shop to see if other people like them and if they do, then they’ll become shop staples. At other times, utensils might follow a seasonal theme. I also work with branches and sections of trees that have grown a certain way, creating useful but unique shapes. They are used to their advantage, but they’ll be ‘oneoffs’, adding exciting extra elements of rarity and desirability. In all cases, I am completely directed by whatever the tree presents me with. The biggest skill to master when making things from trees is learning the language of wood. I need to know how to read its grain, exploit its tolerances and appropriate the use of different species”. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
As someone who has mastered a craft that employs centuries-old techniques, EJ talks of her love and respect for people who use traditional skills in their work. She says, “I love watching makers with a high level of commitment and long-practiced physical skillset which allows them to achieve a state of flow when working. Anyone that uses hand-operated traditional tools to create beautiful and functional objects that will last a lifetime, and anyone who creates unexplainably beautiful things to look at. These are my favourite attributes of designer/artists. I salute you all.” In tandem with her product range, EJ also runs a number of popular workshops at festivals and one-off events. She aims to pass on her skills and enthusiasm for working with wood, and talks about her motivation for running these courses. “I started teaching the spoon carving workshops, because carving spoons made me feel great and I thought it would be a great shame not to pass that opportunity on to others. It’s naturally mindful, incredibly empowering and the gratification is rather instant. Take one day, a branch of wood and four tools, and you’ll soon have a finished spoon and a new set of skills with which to practice upon. It’s addictive and I often receive emails from past students who claim to have been bitten by the bug. I take the workshop all over the place. It’s very portable so I show up at festivals, pop-up’s and private gatherings all over the place”. 22 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
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Hatchet + Bear has gone from strength to strength, with national magazine features, products stocked in The Conran Shop and workshops regularly selling out. We asked EJ what the best and worst things about running a burgeoning craft business are and she says, “You can, to a large extent, do whatever you like. That’s the best thing, the freedom. Probably the worst thing is that I am often working. Correction; I am pretty much always working at the moment. I have never worked so hard in my life. Lifting a business to a place where you want or need it to be is hard work and for me, it’s meant that I have often missed spending time with my family. I am however, doing what I love, for a living”. It’s clear that EJ loves what she does for a living and her business is flourishing. With that in mind, we asked what she thought the future holds for Hatchet + Bear. She tells us, “I have a book coming out early next year and another few in the pipeline, so definitely more writing about adventures into making and beyond. I have some lovely collaborations with some wonderful makers lined up, and can’t wait for those projects to unfurl and grow. The future is bright for the workshops and it’s likely that there will be international dates at some point too. I’m currently looking to buy or rent working woodland. A log cabin will be built, a tree house or two will go up, some visiting tutors will join me and after all that, there may be time to sit under a tree and have a cuppa. There will always be time for that”. For more information, visit: www.hatchetandbear.co.uk Images courtesy of Hatchet + Bear Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
A Treasure Trove of Delights by Marna Lunt Some people will say that they can find inspiration in anything. It’s a wonderful thought, but even the most creative of us will need an inspirational leg-up once in a while. Writers get ‘writers block’ so I guess that the fabric equivalent might be called ‘needle numbness’. Perhaps a painter suffers from ‘a dry palette’? Inspirational, creative workshops can be places to meet, share and learn from peers and experts. One of the best examples of this is at Hope & Elvis, a beautiful, professionally run venue near the Harley Gallery on Nottinghamshire’s Welbeck Estate. Louise Presley runs Hope & Elvis, and is justifiably proud of its inception and current reputation as a European crafting Mecca. She explains, “My background is in fashion and commercial textiles but due to decline in the UK sector, I was made redundant in 2002. I knew I wanted to do something creative but with purpose, meaning and integrity. 28 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
I gained an adult teaching qualification and taught in the community, at the same time as establishing Hope & Elvis. The focus of the business was to create capsule collections with rarity and individuality at itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s heart; using salvaged textiles that had lost their primary function and reworking them back into garments that were absolutely one of a kind. I worked from a beautiful, country lifestyle store, selling directly to the public and also working to commission. The workshop part of the business began as I recognised a need to share my skills, ideas and ever growing vintage textile
collection. As the workshop side of the business grew, I invited guest artists and makers who shared my ethos of sharing and inspiring. I work intuitively, responding to changes in the market and my lovely loyal customersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; needs, but ultimately the next two years are going to be very exciting! There will be longer workshop opportunities to satisfy my growing international market, evening classes for those closer to home, professional development days and maybe even a Hope & Elvis creative tour!â&#x20AC;? Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
I know I’m happy to ride the Hope & Elvis train where ever it wishes to take me. I have recently had the pleasure of teaching and being taught at this little palace of delights, so have enjoyed seeing it from both sides of the workbench. The space is open plan with works of art hanging from the walls, all made and bought from Louise’s guest tutors & friends. There are baskets upon suitcases of vintage fabrics, Welsh blankets, beautiful embroidered linen, ceramics, cupboards of threads and everything else that you could possibly need to create joyful pieces, based on the tutor hosting the day. These can consist of anything from mosaics, painting and soldering, to hand stitching, natural dying and dress making - and there are children’s sewing classes too. Louise’s shelves are packed full of beautiful collections that spark inspiration and she can pull out hidden gems for any eventuality or student request. Oh, and I almost forgot that there’s a small shop area too, a little trove of vintage treasures, so bring cash. I’ve never trained formally in any textile medium, so it’s wonderful to have this high standard source of learning only a few hours from my doorstep. I find learning from other professionals hugely inspirational; they teach you in a far more practical way, help you to develop your own style and show you that you’re capable of exciting possibilities. 30 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
It’s not about just copying a piece of work that the artist brings (for that, you may as well just have a kit or read a pattern in a book). These workshops are about being creative, having the time to develop ideas with people who are like-minded, and learn from successful tutors who, practicing their speciality every day for a living, have great experience and knowledge. The last workshop I attended at the glorious Hope & Elvis retreat was a few weeks ago, a natural dying Indigo class given by Claire Wellesley Smith. It’s fascinating to learn how just a few plants leaves can turn fabric into something exciting and colourful. Claire was very generous with her knowledge and showed us the various ways in which we could use the Japanese Indigo plant to create different types of colour. We experimented with all sorts of methods of creating patterns with the fabric, and it became rather addictive. The washing lines full of beautiful blue cottons, silks and organza blowing in the wind were heavenly. I will be jumping at the chance of attending more classes with Claire. She was just wonderful and I’m looking forward to her soon-to-be-published new book. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
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Lunch and materials are always included in Hope & Elvis workshops, and it’s no ordinary lunch or materials. Louise sources her supplies with each tutor in mind and often with her customer’s tastes in mind too, as she has many regular students that she knows well. The lunches are always vegetarian to keep everyone happy and are works of art in themselves. The food is homemade and simply delicious; it’s always hard to stop making when you’re at a workshop because you’re enjoying yourself so much, but when lunch arrives at this venue, it’s jumped on and devoured! Teaching at Hope & Elvis is not much different to being a student. You get the same amount of fun and conversation, the same amazing lunch and the same fantastic atmosphere. I was nervous at first, as I always am no matter how many times I teach, but you get into your flow quickly in such surroundings. Students are eager to learn and ask lots of questions, which is great because that’s how we all get more ideas and learn the most. I was teaching a class called ‘A Sense of Home’, looking at landscapes and houses, and making these into fabric pictures using appliqué, drawing and thread. We learnt how to transfer drawings and images onto fabric, and how to layer and choose fabric to create something full of soul and personality. The results were stunning. 34 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
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It always amazes me how everyone has the same and I’m on hand for any questions. It’s developing information and materials, and yet the individual into a wonderful community of its own where we work is so very different. I always learn so much from support each other and many new friendships have these workshops and come away with new friends. I’m very lucky to be teaching two new classes at Hope & Elvis next year too; a seasonal landscape class in February and a summer floral affair in July, and I can’t wait to get cracking on some examples for my lovely students to peruse. I’ve seen the lineup for 2016 and I may be spending most of my weekends there. The incredible classes are far too tempting to pass on.
been formed. I’ve been lucky enough for many of my online students to come to the face-to-face workshops like the ones at Hope & Elvis. This enables them to gain even more support, in a different way but one that still compliments the online learning. It’s wonderful to see two methods of learning mix so well together.
experience. For those of you who can’t make it to my workshops in person, I have now launched my own online learning website. This is very different from learning on a face-to-face basis but not all of us have the luxury of time, etc., due to life’s many commitments. My online courses are mainly based on video teaching, with PDF printouts to keep, and lots of useful and practical knowledge. I teach from the very basics, from knowing which needles and embroidery stitches to use, to how to make soft lampshades, samplers and family tree cushions. The teaching is in my usual informal but fun way,
If you want to keep up to date with all the classes and events, please sign up to my mailing list and you I not only teach workshops at this wonderful won’t miss a beat. space but a few others throughout the UK. Each is very different, offering its own special treat and, For more information, visit: much like my work, you will always gain a unique www.hopeandelvis.com
To order a copy of Claire Wellesley-Smith’s new book, visit: www.amazon.co.uk Images courtesy of Marna Lunt and Hope & Elvis Photography by www.evephotography.co.uk
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BUSINESS: Workshops by Mich Yasue
Passing on your skills to others can be immensely rewarding for both the student and the tutor. Jane Warren of The Lampshade Loft and Jane Cook of The Rocking Horse Shop, share their advice and experiences of running successful workshops and courses. Jane Warren explains how her courses came about, “After setting up my small business, The Lampshade Loft, I started teaching because I felt quite isolated working from home. Always passionate about interiors, I really enjoyed studying for my City & Guilds in soft furnishings, but realized that a key aspect was meeting people on the course and making things together. I approached a local craft workshop and asked them if they would be interested in me sharing my skills and teaching a drum lampshade workshop. They agreed and it proved successful, which then gave me the confidence to offer my teaching skills to other venues. I have met some great people along the way, and some have become good friends!” Jane’s workshops include traditional lampshade making, “I run these at Clothkits in Chichester, West Sussex, and now from my home - or other people’s homes - near Reigate. Students learn how to bind a frame, make a fabric pattern and hand stitch it onto the frame, drop in a lining and add hand sewn trims; it’s a true traditional craft that is definitely making a comeback.” 38 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
Over the years, Jane has taught in a variety of venues and this year will be teaching at Thread, a festival of textiles at Farnham Maltings. Jane also collaborates with others and in particular, Zeena Shah, a fantastic textile designer who teaches screen printing. Jane then shows the students how to turn their design into a lampshade, a truly bespoke item and two skills learnt in one day! Over at The Rocking Horse Shop, courses include learning to carve a half-size rocking horse and carving a rocking horse’s head. Previous carving experience isn’t necessary for either course; all skill levels are accommodated with expert tutors Peter Berry and Anthony Dew, using traditional hand tools and the latest electric carving tools. So what makes a successful workshop? Jane Warren suggests the following:
• Prepare all your required materials in advance so you have everything at hand on the day. • Try to keep to smallish groups; I find a maximum of 8 works, enabling you to keep an eye on progress but still help students individually. • At the beginning, demonstrate how to make the item from start to finish. If you do it step-by-step only, people often can’t understand why they are doing what they are doing. • Remember that some people will be nervous. A few encouraging words letting people know that they WILL be able to make the item goes down well! Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
• Give out illustrated instructions. Creative people prefer visual handouts. • Be there for your students. Offering your contact details encourages those who continue to make and create, and they appreciate the back up and help. Jane Cook adds, “The thing we have found most successful is to make the student feel comfortable, let them work independently but make sure you are there to support them, don’t do it for them.” For those thinking of setting up a course, Jane Warren advises that: • If you wish to teach from home, you will need insurance. I get mine from Craft Insurance. • You will need good administrative skills. Offer either a booking system on your website or, if making arrangements by email, ensure that you can send booking forms and take a deposit. Getting that committed ‘buy-in’ helps stop cancellations! Send out confirmations and a list of everything that will be provided, and everything that students will need to bring with them. • Approach local craft and sewing centres, and relevant shops. They will gain from the courses too and you can then rely on them to manage the bookings. You can also promote the course together. 40 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
• Tell students why they should come along, for example, “You will learn to…’” or, ‘You will gain new skills.” It will help the students understand exactly what they are getting from the workshop. • Remember to promote yourself and your course everywhere online! I get approached by people through Instagram and Facebook all the time. • Mainly, enjoy the day! Be calm, offer support, be friendly and obtain great feedback. Testimonials will help you fill the next course with ease.
Jane Cook also recommends that, “The most important thing is to consider the number of attendees. It’s better to start low and add more
Another example would be to try and be featured in a hobby magazine; it’s free and is always better when it comes from someone else. We usually invite
onto the next course, than start with too many and disappoint. You obviously have to make sure the course is viable but it is important to make the experience a good one. Make sure the venue is suitable for the course and that you have all the equipment at hand so that the student can get hold of the tools quickly and easily. If they are using tools, teach them how to use them first so that they are confident when using them on the things they are making. Promote the course everywhere possible. There are lots of websites that promote courses; these are great and very cost effective.
someone from a magazine to come onto the course for free. They enjoy it and then write about their experience.” To find out more about the workshops and courses, visit: www.thelampshadeloft.co.uk www.rockinghorse.co.uk Images courtesy of The Lampshade Loft and The Rocking Horse Shop
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Dazzle: Jewellery returns to Edinburghâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beautiful Dovecot Studios for what will be their fourth year at this popular venue. A mainstay of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe since 1983, Dazzle is still going strong and has a huge following, attracting many collectors and visitors from all over the world. Performers and public alike make this exhibition a regular stopping-off point and part of their Edinburgh Festival programme. Major names and promising young actors and comedians have all purchased from Dazzle over the years, and the Fringe audience is always supportive of this exciting show of colourful and innovative work.
This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Dazzle@Dovecot exhibition is as big as ever, with 57 jewellery designers from all over the world participating. On show will be a stunning collection of over 2,000 pieces of the latest designs in contemporary jewellery, made from a variety of materials including precious stones and metals, plastics, wood, anodised aluminium and even paper. The selection is vast and varied, and features both established and emerging jewellers such as Sarah Straussberg, Emily Kidson, Sophie Stamp and Eileen Gatt. Also on display will be the wonderful work of Northumberland-based printmaker Janet Dickson, and the beautiful and collectible handmade scarves of Nuno, the famous Japanese textile design studio.
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Venue: Dovecot Gallery, 10 Infirmary Street,
Edinburgh EH1 1LT Opening times: 10.00 - 18.00 7th August - 31st August Standard Admission: FREE For more information , visit: www.dazzle-exhibitions.co.uk www.dovecotstudios.com To shop DAZZLE, visit: www.lovedazzle.com Images courtesy of DAZZLE
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Amanda J Simmons by Bebe Bradley
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Amanda J Simmons makes stunning kiln-formed glass vessels. Playing with gravity in the kiln and manipulating mass, heat, colour and time, her aim is to create complex and elusive work with intense colour and pattern that reacts to the light it is placed in. She has worked with glass for the past 12 years and is particularly interested in the emotional responses that we have to contemporary objects, and the connection that we build with inanimate items. It is ‘connection’ that provides the starting point to all of Amanda’s work, whether it be with an emotion, colour, written word or music. Who is Amanda J Simmons; what is your background and how is your current work borne out of this? I left school at 16 to take an apprenticeship in electrical engineering with BT; at that time, I was the first female engineer out on the road in the South East of England. I changed career after taking a Biomedical Sciences degree in London and became a Clinical Perfusionist, a medical technician that runs the Heart Lung machine for all cardiac operations. I had always wanted a creative career but didn’t have the confidence in any medium I tried, until I took an intensive stained glass course. It was the lightbulb moment that I had been searching for and, within a couple of months, I had set up a glass studio and was learning all I could about kiln formed glass. Even now, 12 years later, I still feel like a scientist who works with glass, science theories and questions inspire much of my work. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
Tell us about the ethos behind your beautiful glass. I knew I wanted to be hands-on with glass at each step of the process, so I’m definitely a ‘maker’, but the inward push to work with this medium is all about answering questions. I find it a fascinating and still much misunderstood material that combines my practical fixing and engineering skills with a passion to understand how our universe works. I enjoying playing with the light, opacity, gravity and form that creates my glass pieces, and especially experimenting with the colour and pattern informed by much research. The making of glass is a highly traditional art form. What drew you to this and what inspires your technique? I didn’t realise the impact at the time, but I spent a lot of time in churches as a child and loved looking at the coloured light reflections from the stained glass windows. Now I see these reflections as 3D light sculptures, creating movable forms that come from master craftsmen in the past. I enjoyed learning the ancient craft but felt kiln-forming fitted my need to create physical objects, and also utilised many of the skills I had learnt in my previous careers. Glass is such a transformable medium and it seems to be a language I have understood from the beginning. 48 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
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The colour and form in your glass vessels are extraordinary; has the technique been a difficult one to master? It has been a steep learning curve but luckily, I’ve never found it difficult. Frustrating maybe, but it’s the mistakes and happy accidents that always take your work further, so I think I started very early on in my career to experiment and to keep pushing what I could achieve. I became quite obsessed with the particular technique I use and I haven’t run out of ideas yet as to what you can produce with gravity, mass and heat. As a scientist, I look at it quite logically and try to understand each process; this helps in working out what went wrong or how to repeat that happy accident. What (or who) is currently influencing and inspiring your creative process? What steps do you do take to produce a new piece or body of work? This summer, I have started research on a new body of work after spending several years looking out into the universe and imagining theories of how it is still expanding. I used the fact that Voyager I & II had become the furthest travelled human-made objects for two big exhibitions last year, COLLECT with Contemporary Applied Arts and SOFA Chicago with Craft Scotland. 52 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
My father died unexpectedly earlier this year and thinking creatively has been difficult since, so I’m slowly working through ideas, reading a lot, amassing imagery, sketching and printmaking; anything that’s not in the workshop as I’m finding that hard. Many of my skills as a maker come from him and that link seems more poignant now. I usually start on new work like this but would take it quickly into glass samples and small pieces to answer some of the questions on form, colour overlays and design. Seeing a 3D model makes it much easier for me to work through different ideas or to see exactly how each colour reacts or mixes with others. Do you update your skills and how important do you think it is to be knowledgeable about the latest techniques? I will be a lifelong learner and will keep up-to-date with new techniques in the glass world, but also how technology is moving craft forward. I’m not necessarily going to use them but I do think it’s important to know your sector, its challenges and future possibilities. As my career has moved on, I have had to focus on one particular technique. This is very difficult with glass as there are so many ways to use it as a medium, but galleries like to see a cohesive body of work so I concentrate on glass powders and gravity formed pieces. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
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If you had the opportunity to learn or employ a new creative skill, what would it be? I became interested in printmaking a few years ago as we have a lot of very good artists in this region. I quickly realised it uses many of the same techniques that I had started to use in my glass, such as mark-making, layering colours and designs. Now I use it to inform my glass and perhaps as a starting point for colour choice or overall design. I love it as a medium almost as much as glass, but I can’t devote the time to it to become much better, which is frustrating. I’m at that level now with my glass that I can just be with the medium, it’s not a struggle to get it to do what I want. My printmaking is still a struggle! I’ve recently got together a flame working setup after learning with Carrie Fertig, an amazing woman who makes monumental flame worked sculpture and music. Again, not enough time but I hope this will become part of my glass practice soon, as I’m intrigued about working with the glass directly and how I can learn more about the physics of glass using this technique. I’m also becoming more interested in textiles, a skill I’ve never had, but one day I’d like to take a basic dressmaking course as I never seem to find clothes I like. 56 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
Is there a specific tool that you would not be without? That’s a hard question for a maker as tools are very important. I think I’m quite adaptive so try not to be too reliant on any one tool, especially those that need power as we do seem to get a lot of power cuts in this region. Apart from my kilns and diamond flatbed grinder, my mark-making tools are probably the equipment I work with most and are the way I work directly with the glass powders in their raw form. These are a collection of objects, ranging from stainless steel sculpting tools to feathers, and I certainly have my favourites; some are worn down to blunt edges as the glass is highly erosive. The upside is that I can fashion my own or use objects close to hand. Describe your work space for us. We re-located from London to rural Dumfries and Galloway about 10 years ago, with one of the objectives to have my own studio space at home. In a small village, we found a lovely house that used to be the old shop. There’s a very open plan space downstairs that I can use as a gallery and outside, a lovely big shed that they used to store the refrigerators. I’ve spent the last ten years working on insulating it, building breezeblock walls and putting in a large wood burning stove. Most of my work benches I’ve made from the crates that my glass comes in. It’s quite a dark space but has lovely afternoon and evening light, my favourite time to be in the workshop. I share it at this time of the year with several swallow families who return each year to breed. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
You also run glass-making workshops and earlier this year, you participated in a Spring Fling project, produced in collaboration with The Holywood Trust and The Heritage Lottery Fund. Please tell us about it. What do you think is the most important lesson that participants can take away from a workshop experience? This was an amazing project to work on, the second year of a pilot project that gave 15-25 year olds the chance to create contemporary functional objects with professional makers in Dumfries and Galloway. We worked intensively together for 10 days, learning not only the physical skills to create a piece of glass, but also an insight into the daily life of a maker culminating in an exhibition of their work. All the students were very interested, quick to learn and took on ideas in an unknown medium so well. Maybe it was because of the unknown that they had no fear, and all had very strong concepts from the start that grew at each step as they learnt more about glass. The whole project was documented by Colin Tennant, taking stills and creating a film from both years. This two year pilot project will be used to secure funding for a long term apprenticeship project in the region which I highly support. I enjoy teaching my technique and have taught in the UK, Austria, Switzerland, Norway and America; next year Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m heading to Australia for the first time. I hope that participants get the knowledge to be able to try the technique in their own practice, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also important for me to help with the development of their work and helping them with design ideas to gain confidence. 58 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
What advice would you give to someone starting their own creative venture, and what’s the best advice someone has ever given you? Find out as much as you can about the medium you want to work in. Research other artists, go to shows and galleries before having work there, talk to everyone you can find in your sector but, most importantly, have a plan and follow your instincts. Goals are essential for a self-employed artist to keep you motivated and on track. After 10 years of selling my work in galleries and exhibitions, I have recently started to re-assess what I want out of my career so this is a constant process, always evolving. My husband was in a band when we met and luckily I have had his advice at all stages of my career as creative lives are very similar. It’s always been good advice but I never listened to the, “You’re doing too much!” until recently. Who are your favourite artists, designers and makers? I love David Hockney, Gillian Ayres, Philip Guston, Sean Scully and Francis Bacon for their use of colour, Thomas Heatherwick and Alexander McQueen for their imaginative practices, and far too many other makers to mention. I do head towards ceramics for inspiration more than glass as I love texture, opacity and form. 60 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
Have you seen a change in the perception of ‘craft’ in the UK, and what it means to own a handmade object? The perception of ‘craft’ and ‘handmade’ has definitely changed in the UK since I started out, mainly for the better. I feel that the wider public understand the differences between unique work and mass produced objects, but it still does seem to come down to available budget. However, since the recession, I have noticed a shift away from so much consumerism and hopefully, a need for less but higher quality and personal objects, be it functional or art. What do you do to take time out and relax? I’m getting better at this. For the first ten years of my career, I seemed to be working all the time with no breaks or holidays (the trouble with working at home). Now I spend more time in the garden, trying to find out what will take the wet summers and very harsh winters. I like to cook and bake, play with my ever-ready dogs and generally take life a little easier. I still see this as a life and not a job so everything is always connected. Do you have any new projects planned and what are your goals for the future? My next ten year plan involves less gallery work and more themed type exhibition pieces. I would love to write more, maybe look at some formal type of research in a PhD that is practice-led. In the short-term, I’d like to get back to making and I have a plan to make some monumental wall work based on the watercolours of John James Audubon, the creator of The Birds of America. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
Where can we purchase and find out more about your work? I stock galleries around the UK and also a few outlets in America. I like to exhibit at applied art galleries as I like the focus on objects and not paintings; venues such as Contemporary Applied Arts, London Glassblowing and Vessel in London, Blackwell Arts & Crafts House in the Lake District, Ruthin Craft Centre in Wales and The Barony Centre in Scotland. In the USA, I sell my work through Bullseye Projects in Portland, Oregon and Morgan Contemporary Glass in Pittsburgh. I write a blog to go with my portfolio website and have the usual social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter; I find I have to try a little harder to be sociable when I live in such a rural quiet area. For more information, visit: www.amandajsimmons.co.uk Images courtesy of Amanda J Simmons Photography by Colin Hattersley (p.46) and Colin Tennant (p.59)
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Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
MADE London MADE LONDON is fast becoming one of the top selling events for contemporary designers and makers in Europe. The show presents the very best and most original designer/makers from the UK and beyond, exhibiting and selling their work direct to the public. Ceramicists, silversmiths, wood workers, mosaic artists, textile designers, furniture makers, glass blowers and many more are all showcased, providing the perfect opportunity for visitors to view and buy unique and innovative handcrafted pieces. MADE LONDON returns to One Marylebone, the stunning Sir John Soane Church in central London. Directly opposite Great Portland Street tube station and next door to Regents Park, the building brings its own attraction because each level has its own particular feel. The moody and atmospheric crypt, the majestic Soane Hall and the light filled gallery spaces all add to the interest of this show. 64 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
A particularly relaxed and friendly event with a lovely, laid back atmosphere, MADE London‘s visitors are always impressed by the variety, quality and originality of the craft and design on show, and enjoy exploring each of the four levels of this dramatic and beautiful building.
Once again, R&A Collaborations will be screening their fantastic craft collection of short films in the ‘Cinema of Making’. These films celebrate a wide range of designers, across all media, sharing their personal insights and affording the viewer an understanding of the making process. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
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Venue: One Marylebone, London, NW1 4AQ Opening times: There will be a Private View from 6pm - 9pm on Thursday 22nd October. A very limited supply of tickets are available at £20 each. 11.00 - 17.00 Thursday 22nd October 11.00 - 18.00 Friday 23rd October 11.00 - 18.00 Saturday 24th October 11.00 - 17.00 Sunday 25th October Standard Admission: ‘Early Bird’ Tickets are available online for £8 each until the 19th October, 2015. Tickets can be purchased on the door for £10 (children under 14 free). The ticket price includes a catalogue listing all exhibitors and a beautiful cotton bag, subject to availability. For more information and ticket bookings, visit: www.madelondon.org For full exhibitor’s list, visit: www.madelondon.org/gallery Images courtesy of MADE London
HELEN FOOT Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
The Importance of Presentation by Sarah Hamilton To make a success of our art and design careers, we need the ability to turn our hands to a multitude of tasks which parallel our skills as artists. Much of these we learn by necessity and they become second nature as our business develops. One of the most significant is to develop an understanding of the importance of presentation, of individual items of artwork and in a selling environment such as a trade show, craft fair, gallery or shop. That we hypnotically reach for our wallets when we visit beautiful stores like Liberty is no accident. Most shops employ trained Visual Merchandisers to carefully design the presentation of their stock and clever techniques are employed to keep the
a model of the space and the display items, and deciding how each piece of work will relate to each other. I consider the background colour, lighting, shelf style and even the chair used at the show. All these reflect how I wish my work to be perceived
tills ringing. In these challenging times for retailers, their role is increasingly important; great display is central to the ambience of the sales environment. As artists and designers, we must ensure that we employ the same exacting standards when promoting our work so that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s viewed in the best light, to both reiterate our professionalism and facilitate sales. A limp, crumpled sheet draped over a wallpapering table, with pictures dangling from meat hooks, leaves everyone cold. Whenever I exhibit at an event, I spend a considerable amount of time preparing the stand. This involves making
and give my designs a backdrop which Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m proud to stand by.
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To give their perspectives on the importance of presentation, I asked two professionals to share their approaches and offer some tips. The first is designer/maker Gabriela Szulman, with whom I often exhibit, and her high standard of presentation is one of the many reasons I enjoy working with her. The second is Jane Reeves, an artist who recently opened a beautiful gallery in Padstow, Cornwall, which shows a wide range of high quality artwork.
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GABRIELA SZULMAN “I have been a designer/maker for over twenty years, supplying a number of galleries across the UK and selling internationally. Along the way, I have also ran a shop, organised big art and craft shows, and managed both a gallery and a lighting showroom. One thing I have learned is that, no matter how exquisite your work is, nobody will appreciate its true worth unless it’s displayed properly. I take part in fairs such as Selvedge, The East London Design Show and The Handmade Fair, and I feel that there’s nothing quite like having to display your work in a small space to make you exercise your creative muscle. Very often it’s a case of making the most of a trestle table, and perhaps a bit of wall. As my current work ranges from greeting cards and prints to jewellery and scarves, often the challenge is how to make sure items of different sizes attract attention in equal measure, without detracting from one another. As a lot of what I make is inspired by vintage, my displays use props of a similar flavour: books, a beautiful head-and-shoulders dummy, and old suitcases I have decoupaged inside and adapted to show jewellery. I want the display to enhance and be a reflection of what I sell. The theme carries right through to the price labels, which are printed on brown luggage tags using a typewriter font.” 70 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
Gabriela’s main tips for creating an effective display in a small space are: • Create height in your display; a triangle shape is ideal. It’s also the best way of maximising your use of space.
• Mock up the whole display at home. This is super-
• Display items in groups, either by shape, theme,
• And finally - and it’s a fairly obvious one - price
or colour. If your work allows it, start with lightcoloured items on the left and build up to darker ones on the right.
everything clearly as sometimes people do not like to have to ask!
important; I really wouldn’t know where to begin without the photos and sketches of my mock-ups. Think of lighting, battery-operated fairy lights and strips of LED lights are brilliant for this.
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JANE REEVES “When it comes to the display and curation of artwork, I rely on my years of experience as an artist. Holding open studio events, organising exhibitions, visiting galleries and enjoying curating my own collection of artwork in my own home, has all been a good learning ground. Now, as a gallery owner representing my own work and a small community of carefully chosen artists and makers, I enjoy the challenge of showing work off to its absolute best in order to sell it and pass it on to new owners. Most of our artists make a living from selling their work so it’s a huge privilege to represent them. In order to really earn our commission, we see it as our main job to think about imaginative ways to display their work. The moment that work arrives in the gallery, it becomes our job to enthuse the public into buying it. Commitment to the artists, and thinking creatively about ways to represent them, is key. Keeping the gallery fresh and moving work around regularly works well. Rehanging the space every 4-6 weeks and choosing different artists for the window every few weeks builds an expectation from regulars. I am always on the lookout for interesting objects that might help in displays; it’s amazing how a creatively thought through montage in the window can draw so much attention. 72 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
Often the work itself gives me the display idea; for example, ceramic houses shown off in a similar quirky house-shaped shelving unit. Colour often inspires me, perhaps linking a painter and a ceramicist because of their love of similar colours. 74 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
I like to keep props simple but interesting and relevant to the work. Giving an artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work room to breathe is crucial too, so getting the balance between interest and simplicity is a challenge.
Having taken a huge leap of faith (and invested a lot of money!), a gallery owner starts up a business believing in the artists they represent. The hope is that the artists feel committed to the gallery too, and are willing to invest time providing their work documented, coded, priced and well presented. Quality of work and framing particularly makes a difference. We have seen a direct correlation between framing quality and style, and the sale of work. For the artist, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not just a shop window, it can also be a place of encouragement and feeling part of a community. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s when the magic happens.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; All fantastic advice, so bin the bedsheets and meat hooks, and get creative! It really will increase your sales and make you proud to stand next to your beautiful artwork. For more information, visit: www.sarahhamiltonprints.com www.gabrielaszulman.com www.janereevesgallery.co.uk Images courtesy of Gabriela Szulman and Jane Reeves Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
Serena Smith by Karen Jinks
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Serena Smith is an artist and fine art printer based in Leicester. With 30 years of practice within the field of printmaking, her work includes a range of educational and collaborative projects as well as studio practice. In partnership with Leicester Print Workshop, she has recently developed the Lithography Fellowship. What is your background and where did you study? For over thirty years I have worked in the field of fine art printmaking as an artist, technician, educator and collaborator, supporting the work of other artists alongside my own studio practice. Following on from a degree in Art and Drama, I spent a couple of years in arts administration before taking a job at the Curwen Studio in 1985 where I worked for many years and trained as a studio lithographer. When my children were small, and during a break from work in the print studio, I returned to postgraduate study at Central Saint Martins and The Institute of Education. Since 2002, I have combined the roles of artist-educator, consultant lithographer and printmaking technician, with family life and work as an artist. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
You clearly have a love for trees. What is it about them that inspires your work? About eight years ago, we moved to a house behind a newly planted country park and I realised that I would need to respond to this beautiful place in some way. I walk in the park every day, and every day it is different. Photographs of the closely planted rows of saplings were the starting 78 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
point of work I made a couple of years ago; now the young trees are starting to mature and the bark of each one is developing its individual patina of growth scars and lichen. This process of change is inevitably reflected in the development of my work; as an artist it would be impossible not to be affected by the daily experience of such a rich sensory environment.
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How does your creative process work and do you sketch first? As a printmaker, materials, tools and technology are embedded in my practice and frequently shape the direction of the work. Thinking strategically and working with process is second nature to me. The work however, emerges not from a didactic application of skills but from the interplay of chance and improvisation with systematic frameworks, such as print technology. I tend to follow lines of enquiry that interest me, sometimes for many years, and this has led to collections of work such as theExegesis’, ‘Psalter’ and ‘Labyrinth’ series. I am currently pursuing ideas that have emerged from looking at the many different versions of the ‘Hodegetria’ icon. Any visual material that I use to develop ideas is always, like the trees in the park, from the things around me and ‘to hand’. I love the way that apparently everyday objects and materials can be transformed by simple means to create complex visual ideas. I produce a lot of drawings, although probably don’t consider them to be sketches. This process for me is more 80 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
about the formulation of a visual language through the economy of drawing, rather than the recording of observations or preparatory draughts of ideas. How did you discover lithography? The moment I entered the Curwen lithography studio, I realised that I had ‘come home’. Everything about this fascinating process just made sense to me. Whilst there, I produced many editions of lithographs for other artists; it was my personal experience of mentored learning at that time that has led to the development of the ‘Lithography Fellowship’ at Leicester Print Workshop. More information about lithography can be found on my website. Tell us about your workspace. The builder who sold us the house we live in, probably didn’t anticipate that the dining room would become an artist’s workspace and stone lithography studio, but it is the largest room in the house and conveniently next to the kitchen. This year, I had good lights put in and wish I had done it sooner because the space seems twice the size now. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
Is there a tool you can’t live without? There is a particular mechanical pencil I like using and will always search out if it isn’t to hand. What do you love most about what you do, and what do you find the most frustrating? For me making art is a constant negotiation between small discoveries and failure, but the hours spent in the process, is the thing I love. Any frustration is more to do with the many other commitments and demands in life that compete with time spent in solitude in the studio. What does ‘handmade’ mean to you? This is a word that can be interpreted in many ways. Computer technology, once viewed as a threat to the ‘handmade’ object, has now become an essential element in the tool box of many artists and makers. Intricate lace woven by hand and mass produced clothing from sweat shops in the developing world, are both the result of hours of labour by hand, but might not both be called ‘handmade’. And in my own field of fine art printmaking, where digital technologies can be used to both create and reproduce images, the use of the word ‘handmade’ doesn’t necessarily answer the question ‘what is an original print’? I sense that the word ‘handmade’ has possibly outgrown its literal meaning. Perhaps it now suggests something of value about an embodied and personal relationship with materials and process that is at the root of many artists and makers’ practice. If you could learn a new skill, what would it be? I would really like to learn how to use CAD (computer aided design). 82 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
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Who are your favourite artists or makers? A list of the artists whose work I admire would be very long. But more difficult to name check and of equal influence are the many anonymous painters of Byzantine icons, and unnamed artisan craftsmen of the Japanese woodblock print workshops. Do you have any new projects coming up? Upcoming projects in 2015 include the Xiaoxiang Exhibition of International Printmaking in Changsha, China, where my work together with other printmakers, has been selected to represent the United Kingdom in an exhibition and commemorative portfolio. I’ve also been invited by the Guanlan Original Printmaking Base in Shenzen, China, to take up a residency there and plan to go in Autumn 2016. 86 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
What are your goals for the future? To stay healthy and live long enough, so that in time some of the ‘small discoveries’ might possibly bear fruit. Where can we find out more about your work? My website carries up-to-date news and there is an option to subscribe to an annual newsletter. The Leicester Print Workshop website is a good place to find out about some of the work I do with other artists and educational projects I am involved with.
For more information on Serena Smith, visit: www.serenasmith.org For more information on the Leicester Print Workshop, visit: www.leicesterprintworkshop.com Images courtesy of Serena Smith
Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
Handmade at Kew This Autumn, Kewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Royal Botanic Gardens will be the location for an innovative new international craft event, organised by Handmade in Britain. Gardening and craft have always had a special relationship; both require patience, skill and artistry, and all of these qualities will be very much in evidence at Handmade at Kew. Over four days in October, the picturesque gardens at Kew will showcase exceptional British and international craftsmanship in a truly unique shopping experience. Enjoy the delights of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most famous botanic garden with its fine glasshouses and rare blooms, whilst browsing, buying or commissioning work directly from the artists and makers. Handmade at Kew is housed in an elegant pavilion next to Kew Palace and your ticket will not only give you access to the show, but also to the whole of Kew Gardens. 88 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
Work by an international group of over 150 designers, makers, individuals and galleries will embrace a range of disciplines including ceramics,
glass, furniture, textiles, metalwork and jewellery. This event also provides an opportunity to meet the artists and craftspeople directly, and learn about the ideas, inspiration and processes that shape their work. At Handmade at Kew, The Leach Pottery from St Ives will be showing a range of traditional, handthrown and decorated pieces for domestic use. Other potters showing work include Norman Yap, Jane White, Violante Lodolo D’Oria and Ros Perton, illustrating the wonderful variety and artistry of contemporary clay practice. For visitors seeking stunning home and garden accessories in wood, there are Jane Crisp’s beautiful garden trugs or Carl Austin’s range of contemporary, sculptural garden furniture, inspired by and made using traditional wooden boat building techniques. Glass is a medium that can be blown, moulded, or cut and shaped into myriad forms, and you only have to look at Kew’s magnificent Palm House to appreciate its flexibility and beauty. Some of the UK’s leading glassmakers, including Gillies Jones and Bob Crooks, will be on hand showing a mix of sculptural and domestic pieces. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
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Metal work covers a huge variety of materials, from gold and platinum to wire and wrought iron, and visitors to the show can see designs ranging from jewellery to sculpture. Silversmith Rebecca Joselyn finds inspiration in the throwaway metal detritus of our daily lives and transforms them into silver objects of luxury and beauty. For purely decorative metalwork, look no further than Helaina Sharpley, who uses fine wire compositions to depict kitchen paraphernalia with a vintage feel. For fashion and sheer indulgence, seek out weaver Araminta Campbell who uses only the highest quality Scottish yarn, and Taisir Gibreel’s luxurious and eyepopping printed silks. Contemporary jewellery can be made of anything from cellulose to wood and demonstrating the vibrant diversity of the discipline, you will find jewellers such as Angela Fung, Rose Cecil, Michael Berger, Jacqueline Clarke, and Peter and Sandra Noble. The work produced by the majority of exhibitors at this show would never find its way to the average high street. Most of the artists are award winners in their own countries and only sell through galleries, exhibitions or by appointment. Handmade at Kew is a rare opportunity to see, commission or purchase a varied selection of individual and beautiful work from all over the world.
Venue: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB Opening times: 10.00 - 18.00 Thursday 8th October 10.00 - 18.00 Friday 9th October 10.00 - 18.00 Saturday 10th October 10.00 - 18.00 Sunday 11th October Standard Admission: Adult advance one day entry £16 Adult one day entry, at the door £18 Family Entry (2 + 2) £44 Children (age 4-16) advance entry £8 Children (age 4-16) entry, at the door £9 For more information, ‘Friends of Kew’ member and ticket bookings, visit: www.kew.org www.handmadeinbritain.co.uk Images courtesy of Handmade in Britain
Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
How to Style Your Brand by Bebe Bradley The renowned brand styling expert and self-publisher Fiona Humberstone has been creating websites and running workshops since 2000. Having established, grown and sold one of the UK’s most successful brand styling companies, she now works as a freelance Creative Director for many branding projects and consults for design agencies who want to sell more creative work. I first heard of Fiona’s book, How to Style Your Brand, when someone I know described it as “a game changer”. Now that caught my attention straight away, because it came from a person who already has a very beautiful and instantly recognisable brand. 92 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
For those of us who don’t, and are just starting out or already running a business, defining your brand can be a major hurdle. There is an ocean of business and branding books out there, the majority of which contain page after page of jargon, so for anyone who is already feeling overwhelmed by the stuff that’s involved with starting or running a business, it can be a huge turn-off. A brain already fuddled by the bureaucracy of commerce, certainly doesn’t need it added to. However, when this book arrived on my doormat, I was immediately struck by its clear, simple and distinct styling. “Well,” you ask, “isn’t that how a style-branding book should be?” Yes, absolutely it is. My initial flick through this book was like a breath of fresh air; clear, calm and concise springs to mind. Beautiful to look at, it’s uncluttered and appealing to the eye, with lots of ‘breathing space’ in the layout which could provide room for notes, if you were inclined to scribble. Fiona’s tone is engaging and straight-forward, and she guides you through the start-to-finish process of styling your brand. She will help you “find your focus, create an inspirational vision, unlock the power of colour psychology and understand the design details that will make your business irresistible”. That’s quite a promise but do bear in mind that Fiona has the experience of brand-development for hundreds of companies
internationally, and she possesses a “tried and tested framework”, that “will give you the clarity, confidence and creative know-how”. There are six chapters in this book, plus a large and comprehensive list of resources at the back focusing on featured designers, photographers and businesses. The first chapter, Brand Styling Basics, covers the brand styling process, “emphasising your best assets and creating a cohesive and compelling look”. Encouraging you to think creatively, it’s not just about taking on the branding load yourself. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
If you are aiming to find a designer to do the job for you, Fiona will instil the understanding and knowhow to enable you to “outsource with confidence and conviction”, and find the right person for you to work with. It’s also about dedicating time to the task in hand and making it work for you. Brand ‘story’ examples are shown throughout the book, beginning in this chapter with the The Anatomy of a Well-styled Brand, and we are encouraged to actively learn from the brands that we already know and love. Chapter 2, Planning, assists you in defining your intention, finding your focus, determining your customer archetype and the creation of your brief. There is an in-depth ‘Question & Answer’ section in this chapter which will make you assess the motivation and aims behind your branding and business. Create Your Vision is the third chapter, ascertaining what’s possible, who your competitors are, what your inspiration is and the route forward. This chapter also includes a section on colour psychology and for me, this is a first in a business or branding book. Fiona approaches it from a seasonal aspect, attributing distinctive personalities - Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter - which provide the basis for the selection of colour, texture and other styling elements. It’s a clever approach because you choose what resonates most for you, intrinsically linking you with the style of business and the way in which it represents you. 94 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
Chapter 4 shows you how to Create Your Logo, and analyses what makes for a distinctive logo. As Fiona says, “A well-designed logo will enable you to stand out from the crowd and communicate confidence and professionalism”. Style, type and proportion are all covered, and technical practicalities are discussed. Checking as to whether your logo works in black and white may seem pretty obvious to some but when you’re new to the design process – or so deeply entrenched in it, that you can’t see the wood for the trees – none of her advice will go amiss. The fifth chapter is all about Pulling Together Your Brand Elements, the utterly thorough “accessorising of your brand” with pattern, texture, colour, typography, photography, icons and devices, etc. This chapter is absolutely packed with information, but not once do you feel overwhelmed. Sure, there’s a lot to take in and you may well have to read it a few times to completely absorb the wealth of information to hand, but Fiona’s calm, confident writing style will reassure and chaperone you every step of the way. Finally, in Chapter 6, we are Styling It Up and your brand identity should now be complete. It’s time to start winning business and this chapter ensures that you can “style up your brand with confidence”, by creating business cards with impact and a website that sells, enabling us to leave a lasting impression. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
How to Style Your Brand is a genuinely refreshing and inspirational take on the business of branding. Beautiful enough to pass as a coffee table book, you will find yourself going back to browse and read, again and again. For anyone who may be considering starting their own business or perhaps just looking to update, Fiona will take you through every step with this essential guide. How to Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone is published by the Copper Beech Press at ÂŁ20 and available from www.amazon.co.uk For information on Fiona Humberstone and How to Style Your Brand, visit: www.thebrand-stylist.com www.fionahumberstone.com Images courtesy of the Copper Beech Press. ISBN-10: 0956454534 ISBN-13: 978-0956454539
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Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
LIVE: From Tower Block to 4 Acres
by Lisa Margreet Payne
By the time autumn rolls around, the pain of the ‘Hungry Gap’ is but a long, distant memory blurred by summer’s abundance. Our fridges and counter tops are overflowing with fruit and vegetables, our bellies are full and we’ve already started moaning about our gluts. That’s glut, by the way, a noun and “an excessively abundant supply of something”, not glutes, the plural noun as in “gluteus muscles”. Although, who knows, maybe your glutes are suffering from too many ice creams over the summer! The usual culprits for the dreaded autumn glut are cucumbers, courgettes, beans, tomatoes and, as the end of the season approaches, green
find a local workshop to give you the basics, or just read up on it and get stuck in! I had the best success with my ferments after I invested about £20 in an
tomatoes. There is an army of chutney recipes to handle these, not forgetting the ubiquitous green tomato chutney. I’ve been pickling my cucumbers and beets for many years using a spice blend for the vinegar taken from my Grandma’s 1945 Good Housekeeping cookery book. Recently though, I’ve become more interested in lacto-fermenting my veggies for added pro-biotic tummy goodness. There’s a ton of information out there on the internet on how to do it and a good place to start is with anything by Sandor Katz (otherwise known as Sandorkraut). Another good way to learn is to
anaerobic jar purchased on Ebay. I had a deliciously funky sauerkraut when I put the jar in the cupboard under the sink and forgot about it for six weeks!
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When you’re not busy bottling, freezing, chopping and eating your gluts, there are still plenty of fresh veggies around to be had. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, courgettes and aubergines will all be continuing to produce well, and sweetcorn, red cabbage and squash will begin to appear alongside the blackberries, autumn raspberries, plums and apples.
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In the garden, if we’re not harvesting apples and plums (with fingers and lips stained red from popping in blackberries and raspberries on the way
to check on them every few days to make sure the ripe ones haven’t gone splat on the floor!
past), then we’re finishing off the summer crops, sowing green manures to improve the soil over the winter and preparing the indoor greenhouse space for the winter salad leaves.
For me, Autumn is the best time of year in the garden. It’s not too hot like it can be in the summer, and you’re not disappointed when it’s not, as you don’t expect it to be. There’s still plenty to do and harvest, and it’s not too chilly yet for working outside comfortably. You can’t remember the harshness of the winter or the stress of the Hungry Gap which is to come. There’s none of the fizzy excitement of spring wondering how the season will go, if your seeds will come up or which pests will be the main annoyances of the year. It’s just mellow, satiated and replete. Like me and my glutes.
Aubergines and peppers will usually peter out by themselves, exhausted by about October (and I know how they feel) but the cucumbers and tomatoes will continue to fruit on their vines and ripen it if you let them - or not, hence all the green tomatoes! This is why gardeners pinch out the tops (the growing part of the plant) around August or September. This prevents the plant from putting its effort into creating more fruit and enables the existing fruit to ripen. If you do end up with tomato plants with lots of green tomatoes on them, then you can either pick the tomatoes to ripen them on a greenhouse bench or kitchen windowsill, or make that aforementioned chutney. It’s actually warmth that ripens the tomatoes rather than light, so find a warm spot that’s out of the way if that’s more convenient and check on them regularly. Another alternative is to clear the whole plant from the ground, tomatoes and all, and then hang it up by the roots somewhere tall and airy, to try and get the tomatoes to ripen. You just have to remember
Images courtesy of Lisa Margreet Payne For more information, visit: www.oakcroft.org.uk
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A Girl and Her Greens by Lisa Margreet Payne This is not a recipe book, this is a love story. A Girl And Her Greens is not only a love story between April Bloomfield (who should so have been a farmer with that surname) and her vegetables, but also between the reader and the book. Or at least, between this reader and this book. I’m often to be found curled up on the sofa with a pile of recipe books, reading through them like other people will read novels or magazines, and A Girl And Her Greens is no exception. Since it arrived, it hasn’t sat coldly on the desk in the ‘to review’ pile, nor has it been squished sweatily onto the overflowing kitchen shelf with the other well-loved, oil-and-tomatospattered cookery books. No, it has been carried around from the sofa to beside the bed, to the kitchen table and everywhere else in-between. I just love it, and leafing through the pages and picking recipes at random to read has been my favourite pastime these past few weeks. 102 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
It was, in fact, love at first sight when this book arrived. I opened the front cover to be greeted with gorgeous, Japanese-style watercolours of vegetables. This is a style that I came across myself - and fell in love with - when I was designing the branding for Oakcroft Organics (my organic market garden), and I have many pins on my Pinterest ‘design vision’ board that are similar to these. Alongside the illustrations, are beautifully shot photographs of vegetables and the recipes, and all this visual feasting is to be had before you’ve even got to reading the recipes! April’s tone is witty and conversational, and often encompasses a story from her childhood, a tip on how to get the best from a vegetable or how to pick the best produce. The recipes themselves are written in such a way that reading them is like reading what April calls, “road maps encouraging you to play around and find your own way.” She also offers the following advice, “I decided that instead of writing recipes that look invitingly short, I’d offer recipes full of the little details that make food great. So please don’t mistake a recipe that looks long for a recipe that’s too complex to cook.” I certainly found that to be true. The recipes come together beautifully and simply, even if the recipe itself flows over the page to the next one. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
Last night, we had the Curried Cauliflower with Peas for dinner which was delicious but really simple to put together. The leftovers were delicious for breakfast too. (What, you don’t have leftover curry for breakfast? What’s wrong with you? You’re missing out!) I’ve also made the Bean and Mushroom Salad quite a few times now, once when I had a friend over for lunch who was very impressed by it. Although A Girl And Her Greens is about nose-to-tail vegetable eating, it’s not actually a vegetarian cook book. There is plenty in there to keep the carnivores happy and as for the vegetarians and vegans, I’ve found it pretty easy to adapt most of the recipes I’ve tried and they’ve still been delicious. The book is about seasonal eating, but is structured in such a clever way, that it is both evident and not. Definitely don’t skip reading the introduction. As I mentioned earlier, April’s writing is really fun and easy to read, and she sneaks in a wealth of knowledge in the introductory chapter including tips on buying the best produce and some basic preparation methods that she uses and refers to in the recipes. The “five-finger pinch” is not, in fact, what might happen to your wallet if you leave your handbag open on a night out. It’s actually April’s method of measuring how many herbs to put into a recipe. The seasonal element comes through in whimsical chapters such as Put a Spring in Your Step and Chilly Weather Treats. 104 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
The recipes cover everything from substantial salads to full-on comfort food, calling in on sauces and dressings, green juices, vegetable crisps and pickles such as piccalilli and kimchi on the way. It is everything that you could want in a cookery book, and then some. I have to say I have been dreaming about the salad sandwich. Such a simple thing but the picture of it: crusty, fluffy white bread slices piled high with crispy lettuce, juicy tomatoes and cucumbers with slices of hardboiled egg and salad cream, keeps playing on a loop in a my mind. I want that sandwich in my tummy now! A Girl And Her Greens is a lovely book which would make a fantastic addition to any cook’s library. But please don’t fall so in love with the look and tone of it that you forget to cook from it! A Girl And Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden by April Bloomfield, is published by Canongate Books at £25 and is available from all good bookshops. For more information, visit: www.canongate.tv Images courtesy of Canongate Books ISBN-10: 1782111700 ISBN-13: 978-1782111702 Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
AN APPLE A DAY ... by Bebe Bradley Make the most of our glorious autumn apple harvest with these sweet and savoury recipes. There are plenty of English apple varieties to choose from but you may only find a limited selection for sale in your local supermarket. These might range from the familiar, such as the Bramley, Empire and Egremont Russet, to the not so familiar and specialist variety, such as the Suffolk Pink and Estivale. However, my recipes will accommodate any apple that you can get your hands on.
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Savoury Baked Apples Baked apples don’t have to be stuffed with fruit and served as pudding. This savoury version makes a delicious light lunch or starter. Serves 4. Ingredients 4 large eating apples, such as Cox’s or Empire 100g of ripe Camembert 25g of lightly toasted and chopped hazelnuts or cobnuts 1 finely chopped shallot A pinch of finely chopped, fresh rosemary or thyme Salt and freshly ground pepper, to season Rocket or herb salad to serve Crusty bread METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Remove the core from the apples using an apple corer. With a sharp knife, carefully score a line horizontally around the middle of each apple and place in a snug oven proof dish. 2. Place the Camembert in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Stir in the hazelnuts, shallot and herbs, and season to taste. 3. Stuff the cheese mixture into the cored centre of each apple. Cover the dish loosely with foil, but tightly seal the edges. 4. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes, until the apples have softened and the cheese mixture is golden. 4. Serve the apples with the salad leaves, drizzled with the juices from the dish, and hunks of crusty bread for mopping up. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
Cheese & Apple Scones
2. Using a fork, lightly mix in the mustard and 50g of
Perfect served with steaming mugs of tea, cheese
the cheese. Coarsely grate the unpeeled apple into the mixture, discarding the core and pips. Lightly
and homemade chutney. Makes 6 - 8. Ingredients 225g of self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting and rolling 1 teaspoon of baking powder A pinch of salt 60g of unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small dice 1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard 75g of mature cheddar, coarsely grated 1 medium eating apple, like a Discovery (or a couple of Cox’s Pippins) 1 egg 100ml of milk A wee squeeze of lemon juice METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F/Gas 6. Line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper and place in the oven to heat whilst you make the scones. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Quickly and lightly rub the butter into the flour mixture, until you have a rubbly breadcrumb texture. 108 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
mix again to coat the apple with the flour. 3. Add the lemon juice to the milk and stir. Whisk the egg and add to the milk, leaving a little to the side to egg-wash the tops of your scones before they go into the oven. Gradually add the liquid to the bowl, using a butter knife to bring the mixture together to form a soft dough. 4. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and roll it out evenly, to around 2cm thick. Cut into rounds about 6 or 7cm - using a cookie cutter or a small floured glass. (Don’t twist as you cut or you will end up with a wonky scone. Personally, I don’t mind; it doesn’t affect the flavour and they are homemade, not factory made.) Gather together your trimmings, re-roll and repeat until you have used all of the dough. 5. Place the scones on the heated baking tray. Quickly brush the tops with the egg-wash and top with the remaining grated cheese. Bake for 12-15 minutes until well risen and golden, and then leave to cool on a wire rack. These scones are best eaten warm from the oven, on the day of baking.
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Cider-baked Apples & Rice Pudding With frosty mornings and chilly days, you’ll need no excuse to make this warming, old-fashioned rib-sticker of a pud. Just pop it in the oven for a couple of hours and let it waft it’s marvellous cinnamon, cider and vanilla fug around the house. Serves 6. Ingredients For the rice pudding: 150g of short grain (pudding or risotto) rice 1 litre of whole milk 50g of caster sugar 1 teaspoon of good vanilla extract or a vanilla pod double cream, to serve For the apples: 4 - 6 small eating apples, like Cox’s or Spartan 35g of unsalted butter ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon 300ml of cider 2 small bay leaves 2 tablespoons of demerara sugar 2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar You will also need a large ovenproof dish and a small roasting tin. 110 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 150Â°C/350Â°F/Gas 2. Prepare the rice first; wash the rice with cold water and drain well. Butter a large heatproof baking dish (at least 1.5 litres), then tip in the rice, sugar, vanilla and stir through the milk. Cook for 1Â˝ - 2 hrs, or until the pudding wobbles ever so slightly when shaken. 2. With the rice in the oven, prepare the apples. Melt the butter in a small frying pan. Halve the apples (no need to peel or core) and add them to the hot pan. Fry until lightly golden and then place the apples in the roasting pan, cut side up. Pour over any remaining juices and sprinkle with the cinnamon. Pour the cider over the apples and add the sugars to the pan.
3. Bake in the oven alongside the rice and occasionally baste with the cider, until the apples are soft and slightly caramelised. 3. If the apples are ready before the rice, cover the tin with foil to keep warm until the rice is ready to serve. To serve, stir the rice to loosen it - adding some more milk if necessary - and top with apples and a swirl of cream. Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, the apples and rice pudding will keep for 2-3 days. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
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Dorset Apple Cake
2. Beat in the egg along with 8 - 10 tablespoons of
Any Dorset tearoom worth its salt will have
milk; you want to achieve a smooth, thick batter. Add the apples and sultanas to the mixture, and stir
this moist and spicy fruit cake on its menu. The demerara sugar gives the top a lovely crunch. Serves 8. Ingredients 225g self-raising flour 2 tsp ground cinnamon 115g unsalted butter, diced and chilled, plus extra for greasing 115g soft brown sugar 1 large egg, beaten 6-8 tbsp milk 225g of apples, such as Bramley, peeled, cored and diced
well to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, gently level out and then sprinkle over the demerara sugar. 3. Bake in the oven for 40 - 50 minutes, or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so, and then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Stored in an airtight container, this cake will keep for 2-3 days.
100g sultanas 2 tablespoons of demerara sugar You will also need a deep, greased and lined, loosebottomed 20cm cake tin. METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4/350F. Sift the flour and spice together into a large bowl, and working quickly and lightly, rub the butter into the flour until you have a rubbly breadcrumb texture. Add the sugar and stir well to combine. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
2. Preheat the oven to 220째C/425째F/Gas 7. Sift the
This is my version of the traditional apple pudding
flour into a large bowl and, working quickly and lightly, rub the butter into the flour until you have a
from the West Country. Delicious served with lashings of custard or a dollop of clotted cream. Serves 6. Ingredients: 2 large eating apples, like Egremont Russet A squeeze of lemon juice 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or mixed spice 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 50g of chilled unsalted butter, plus a bit extra for greasing the tin 200g of self-raising flour 30g of caster sugar 100ml of milk 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar Honey for drizzling (optional) You will also need a shallow, greased and lined, 18cm loose-bottomed baking tin. METHOD: 1. Peel, core and dice the apples. Place in a small pan with 1-2 tablespoons of water and the lemon juice, vanilla and cinnamon. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Strain the apples in a sieve and set aside to cool. 114 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
rubbly breadcrumb texture. Add the sugar and stir well to combine. 3. Gradually add the milk to the bowl, using a butter knife to bring the mixture together to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. 4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and roll out to a rectangle approximately 30cm x 20cm. Spoon and evenly spread the cooled, strained apple mixture onto the surface of the dough. 5. Roll the dough up tightly from the long edge (think Swiss roll!) and then cut evenly into 7 thick slices. Place the rounds of dough into the prepared baking tin and sprinkle the top liberally with the granulated sugar (and another pinch of spice if you are inclined). 6. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until crusty and golden. Drizzled with honey, this pudding is equally good served warm or cold. Best eaten on the day of baking (although it makes a jolly nice breakfast for the morning after, if there is any left!). Images courtesy of Bebe Bradley
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Snail Mail by Dawn Bevins As a teenager, I had two pen friends. We never met but would send each other letters about boys, school and friends, smothered in stickers and doodles. I’m not entirely sure why we stopped writing; I suppose life got in the way and we just forgot, but I remember them fondly and I kept all of the letters until I moved out of home (and even then, kept hold of a couple). So with that little insight into my past, I’m sure you’ll understand why I’m right behind author Michelle Mackintosh and her mission to start a ‘slow correspondence revolution’. In Snail Mail, Mackintosh talks you through the importance of letter writing: the significance that it had in the past as one of the only forms of communication, when and how to write, reminders of language and etiquette, and ideas on elevating your plain paper and envelope into something fun and unique. 116 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
The book begins with a lengthy introduction exploring Mackintosh’s love of letter writing and mail paraphernalia. The rest of the book is divided into six chapters and the first chapter, ‘Right Here, Right Now’, suggests occasions when you might want to send mail, like celebrating something someone wouldn’t necessarily expect, such as a child’s first day at school. Suggestions also include
fan mail (although I think I may be a bit old for that), love letters, letting people know that you are thinking of them in times of hardship and ‘just because’. In chapter two, ‘Crafting a Letter’, you’ll find step-by-step instructions and images on how to make your own paper, up-cycled envelopes and all-in-one aerograms, using templates from the back of the book. Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
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Chapter three, ‘Creative Characters’, encourages you to embrace your handwriting quirks. There’s an exercise to help you with your handwriting if you only ever use a computer, and ideas on how to make your correspondence seem more personal if you really don’t want to write by hand. My favourite part of the book has to be the fourth chapter, ‘Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String’. It’s all about sending care-packages to someone who really needs cheering up or deserves a special surprise. I’ve a very fond memory of checking my mail at university and finding a large Jiffy bag filled with sweets from my awesome sister, which she sent ‘just because’. Since then, when I can, I like to share that feeling with others. Mackintosh suggests reasons why you might send a care package and items that you could include. There are recipes for simple chocolate treats and biscuits for that handmade touch, and I love the idea of wrapping a child’s toy to show its shape.
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The penultimate chapter is ‘Post with Personality’, and looks at how to decorate and add individuality to your letters by creating rubber stamps, investing in embossing plates or using stickers. It also shows you how to make a wax seal from a champagne cork and a metal button. The final chapter, ‘Getting the Most From Your Post’, shares a selection of pen-friend stories and encourages you to consider displaying your letters and paraphernalia using things like pegs, washi tape and frames. This is a beautifully presented book awash with pretty paper backgrounds and decorative stamps. Between the tips and projects, there are also scans of old letters from well known people such as Oscar Wilde and Beatrix Potter, and this adds a lovely feeling of nostalgia and sincerity that balances out the humour and cuteness. The book is a great starting point for anyone who finds the idea 120 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
of letter writing a bit ‘alien’. For those who have written letters before, some things may seem a little obvious, but it is a great reminder to actually sit down and get back to it, to slow down and take the time to let someone know that you care instead of firing off a quick, grammatically incorrect text. There is also an extra little surprise at the back of the book but I’ll let you discover it for yourself. All I’ll say is that it made me smile and want to pick up a pen. Snail Mail by Michelle Mackintosh, is published by Hardie Grant at £14.99 and is available from all good bookshops. Images courtesy of Hardie Grant, with photography by Chris Middleton. For more information, visit: www.hardiegrant.co.uk ISBN-10: 1742708773 ISBN-13: 978-1742708775
Autumn 2015 | ukhandmade |
DO: Flutter By, Butterfly
by Teresa Verney Brookes
‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle has, for many children, provided an ideal introduction to science, life cycles and mini beasts. It certainly got my children interested in butterflies from a very young age and is probably one of the most well-worn books in my house. Even though my children are now that bit older, they still love the book. It’s amazing to think that butterflies have been around for at least 50 million years and probably first evolved some 150 million years ago. There are 56 species of butterfly in the UK and up to 22 of
Sadly, according to the Butterfly Conservation Trust, three-quarters of British butterflies are in decline. However, with your help, even the smallest of urban gardens can be transformed into a butterfly haven.
these can be found in our gardens. As well as being beautiful and fascinating creatures, butterflies are widely regarded as visual indicators of the health of our wider countryside. Caterpillars and butterflies also play a vital part of many other creatures’ diets, particularly bats and birds, with Blue Tits eating millions of them each summer. Whilst some caterpillars are often given a bit of a bad press in the garden (some do like to munch their way through our prized vegetables), please remember that they also provide natural pest control, not to mention pollination services too.
If you have a garden, try to leave a ‘wild area’. If not or if you don’t have the space, you can plant some attractive, nectar rich plants - such as lavender, catmint, valerian or scabious - in hanging baskets or window boxes. The Butterfly Conservation Trust’s website has a downloadable list of the 100 best butterfly plants in order of attraction, and includes plants for every sort of garden. Even if you plant just one or two, you will be doing your bit to help not just butterflies, but bees and other mini beasts too. Don’t forget to include caterpillar food plants if you want butterflies to breed in your garden.
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Images courtesy of Pixabay
caterpillars but many other pollinating insects too and also upset the natural balance of predator and prey. Some adult butterflies hibernate so cultivate places for them to hide, like a hedge or ivy. The monitoring of butterflies on your local patch is also really important. Earlier this year, you may have seen the wonderful David Attenborough launch the Butterfly Conservation Trust’s ‘Big Butterfly Count’, which runs every year between July and August. To use the words of Sir David, getting involved in this way means, “that everybody could play a part in reversing the declines of butterflies and other wildlife”. For me, getting involved in this survey provides me with the perfect excuse to sit in my deckchair, admire these amazing creatures and know that I am doing my bit to help too!
Butterflies like warmth so choose sunny, sheltered spots when planting, and try to plant the same types of plants in blocks. If you can, aim to provide flowers right through the butterfly season. Spring flowering plants are vital for butterflies coming out of hibernation and autumn flowering plants help them to build up their reserves for winter. You can also prolong flowering by deadheading flowers and mulching with organic compost. Plants that are well-watered will produce far more nectar for hungry butterflies. Avoid insecticides and pesticides; they not only kill butterflies and their 124 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2015
For more information, visit: www.butterfly-conservation.org For the ‘Big Butterfly Count’, visit: www.butterfly-conservation.org/48-9582/getout-for-the-count.html For the list of 100 best butterfly plants, visit: www.butterfly-conservation.org/files/100-bestbutterfly-nectar-plants.pdf
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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