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WINTER: 2014 速

ukhandmade

a showcase for the work of talented UK designer-makers

Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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The Winter Collection 2014

The UK Handmade Showcases buy the best in handmade and show someone you care www.ukhandmade.co.uk/showcase

Rock2Hopper Penguins by2014 Jo Clark Design | ukhandmade | Winter


Contents... 4

contributors: Winter 2014

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finds: Editor’s Picks Legacy can refer to bestowal, benefaction,

inheritance

or

heritage, and as artists, designers and makers, you could say that

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meet: Louise Wilkinson

by investing in our own unique and authentic work, we leave our very own legacy. In this issue, we bring you exclusive interviews with those

42 meet:

Michelle McKinney

who are making their own definite mark; from the stories of a weaver and a textile artist, to an amazing charitable social enterprise. If that’s not inspiration enough, we also have our regular selection of wonderful features, finds,

seasonal

recipes

and

reviews making sure that our winter issue has something for everyone.

64 meet:

Blackpop

84 meet:

Chrissie Freeth

118 do:

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Wildflower Legacy

review: A Very British Revolution

100 lifestyle:

review: Liberty Style

Take Comfort

114 lifestyle:

From Tower Block to 4 Acres

24 scene:

Out of the Dark

52 scene:

Made in Clerkenwell

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94 review:

The Curious Bartender: An Odyssey

108 review:

Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen

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business: The Importance of Images

74 scene:

MADE Brighton

Bebe. x FRONT COVER: www.michellemckinney.co.uk; BACK COVER: www.larissajoice.com

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WINTER 2014 Contributors... Lisa Margreet Payne Craft Educator & Writer www.lisamargreet.com

Sarah Hamilton

Artist & Designer www.sarahhamiltonprints.com

Karen Jinks

Dawn Bevins

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

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

Mich Yasue

Chrissie Freeth

Finance Director & Maker www.myfuroshiki.com

Handloom Weaver www.chrissiefreeth.wix.com/weaver

UK Handmade Magazine, info@ukhandmade.co.uk, www.ukhandmade.co.uk • Copyright © UK Handmade LTD 2014. All rights reserved. Reproduction or redistribution in whole or in parts without written permission is strictly prohibited. The editor’s decision on all printed material is final. Unsolicited work is accepted but does not guarantee inclusion into the final edition. The views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of UK Handmade or the editor. Creative Director: Karen Jinks info@ukhandmade.co.uk • Editor: Bebe Bradley editor@ukhandmade.co.uk • Design: Jo Askey design@ukhandmade.co.uk Deputy Editor: Dawn Bevins dawn@ukhandmade.co.uk • Advertising: advertising@ukhandmade.co.uk • PR: pr@ukhandmade.co.uk Events: events@ukhandmade.co.uk 4 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


page

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Meet:Blackpop Teresa Verney Brookes

Education Officer for the RSPB & Forest School Teacher

Nicola Mesham

Designer/Maker www.pouchbags.co.uk

Larissa Joice

Photographer www.larissajoice.com

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Winter finds: ABIGAIL BROWN

Cat, Bear, Rabbit and Squirrel Dolls, ÂŁ65 each from www.onlytiny.co.uk

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GINGER PICKLE Wooden Penguin Brooch, ÂŁ9.50 from www.gingerpickle.co.uk

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POPPY TREFFRY Wooden Sewing Machine decoration, ÂŁ5.95 from www.poppytreffry.co.uk

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YVONNE ELLEN: Stag Plate Set, (this page) £55 from www.yvonneellen.com

SUE BROWN ‘Moth Eaten Spoons’, (opposite) enquiries at www.suebrownprintmaker.blogspot.co.uk Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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STONEWARE STUDIO UK A Village of 5 Tiny Stoneware Houses, ÂŁ38 from www.stonewarestudiouk etsy.com

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ELAINE COX Brooch, enquiries at www.elainecox.com

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MEET:

Louise Wilkinson by Nicola Mesham

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Louise Wilkinson is a London-based designer who creates beautiful and decorative artworks, fine china and textiles. Alongside her range of products, Louise has also worked on a number of interesting installations. Louise’s work cleverly blends the traditional with the modern, creating pieces that have a timeless quality. We caught up with Louise to find out more about her influences and what the future holds for her design business. Louise grew up in a small village in the Yorkshire countryside, surrounded by acres of farmland and green spaces, and it’s easy to see Louise’s love of the natural world emerge in her work. With a background in illustration, she built up a raft of work experience before taking the plunge to design her own range. She says, “I studied an Illustration degree at University, and it was great to learn about the different aspects of image making. I loved drawing as a child and looking at the illustrations in old encyclopaedias, children’s books, fables and tales. After graduating, my first job involved working as an illustrator, designing the prints, patterns and characters for children’s clothes and drawing everything by hand. I moved to London and worked in the fashion industry as a print and textiles designer, whilst also working on freelance illustration commissions”. Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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With a textile background, Louise explains why she finally decided to feature her first collection on ceramic pieces, “I had always wanted to create my own artworks, to have a little more creative freedom and work for myself. I really love the quality of fine bone china and felt it was the perfect canvas to compliment my designs. I like drinking tea and it was wonderful to create my own cup and saucer!” Louise’s work would not look out of place at any vintage tea party, yet it also feels utterly contemporary. She explains, “I hope to design pieces that you can treasure. I create intricate, playful, artworks with a harmonious quality and they often have a narrative, mixing the traditional decorative arts with a modern twist. I’ve always been inspired by the romantic narratives of the Blue Willow pattern. My work is influenced by my love of the traditional decorative arts, nature and exotic, dreamlike places. I’m also influenced by the different exhibitions I visit in London or the things I see out and about. I love art and illustration, Japanese and Chinese paintings, Matisse, Henri Rousseau and Georges Lepape, the ceramics of Danish artist Bjorn Winblad, and the Swedish artist and designer Stig Lindberg.”

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The preparation which goes into each body of work can be complex and multi-layered. Louise breaks down her creative process, “I like to draw a few pencil sketches first on scraps of paper, though depending on the project, it might be biro, collage or ink. At a later stage, I will draw my artworks on the computer with a pen. The designs are then screen printed and hand decorated in Stoke on Trent. It takes many months to consider the shapes and designs together, and then fit the artworks correctly”. This mix of old and new may go some way to explaining why Liberty of London snapped up her Maple collection of ceramics after she took part in the ‘Best of Britain Open Day’. “I launched my first collection in Liberty which was very exciting! It is such a gorgeous shop; it was a great day and a valuable learning experience”. Events like Liberty’s open day enable new designers to show their work off to important retailers and offers invaluable support to creative individuals working in the UK today. Organisations like Liberty hope to spot the design classics of the future and ensure that their stores stay at the cutting edge of design.

‘My Heart is Still Blue’ Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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There will be more art projects in the future and Louise’s artworks from the V&A and Skandium exhibitions will be available to buy from her website

Having her Maple collection stocked in one of the UK’s oldest and most respected retailers has bought her work to a wider audience and provided a springboard for her design business. 2014 has also seen Louise working with other exciting names. Louise explains, “Earlier this year, I collaborated with the V&A which was wonderful! It has always been one of my favourite and most inspiring museums, and the collaboration involved illustrating the entire V&A shop Christmas installation. I have also just collaborated with Modern Shows and the Skandium Fritz Hansen store in London. I created a pop-up wall artwork and it will be exhibited for the next few months; it was a lovely project and it’s such a beautiful shop”.

in the next few months. Louise is also launching her first fabric and cushion collection, which should be available in time for Christmas 2014. It’s clear to see that Louise’s work may be rooted in the past, but her eyes are firmly set on the future. She says, “I like to experiment with new techniques; I created a lot of collage and paintings when I was at university and would love to paint a lot more. I like the simplicity of paper and pencil as a starting point, but keep updated with digital artworks and design with a pen on a mac. I would really love to learn more about 3D printing too”. With a beautiful installation at the V&A, a range of ceramics stocked by an internationally respected brand, various pop-up collaborations under her belt and a new textile collection on the horizon, Louise Wilkinson is a designer to watch out for in 2015 and beyond. For more information, visit: www.louisewilkinson.co.uk Images courtesy of Louise Wilkinson

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SCENE:

Out of the Dark is a charitable social enterprise that creates uniquely designed and beautifully crafted furniture. Founded in 2010 by Jay and Jade Blades, Out of the Dark recycles, restores and revamps pieces of furniture discarded by others and in the process, trains, educates and employs young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Based in High Wycombe, historically the centre of British furniture manufacturing, Out of the Dark not only keeps the skills and crafts of this industry alive, it gives them a contemporary twist, ensuring that both they and the young people learning them, have a bright future.

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Jay and Jade met at Bucks New University where Jay was studying for a BSc in Criminology and Philosophy and Jade for a BA in Textiles Design and Art. Both had personal experience of rebellion and hardship in teenage years, and both worked throughout their studies; Jay in building and carpentry, and Jade in interior and textile design. Passionate about helping young people, they both still found time to volunteer with various youth and homelessness projects whilst studying and working. Out of the Dark represents the culmination of Jay and Jade’s life and work experiences, qualifications, talent and passions, and exists to support disadvantaged young people, helping them achieve a better life and steer them away from crime. Not only is the social enterprise run as a family business, at its heart lies the premise of creating an extended family. All of the young people involved are welcomed into the fold and become part of this family. They learn about craft, life and work skills, and develop self-esteem, self-discipline and confidence, enabling them to become life and job-ready. In the past four years, Out of the Dark has worked with sixty-three young people. Nine of these young people have now gone on to fulltime jobs, five have gone on to part-time jobs, and three have gone on to university, college and to a full time apprenticeship, respectively. Fourteen are carrying on in full time education; twenty-one are currently on the project as trainees and seven are paid workers on the project. The charity is supported by a board of trustees and volunteers, ranging from professionals to school students and university graduates. Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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Out of the Dark aims to work with 90 young people per year, in conjunction with the Police, Social Services, schools, pupil referral units and parents, and offers different schemes at three different levels of engagement. For the Level One scheme, schools, police & social services refer young people who are not doing so well academically to the project during term time. Whilst on the scheme, they learn basic practical skills in DIY and furniture restoration alongside life skills like time-keeping and self-discipline. During the holidays, families can refer their children to Out of the Dark’s holiday projects where, as well as having fun in a safe environment, they learn new skills whilst embellishing a piece of furniture to take home. The Level Two trainee scheme entails Level One referrals moving up a level where they will learn more, and are given the chance to compete with their peers to get a paid job. Young people are ‘head hunted’ from within the projects to become trainees for three months; they volunteer their time to learn more specific and expert skills in furniture restoration, design and business. This is an ‘apprentice’ style scheme where candidates compete against each other and, by the end of the process, up to five young people are taken on as paid employees.

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Those who get through the second level are able to move on to supported employment in Level Three and become paid employees, deepening their knowledge and experience. Having shown promise and commitment on the Trainee Scheme, these young people are then given a chance to move up the ladder and become paid employees; beginning on the minimum wage, they can then work their way up through two further pay grades before finally getting paid through ‘piecework’ i.e. earning per piece they complete on time. Out of the Dark also run bespoke programmes offering young people a taste of working life, business and craftsmanship, and each set 5 day programme caters for 15 young people. Past projects have involved the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Housing Association and Hertfordshire Children’s Homes. During the programme, young people learn how to restore and revamp a chair from scratch, and take their chair home with them. It’s not just about fixing, sanding, painting, varnishing and upholstering a chair; they also receive sessions in life coaching and business. Jade says, “The process of designing and making teaches young people a huge number of skills. But we can’t just stop there. They need to be part of the whole process of the business, and learn about styling, marketing, public relations and sales.” Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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For their most recent project, ‘And into the Woods’, Out of the Dark collaborated with Sebastian Cox, Mylands Paints, Benchmark, Timberwright, Chiltern Rangers, Decorex and Heal’s to design, source, produce, exhibit and sell an exceptional range of ethically sourced stools. Since first bursting on to the design scene, Out of the Dark has garnered support from many in the industry and design world. For this particular project, the aim was to recreate the historic cycle of furniture-making prevalent for centuries in their hometown of High Wycombe, residence to many iconic British brands including Ercol, GPlan and Parker Knoll. The life of a chair would begin in the Chiltern Woods, where bodgers cut down trees and made them in to legs and spindles. These were then transported to High Wycombe, where they were made into ‘Windsor’ chairs; the ‘Windsor’ chair originated in High Wycombe and was named as such to make it seem more valuable when selling in London. This thriving industry once saw some 90% of the town employed by the furniture makers, and this collaborative project would see Out of the Dark working with some of the industry’s most experienced companies. 32 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


The wood for the legs was coppiced by young people from local woods with help from Sebastian Cox, Timberwright & Chiltern Rangers, and then transported to the Out of the Dark workshop, where Sebastian Cox taught how to bodge the legs. Benchmark Furniture donated offcuts of wood for the seats and supported the project with educational tours of the Benchmark workshops. The seats were painted with the newly launched Mylands ‘Out of the Dark’ paint range and the stools assembled using traditional techniques. As a result, the stools were exhibited at Decorex in 2014, and will be sold in Heals this December. The project has not only allowed the partners to support young people, but also set a trend for future collaborations. Being supported and mentored by some of the industry’s greatest names enables Out of the Dark to take leaps and bounds in creating positive opportunities and help vulnerable young people to shine. For more information, visit: www.outofthedark.org.uk Images courtesy of Out of the Dark

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BUSINESS:

The Importance of Images by Sarah Hamilton In these days of social media, online sales and press releases for print media, never has having great photographs been more important, and this tops every advice list. I’m never happier than when I have a new set of sparkling images to use in my newsletters, printed publicity material or for press requests. Even with limited resources, a fund allocated to photography is money very wisely spent. Whether you’ve recently launched your creative business or are long established, professional images are key to ensuring you engage with bloggers and journalists who are as keen to showcase quality content as you are to spread the word about what you do. This is especially critical if you’re planning to sell online. Great pictures unlock doors and even mediocre products strikingly styled, as unjust as it sounds, are more likely to be picked, than poor quality shots of beautiful artwork. Eloquent words, however poetic, pale into insignificance compared to images. It really is that simple. 34 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014

Image courtesy of Rohan’s Photo


As is often the case with well-meaning advice, however, the chasm between theory and practicality can be huge, and producing these

with as different people bring fresh ideas, and it’s always challenging and interesting to see new approaches. If you don’t use Social Media, scour

‘great images’ can be daunting. So, with the help of photographer Yeshen Venema and stylist Joanna Thornhill, I’ve compiled a guide to help you achieve this goal. Both Yeshen and Jo worked with me to create the photography for my new website and, as I’m absolutely thrilled with the results, I hope our insights will help you make cost effective decisions which will reap rich rewards.

trade magazines for adverts or ask other businesses for recommendations.

1. Pick a photographer. Most photographers use Social Media to engage with their clients and showcase their work. To locate them, put your deerstalker on, follow some on Twitter and take a look at their websites. They often follow magazines, journalists and other photographers. I’ve worked with fantastic photographers who I’ve discovered via Twitter, and would highly recommend James Balston (@ jamesbalston), Fiona Murray (@fionamphoto) and Paul Craig (@paullmcraig). Keep in mind that if, like me, you prefer shoots in your studio, you may be limited by location. Many photographers have a specialism so look at their work, identify theirs and assess whether it reflects your aesthetic. I often vary who I work

2. Negotiate a price. Photographers usually charge a daily rate, ranging from £200 - £800. Even at the lower end, to a small business this can seem like a bone-shakingly scary sum. However, I strongly suggest you take a deep breath and appreciate the wealth of benefits that great images will bring to your business. Consider, for instance, if you paid for an advertisement in a magazine; it would cost hundreds more than if your photograph was chosen for editorial. One great feature and the entire shoot may well cover the costs, and editorial is a far more significant testimonial to your work than a paid advertisement.

3. Identify a location. Whilst some photographers have professionally equipped studios, most are very happy to come to you. If, like me, you have a studio which reflects your work, you may prefer photographers to shoot within your workspace, providing images of your inspiration, sketchbooks and work in progress. I often use these in my promotions as they add a dimension and context to my artwork. Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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I’m an artist with a wide range of interests and inspirations, something I’m often asked to share with press and clients.

4. Consider working with a stylist. I worked with stylist Joanna Thornhill recently and, whilst funds don’t always stretch to being able to use a stylist, her skills and understanding of composition added a very welcome level of professionalism to the lifestyle shots. She also has strong understanding of what journalists and bloggers look for when sourcing images. Jo explains her approach, “With smaller clients, I’m usually involved in the whole production, from helping to conceptualise the idea to guiding them on an overall style, then coming up with tear sheets and mood boards to hone the look. I’ll refine ideas, sketch out each shot, dictate what products and props to include, and identify the agreed shoot location. I use my ‘Little Black Book’ to help me source items which will make the shot sing out, as well as raid my own prop stash. It’s often the little touches - flowers, a ticket stub on a desktop or a pretty feather in a jam jar - which make all the difference. Finally, on shoot days, I ensure everything runs smoothly, troubleshoot any problems and ensure we keep to schedule.” 36 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


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5. Prepare for the shoot day. Decide what type of shots you require. I prefer a mixture of lifestyle, product shots and cut-outs to give myself the maximum flexibility. Consider how you want to use the end results. You may need the images for a brochure, in which case you’ll have to decide a format. If you need images for a sales platform, e.g. Not on The High Street, they will often specify their own image sizes. Make sure you clarify all these points with the person whom you are working with, as it’s vital at this stage. People are always happy to guide you so never be afraid to ask. Happy clients lead to more happy clients! Yeshen Venema has very kindly shared his tips with us. He says, “Consistency is number one for me. Crop, background colour, props and lighting should be consistent. Set your style and stick to it. Take and save reference photos of the room on your phone while you’re taking the photos so you can replicate setups next time”. Next, he recommends using a tripod. He says, “Tripods are particularly important for consistent product shots; a tripod means that you can set up your frame and tweak arrangements without changing the angle. It’s not simply about eliminating camera shake and for longer exposures on gloomy days!” 38 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


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“Then,” he explains, “we have diffusion. Soft light is your friend. Try white muslin material on, ideally, a north-facing skylight or window to avoid direct sunlight. Hard light creates strong shadows and high contrast resulting in inaccurate product shots. Don’t forget scale and depth. Often overlooked, scale is very important in lifestyle shots when selling online. Use common household objects e.g. a pencil or mug so customers can appreciate the relative scale of your product.” For lifestyle shots, having everything in focus results in very flat images. Yeshen recommends that you “create depth of field by using a lower f-stop to blur the background, but not too much. f8 – f2.8 is a good range depending on the product.” Finally, he says, “Tell your story! There are thousands of designers selling cushions online; if you sell cushions, unique and meaningful props or locations will help you stand out”. For further information, I recommend ‘Photograph Your Own Art and Craft’ by Sussie Ahlburg. Take a look at Yeshen Venema and Joanna Thornhill’s excellent websites and follow them both on Twitter (@JoannaThornhill and @Yeshen) for interesting tips and insights. Now you have all the tools at hand, we hope that every time we see a magazine or blog, we will see your wonderful images! Sarah Hamilton will be taking part in Modern Shows at Dulwich College, London on November 23rd, 2015. For more information, visit: www.sarahhamiltonprints.com www.modernshows.com Images courtesy of Sarah Hamilton Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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MEET:

Michelle McKinney by Bebe Bradley

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Michelle McKinney’s fragile and ephemeral art are works of elegant simplicity. The symbols that she finds in nature are timeless and capture movement in stillness. Using hand-cut, translucent woven metal, she conveys the strength and permanence of industrial, man-made materials in works that echo the fragile, fleeting, beauty of the natural world around us.

breath-taking, large-scale installations suspended on transparent nylon threads, contemporary floral artists like Daniel Ost, photographers such as

Who is Michelle McKinney; what experience and training do you have, and how has your art been borne out of this? I am an artist working in ultra-fine woven metal. My degree was in Silversmithing and Jewellery Design and after graduating, I produced my own range of precious jewellery. I gradually became

What is the ethos behind your art? Behind my work is my desire to push the boundaries of the industrial materials with which I work, to reflect the beauty of nature.

Alexander James and Kirsty Mitchell, Japanese and Chinese art and design. My biggest inspiration of all is the nature that surrounds me, the constancy and rhythm of the changing seasons, and a desire to capture that beauty and movement before it is gone for another year.

more interested in working on a larger scale and in the materials that I use today; I still use jewellery techniques in my work now, and my knowledge of how different metals behave comes from that foundation. Your art and technique are both highly distinctive and sculptural. Tell us about the inspiration behind your work. Who - or what - is inspiring you right now? I am inspired by many things in my artistic practice; other artists such as Claire Morgan who creates Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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Your approach to your materials is innovative; has it been a difficult process to master? Is there a tool or piece of equipment that you cannot do without? I have, over the years, become increasingly skilled with my materials and I am able to create a much wider spectrum of colours from the various metals that I use. I’m always trying out new ways of working and at the moment, I am working on sculptural ideas with multiple cut elements suspended on nylon threads, which is very exciting for me! The tool that I could not do without, are my trusty scissors. It’s from these that all of my artworks begin life. Your work possesses a beautiful fragility. What aspects of the natural world do you enjoy portraying in your work? The natural world for me is a never ending source of inspiration. The contrast of using industrial materials to portray the fragility and beauty of nature interests me. I’m fascinated by the beauty found in the decay of a fading rose or fallen leaf. In my work, I try to capture a moment in time both movement and stillness - and almost control it, hold it by pinning it into position.

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What creative steps do you take to create a new piece? The creation of a new piece always begins with

my travels. People bring me things for my cabinet which is fantastic!

sketching and taking photographs. Then I start to play with the materials to see if I can achieve the concept that I have in my head. After many hours of experimentation, I begin to build up the artwork, layer by layer, working on the colour and composition as the piece evolves.

What do you do to relax? Relaxation for me is getting out across the fields with my family and the dog. We love to go walking and it always lifts my spirits!

What do you love most about what you do, and what do you find the most frustrating? The part I love most is the making, the moments where time gets lost as I sit and work the materials. I love it when the picture I have in my head begins to take shape in reality. Frustrations arise when I have tight deadlines. Getting the balance right, between finding the time to work through new ideas, move my work forward and complete commissions on time, can be tricky. Describe your current work space. I work from a lovely studio in my garden where I am surrounded by nature and trees, and I see the seasons change on a daily basis. The walls of my studio are covered in things I’ve found and that inspire me, pictures, sketches, etc. My favourite item is my cabinet of curiosities in which I keep all my nature treasures, the pieces that I collect on

Do you think there has been a change in the perception of ‘craft’ and what it means to own a handmade or hand-finished object? I think the perception of ‘craft’ has changed in recent years. People understand that something handcrafted can take your breath away; it can be something incredibly beautiful, that challenges you to think and pushes your boundaries. There are amazing artists creating work out there and they can be found if you look in the right places. I think that it is something very special if you can look at a piece of work and you are able to feel a connection with the artist, feel the echo of their physical presence in how the material is worked. What does ‘handmade’ mean to you? To me, ‘handmade’ means exactly that. It is something that has started as the seed of an idea, which has been created from nothing, and has gone through all the processes and skills of the artist to create a finished work of art, a ‘story’. Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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What advice would you give to someone starting out? My advice would be to believe in your abilities, to keep creating even on those days when you feel paralyzed by the fear of failure. Get out there, be inspired, meet other artists, think about where you would like your work to be seen and don’t say yes to every opportunity that arises. Aim high and start as you mean to carry on. Above all, create what feels right for you and don’t try to be someone you are not. Your best work will always feel natural to you. If you had the opportunity to learn or employ a new creative skill, what would it be? Going back to relaxation, I have just started an evening class in dressmaking. I am a complete beginner but loving it already. I have a passion for vintage fabrics and designs so I’m hoping to learn the skills to make myself some vintage inspired outfits! What’s next for Michelle McKinney; do you have any new projects and what are your goals for the future? Where can we purchase and find out more about your work? I am represented by the Northcote Gallery in London and they always have pieces of my work available for viewing. I have a new website where I’ll be launching my collection of ‘Ghost Editions’ prints this month, and you can also view recent pieces I have been working on and contact me about commissions. If you’d like to keep up to date with the day-to-day activities of my studio, you can find and follow me on Facebook. March, 2015, sees me have my fourth solo exhibition at the Northcote Gallery which is very exciting! I am working on a number of new ideas, including more sculptural pieces, for this and more information will be available on my website nearer the time. Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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For more information on Michelle McKinney, visit: www.michellemckinney.co.uk To follow Michelle on Facebook, visit: www.facebook.com/MichelleMckinneyArtist Images courtesy of Michelle McKinney

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SCENE:

MADE in Clerkenwell

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Victoria King


Craft Central once again partners with their neighbours, The Goldsmiths’ Centre and brings you an additional venue for Made in Clerkenwell, the ultimate shopping treat! Visitors will be able to explore the two Victorian studio buildings in the heart of creative Clerkenwell, along with the design market inside the Goldsmiths’ Centre. All three venues are located within convenient strolling distance, just 2 minutes away from each other.

Elleswhere

Opt for handmade this Christmas and shop for fashion, jewellery, accessories, ceramics, prints, illustration and interior products from over 100 selected UK designer-makers. Choose a gift, commission a unique piece, find a bespoke design service or just browse. Whether you can spare an hour or a whole day, mingle with the makers in the studios where they work their magic. One ticket allows unlimited access over 4 days, and includes Thursday’s launch event and Friday’s late night shopping. Once again, The Bench Cafe at The Goldsmiths’ Centre will be providing delicious food and drink during the event, and don’t forget the free mulled wine bar on Clerkenwell Green! Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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Amy Keeper Just a stone’s throw from the London Jewellery Quarter, Clerkenwell’s studios are famous for great jewellery design. Adorn yourself with creations from

You’ll find beautifully crafted ceramics by Design K, Helen Beard, Ikuko Iwamoto, Alison Brent and Janet Stahelin Edmondson; colourful textiles by Hokolo,

the likes of Myia Bonner, Anton Kata, Jeanne Marell, Amanda Li Hope, Mandana Oskoui, Suzanne Rogers, Rhiannon Palmer and Mark Nuell. Wrap up warm for winter with gorgeous knitwear from Sian O’Doherty, Suzie Lee and Sally Nencini or exquisite scarves from Theo Wright or Liz Clay. Tempting leather bags and accessories will also be on show from Kuku Big Bag, Lydia Riley and Melissa Simpson. Milliners to the stars Katherine Elizabeth, Ellsewhere, UglyLovely, La Dame au Béret and Rachel Black will be on hand with beautiful modern and vintage-inspired hats.

Waffle Design and Georgia Bosson; quirky limited edition prints by Clunky Doodles, House of Cally, Bronagh Kennedy, Monokraum and Small Eye; and contemporary silversmithing from Elizabeth Auriole Peers and Grant McCaig. If you have something particular in mind, then this is the perfect opportunity to meet the artists and commission them to make your very own personalised statement piece. Commission bespoke hand-painted frescos from Sarah Hocombe, gilded icons from Unorthodox Icons, mirrored installations by Lee Borthwick or a portraiture bust sculpted by Monika Patyczek.

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Made in Clerkenwell is spread across 3 buildings: 21 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DX 33-35 St John’s Square, London EC1M 4DS0 Goldsmiths’ Centre, 42 Britton Street, London EC1M 5AD Opening times: 17.00 - 20.00 Thursday 28th November 12.00 - 20.00 Friday 29th November 12.00 - 17.00 Saturday 30th November 12.00 - 17.00 Sunday 1 December (N.B .The Goldsmiths’ centre is closed on Sunday) Ticket Prices: Adult £3, Child Under 16 FREE. For advance tickets and more information, please visit: www.craftcentral.org.uk www.goldsmiths-centre.org Images courtesy of Made in Clerkenwell

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REV IEW:

A Very British Revolution by Dawn Bevins I wasn’t really aware of John Lewis before those Christmas adverts began, but we went to them for our wedding gift list and were impressed. Now, having now read A Very British Revolution: 150 Years of John Lewis, I’ve actually fallen a bit in love with them and would quite like a job, thank you very much! I really like the idea of the retail experience of yesteryear. It must have felt quite special walking into a department store and having things shown to you, a bit like we still do with beauty counters. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Mr. Selfridge TV drama; it all seems rather elegant compared to walking around the brightly lit stores of today, helping ourselves to everything and then searching for a till. 58 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


As you can probably tell, I love history, even if it’s through slightly rose-tinted glasses, and I enjoy seeing how our lives have changed in a relatively short space of time. A Very British Revolution does an amazing job of incorporating the John Lewis story with the story of 150 years of Britishness, and manages to be both informative and nostalgic. Before starting the book, I was concerned that it might read like a giant advert for John Lewis. However, apart from the final chapter which seems a little more brand focused, the rest of the book is a fine example of storytelling and meanders through facts, tales and observations, featuring not only John Lewis but their competitors and society in general. The book is divided into six chapters charting the chronological growth of John Lewis from 1864 up to present day. Each chapter is split into two parts, the first half following the John Lewis story, the second looking at events or developments in that era that may have influenced the retailer or its customers. Throughout the book, independent spreads appear sporadically and these slot into the surrounding pages quite neatly (although occasionally, they do appear mid-sentence as you turn the page), and offer extra notes of interest that break up the main bulk of text (e.g. there is a small piece on Amy Johnson, who was an employee at John Lewis). Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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Chapter 1, The First John Lewis 1864-1914, introduces us to John Lewis, the West Country-born draper, and his move to London. The second half of the chapter looks at Victorian Life and Shopping. Chapter 2, A Model Partnership 1914-39 follows the career of John Spedan Lewis, son of John Lewis, and how he implemented the idea of turning the company into a Partnership, improving wages and working conditions. The second half of the chapter discusses the social unrest between the two World Wars, with the lower classes challenging social hierarchy and women demanding equal rights. The third chapter, War and Rebuilding 1939-55, looks at how the war affected both London and the retailer. It highlights how the business adapted in order to continue and thrive, even while stores were destroyed by bombs. We then look at Architecture, the style and feel of the stores becoming even more relevant, and the opportunity for great design being seized upon when stores that had been destroyed, needed rebuilding. Chapter 4, The Consumer Boom 1955 -72, with Bernard Miller as Chairman, sees sales soar through such changes as the introduction of credit cards and computerised stock control, while the second part of the chapter looks at how Design began to play a central role in the ethics of the company through branding.

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The penultimate chapter, New Business Methods 1972-2000, sees John Lewis’ grandson, Peter Lewis, as chairman of a company which continued to expand even through high unemployment, three-day weeks and electricity rationing. He was followed by Stuart Hampson, responsible for keeping the company as a Partnership when others were considering floating it on the stock market. The second half of this chapter focuses on the subject of Household Products and Everyday Life, acknowledging the huge rise in appliances and technology at affordable prices and the development of the John Lewis brand. The final chapter, An Enduring Brand: 2001 and Beyond, unfortunately seems rushed. So much has happened in recent years such as the launch of the website, giant automated warehouses and the famous Christmas adverts, alongside involvement in various community schemes - that it is hard to fit it all in or define the key parts. As a final conclusion to the book, it focuses more on John Lewis alone rather than outside influences. It’s still a great read, but as it looks towards the future, it lacks some of the charm of the rest of the book. 62 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


It has taken me some time to write this book review. I have had a word count to consider and that makes gushing about a book rammed with content difficult. It’s a book that has caught my attention and I’ve enjoyed reading it so much, that it’s made me fall in love with a retailer, something I didn’t even think was possible (boo to mass consumerism, etc.)! Whether you’re already a fan of John Lewis, or someone who’s running their own business or perhaps just thinking about it or, if like me, you have a keen interest in social history, I can wholeheartedly recommend this read to you. A Very British Revolution: 150 Years of John Lewis by Jonathan Glancey, is published by Laurence King Publishing at £25 Images courtesy of John Lewis & Laurence King Publishing ISBN-10: 1780672381 ISBN-13: 978-1780672380

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MEET:

Blackpop by Chrissie Freeth

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Blackpop is an emerging British label which Maxine Hall runs from her Derbybased studio, designing elegantly distressed,vintage-inspired wallpapers and fabric. Her unique home furnishings bring a touch of faded grandeur and bohemian elegance to any setting, and Blackpop recently became the first wallpaper brand taken on by Liberty. Here she tells us how she got started and how she keeps going. Who is Maxine Hall and how did you get started? I’ve been working with digital media as a creative tool for something like 25 years now. I was the first student to graduate from the University of Westminster (Photography, Film and Video) with a specialism in digital imaging (using Photoshop 1). After graduating, I worked for a reprographics company in Soho as an Artist in residence, testing the boundaries and capabilities of fine art digital print. Since then, I have had a fine art and freelance practice that has been driven by the technical revolution. I started out being commissioned and published by MAC User, illustrating their features with an A4 image or sometimes even a double spread. I have gradually added skills to my portfolio; design and web design alongside lecturing in Fine Art

Digital Media at various universities. During those years, I have tried several times to get my artwork and designs on to surfaces other than paper e.g. ceramics, but the manufacturing process couldn’t cope with the complexities of my artwork, the tonal detail and photographic layering. Then wallpaper captured my attention and the timing was right, in every sense. I had the desire, I had the idea, and I Jemima Lumley had a bit of cash to get started. Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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How would you describe your work and what inspires it? My work is complex; sometimes light, sometimes dark, sometimes feminine and sometimes masculine. I’m inspired by so much that it’s difficult to attribute and I’m very aware of the hybrid nature of ‘now’. I’m into mixing deconstruction and reconstruction. I’ve loved the distressed look for a long time but it’s so current, I feel like doing something different. How did you come up with your brand name? Blackpop has always been part of my vocabulary and to me, it alludes to the juxtaposition of Black and Pop. Black being something like Bohemian, Avant-garde, jazz mixed with the frivolity of Pop, pop art, pop music or even the fizzy stuff! My partner says it’s my alter ego, the Pirate scavenger! Can you tell us a bit about your creative work space? Sorry to be flippant, but my creative work space is mainly in my head. I work with cameras, scanners, objects and computers to bring ideas to life. The studio is full of stuff that should have a place to go to but hasn’t and so things are left in a corner or on the floor.

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Do you have a routine? What does a typical day look like for you? My routine is work. I go into the studio sort of knowing what I would like to accomplish in the day but always expect to get through more than I do. I’m very particular and that takes time. Unexpected requests come in during the day, which have to be dealt with there and then. A good example would be an urgent request for images and if I haven’t anything appropriate, I will set up a photo shoot or compose something on the computer. Someone might ask for some fabric for a particular job and it will need to be tweaked accordingly, like moving or enlarging a specific part or motif, getting it ready for print and sending it to the printers. What do you love most about what you do and what do you find the most frustrating? I love the possibilities, the visioning and the collaborating. I don’t love the admin, the online social networking or when the printer runs out of ink! Do you ever have creative slumps? What do you do then? Actually, 80% of my time is taken up with stuff that isn’t directly accredited to designing wallpaper and fabric so I have loads of ideas, but I often don’t have the time to put them all into practice. Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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What is your involvement with Liberty of London, how did it come about and what’s the experience been like? Blackpop was launched at Tent London, during the London Design Festival of 2013. About 3 months later, I saw that Liberty had a British Design Open Call, where designers and makers have the opportunity to show their wares. I queued and waited and waited until, eventually, it was my turn. I took the pattern sample book Vintage-inspired Wallpapers and they loved them. It took about 3 months before they went onto the shop floor and in fact, Blackpop is the first wallpaper label to have been taken on in this way by Liberty. It’s been a great success. What advice would you give to folk who run a creative business and who would like to get established with big name retailers? Make sure you are confident about your product, present it professionally, and have it ready for the shop floor. What are your plans for the next twelve months? I’m currently collaborating with some fabulous creatives where I will be making bespoke designs for bespoke pieces of furniture. I’m also plucking up the courage to contact a fashion designer who I would love to collaborate with. I keep imagining my fabrics on the cat walk! Where can we find out more about your work and where can we buy it? All our products and samples can be bought directly from our website; Liberty is our London stockist. For more information on Maxine Hall and Blackpop visit: www.blackpop.co.uk Images courtesy of Blackpop 72 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


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SCENE:

MADE Brighton MADE BRIGHTON is the city’s annual contemporary craft and design fair which takes place in November in the historic Dome at the Corn Exchange. The fair offers the public the opportunity to buy original and exceptional pieces of craft and design directly from the designer/makers and has become firmly established as a friendly, accessible and quality event. MADE BRIGHTON welcomes over 5500 visitors; collectors, galleries, curators and of course, Christmas shoppers, many of whom return year after year knowing that the work on show is well worth viewing. MADE BRIGHTON showcases over 100 makers and designers; from unique glassware to luxurious textiles, functional ceramics to dazzling jewellery, and beautiful furniture to quirky accessories, there is something for everyone. 74 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


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Work is priced between £10 and £1500, providing the perfect opportunity to shop for unique Christmas gifts as well as, perhaps, finding that ‘can’t live without’ item! A café provides a place for visitors to relax and take refreshment. To receive a ‘2 for the price of 1’ ticket to this event, please complete this form by the 17th of November, and a voucher will be sent to you in the post before the event. MADE BRIGHTON: 21st - 23rd of November, 2014 The Dome Corn Exchange, Church Street, Brighton, BN1 1UD (A 10 minute walk from Brighton train station) Opening times: 11.00 – 19.30 Friday 21st November 10.00 – 18.00 Saturday 22nd November 10.00 – 17.00 Sunday 23rd November Tickets £6.50 on the door . Children under 14 free . For more information, visit: www.brighton-made.co.uk For a full exhibitor’s list, visit: www.brighton-made.co.uk/gallery Images courtesy of MADE BRIGHTON

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REV IEW:

Liberty Style by Lisa Margreet Payne When I was a small girl, my mother used to take me and my sisters to Liberty of London every Christmas. We would watch the Christmas lights being turned on in Regent Street, and then go around the corner to Great Marlborough Street to look at Liberty’s Christmas window displays. I remember wandering through the store’s beautiful wood-panelled rooms and down the wooden staircases, listening to the soles of my Clarks’ patent leather Mary Jane’s clacking on the wooden stairs, and slightly overheating in my scratchy acrylic jumper. 78 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


Twenty years later, I had my first job in a small office on Great Portland Street. I would often go into Liberty on my lunch break to have a look around, the sound of my high heels clacking on the wooden floors and stairs instead of my childhood Mary Jane’s. I could never afford to buy anything but being there gave me a sense of the luxurious, combined with innocent childhood memories. I never lost the thrill of anticipation and sophistication that a visit to Liberty evoked. Liberty Style charts the legacy that Liberty has given to the design world and describes “how Liberty shaped British and international taste in glass and metal work, furniture, ceramics, fashion and textiles, and brought together generations of great designers”. Flicking through this beautiful book, I was surprised by just how many Liberty designs I recognised from the fabrics in my own childhood home, and one particular design I remember is called ‘Burnham’’.

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My mum bought an oilcloth tablecloth in that particular pattern during one of our trips to Liberty. We had that cloth on our kitchen table for many years during my childhood and adolescence, and I recently noticed this very same fabric on a coin purse which my landlady owns. Again, it’s those little touches of Liberty that are always around us. Perhaps it is unsurprising that the son of a draper, as Arthur Lasenby Liberty (1843-1917) was, should have a feel for textiles. According to author Martin Wood, it was due to Liberty’s “impressive ability to promote good, innovative and interesting design” that he was able to achieve his ambition to “change the whole of the fashion in dress and interior decoration”. The book covers the various phases of artistic taste, from the Aesthetic to Arts and Crafts, from Art Nouveau and Art Deco to the Georgian revival. It features designers such as Archibald Knox and the Silver Studio, Lucienne Day, Sonia Delaunay, Bernard Nevill, Peiro Fornasetti and Vico Magistretti. A gorgeous hardback with over two hundred colour photographs and illustrations, it’s a real ‘coffee-table’ book to spend a warm, cosy afternoon curled up with, drinking tea and flicking through the pages (just ask me how I know!). 80 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


© Private Collection

I’ve never formally studied design but I have studied English literature, and it was interesting to see the design side of those movements for which I had studied the texts. As someone who appreciates Mid Century style (an appreciation which predates Mad Men, I hasten to add), I was particularly interested in the chapters describing how textile rationing during World War 2 influenced designs in clothes and furniture, and how this led to Utility clothing and furniture. The Utility patterns exerted an influence on fashion long after textile rationing ended. Whilst looking through the book and revelling in my memories of Liberty, both as a child and young woman, one sentence particularly jumped out at me. “Liberty’s was never going to be a Bazaar or a Biba. Like Laura Ashley, in fashion terms, the company traded more on nostalgia.” Nostalgia is still a strong motivational force when it comes to persuading us to part with our money. I have noticed that some of the best crafts businesses - large designers and small indies - also trade on nostalgia and are very successful in doing so. In fact, I remember going on a ‘Marketing for Makers’ course which said exactly that; essentially, if you can trigger nostalgia in your audience then you’re onto a winner. But where Laura Ashley has a homely, scented nostalgia - all frilly aprons and wicker picnic baskets - Liberty’s brand of nostalgia has the expensive, understated but lingering scent of luxury. Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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It makes me think of discovering my glamorous Aunt’s Mason Pearson hair brushes (which somehow always smelt of Chanel No.5), 1970s Jilly Cooper paperback romances, and being bought my first Bourgeois lipstick in pale pink which tasted faintly of roses. This is the legacy of Liberty, this weaving of design and memories into the fabric of our lives, from an oilcloth tablecloth to clacking heels on wooden floors. If you appreciate good design and are interested in modern British history, then you will find Liberty Style an interesting and perhaps evocative read. Sadly, in terms of legacy, looking at the image of the Christmas-themed windows on Great Marlborough Street from November 2007 (page 188), these are a far cry from the Christmas windows of my childhood and certainly ones I won’t be taking any children to go and see for innocent Christmas thrills! However, as Martin Wood summarises at the end of the book, “There is probably no other department store in the world that has employed the services of so many famous designers. And that was really the secret of Liberty’s success: an eye for great design.” In Liberty Style, author Martin Wood and publisher Francis Lincoln have designed and produced a great book charting the legacy of a quintessential piece of British design history. Liberty Style by Martin Wood, is published by Frances Lincoln at £35 Images courtesy of Frances Lincoln, Trustworth Studios and © Private Collection. ISBN-10: 0711234744 ISBN-13: 978-0711234741

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MEET:

Chrissie Freeth by Mich Yasue

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Chrissie Freeth is not only one of UK Handmade magazine’s regular contributors but also an academic archaeologist turned weaver, using traditional textile skills to explore cloth as a contemporary art form. She also happens to be a hand dyer and hand spinner, and recently became a trustee of the Heritage Crafts Association. Chrissie lives and works in Saltaire in Yorkshire, once a model village housing the workers of a colossal textile mill and now a thriving creative community and World Heritage Site. The path from academic archaeologist to weaver is not an obvious one. How did you come to make the transition?

in life, but I guess some people never find it so I should be grateful. It was a big decision to leave my old life, but I would rather be poor and fulfilled

I was able to study archaeological textiles at Bradford University as an undergraduate and it was something I had always been interested in. A few years ago, I began making rag rugs and was overwhelmed with the response. I began to realise that there might be another way of living my life, a more creative and fulfilling one. A loom became available and, although it was a bit of a punt, I haven’t looked back since the moment I first warped him. That weaving has taken over my life is entirely unexpected and unplanned. At first, I resented discovering what I was built to do so late

than rich and unhappy. I also had a great deal of support from friends and other artists/crafters in the area. Tell us about your workspace. I live in Saltaire, a World Heritage Site built to house the workers of a colossal mill. I live in one of the mill worker cottages. It isn’t big. I share it with 4 large looms, three smaller ones, a large warping mill and two spinning wheels. They have pretty much taken over my house and there is barely a room without a loom in it. Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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Public engagement is really important to me so I am very keen to find some more appropriate space to work. I also want my dining table back. And my bath (don’t ask). I’m also looking to get a larger tapestry loom very soon so I think it is only a matter of time before the sofa goes. Or a wall. You create your own designs, dye and spin yarns, weave your cloth and then make a variety of things such as scarves, buttons and brooches from it. How did you develop such a range of skills and what do you find the most satisfying part of the process? I benefited from the mentoring of two renowned textile conservators who were also spinners and weavers. It was one of them who taught me how to spin but since I began weaving, spinning hasn’t had much of a look in. Working with looms is a very technical and methodical process and I think having a scientific background helped; I could stop and work things out and I guess they brought out a practical side I didn’t know I had. Having studied textiles for so long, albeit in archaeological books and journals, when it came to actually making cloth myself, that knowledge was buried in my subconscious and enabled me to pick it up quite quickly. I love that weaving marries the technical and creative spheres, and of course I love the legacy of it. 86 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


I am doing something quite visceral, and I am making the same movements and same decisions that other people have made for millennia. It gives me that link to the past which, as an archaeologist, I crave. Dyeing came later, once I started weaving tapestries. I use acid dyes and again, it is a very methodical and technical process. I develop new colours for each project and I love the experimenting because you never know what is going to come out of the pot. There have been a few moments when I have done a little dance around the kitchen clutching a skein whose colour I particularly like! Some weavers use digital punch cards and computerised Jacquard looms to generate their designs. To what extent does modern technology play a role in your creative process? Very little. My first loom, Boris, is a vintage fourshaft counterbalance floor loom. Every warp and weft is put in place by me. I do envy the faster, easier to operate looms and I guess one day I may end up using one. But I like that with weaving, the loom and I become one, we are part of the same machine. The looms I use for tapestry are made out of builder’s scaffolding (Horace and Norris) although I do have a treadle operated tapestry loom as well (Doris) and again they are all manually operated. Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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When weaving cloth, half the work is setting up the loom so that your design will work, it’s about knowing which threads go in what shaft, what shaft

Inevitably, I am also drawn to tapestry because of its history and legacy. Although my loom is made out of scaffolding, the techniques I use haven’t changed

connects to what treadle, what order the treadles have to be pressed. You have to know everything in advance and whilst that used to involve lots of graph paper and rubbing out, there are computer programs that do it for you and I most certainly make use of those!

for centuries. Tapestries used to be one of the most valued possessions in the past but there are only a handful of professional tapestry weavers left in the UK now. But it’s also an exciting time because, for example, although Grayson Perry’s tapestries were produced digitally, The ‘Vanity of Small Differences’ has proved hugely popular and brought tapestry back into the contemporary art sphere.

Tapestry has become an increasingly important part of your practice. What is it that attracts you to it? With cloth I can explore things through form, texture, pattern and colour but I miss telling a story. With tapestry that is exactly what I can do and still get to enjoy the physical act of weaving. It has also been the biggest learning curve for me; how to translate what fascinates me into a single image. I also have to make sure the design is one that I’m happy to live with for the several months it will take me to weave it. And there is no room for error. If something is wrong, once it has been woven over, it is there for good. Quite scary actually! With tapestry I am particularly drawn to the opportunities to play with colour, especially as several coloured threads are often used simultaneously to create another colour as seen from a distance, like the pixels on a computer screen.

You spent four months as Artist in Residence at East Riddlesden Hall, a National Trust property in West Yorkshire. How did this opportunity come about and what was the inspiration behind the ‘Maides Coign’ tapestry you created there? The National Trust divide their year into themes, and throughout Spring it was about discovery and new skills, so I worked closely with the staff to develop something that would enhance a visitor’s experience of the hall. I’m keen on promoting and safeguarding traditional textile skills, so working in a public environment and engaging with visitors was a great opportunity. The tapestry had to be inspired by the property and it took a long time to identify what really interested me about the hall; the role of women during the English Civil War and finding a way to encapsulate that in an image. Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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There’s an inscription above a fireplace dated to 1648 that refers to women as cornerstones or pillars. Whilst it is likely to be a cryptic nod to fellow royalist sympathisers (it is from a psalm about getting ready for war) I became interested in the role of daughters in families. It was something particularly pertinent to me at the time and I chose to show something of the strength and pressures of the role. It was a valuable lesson about working to a brief and the importance of finding something you can connect with on a personal level in order to make it work. What were the greatest highs and lows of the experience? The tapestry was a big hit with visitors and there was a lot of curiosity about how tapestries were made. We also provided smaller looms for kids to have a go and they were really popular. Visitors came especially to see the tapestry and many visited repeatedly to see her grow, which was lovely. It was great getting to know the daily teams of room stewards who were incredibly supportive. They really seemed to take Gracie (the tapestry’s nickname) under their wing and so much so that, astonishingly, they raised the funds amongst themselves to buy her for the hall. This act of faith and generosity has had a huge impact on me and how I see my future; tapestry is definitely where I want to focus my future work. That something I made is now part of the National Trust collections and will be looked after long after I am gone, has given me a huge sense of security and pride. The only low experience was leaving but I hope to stay involved with the hall and work with them again. 90 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


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Who or what is your greatest inspiration? For me, tapestry is a contemporary art form and shouldn’t be a pastiche, but inevitably my inspiration’s rooted in the past. I’ve become increasingly interested in tapestry prior to the renaissance, before it started to play second fiddle to paintings and were often woven to imitate them. I’m a big fan of the French artist Jean Lurcat who studied medieval tapestries and argued for limited palettes, large formats and bold designs, and I really love the colours and abstract designs of mid-century tapestries. My favourite contemporary weaver is Aino Kajaniemi. What does the next year hold for you? One thing about tapestry, it can’t be rushed! I’ve just started a new piece and expect to be working on it well into the New Year. I’m also going to be taking myself more seriously as a business; I need to find the balance between weaving cloth and weaving tapestry and I also need to keep pushing myself to learn how to translate my ideas visually. I’m looking forward to working with Salts Mill re-weaving some of the fabrics that were made in the mill during the nineteenth century. Where can we find out more about your work? You can visit my website, and I also have a blog where I posted pretty much weekly throughout my residency at East Riddlesden so you can read all about the adventure there! For more information on Chrissie and her work, visit: www.chrissiefreeth.wix.com/weaver www.dizziebhooked.wordpress.com Images courtesy of Chrissie Freeth 92 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


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REV IEW: The Curious Bartender: An Odyssey... by Dawn Bevins Sometimes a book arrives and you just know that it is going to be special. ‘The Curious Bartender: An Odyssey of Malt, Bourbon and Rye Whiskies’ is one of those books. Last year, I reviewed ‘The Curious Bartender: The Artistry and Alchemy of Creating the Perfect Cocktail’ by Tristan Stephenson. This is his second book and it follows in very much the same vein as the first, exploring both the history and recipes. The design and feel of the book is also similar; you can expect the same traditional looking textbased cover with the lovely scrolls, borders and decorative ornaments, and a similar aged look to the backgrounds of the inside pages. I particularly love the images used to separate the different sections; large, closeup, beautiful double-page shots of glasses and bottles on worn wooden tables. 94 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


The only difference in this book from the first, is that there are a lot less recipes and much more history, with exploration and explanation of the production process. The book is divided into four parts, which may sound simple but turns out to be as complex as a fine whisky, with many sub-divisions. The first part, The History of Whisky, begins by looking at The Origins of Distillation, followed by Early Gaelic Spirits, then hops over the Atlantic to look at the origins of whisk(e)y in the New World. This chapter ends by looking at the Whisky industry in Scotland and North America from the 1800s up to present day. How Whisky is Made contains a lot of information. I’m not saying there is enough technical detail in there for you to go and open your own distillery after reading - and neither is it a hard read - but I have come away with a good understanding of all the processes involved in making whisky. So, go on, you can ask me about malting, pot-stills or the difference between red oak and white oak, because I have been truly educated! Part three takes us on The Whisky Tour. It’s divided into countries, Scotland obviously taking up the best part but the likes of Ireland, North America and Japan (as well as a few other pit-stops around the rest of the world) are also included. Scotland is subdivided into areas and then divided again into featured distilleries (North America is divided into two areas, while the other countries simply pinpoint where the distillery is located). Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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We are given a brief history of the locations, along with history and anecdotes from each distillery, and Tristan then lists the single malts produced by the distilleries with a brief description of the characteristics of each. The final part of the book, Blends and Cocktails, features recipes for five blends of whisky and thirteen cocktails. The blends use 100 ml - 250 ml of up to five whiskies each so a good quantity of alcohol is needed. Although the thought of investing in five bottles of whisky per one blend seems like a lot, when you compare that to the thirty or so whiskies used in commercial blends, it doesn’t seem so bad, and could be a real one-off treat for the whisky enthusiast, (plus it would last you ages). I’m personally more inclined to drink a cocktail over a blend, and the beautiful white Malt Blanc and the idea of creating my own Irish Cream Liqueur definitely appeals to me. There are many images scattered throughout, most covering half a page or less and featuring various locations, distilleries and bottles. Many of the recipes have lovely full page images, most of which look traditional (a glass on a rustic table) and which I find quite romantic. The recipe images also feature either ingredients or the flavours that are being created, and in some cases, this has resulted in something quite bright, surprising and fun. The blend Sweetshop features a glass placed amongst sherbet, a lollipop and cola cubes, splashed with confectioner’s sugar, and Blood and Sand sees a glass sitting on some sand, with a suspicious red blob on the base of the glass (which I’m hoping was actually jam). Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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I’m not a whisky drinker, so you may think that this book is wasted on me, but no, I thought it was brilliant. I loved the history and learning about how we get from barley to bottle. I’ve a new found appreciation for the amount of work that can go into creating a whisky; the art, the skill and the knowledge that is needed to create distinctive characteristics amongst what seems like an endless supply of variables. I love the book’s conversational tone (it’s like watching an episode of Coast). There is a lot of information, and yet it flows easily like a piece of storytelling and is written in a way that is both accessible and interesting. I think you can tell when an author is genuinely excited by their subject and Tristan’s enthusiasm shines through. The Curious Bartender: An Odyssey of Malt, Bourbon & Rye Whiskies by Tristan Stephenson, is published by Ryland, Peters & Small at £18.99. Images courtesy of Ryland Peters & Small. ISBN-10: 1849755620 ISBN-13: 978-1849755627

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SUGAR & SPICE by Bebe Bradley

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GINGERBREAD This easy recipe can be used to make a whole range of decorations in different shapes, and is great way to get the children involved in a bit of baking. Ingredients: 125g of baking margarine (I use Stork) 100g of muscovado sugar 4 tablespoons of golden syrup 325g of plain flour 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda 1 heaped teaspoon of ground ginger You will also need 2 greased and lined baking trays, a variety of cookie cutters, writing icing (optional) and ribbon (optional). METHOD: 1. Preheat the oven to 170째C/Gas Mark 3/340째F. Place the butter, sugar and syrup in a large pan over a very low heat. Gently stir until all of the ingredients have melted and are well combined. Remove the pan from the heat. 2. Seive the flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Add the melted mixture to the bowl and mix well to make a stiff dough. 3. Dust your work surface with flour and roll the

dough out to a thickness of approximately 5mm. Use your chosen cookie cutters to stamp shapes out of the dough and place them on the prepared baking tray. Bake in the oven for approximately 10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven. 4. If you are making hanging decorations with the cookies, use a straw or skewer to make holes for ribbon whilst the cookies are still warm. When the cookies are completely cool, decorate with icing. Stored in an airtight container, these cookies should keep for up to 2 weeks. Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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PROPER HOT CHOCOLATE At the end of cold crisp winter’s day, there is nothing better than a mug of steaming hot chocolate, topped with marshmallows and whipped cream, to warm the cockles of your heart. This recipe gives you a jar of ready-to-make, cinnamon-spiked hot chocolate, either to keep for yourself or to give away as a great pressie. Ingredients: 200g of good quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids) 100g of good quality cocoa powder A scant teaspoon of ground cinnamon 100g of icing sugar 50g of cornflour 50g of chocolate flavoured Ovaltine A pinch of salt Cinnamon stick (optional) You will also need marshmallows, more chocolate and whipped cream. METHOD: 1. Place the chocolate in the freezer for 20 minutes and then grate finely over a large bowl. Seive the rest of the ingredients into the bowl and mix well to combine. Decant the mixture into jars of your choice. 2. To make one hot chocolate, place two heaped tablespoons of the mixture into a pan along with a mug of milk. Gently heat for 5 minutes, whisking to combine the ingredients, and then pour into a mug. 3. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, marshmallows and grated chocolate, and serve with a cinnamon stick stirrer. 102 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


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CINNAMON STARs Soft but crisp, sweet and chewy, these spiced almond cookies are very Christmassy and make an ideal gift presented in a pretty glass jar. Makes approximately 15. Ingredients: 200g of ground almonds 2 small/medium egg whites 125g of seived icing sugar, plus extra 1 level teaspoon of ground cinnamon

required, and then roll the ‘dough’ to a thickness of approximately 5mm. Stamp out the cookies using the star cutter (or your preferred shape) and place them on the prepared baking tray. If the dough is still on the sticky side, you may need to add more icing sugar and clean the cutter as you proceed. 4. Brush each star with some of the reserved egg white mixture and bake for approximately 30 minutes, until crisp on the outside but still soft in the middle. Stored in an airtight container, these cookies should keep for up to a week.

You will also need a 6cm star cookie cutter, and a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. METHOD:

1. Preheat the oven to 140°C/Gas Mark 2/280°F. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until you reach the ‘stiff peak’ stage. Gradually whisk in the icing sugar, adding a spoonful at a time. Whisk until well combined; the mixture should be thick and glossy. 2. Put a tablespoon of the mixture in a small bowl and set aside. Stir the ground almonds into the egg white and combine well; the mixture should be soft but not too sticky so add more icing sugar if necessary. 3. Dredge your work surface with icing sugar. Knead the mixture lightly, adding more icing sugar as Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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SPICED COFFEE Add a little spice to the end of your seasonal feast with something for the grown-ups. Ingredients: The zest of 2 unwaxed lemons The zest of 2 unwaxed oranges 10 cloves 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces 6 sugar cubes 250ml of brandy 4 tablespoons of orange liqueur 800ml (approximately) of freshly brewed, strong black coffee 1 bar of good quality, orange-flavoured dark chocolate METHOD:

1. In a medium pan, gently sautÊ the orange and lemon zest with the cloves, cinnamon stick and sugar cubes, pressing the zest gently to release the oils. 2. After 5 minutes, add the brandy and the orange liqueur. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and then raise the heat. Carefully light the alcohol (mind you don’t singe your eyebrows!) and let it burn for a few seconds before pouring in the coffee. Stir until the flames are dowsed. 3. Strain the coffee mixture into a suitable jug or coffee pot, and serve in small glasses or espresso cups with the squares of dark chocolate on the side. Serves 6.

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CanDy Cane CHocolate Fudge Quick, easy and simple enough for little hands to help with on a rainy afternoon. Ingredients: 400g of good quality dark chocolate 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract 1 tin (397g) of sweetened condensed milk 125g of unsalted butter 2-3 peppermint candy canes, crushed You will also need a shallow, greased and lined 16cm baking tin. METHOD: 1. Place the chocolate, vanilla extract, butter and condensed milk in a large pan over a very low heat. Gently stir until all of the ingredients are melted, smooth and well combined. 2. Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle over the crushed candy cane and press it gently into the surface of the fudge. Set the fudge aside to cool and then refridgerate (for up to 1 week in an airtight container) until required. 3. To serve, cut the fudge to the size you require and for gifts, wrap each piece in baking parchment.

Images courtesy of Bebe Bradley

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REV IEW:

Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen by Bebe Bradley This keen baker and cook , who has a cupboard bursting with recipe books and scraps ripped from magazines, adores the (almost romantic) notion of a huge kitchen filled with the glorious waft of baking, a pantry “stocked with seasonal treats”, pretty vintage tins and jars, and a room full of cellophane, paper, wrap and ribbon. However, my compact and bijou kitchen is more likely to be filled with two teenage boys eating me out of house and home, and a dog that will not leave my side until I have divested the entire cheese content of the fridge, so best not to even mention a pantry or wrapping room. What does this book offer the ordinary cook who may be too harassed at Christmas to “pack gift bags with an assortment of goodies that are handed to guests as they leave”? 108 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


Alison Walker is the ‘Food & Drink Editor’ for Country Living Magazine, and ‘Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen’ is a collection of more than 100 culinary ideas for you to make and bake at home for friends and family. As this very photogenic book points out, “It’s not the making, it’s the wrapping too” and though a vast range of wrapping and accessories is not deemed essential, there are plenty of stylish ideas for those of us who may struggle with a Bundt tin and ordinary brown paper. In her introduction, Alison reinforces why we should make rather than buy, that “most of the time it’s much cheaper than buying something from a shop, it’s a good way to use up any garden glut, you know exactly what has gone into it, it’s a pleasure for the cook as well as the recipient and, above all, it’s a gift made with love”. Following this introduction, there are nine sections, not including the advice on presentation and the stockist’s list at the very end of the book. The first section, Baked with Love, offers biscuits and bakes amongst which you will find Spiced Stars, Cherry and Almond Biscotti, and a seasonal Stollen Wreath. The goodies are presented very attractively in vintage biscuit barrels and dishes which appeals to my thriftiness and upcycling ethic. Sweets for my Sweet features traditional confections such as Hokey

Pokey, Coconut Ice and the very tempting Raspberry and Vanilla Marshmallows. I’d say that some of the recipes in both these sections are aimed at the more advanced baker, the lemon ‘Macarons’ being a good example. However, most are simple and speedy enough for even the most hurried amongst us to execute successfully and I should point out that all of the recipes come with preparation and cooking times. Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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Section three is all about producing Something for the Store Cupboard. From Stem Ginger and Flavoured Salts to Sweet and Spicy Mango Chutney, there are enough condiments here to keep your cupboard (or pantry) stocked for the duration. The fourth section employs produce From the Garden. Recipes such as Gooseberry Chutney, Fig Relish and Apricot and Amaretto Jam are guaranteed to make full use of any garden glut, although I was slightly thrown by the Strawberry Pastilles which may have been better included with the sweets. Nonetheless, I am tempted enough to try them out when I’m overwhelmed by strawberries. Next are The Delights of Chocolate. I do like a bit of chocolate and I know of many other people who like it too and would appreciate a gift of White Chocolate and Rosemary Truffles, Chocolate Kisses or the particularly enticing Panforte. The recipes are relatively quick and again, reasonably simple, offering impressive looking results if you take the suggestions for presentation on board. Section six, A Savoury Treat, is right up my street and includes recipes for Poppy and Sesame Seed Crackers, Marinated Goat’s Cheese and Rosemary Grissini. I’m not entirely convinced that making any of these items at home is going to be less expensive than supporting and buying from your local independent deli. Of course, that’s your choice to make but indeed, I would be a very happy lady if someone gifted me a home-made jar of Smoky Nuts. 110 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


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Most celebrations require a tipple or two, and Raise a Glass offers a selection of nine drinks including two non-alcoholic recipes for Rose and Lime Syrup and Rhubarb and Ginger Cordial. I loved the selection of vintage bottles and decanters used to present the drinks and I’m inspired enough to search for suitable vessels to use for gifts. I really like the idea of using small bottles for ‘tasters’ and have earmarked the Vanilla Caramel Liqueur, Redcurrant Gin and the glamourous Golden Vodka for future, uhm, ‘tasting’. The penultimate section is Small but Perfectly Formed, and in this we find petite delights such as Mini Christmas Cakes, Florentines, Little Gems and Meringue Mushrooms. I am envisaging a gift hamper stuffed with these Lilliputian lovelies but it might be a hard task to hand it over… Last but not least are Gifts for the Cook, comprising of kits for the keen gastronomist. Any of the suggestions would go down well with the cooks I know but I particularly liked the Brunch Set, comprising of home-made granola, dried fruit compote and pancake mix along with fresh bought blueberries, coffee and a wee bottle of maple syrup. If that won’t tickle a friend’s fancy, there are 5 others to choose from including some suitable for children such as the Christmas Cookie Kit and the Gingerbread House Kit (the template for which can be found at the back of the book). 112 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


To quote the inside cover of Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen, “In a world where mass-produced is the norm, ‘home-made’ carries a certain potency of care and thought”. Now, dear reader, you and I are both already well aware that a handmade present can speak volumes about the love and effort invested upon it. Unfortunately, it’s that particular time of the year when many of us will be rushing round, busy at home, swamped in the studio or sweating it out in the kitchen and it might be difficult to find the time to produce home-made, seasonally-inspired gifts for our friends and family, never mind some time for ourselves. However, there are enough recipes here to enable even the most time-poor and frazzled of us to squeeze a little bit of home-made, handmade love into a gifting ritual that has been taken over by commercialism and greed. And even if we don’t quite get round to it, we can still find 5 minutes for ourselves to sit down with a cup of tea, flick through some very pretty food fluff and fantasise about a pantry. Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen by Alison Walker, published by Jacqui Small LLP at £20 ISBN-10: 1909342017 ISBN-13: 978-1909342019 Images courtesy of Jacqui Small LLP Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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LIVE: From Tower Block to 4 Acres

by Lisa Margreet Payne

Winter in the garden means shorter days and longer nights, but only 90 days until the days lengthen again! On frosty November mornings, it’s tempting to think that winter is already here although it officially begins with the winter solstice on the 21st or 22nd December and ends on the spring equinox on the 20th or 21st March. Over the next few months, cabbage, kale, Brussel sprouts, carrots, parsnips, potatoes and cauliflower will be the stars of the show. Because of some clever planning earlier in the year, my customers have also got fresh green leaves to go with the endless parade of root veg from this time

Salad in winter is such a treat and a reminder that spring will come again. We’ll be harvesting spring onions and salad leaves to go with your post-

of year. Vitamins and minerals are hard to come by in winter so having something green to go with your root stew or veggie curry can make a world of difference. Thanks to the inside growing space provided by my greenhouses, we have purslane and land cress growing well, alongside other oriental leaves and mustards. These leaves make a lovely winter salad combined with some grated beetroot and carrot, and a warming mustardy dressing. Winter purslane (also known as claytonia or lamb’s lettuce) is a great source of Vitamin C so there’s an immune boosting recipe right there!

Christmas dinner buffet alongside our winter vegetables this year. The gorgeous multi-coloured stems of chard contrast beautifully with their dark green leaves and are very tasty as a steamed or stir-fried side dish. The leaves of the ruby stemmed chard turn dark red in autumn and winter, and bring a welcome mix of colours to your plate. Rainbow chard is one of my staples throughout winter and as long as it’s picked carefully, it should see the season through and provide a decent crop. It will even put on a little spurt of growth in February and give us an early crop before the spring plantings get going.

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Sunny September days spent planting spinach, chard, beetroot, turnip and radish are paying dividends now. That’s the thing with a garden: it’s always giving, always moving forwards towards the next season, and continuously turning the wheel. I’ve heard it said that if you want to leave a truly lasting legacy then plant a garden and this is particularly true at Oakcroft. Mehr, my landlady and owner of the gardens, is proposing to leave the land to the Soil Association Land Trust in her will so that it will remain organic in perpetuity. At least I know that this plot of land that I’m caretaking will always be free of chemicals, providing a haven for wildlife and nature to thrive. Over the winter months when the weather is not too bad, we work on the legacy projects. Last year it was the renovation of the greenhouses which we are growing our winter crops in now. This year, we’re looking to restore the Dutch light cold frames and extend the growing season by providing more outside growing areas under glass. We’re also working on repairing the hardening-off area. This is the where we put our young plants after they mature from the propagating greenhouse to prepare them for being planted outside, and it will be great to have this ready for spring when we start our new season’s sowings. Mehr wants to see the gardens restored to how they were at the peak of when she was running them. She’s 83 now and set up the market garden here at Oakcroft in 1960, where it has retained its organic status since that time. We were one of the first pieces of land to achieve Soil Association organic status. I love knowing that the patch of land I’m working on has had no chemical inputs on it for over fifty years, and that I can help ensure it remains that way for the next fifty and way beyond! 116 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


Images courtesy of Lisa Margreet Payne For more information, visit: www.oakcroft.org.uk Winter 2014 | ukhandmade |

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DO: The Wildflower Legacy

by Teresa Verney Brookes

“When people come to Highgrove and see the flower meadow there, they often say that it reminds them of their childhood. As time goes on, there will be fewer people for whom that is true”, HRH,The Prince of Wales, July 2014 As well as being an Environmental Education Officer, I am also a Punch and Judy performer (Professor Queen-Bee) and my show has a distinct “green twist”. In particular, it looks at the importance of wildflower meadows in supporting bees and other pollinating insects. Even Prince Charles himself (well, the puppet version) makes an appearance, demonstrating how he sings to his wildflowers at Highgrove! Joking aside, a staggering 97% of our wildflower meadows have been lost over the past 60 years in the UK. We should be worried; these meadows provide vital feeding grounds and habitats for the bees and other insects responsible for pollinating every THIRD mouthful of food that we eat.

our own wildflower areas. You don’t have to have a large garden; my neighbours grow their wildflowers in window boxes and I grow mine in an old bathtub in my garden, which my children now refer to as our “fly-through McDonalds for insects”. “But I already have lots of flowers in my garden”, I can hear some

of you cry! Be aware that many of the ornamental plants commonly grown in gardens (such as pansies and begonias) may look pleasing to us but, unlike native wildflowers, are of little value to wildlife. Years of cultivation to enable ever-showier blooms means these colourful flowers produce little or no pollen or nectar, or even scent. Packets of native wildflower seeds are relatively cheap and readily available. They typically include beautiful species such as Oxeye Daisies, Ladies Bedstraw, Knapweed British gardens cover more than 1 million acres so and Field Scabious, and can be sown in Autumn or there is much scope for us all to help by creating Spring depending on your soil type. 118 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


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Once they have flowered and set their seed, these areas then need to be cut at the end of the summer (August /September) and all of the cuttings raked off. The area can then be cut as a normal “lawn” until the following spring. In 2012, to mark the 60th anniversary of his mother’s coronation, The Prince of Wales unveiled a remarkable nationwide project called Coronation Meadows which aims to restore or recreate new wildflower meadows in every county. These new meadows will be created using wildflower seeds from other existing ‘donor’ meadows within the same county. The websites below have details of amazing project and a map of existing meadows for you to visit and enjoy! You can also help by registering any wildflower meadows you know of in your area, and seeds can then be collected from these sites and used elsewhere. Together, we can all help protect our remaining meadows and create new wildflower areas for ourselves, children and grandchildren to enjoy. We can also ensure a lasting and valuable legacy of new homes and feeding sites for bees, butterflies and other insects which in turn help make a third of our food. For information about meadow creation and management, visit: www.plantlife.org.uk www.rhs.org.uk Useful links: www.coronationmeadows.org.uk www.plantlife.org.uk/campaigns/saving_meadows Images courtesy of Larissa Joice 120 | ukhandmade | Winter 2014


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spring issue: 02. 02. 2015

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UK Handmade Magazine Winter 2014