Markets

Workshops - Sample Sale, 8th July

There's just a couple of weeks to go until our first ever sample and seconds sale, taking place on Saturday 8th July at the Effra Social in Brixton. There's an exciting line-up of 40 traders taking part with discounts of up to 75%. Check out the listings here.

Alongside the stalls, in typical Crafty Fox Market style, we will be offering two different hands-on workshops for you. Simply drop-in any time between 11am - 5pm to take part. 

Pimp my Pouch: Customise a sparkly bag or make a brooch with PupTart (from £4)

Jewellery Workshop with I Am Acrylic: Draw, cut and file your own shape from acrylic then make it into a necklace - all for just £10! 

We look forward to welcoming you! 

Maker Profile - Paly Glass

Hi! I'm Nikki, owner and maker of Paly Glass, which launched online in March 2016. I am a stained glass artist who specialises in the copper foiling method and everything is made by hand by me in Bristol, South West England.

I studied graphic design at college and then went on to do an art foundation degree at UWE. The year long course was great and gave me the opportunity to try out many different things. I would definitely recommend an art foundation to anyone who isn't sure which creative path they would like to pursue after A levels!

Whilst studying, I made my own jewellery and sold the pieces on eBay. This eventually turned into a full time business and I became self-employed. I did this for 4 years before I decided I wanted a change and I started working at a pre-school. At this point, sales went down and work took over so I stopped my eBay business.

Five years on and I really wanted to be creative and start making again. I found an antique pressed flower frame and a terrarium at a car boot sale and I fell in love with both of them. I wanted to make my own and did a lot of research, learning all about copper foiling. I booked on to a local stained glass course in September 2015 and I loved it instantly. I purchased all the tools I needed and haven't stopped making since!

After completing 3 terms of my stained glass course I continued practising at home. Over time, I began to see a massive improvement in my soldering. I opened my Etsy shop 7 months after I started my course.

I started off making small terrariums and pressed flower frames. I then started selling at local markets, my main one being The Frome Independent which is held every month and is an amazing market with over 200 stalls of handmade goods and food stalls (if you have never been, you must!). Selling at amazing markets like Frome and Crafty Fox really gave me the opportunity to meet customers and other traders and get invaluable feedback. I realised how much I loved talking to people and selling my items face to face. So selling at markets is just as important to me as having an online presence.

My products have now evolved in to bigger terrariums and many more flower frames in lots of different shaped frames. They are filled with both flowers I have personally pressed (and also now pressed by my Mum and my fiancé's Mum !) and custom orders from customers sending me very sentimental flowers to be framed by me, some as far as America and Sri Lanka!

There is a great deal of work and process that goes into each finished piece. I love that there are so many steps as it means I get to see each piece through from beginning to end with my own hands.

First I start with a pencil and a whole load of graph paper to measure and draw the designs onto. The design is cut out with scissors and then I draw around each piece of the paper pattern onto the glass. Once the design is drawn out it's cut with a special metal ruler and a glass cutter. Each piece of glass is then foiled with copper foil tape. Once each piece is foiled it's then time to put on my mask and solder! Then it's time to wash the soldered piece with warm water and soap. The solder is silver in colour but with a special chemical called patina I can turn the solder black or copper, the latter being a very popular choice at the moment! Then the final stage is a good polish and that's it, a nice shiny new product!

I would have to say one of my favourite pieces in my collection is my cow parsley frame. It's also called Queen Anne's Lace because it looks just like lace, it’s so pretty. The best bit is in the summer it grows literally everywhere (it's a bit like a weed) so I'm always going out for walks to pick some! There are so many different types that once pressed all look completely different. Once it's pressed and put in between the two layers of glass you can see every tiny detail and no two pieces are ever the same.

My studio is currently in my house, in my spare bedroom. It's a small space but luckily you don't need a massive space for making glass. The only problem being that glass does seem to get everywhere so I'm constantly vacuuming up all the bits from the floor, so as not to get any stuck in my foot, which has happened before!

I am totally glass obsessed, I absolutely love windows, my favourite being old leaded stained glass windows. I will look for it above front doors, windows and churches. Luckily there is a lot of stained glass around Bristol. I'm always taking photos for inspiration, which gets a little embarrassing when the owners come out and wonder what I'm doing! Nature is a big inspiration for me as well, my favourite thing is to go for a walk to the forest or by a river and search for some natural things to press. I recently went for a winter walk and found so much beautiful dead foliage like cow parsley seed heads and thistles. It would probably look like weeds to others but is like treasure for me!

I'm a crazy cat lady, but I'm also a crazy plant lady! I'm very lucky that I can just make my own glass pot whenever I like and in whatever size. I have a lot of hanging terrariums around my house filled with trailing plants and succulents. I'm also now obsessed with air plants and they intrigue so many people when I'm selling at markets, they are a great conversation starter! Glass shelves and terrariums are perfect for them, as they don't need soil just light and water meaning they can just hang beautifully in the glass. 

Music is a big part of my working day! I always have the radio on or a mix to keep me going. Oh and my cat, working at home can be lonely sometimes as my fiancé is out working in the day so she's always popping into the studio to see what's going on!

Currently I sell my products through Etsy and Not On The High street but I would love to have my own website as well, so I am hoping to start work on that soon. I have also recently started to make very tiny pressed flower pendants (after feedback from customers saying they would love to wear my flower frames) that are small enough to wear as jewellery. I'm hoping to eventually go back to my jewellery roots and start making glass that people can wear.


Shop the gorgeous collection now on the Shopping With Soul Directory.

Markets

Spring Market Video!

Here is a little roundup of what went on at our Spring Market a few weeks ago, hope you like it! More news of our Autumn markets coming soon, can't wait to return in September with some more great events for you, in the meantime here are some dates for your diary -

16 & 17 September - Autumn Market Peckham as part of Peckham Festival, CLF Art Cafe, Bussey Building, 11am - 5pm. Trader applications open in June.

23 & 24 September - Brixton - A collaboration with Brixi as part of Brixton Design Trail in an exciting new venue. More details coming soon! Trader applications open in June.

2 & 3 December - Dogstar, Brixton, Christmas Market, 11am - 5pm. Trader applications open in August.

9 & 10 December - CLF Art Cafe, Peckham. Christmas Market. Trader applications open in August.

Plus more dates and venues coming soon...

Maker Profile - Life's a Biscuit

Hello!  I’m an Saskia from Life's a Biscuit, an East London girl living in beautiful Brighton. I make biscuit and sweet related jewellery, magnets and accessories.
 
I think I’ve been a maker all my life! I made a tamagotchi from an old soap box when I was little until I could save my pocket money for a real one! I didn’t enjoy art at school and dropped it before GCSE but kept painting and making bits and bobs in my own time. I did an art degree in Brighton and haven’t looked back since.
 
In our final year at uni one of my friends and I made little gummy bear brooches and sold them to our peers to make money for our mid-afternoon tea and doughnut fund! After I graduated I carried on making delicious looking goodies. It’s grown very naturally, from working in the corner of my kitchen, I now have a studio where I spend half my week.

I tend to mould my personal favourites when it comes to sweets and biscuits. Sometimes I make my own version of a biscuit, other times I mould the real thing. I piped my own icing for the iced gems and moulded that. I work with a polymer based resin for most of my biscuits. I mix the resin, adding colour and then pour into my moulds. Once it’s cured I clean it up and depending which biscuit it is I then add resin ‘jam’ or a magnet. Then they’re good to go!
 
Mould making is one of my favourite processes. I use silicone to make my moulds.  Initially it takes time to make a really neat careful mould but it’s worth it because I can then pop out several biscuits in one go. Taking things out of moulds is always so exciting - I’m never quite sure what I’m going to discover!

I work on the top floor of a fantastic building filled with creative and small businesses (New England House). I share a room with other makers and have a big desk right by the window looking out across Brighton to the sea. I have all my moulds and pigments there as well as a LOT of biscuits (they’re all fake, sorry!). I want to paint my space and put cheesy slogans up on the walls, that’s my next job!
 
It might sound boring but Radio 4 keeps me company most of the day, and I learn so much. It can be lonesome working on my own so it’s important for me to feel like I’m staying in touch with the rest of the world… I’m not an Archers convert yet though! My perfect tea break consists of builders tea, milk no sugar and a Fox’s Crunch Cream… they’re amazing!

I’m always getting new ideas, it helps that there are so many biscuit options out there! I want to make more mirrors covered with Life’s a Biscuit goodies and I’ve got ideas for a jammy dodger pocket mirror which I need to work on! Customers at stalls are always giving me new ideas and requesting their favourite biscuits! I’d love to collaborate with someone in fashion and turn the biscuits into an outrageous and extravagant outfit!
 
I have a sign on my stall that says “Not real!” because so many people ask! I did catch a child trying to have a nibble once. Most people like to pick the biscuits up to work out if they’re real - they’re very tactile.
 
Plan for the future include more biscuits!  I don’t think I’ll stay in biscuits forever but for now I think there’s still more to explore and I’m always willing to do biscuit eating research!


#CraftyFoxFinds - Week 13

Another great week of new products from a wide array of makers using the #CraftyFoxFinds hashtag and it was great to see some of them in the flesh at our market last weekend too!

Here are our top finds of the week .....

Hope you enjoy this weeks choice, click on the images to go to the makers pages. We shall be taking a little break from the roundups but keep using the Hashtag on Instagram and we will be back again in a few weeks with lots more exciting new goodies from our favourite makers.

Craft Scene, Makers, Markets

Download the Crafty Fox Zine!

At our Spring Market last week we launched our very first zine! A celebration of all the wonderful makers involved and a lovely keepsake for everyone who visited. Featuring interviews with guest curator Lisa Comfort, trader Jenny Sibthorpe, Pui from Scout Editions and illustrator Hannah Rampley whose gorgeous artwork features throughout. There is even a special Crafty Fox inspired craft tutorial from Zabby Allen so you can carry on the fun at home!

Didn't nab a copy at the market? Worry not! You can view and download a copy of the zine for yourself, by clicking here.

Makers, Markets

The Crafty Fox Zine is coming!

We are so excited to share our latest project with you - The Crafty Fox Zine!

We will be launching the zine at our Spring Market this Saturday 6th May at Oval Space in Bethnal Green, where you will be able to pick up your free copy as you go in.

The zine is filled with maker profiles, spring trends, a special foxy craft tutorial by Zabby Allen and lots more. Beautifully illustrated throughout by textile artist Hannah Rampley.

As an extra special treat there will also be a mural wall in the entrance to the market featuring Hannah's illustrations, by Coast Design Studio, perfect for an Instagram photo opportunity with your new purchases!! Don't forget to tag us in to your market photos using @craftyfoxmarket and #craftyfoxmarket.

See you there!

Makers, Shopping Inspiration

#CraftyFoxFinds - Week 12

It's #CraftyFoxFinds time again! Loads of action over on Instagram  this week, exciting to see lots of market prep for the Spring event in just over a weeks time!

Here are our top finds of the week .....

Hope you enjoy this weeks faves, click on the images to go to the makers pages. Keep using the Hashtag and we will be back again next Friday with more exciting new handmade products for you.

Craft Workshops, Markets

Spring market crafts and interactive arts!

At our spring market on Saturday 6th May (Oval Space, Bethnal Green) you will find lots of crafts and activities to get involved with as well as all the amazing shopping!

Here is a round up of all the fun activities you will be able to join in with from 11am-5pm. Click here to see the full trader listings.


I Make Knots - Knitted i-cord necklaces, £10, drop in.

Get knotty with us and learn to knit a statement i-cord necklace. Using various techniques and a variety of fabric yarn, we'll show you how to knit a couple of these stylish necklaces all in the space of an hour. Don't worry if you're a knot novice- this workshop is perfect for beginners and those already with the knot know-how.


Pup tart - Pimp Your Pouch Workshop - from £8, drop in.

Customise your sparkly bag and let your imagination run wild! You can monogram, add a sparkly rainbow or your own design… the possibilities are endless. Bring along your Pup Tart sparkle or purchase a bag to customise.


Andsmile - live portraits - £20, drop in.

Viktorija's portraits capture people so beautifully, pop by her stand to get one of your own! You can have your portrait painted in 10-15 minutes and will receive A5 ink and watercolour original artwork. Worth wearing your favourite outfit for!


One Pound Poems - live poetry - £1, drop in.

Visit Amber on her stall and for only one pound she will write you a poem on a subject of your choice while you wait! All done on a gorgeous vintage typewriter in front of your eyes, totally captivating, we can’t wait to see what she comes up with!

Makers, Shopping Inspiration

#CraftyFoxFinds - Week 11

Hope you have all had a lovely Easter and are back in the swing of things! Its been great to see that the sugar rush has resulted in a flurry of new makes over on Instagram.  It's nice to discover new people to follow and see what our Spring Market traders are up to by checking out the #CraftyFoxFinds hashtag.

Here are this week's top 9 - click on the images to go to the makers pages. Keep using the Hashtag and we will be back again next Friday with the best new discoveries for you to enjoy!

In Business, Resources

Social Sells: How to upgrade your photography for the Instagram era

The power of social media is one of the best tools available to designer-makers right now, but are we all embracing it as well as we could? Jenny Hyde from Copper Boom Studio talks us through her top tips for making your feed look as appealing as possible to potential customers...


Social media is one of the best, most cost effective ways to connect with potential customers and create a loyal customer base of people who just LOVE your products! But visuals are incredibly important in this Instagram-Facebook-scroll-through-everything era. 

1. Let the light in

With all photography, light is crucial. The better your light, the crisper, cleaner and more eye-catching your photo will be.

Use natural light as much as you can – this often means finding a spot in your house or studio where the light is good and taking lots of photos at the right time of day, even if you post them later!

Invest in professional lighting if you’re struggling. You don’t have to go gigantic, but having a small daylight lamp with a white sheet or two can make it so much easier to get good quality photos.

2. Show the detail

You have such a teeny tiny amount of time to make an impression on someone who is scrolling through their feed. Make sure you show them the most important thing!

Let your products lead the way. If you’re trying to show the detail or quality of a product, make that the focus. Sometimes the most engaging images are real close-ups of a product.

Fill the frame. For bigger products, or if you’re showing the whole product in-situ, make sure the product fills most of your frame and is in focus.

3. Give it some sass and personality!

Your marketing content is all about telling your story and connecting with potential customers, so adding your personal touch is essential.

Choose and use brand colours. Using a consistent palette can help you plan your photography and look really professional. They don’t have to be the same every time, but developing some go-to colours you love and fit your brand can really make your feed pop.

Prop it up. We love using fun, relevant and beautiful props! They help to tell the story of your products, and add plenty of engagement to social content. Just remember that your brand and product need to lead – don’t let props overpower your content.

And with social media, especially on Instagram, getting seen is everything. Use hashtags to engage with your customers. Some of our favourites include:

·       #supportsmall

·       #mycreativebiz

·       #communityovercompetition

·       #makersmovement

·       #creativelifehappylife

 

You can follow us @copperboomstudio – we’d love to connect and support you! And if you ever need professional photography, we’re here.

 

 

 

Makers, Shopping Inspiration

#CraftyFoxFinds - Week 10

With less than 4 weeks to go until our Spring Market it's brilliant to see the progress of some of our traders on Instagram. Of course, it's also a treat to discover new makers that are using the #CraftyFoxFinds hashtag.

Hope you enjoy this week's top 9 - click on the images to go to the makers pages. Keep using the Hashtag and we will be back again next Friday with more lovely makes for you!

Resources, In Business, Makers

Our First Overseas Trade Show - By Pui from Scout Editions

 
 

Recently Scout Editions visited and showed at the Amsterdam trade show, ShowUp. Pui tells us all about their experience and passes on her top tips to you. Great advice for those who might be thinking about doing something similar!

We started to think about trade shows for this year, and decided to take part in our first overseas trade show, ShowUP in Amsterdam. A fellow designer from the Netherlands recommended it to us so we decided to give it a go. We were interested in showing our work to a new crowd, particularly out of London, so this was a good opportunity.

Although it was an event abroad, we found that it was probably one of the smoothest we've had to prepare for. I think it helped as we had taken part in many events before, trade shows and pop-up shops so it was good training. Our only limitation was the weight and size of what we were going to take,  as we had luggage restrictions. An edit of our collection was packed into one suitcase, which was a good challenge!

When we arrived in Amsterdam, we headed straight to the show venue. Fellow designers and brands were already setting up. As we had a very tight edit of products, we were pretty quick to set up which meant we could have a good look around the show while everyone was prepping.

It's always inspiring to see how other brands curate their stands and display ideas. The show was so well organised. It was also great meeting other brands and chatting with them. We gained more stockists which was great and also good fun too.

Things to think about:

1) Accommodation:
When looking into accommodation, it’s a good idea to stay somewhere close to the event venue so that its not far to travel to rest up and so that it's quick to get there each morning. 

2) Stock:
Ideally travel as light as possible. We think its a good idea to take 2-3 spares of each item, in case one gets damaged in transit, or if a buyer may like to take a sample. Additionally think about the small items you can take to dress your stand, for example, signage, descriptions etc. 

3) Price List:
As we were in Amsterdam, we decided to convert our trade price list to Euros to make it easier for the buyers. We also put a note that prices were an approximation as the exchange rate would naturally change a little when they place an order.

4) Promo Materials:
Make sure you have plenty of cards, flyers and brochures for buyers to take away with them. As the show is so busy, its good for visitors to take something visual away with them, to remind them of your work.

5) Origin:
As we were in Amsterdam, we couldn't assume that people knew that were from the UK. So we had a little signage to explain who we are and that we're from London. We found that the buyers were interested in this. 

6) Improvise:
As we had to pack light, we couldn't take any of our usual display items with us, like our large wall display board. Luckily the ShowUp stands were so well made, we didn't really need to do much to it.  A month before the show, ShowUp organisers contacted us and asked if we wanted to hire a clothes rail - we used this to hang our prints on but we had to remember to bring our own hangers. Its worth contacting show organisers to see what equipment you can hire whilst your there, which may help with your display.

7) And Relax…
After the show, we stayed on for a couple of days. A nice treat! 

Makers, Shopping Inspiration

#CraftyFoxFinds - Week 9

This week we have landed in April and are excited to be getting closer to our Spring Market! We've enjoyed seeing everyone getting ready for the day with some behind the scenes piccies on Instagram too using the #CraftyFoxFinds hashtag.

Hope you enjoy this weeks favourites, click on the images to go to the makers pages. Keep using the Hashtag and we will be back again next Friday with our choice of new discoveries!

Makers, Shopping Inspiration

Maker Profile - Clara Castner

Hi! I’m Clara and I’m a ceramicist. My workshop is at my lovely fiancé’s house down in Kent and that is where the making happens.

I’ve been making since I was little. My mother used to make some of my clothes and I have always been fascinated with sewing. As I grew up, it was always textiles that fascinated me: embroidery, patchwork and quilting, dyeing my own fabric. This was always as a hobby, with the “day job” being a legal secretary. I did some City & Guilds certificates and wanted to go on to study at a higher level, so took an Art & Design Diploma at the City Lit in London. I was convinced I would study fine art textiles. However, an amazing tutor at City Lit, Robert Cooper, introduced me to clay and that was it, I was hooked. I was lucky enough to be accepted into the BA (Hons) Ceramic Design course at Central St Martins, and graduated from there in 2013.

It took a while to find my feet after university and I went back to the drawing board in 2015 and looked at all the things I love: colour, texture, everything floral. I had done some floristry certificates and started to look at vessels to compliment flowers. And so, the vases came into being.  

Each piece is made of slip cast porcelain. What that means is, I use a liquid clay that looks remarkly like white chocolate! This liquid clay is poured into a plaster mould, left in the mould for some time, and then the excess is poured out. You are left with what is called a cast inside the mould. The cast is removed from the mould and, at this point, it is very fragile. It is left to dry a little, so that it can be handled safely. I then carve the individual markings into each vase. The vases are then put into the kiln for their first firing. Once they are fired, they are taken out, checked over to make sure everything went okay in the first firing, and given a light sanding. They are then glazed, which gives the glassy finish, and then refired, this time to a high temperature of anything between 1260º and 1290º, which gives the porcelain that lovely satin feel.

It has such a beautiful texture if the clay is left unglazed, a cool satin feel and it’s white, which means it really allows the glaze to pop on the white background.

Inspiration is everywhere, but I do tend to take mine from the natural world. I let people see the patterns themselves, but I must say its lovely when someone says “oh this reminds me of silver birch” when that is exactly what inspired the carvings. I love bark, and lichen and rock, which must hark back to my A Level in Geology!

As for colours, I have this mantra: “everything goes with green”! You only have to look at nature, there are so many different coloured flowers and they all go with green. The idea with the vases is that they can compliment the stems of the flowers they hold, and elongate the flower. I do, however, have plans to introduce some more colours so, as they say, watch this space!

I think I have found my favourite flower, but it seems to change with what’s in season! I think my absolute favourites would be tulips and sunflowers. I do think I’d like to try making one of the stacked tulip vessels that were so in vogue in the height of the tulip mania, but that’s a very long term project (and I’d need a much bigger kiln!).  

My workspace, until recently, has been the kitchen and the patio. However, I now have my own room in which to work - a bedroom that has been converted into a studio. It's only little but it's nice to be able to leave work out to dry and not have little paw prints from our very inquisitive cat! Come the spring weather though, I do like working outside so you will probably find me outside working again!

I couldn’t live without wifi in the studio! It can be a lonely business working away in your own space by yourself, and its great that you can Whatsapp a picture to your best friend and ask for a critique, or share what you’re doing on social media for that little boost.  

Moving forward my plan is to have a different style of vase for each type of flower, in three sizes of each, all based on a round footprint. A new shape is already in development and will be launched later this year. After that, I start on square footprints…  I am also considering making some wider low vessels that can either be used for flower arranging or serving food.

The great thing about the vases I make is, they look fabulous in groups, but they also work singly. I tend to have just one in a shelf, and then the mantelpiece will have three or four grouped together. I will pick one shape, or one colour to unify them, and have just a few stems in each one.


Shop the gorgeous collection via the Shopping With Soul Directory now!

#CraftyFoxFinds - Week 8

Another great week discovering new handmade goodies with #CraftyFoxFinds on our Instagram page!

Here are our top finds of the week...

Hope you enjoy this weeks pics, click on the images to go to the makers pages. Keep using the Hashtag so we can see them and we will be back again next Friday with more inspiring new makers and products.

Maker Profile - Jenny Sibthorpe

Hello! My name is Jenny Sibthorpe, I’m 31 and I design and screen print textiles, usually in linen and leather. I’ve also recently expanded into having chopping boards and pot stands made in my designs, which I’m rather excited about! I live in an old cottage in the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset with my ridiculous cat Harvey and work in a very rustic farm studio round the corner.

I launched my business in late 2013 but I think you can safely say I didn’t have a traditional route to get here. Whilst I loved art and textiles at school I ended up studying Politics & Anthropology at Sussex University and lived in Brighton for 4 years. I then went to London and stayed for nearly 6 years working for the NHS in mental health and addictions until the call of the countryside got too strong! In my last year in London I’d taken up upholstery evening classes and it was then I started to wonder if it might be possible to make a living by using my hands. I took a chance and moved back to Dorset where I grew up and after saving up some money, I just made a decision, stuck with it and haven’t really ever looked back!

The business has evolved gradually from 2013 and it’s been imperative to remain flexible and adapt to discover what my strengths are as a designer and a small business owner. The constant learning is what keeps each day fresh and exciting, albeit sometimes a bit terrifying! I sell accessories, home wares and kitchen-wares in linen and leather and I also have a small stationery range of greetings cards and notebooks with images taken directly from my screen-printed fabrics. And finally as I mentioned above, my newest line is a culinary range encompassing chopping boards and pot stands. It’s fun to push the boundaries a bit and it’s also important to try to offer something a bit different.

I hand screen print all of my leather and about 80% of my linen. I outsourced the printing of four of my designs (Lemons, Bass & Hook, Clams & Lobster Pot) some time ago to enable me to sell them by the metre for upholstery and interiors. They’re still screened but by rotary and on a much larger scale than I could achieve in my studio.

For each product I pre-cut the pieces for printing to try to reduce wastage. This is particularly important for the leather as the hides tend to come with blemishes and marks that need cutting round. Then I tend to do short printing runs, maybe 10-20 of each product at a time. These then need cutting to size again and I have lots of cardboard templates in my studio for this!

The linen needs to be heat set with an iron to make it colourfast, and for a few products I also need to press interfacing onto the reverse of the printed material!

Then it’s a question of cutting up the appropriate linings, backs and pressing the leather tabs using my enormous Arbor Press and bringing all of the component parts together for making. Then once they’re all sewn together they all need pressing one last time and we’re done! Phew! Loud music is the key to the success of the production line I find!

I’ve always loved pattern and colour; I love the way bright colours can affect your mood in such a positive way. Inspiration comes in many forms, I particularly love trying to transform an everyday object into something of beauty, and I’m directly inspired by my surroundings too. My design process has evolved over time and I hope it continues to do so but it usually starts with colour and then I work from there.

Leather is fantastic to work with, the results are immediate and the colours just pop too. I love how hard wearing it is and how I still have customers who bought pieces from me years ago tell me that the design and the product still look fantastic which is just an incredible feeling.

I have a small studio on a farm near my house. It’s part of what used to be a milking shed, so it’s not particularly glamorous but its red brick, has an incredible beamed ceiling and overlooks fields that are filled with lambs come the summer so its certainly got charm! It’s a work in progress as I find out what I need as the business grows, twists and turns. I’ve built two big workbenches for printing and packing and am now the proud owner of a plan chest to help keep me organized! It’s cold and basic and draughty, but as soon as spring arrives the hardships of the long winter miraculously disappear and there’s no place I’d rather be.

Coffee and music get me through the day! Most likely BBC Radio 6 Music, but sometimes Radio 4 too. Its nice to think about other things and feel stimulated whilst doing some of the more repetitive tasks that my work requires. Other things that I definitely take for granted but that I can’t do without include fresh air and open space. My daily commute ensures I get a good dose of both.

Being a small business owner sometimes the creativity takes a back seat whilst the running of the business takes over and it’s important to have a happy medium. I would love to explore moving my designs to ceramics soon as I think that could be great fun. As for future collaborations, there’s such a wealth of incredibly talented and inspirational people within the designer-maker scene. As a huge Instagram fan, I would love to work with Ariele Alasko and think about how her incredible woodwork could combine with my textiles via some neat upholstery. Hanging out with her beautiful dog would be a bonus too.

Running workshops is so much fun! I really want to push myself and develop more skills so running more workshops felt like a natural step to me for 2017. The process of making in a workshop setting becomes so collaborative, it’s lovely, and just being able to share some tips and best practice that I’ve learnt myself makes it incredibly rewarding for everyone. Knowing that each person can take away something so tangible and beautiful at the end of each session as well as new knowledge and confidence is great; that they can feel proud when they tell anyone, ‘I made that’, is an amazing feeling.

My plans for the future include new designs, new products and to further develop my teaching skills, hopefully by expanding the repertoire which I’ve already started slightly by running workshops in Primary schools for a local art festival charity. I’m saving up to buy a house at the moment, so I’m having to plan things particularly carefully this year, but my ultimate dream would be to find somewhere big enough that might enable me to offer residential courses too. Imagine that!  


To see more from Jenny head to the Shopping With Soul Directory now.

#CraftyFoxFinds - Week 7

It's #CraftyFoxFinds time again! Another week of new makes galore over on Instagram so thankyou to everyone joining in, loved seeing all your Mother's Day and Easter goodies coming together too.

Here are our top finds of the week .....

Hope you enjoy this weeks faves, click on the images to go to the makers pages. Keep using the Hashtag and we will be back again next Friday with lots more exciting new handmade products for you.

Makers, Shopping Inspiration

Maker Profile - Cliffe House Organics

My name is Thom! I am the founder of Cliffe House Organics based in Holmfirth, Yorkshire. We craft and create handmade natural products from skincare to home gifts. We are a small family team that is passionate about producing amazing products with a focus on sustainable, ethical ingredients & packaging.

Everything we make is made by hand by me

I started making soaps around 3 years ago just for fun as I was intrigued about how they were made. After studying further and taking a few courses I  began to create my own recipes and blends. I began to think maybe I could sell these and my passion for design led me to start designing packaging. After some small successes the business grew along with some new product ranges including candles, diffusers and gift sets. Everyone involved at Cliffe House Organics comes from different backgrounds from art, sales to accounts. I have had a few different jobs myself from farming to marketing!  

We started with our range of signature soaps made using 100% natural ingredients, each soap was made with a skin condition or purpose in mind such as our Cooks kitchen soap made with lemon and coffee perfect to remove kitchen smells from your hands.

We then expanded the business to include candles, again we started with a small set of 5 soy wax candles scented with essential oils. The candles we chose match 5 of our best selling soaps, each candle is hand poured and finished with a small decoration made using soy wax and natural botanicals. In time we have added Essential oil diffusers to the collection of products and again we chose to make these 100% natural by using a soy base rather than alcohol or petroleum as you get in most high street diffusers. Not only does this mean a more eco-friendly product but a longer lasting product. Since then we have added luxury gift boxes, which we can personalize, along with soy wax tealight sets.  

Being organic was very important when I set up the business. Following research, I couldn’t believe the amount of harmful things companies put in their products that they don’t make clear and even hide behind clever marketing. This includes packaging, which is a trending topic around the world at the minute as we produce too much rubbish from products being packaged badly. We only use sustainable sources for all our packaging including papers made from recycled coffee cups on all our soaps. We print using green print which uses waxes instead of inks which last much longer and can be recycled.

Most of the products we make have a similar process in some regard. We take natural base oils, botanicals and 100% pure essential oils. We blend these at different temperatures using different techniques to create the end product.

I find inspiration for new scents everywhere! Sometimes we smell a product we like but think we can improve if we added a little of this or that, some products scents are drawn from places we have been around the world or simply smells we know we would love to be on our skin or fill our home. Blending scents is probably the hardest thing we do and can take months to find the right balance.

It’s very hard to pick a favourite product from the range as I know how much work went into each one, but I would have to pick the Physic Garden diffuser. It’s a blend of rose, patchouli, lavender and ylang ylang which really fills the whole house. The inspiration was taken from a garden in Chelsea filled with these scents.

We work out of the family home which is also a B&B. We have a large cellar space which we converted to a manufacturing facility and warehouse space, although most of the house is now filled with product and boxes!

This spring we are launching a really exciting new range of candles, we are calling these The Uncorked collection as they are made using recycled wine bottles. We have cut wine bottles down and filled them with our natural soy wax and essential oils, each candles comes with a cork stopper of keep the candle fresh and they will last over 40 hours. We also have a new candle making kit coming soon filled with everything you would need to make your own natural candle.


Shop the gorgeous collection via the Shopping With Soul Directory now!

Craft Scene, Makers

Pica Studios Open Day

A few weeks ago I went to the open day of Pica Studios in York to meet some of the artists and see the workspaces in this creative co-op. Set within an 18th Century print works, the productive setting lends itself to its current purpose - housing the workshops of eighteen artists, makers, writers and musicians.

Beautifully light and filled with inspiration, for the last 2 months the space has become a hub of creativity from some well known locals such as artist Mark Hearld, ceramicist Emily Stubbs and jeweller Evie Leach.

It is fantastic to see how everyone shares the space and works so closely together. Mark shares a room with fellow artist Lesley Birch. I asked her what it was like and she told me "It's great sharing the space - we can both be in here and be working quietly, not speaking for hours. Then I can turn to Mark and say "hey what do you think to this?" and we ask each other for advice and thoughts".

Looking around, you can see the diversity of the makers with homewares in one corner, the other side of the desk covered in pastels and sketches, a dressmaker next to a sculptor with a papercut artist nestled in between. The upper floor houses a print room that is filled to the rafters with drawers and drawers full of letterpress fonts that made this typography lover go weak at the knees.

The makers all share a sense of camaraderie and watching them interact they feel more like a family than work mates. Amongst the paint brushes and half finished projects lie empty wine bottles that hint at the social side of proceedings that occur as darkness falls.

I am fascinated by visiting peoples studios and seeing how they work and the processes involved, so this was such a treat and I left feeling so inspired. Walking down that little cobbled back street I would otherwise have never known what incredible work was being produced just a stones throw away from the famed Minster, and I love that!

Hopefully this will open up the door for more co-op opportunities in York. Feeling the energy in there and seeing the artists bouncing off each other is a wonderful thing and shared workspaces are definitely the way forward, the creativity is infectious!

I look forward to seeing more from these fantastic artists and I'm hoping they won't notice if I sneak in and work from a corner behind a canvas or something, I'd be happy to be the tea lady...

Words and photos by Kayti Peschke.