Meet the Maker - Sparrow + Wolf

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Cherie of Sparrow + Wolf designs geometric inspired homewares.  We knew Cherie's work would be perfect for the Christmas Design Temporium at The Architecture Centre this.  Design led and oh so cool. We caught up with Cherie to find out more...
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
My name is Cherie and I run Sparrow + Wolf, a design studio based in Birmingham. I work as an illustrator and my Sparrow + Wolf designs come from my illustrations. I always wanted to expand into product design and the transition has been quite organic. I like to focus on using British manufacturers for things like our fabric printing and stationery printing as this is just a small way of supporting our great industries. 

What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline? 
I get to see amazing design and work with the most wonderful shops all around the world. I also am lucky enough to be taking part in amazing pop up shops such as the Temporium that I find really exciting!

What is your favourite family Christmas tradition?
My Mum’s epic Christmas dinners which are the best around. I know everyone says that, but they really are something special!! It’s my favourite time of year. 
What handmade item is high on your Christmas wish list? 
I love handmade soaps, or screen printed items such as lovely cushions or tea towels. But items don’t have to be practical for me to fall in love with them, I’m a big fan of quirky ceramic ornaments too. 
Do you have any tips on selling over the Christmas period?
I would just advise to keep your eye on stock levels and build up relationships with your suppliers incase you need to top up your stocks. Keep showcasing your items on your social media and try to get into Craft fairs with designers you think you sit nicely along side. It can be hard to resist spending anything you make at Craft fairs on other lovely items from other sellers but at least at Christmas you have an excuse! I quite often end up trading items which is really nice. 

If you could choose a fellow artist/maker to collaborate with, who would it be and why? 
I’m a big fan of LogLike’s awesome tactile wooden fruits, or Jo Ham’s whimsical rabbit portraits. I don’t know how it would work as they’re both very different to me, but perhaps that could be an interesting challenge! I find them both really talented & fun! 
Which artist do you find inspiring to follow on Facebook or Twitter? 
I love Donna Wilson’s playful products and love seeing all of her new creations come to life in ceramic, wool or wooden form. 
Finally if you could design a Christmas decoration, what would it be and why? 
I think I’d design a door wreath full of bright big pom poms from our cushions. That actually sounds amazing and I want to try it out now!! 

Thank you Cherie, we love your idea of a pom pom wreath!  You can find Cherie's beautiful homewares in our Christmas Design Temporium at The Architecture Centre which is open everyday until Dec 23rd.
Christmas Design Temporium
The Architecture Centre
Narrow Quay
Bristol

Tues - Sun: 10am - 6pm

Read More »
Blogger Tricks

Meet the Maker - Annah Legg

Monday, December 15, 2014
Nothing pleases Annah Legg more than a pile of vintage maps.  Her obsession runs deep, with her home decorated with them, and her work is made from them.  We caught up with Annah recently to find out more about her love of maps and her inspiration behind her collection...
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work?
I’m Annah from girl&bird! I create accessories using vintage map prints, that can be personalised to any location in the UK, and further afield too. My goal with girl&bird is to bring back the importance of places, and the memories that are attached to them. The idea came when I had moved to uni, and was missing home. I had some vintage maps of Sussex that I’d collected or been given over several years, and put them up on my wall to feel a bit more connected to home. When I left uni, I ended up doing the same with Cornwall, as I missed that just as much! After having the maps on display for a few years, I just felt that they were too beautiful (and represented places that I loved too much) to be kept in a box and never looked at. I experimented with different ways of incorporating the maps into usable products, before deciding that printing was the most sustainable and high-quality option. The girl&bird range includes wash bags, purses, cushion covers, tote bags and ipad cases, all of which feature gorgeous prints of out-of-copyright maps. There are more products on the way, too! 
Apart from creating things what else do you do?
I currently work full time at a design consultancy as a textile product developer, working on prototypes of client’s innovative products. It’s a fantastic job, and really varied - but when I’m not working on girl&bird or ‘work’ work, I usually try and unwind with some TV, cooking, or by going for a run. There is such a thing as too much creativity! 

When did you know you were an artist/maker? 
I’ve always enjoyed creating - and having something that can be held rather than just viewed. During my Art Foundation, I toyed with the idea of Fashion, Photography or Illustration, before settling on Textile Design. The course (down in Falmouth) was fantastic, and I specialised in Woven Textiles which is a very practical discipline. However, I still felt frustrated by not creating products or useable items. So, since leaving, that has been my main focus and has really made me feel like ‘A Maker’! 
What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline? 
What I’ve loved most about selling at fairs is hearing people’s stories about the places that are special to them. It’s a really lovely feeling - giving people something that reminds them of a happy place. Sewing itself is very therapeutic. If you’re making several of the same item then you can really get into the swing of it, so it’s quite easy to relax into what you’re doing. I’ll always love working with fabric, too – it just feels very natural. 
Where does your inspiration come from? 
Apart from old maps, I’m so inspired by other people’s homes. I love seeing how people combine mundane, everyday objects with special and extraordinary pieces, especially when there is colour involved. Interiors magazines and books are always an inspiration - I’ve got stacks of Elle Decoration in our living room! Wandering around and people watching is always inspiring, as is connecting with other makers. ‘Handemade’ is very important to me - especially after having designed products for mass-production. Being able to support a local craftsperson is an incredibly powerful thing! 
Describe your studio or workspace? 
My boyfriend and I moved to Bristol in September, so I’ve now got a fantastic second bedroom that is all mine to work in! The window looks out over some gorgeous trees, and I’ve got plenty of storage. I keep my maps out in a vintage wooden box (although they overspill into a slightly less glamorous cardboard number) so they’re easily accessible, and my three special locations are up on my wall, alongside some inspirational images. 

If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman who would it be? 
It would have been incredible to see the inner workings of the Bauhaus. Anni Albers has long been a bit inspiration to me, especially when I was at university. Her woven tapestries are incredible. A current designer who I’d love to get an inside peek at would probably be Orla Kiely - I love her use of colour, and the retro style. I’m always inspired by printers! Other than that, give me a chance to wander around any creative person’s house and I’ll be happy! 
How would you describe your creative process? 
When developing new products, I tend to approach it with a very clear idea in my head of what I want it to look like - zip positions, proportions, and dimensions. I’m not good at getting that down on paper in the form of sketches! It usually takes a couple of samples to get it just as I want it, and then it’s a case of getting the location to fit well on the product. Coastlines can be tricky! When I’m testing out a new idea for prints, I tend to just have a go at them on fabric, as it’s very difficult to get an idea of how something works until you’ve got something to hold. Generally it’s best to go with something that feels right - and is enjoyable! 
What handmade possession do you most cherish? 
I’ve got some prints from friends that are very precious - an engraving by print-maker and designer Abi Burt is up on my wall at home. My boyfriend bought me a concrete necklace by Rhiannon Palmer Jewellery for Christmas, which looks like a galaxy - it’s beautiful! 
What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut? 
I tend to try to step away from my workroom and do something else. When you’re making alongside a full time job, I've often felt ‘stuck’, but usually what I actually need is a walk followed by a cider! Switching off is important. Failing that, going to a gallery or museum, getting some new fabric or making something for myself rather than someone else always feels like a guilty (but necessary!) pleasure. 
Where would you like to be in ten years? 
I’d love to be working for myself, developing the product range and designing prints alongside the vintage maps. Although the starting point has been maps, a running idea in my creative work has always been things from a birds-eye view. I’d love to take that further - perhaps with weave, or with print designs. It all comes back to the name - I’d just love to be a bird, really!

Thank you Annah!  We adore your work, and have our eyes on your zipped pouches for Christmas!  You can discover Annah's map creations in our Made in Britain shop.

Made in Britain
Quakers Friars
Cabot Circus
Bristol

Mon - Sat:  10am - 6pm
Sun:  11am - 5pm

Read More »

Meet the Maker - Kirsty Anderson

Monday, December 08, 2014
There is a huge trend at the moment for taxidermy, especially antlers and deer heads.  But not all people are fan's of having real animals in their home. So when we discovered the work of Scottish based textile artist, Kirsty Anderson, aka A Wooden Tree, we instantly knew they would be a winner! We caught up with Kirsty recently to find out more about her and her creations...
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
Hiya, I am Kirsty, based in Edinburgh. I make and create quirky animal inspired textile wall hangings, soft pieces and accessories under the name of 'a wooden tree'. 

Apart from creating things what else do you do? 
Rummage charity shops for pretty fabrics. 
When did you know you were an artist/maker? 
I have always known I would make things from a young age I don’t really know what I would be doing if I had not chosen this path, hopefully something creative. 
What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline? 
Almost everything I make has come from something, it’s part of a story it’s evolved, the fabrics evoke memories for people, and then new ones when they have it in their home. Nothing is ever the same, each piece I make has it’s own quirks and the fabric placement is always different so each piece is individual. 
Where does your inspiration come from? 
Old fabrics, linens, embroideries, taxidermy exhibits, museums, junk markets, the woods and animals and holiday, holiday is the best inspiration. 
Describe your studio or workspace? 
We use our living room as the studio, my partner and I share it. He has a corner and I pretty much take up the whole room as I have so much stuff, oops! It’s at the top of a tenement building so the light is great and there is a lovely fireplace. It’s a good room to work in, although as it’s rented I can’t hang all my pictures and notes. 

If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman, who would it be?
I’ve already had a peek in one, I interned for Jessica Ogden, her studio was amazing. Otherwise I would say Clare Rojas, Yoshitomo Nara, David Shrigley, there are too many I could probably write a huge list. 
How would you describe your creative process? 
It’s varied, if I am making a wall piece like a stag I will draw the template using inspiration from reference images, pictures I've taken at a deer park or taxidermy in a museum. I try not to spend too long on the first as I make a maquette out of calico or lining and then change it until I am happy. The pieces I create are always evolving, every year or so I want to change them a bit and then another bit. 

What handmade possession do you most cherish? 
My mothers textile pieces she hand printed at art school, I have an amazing panel of snakes in the grass that she designed. I plan to get it properly framed so I can hang it with pride on my wall.
What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut? 
Go for a walk or work on something different, the distraction usually makes the other part of my brain start working again. 
Where would you like to be in ten years? 
To have a studio that’s all mine and looks out to the woods or the sea. I want to make larger scale pieces of work, then possibly a gallery that wants to show them off so I can earn a living creating and making full-time.

Thank you Kirsty!  We adore your creations and have certainly added Mr Stag to our Christmas list! You can find Kirsty's menagerie in our Made in Britain shop.

Made in Britain
Quakers Friars
Cabot Circus
Bristol

Mon - Sat:  10am - 6pm
Sun:  11am - 5pm

Read More »

Meet the Maker - Jim Sharples

Friday, December 05, 2014
One of the great things about having the Made in Bristol Gift Fair at the Colston Hall is that we can accommodate larger pieces for sale. Such as large pieces of furniture. Jim Sharples is local furniture maker who creates bespoke pieces from locally felled trees.  We caught up with Jim recently to find out more about his work... 
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
I am Jim Sharples, I am a self-employed furniture maker using local sustainable timbers, often milling up trees myself. Creating bespoke pieces from planking the tree to fitting a kitchen in a client’s home. 

How do you prepare in the months running up to the Gift Fair? 
I plan what I will be making and start sourcing timber early. 
Do you have any tips on selling at Christmas markets? 
Have your stock made in advance – giving you time to plan the layout of your stall. 

What special little touch do you offer your customers?
I can make things to order which can be customised, bespoke and totally unique. 
What handmade item is high on your Christmas wish list? 
A handmade bike would be amazing. 

What is your favourite part of Christmas? 
One of my sons has his birthday on Christmas day, but the look on both my boys faces on Christmas morning is beautiful. 

Which UK artist/maker’s Twitter feed do you find most inspiring and why? 
Bryce Davis, AKA Peaceful Protest, always good pieces from a buys maker. 
What is your favourite family Christmas tradition? 
Now it’s my youngest boys’ birthday on Christmas day, so we try to keep the morning as a birthday celebration for him. 
Finally, if you could re-design a Christmas decoration, what would it be and why? 
The angel from the top of the Christmas tree should always be Elvis.

Thank you Jim!  Elvis would be so cool on top of the tree, especially in his white and gold Vegas suit.  You can find Jim in the Entrance of the Colston Hall foyer on Sunday 7th December.
Made in Bristol Gift Fair
Colston Hall 
Bristol

Saturday 29th November 2014
Sunday 7th December 2014
10am - 4pm

Saturday 13th December 2014 
10am - 3pm
Read More »

Made in Bristol Gift Fair

Thursday, December 04, 2014
Our second Gift Fair outing takes place on Sunday at Colston Hall, Bristol from 10am. Here are a few highlights from last week. All of these artists are taking part once again this weekend alongside a new bunch of talented makers & designers. See you there!
Catkin Boutique
Made in Bristol
Alex Lucas
Betty Butter
Sky Siouki 
Tickety Boo Upholstery 
Barefaced Bee
For more sneaky peaks keep one eye on our Facebook page and the other on Twitter (don't go cross eyed!) More info about our event & more photos can be found here too.... See you Sunday



Made in Bristol Gift Fair
Colston Hall 
Bristol

Sunday 7th December 2014
10am - 4pm
Saturday 13th December 2014 
10am - 3pm
Read More »

Meet the Maker - Angela Hall

Thursday, December 04, 2014
Local bees, local honey, local bee skincare!  Yes please!  We are absolutely delighted to have Angela Hall with us this weekend at the Made in Bristol Gift Fair at the Colston Hall.  It couldn't get more local than this!  We had to find out more about Angela's bee's and her lovely skin care products... over to you Angela...
Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work 
Hello MIB – my name is Angela, and I’ve lived here in Bristol with my partner and children for over 25 years. I work as a television producer, but started Barefaced Bee a couple of years ago after adding a beehive to my allotment here in central Bristol, and became really enthusiastic about the the benefits of honey not just in your diet (the honey does seem to have cleared up my pollen allergy) but also for your skin. At that time, my son was just off to university to study chemistry, and something he wrote made me look at the ingredients in the shower gels we were using, and the complex, harsh detergent base. I was interested in how skincare could be taken back to the basics, and that a really high quality soap could be made from plant oils – and the very positive difference that made to your skin. I did a lot of reading, training, and experimentation, and now have a formulation that I think works really well, made only with botanical oils (olive, organic coconut, organic shea for example) and our own honey. 
How do you prepare yourself in the months running up to the Gift Fair?
The bees aren’t very active at this time of year – they’re just snug in their hives with their winter provisions - so that leaves more time for making soap in larger batches. It needs to cure for 4 to 6 weeks before packing, so I need to be organised. The workshop smells really good now though! 

Do you have any tips for anyone selling at Christmas markets? 
Lists. Big smile. Lots of good coffee. 
What special touch do you offer your customers? 
We sell gift sets which are in mail-friendly boxes – or ribboned and tagged ready to hand over in person.

Which handmade item is high on your Christmas wish list? 
I’ll be walking past Diana Porter’s lovely window display on Park Street hoping something might find it’s way home. Or more practically, hoping my bloke might assemble a few more bee boxes for me! 
What is your favourite part of Christmas?
My Mum’s fab sausage rolls with a bottle of fizz is just about the best bit. Makes the afternoon’s cooking duties much more relaxed, too… 

Which artist/maker's Facebook or Twitter feed do you find most inspiring?
Keith Brymer Jones – I love their ceramics and for a bigger company they manage to make their feed feel personal. The video parodies are completely bonkers and make me laugh a lot… 
What is your favourite Christmas tradition?
Buying the tree. The lovely flower shop at the end of the road will help you carry it home. I like to get a bit Nigella and make gingerbread cookies to hang on ribbons – I can’t do the icing though, so have a ‘snow scene’ theme! Our dog can’t quite help himself however and always steals these over the following few days, so we just find the ribbons hanging at the lower levels … 

Finally, if you could re-design a Christmas decoration what would it be and why?
I’m really not very fond of tinsel, so I think that could do with a bit of a revamp maybe.

Thank you Angela!  We are looking forward to seeing your stall on Sunday 7th December.  You can find Angela in the Entrance of the Colston Hall this Sunday.
Made in Bristol Gift Fair
Colston Hall 
Bristol

Saturday 29th November 2014
Sunday 7th December 2014
10am - 4pm

Saturday 13th December 2014 
10am - 3pm

Read More »

Meet the Maker - Jane Kenney

Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Last weekend saw our Christmas Gift Fair at the Colston Hall go off with a bang!  It was a brilliant day with hundreds of people flocking through the doors to buy locally made Christmas gifts.  We are about to do it all again this Sunday!  We are so happy to have Jane Kenney back with us again this year.  Jane designs beautiful jewellery which we know you will love - self gifting anyone?  We caught up with Jane to find out more about her and her inspirations...
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
Hi I’m Jane and I design and make jewellery in my workshop, at my home in Bristol. I completed a degree in Jewellery and Silversmithing at Loughborough University in 2003 and moved to Bristol to work in the workshop of an award winning jewellery designer, before setting up my own jewellery business in 2005. For the past 6 years I have worked as a part time Design and Technology teacher alongside making my own work but recently took the leap to leave teaching to focus on my jewellery full time. My jewellery is not based on one particular theme or idea but has been a natural development of a variety of interests and influences. I started adding texture to my work when I found a hammer in my Dad’s workshop that belonged to my Grandpa. Each piece of my work is hammered by hand by this hammer, to create unusual textures and shapes, giving my work a unique and individual quality. I work mainly in silver to create versatile, wearable pieces for everyday adornment alongside one- off commissions in a variety of precious metals. 
How do you prepare yourself in the months running up to the Gift Fair? 
I try to plan my time as well as possible using wall charts and I make a lot to do lists! I inevitably work better with a deadline looming though! 
Do you have any tips to someone who is just starting out at Christmas markets? 
When I first started selling my work at markets I would get quite stressed about having every piece in my collection represented and in as many variations as possible. I would get quite over whelmed trying to make enough stock. Although I still aim to have a large and varied collection of my work on display, I try to focus on the pieces that I know tend to be more popular and make suitable gifts. I also always try to have a few new pieces so that my stand is a bit different each year! 
What special little touch do you offer your customers?
As I sell a lot of my work through galleries, exhibitions and on-line, I really love the opportunity to meet and chat to customers face to face at markets. I love hearing people’s responses and opinions about my work. Following last year’s Made in Bristol Gift Fair I had a few exciting commissions in which I made some lovely one- off pieces, these were all developments through chatting to customers about different possibilities. 
What handmade item is high on your Christmas wish list? 
I’ve been a huge fan of a maker called Atelier Stella for a long time now and would LOVE one of her sweet and quirky ceramic plant pots. They are very popular and always sell out very quickly. 

What is your favourite part of Christmas? 
The run up to Christmas is always quite a busy (but really enjoyable) time for makers so I always love that feeling of finally relaxing after a few fun and productive months. I really love getting cosy indoors, with lots of good food and watching cheesy Christmas films! I also love visiting and catching up with lots of our family and friends. 
Which UK artist/maker’s Facebook or Twitter feed do you find most inspiring and why? 
I’ve found it really hard to choose a favourite! I love independent shops and @paper_smiths in Clifton Village is one of my favourite. I have really enjoyed following their move from ‘Something Else’ on Park Row to their new location and identity. I also always find my friend Sarah Corbett’s @craftivists twitter and Instagram feed very inspiring and thought provoking. Sarah uses craft to educate, inform and respectably get her message seen and heard. Sarah founded the Craftivist Collective in 2009 with an aim to “expose the scandal of global poverty and human rights injustices through the power of craft and public art” and now has thousands of craft lovers all around the world joining her on different projects. 
What is your favourite family Christmas tradition? 
I have been taking part in a Christmas Market in Nottinghamshire (where I grew up) since 2005. My parents always come and help me with my stand and other family members always come to visit, I realise this has become a family tradition and really represents the start of Christmas for me. 

Finally, if you could re-design a Christmas decoration, what would it be and why? 
I really like traditional glass baubles and would love to try working in glass to create my own. I would also like to change the Christmas fairy at the top of the tree, to a greyhound with a halo and wings to represent my dog Arnie.

Thank you Jane!  We too love the work of Atelier Stella - They do sell out in minutes flat! You can find Jane on the Middle Level of the Colston Hall Foyer this Sunday 7th December & on Saturday 13th December too. Hurrah!
Made in Bristol Gift Fair
Colston Hall 
Bristol

Saturday 29th November 2014
Sunday 7th December 2014
10am - 4pm

Saturday 13th December 2014 
10am - 3pm
Read More »