Makers Corner: Caroline Walters

We have only a few days until our makers market this Saturday 6 July at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, and still so many makers to introduce! Let’s go!

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What is your link to Haringey?

I lived in the Borough of Haringey for 7 years from 2009 to 2016, and loved the diversity of the area and its many parks. Then in 2016, I moved across the marshes to Walthamstow, which is where my shop (‘Caro Art & Gifts’) is based.

What inspired you to became a maker?

I’ve always been a maker in some way, though I didn’t pursue selling my work for several years while I had a career in academia. I knew that I needed to make for myself, as exploring my creativity brought a sense of fulfilment and well-being. At the beginning of 2019, I decided to practice calligraphy more thoroughly. The act of drawing letters, phrases and words has steadily brought my voice back, as I’ve been finding that the more calligraphy and painting I do, the more I write.

My research background means that I seem to spend a lot of time exploring how a medium works, which plays into my making process. For example, I love the way that different pigments and types of watercolour paint move differently. This led to the creation of many of my abstract pieces because I’ve always loved colours and patterns.

Earlier this year, I realised that my love of writing and calligraphy married well with my abstract watercolours, which has been the latest line in my work.

As a maker, I ensure that I do something creative everyday even if that is just some calligraphy practice or playing around with ideas. This helps to revitalise myself and allow for surprises to happen where work can be created from an unexpected avenue.

What is it like owning your own business or like many, juggling multiple jobs?

It’s been a journey to run my own business with the amount of new things involved. I love learning, and enjoy throwing myself into the wonders of marketing, brand development, and designing new products. My business has evolved from its origins in Wood Street Indoor Market to now sharing a shop with another designer. There is a real thrill when someone comes in asking for a commission, or I sell a piece of my own work, or am recommended to others. I really do have that ‘happy dance’ moment every time.

How are your products sustainable?

Everything is handmade by me in my small studio in Walthamstow. All of the ‘kraft’ range is produced on recycled card that is made in the UK. I buy all of my art materials from UK suppliers and distributors to minimise the carbon footprint involved in my work. In turn, all prints and cards are produced in the UK.

After a long day designing and making, what do you do to switch off and relax?

I’m an avid reader, and even won the school ‘bookworm’ award. I’m sure that was made up for me, as I was rather quiet at school. But through reading I’ve loved the journeys into new worlds, lives and ideas.

I love baking for friends, as there’s something about a chat with a piece of cake that makes everything feel better.

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What challenges have you faced, and what has been your biggest achievement?

A challenge that I have faced is that people buy more online than in the high street. This is why I am a proud supporter and advocate of the Just a Card campaign. It makes people more aware that each of those small purchases make a real-life difference to the sustainability of small independent businesses. I believe this is important because I love the diversity that we can find at markets but I want this to continue all the time, so we aren’t just reliant on markets. One of my achievements was that the Just a Card campaign did an interview with me on my shop and the ethos of me running my own business. It felt good to join such an important campaign.

What is your top Christmas prep tip as a maker?

I have noticed that the summer period tends to be quieter, so use this time to create more stock and design new products. Use this time for more of the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff: mailing lists, brand development, website sprucing etc. In turn, remember to book your markets in early, as these tend to fill up quite quickly.

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Can you impart a quote or words of wisdom to inspire?

‘Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world.’ (Brene Brown)

Take some time to think about what your core values are for yourself, and for your business. This can then help to reframe all of your work in relation to these ideas and to ensure that you are fulfilling each of your core values for the business. My core business values are: creativity, education and kindness. I want us all to remember that we are ‘enough’ just for being ourselves, and to remember to show yourselves the kindness you do others.

Instagram – CaroWoodStreet

Thank you, Caroline’s and we look forward to seeing you this Saturday 6 July at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Town Hall Approach Road, London, N15 4RX

Makers Corner: Amanda Barks

With our next makers market less than a week away, Saturday 6 July at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, we are excited to share with you some of the makers who will bring their finest handmade items to market.

Today we introduce Amanda Barks of Rock Covers Paper.

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What inspired you to became a maker?

My uncle and his then girlfriend was my inspiration. When I was little they lived in London. My uncle is a random creative, and she was a fashion student at Central St. Martins. I thought they were so cool and opened my eyes to so much art and design out there.

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What is it like owning your own business or like many, juggling multiple jobs?

Like most people, it keeps me on my toes, but man it’s awesome when someone gets my work and cracks a smile.

How are your products sustainable?

This is something I should shout about more often. I use recycled card/paper, I’m also a fan of the naked card and will only wrap my cards when purchased, and I use bio degradable cello wraps.

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After a long day designing and making, what do you do to switch off and relax?

I do enjoy watching some Netflix. I’m very much a binge viewer.

Can you tell us what is it like juggling your passion whilst holding down a day job?

I’m quite lucky as my day job is a Graphic Designer in the snow industry – two of my passions right there. So yeah, I’m very lucky as it doesn’t feel like I’m juggling, I’m just being a creative.

What challenges have you faced?

My mental health has been the biggest challenge I have faced so far.

Can you impart a quote or words of wisdom to inspire?

You don’t know unless you try.

Rock Covers Paper Instagram

Thank you very much. Find Amanda on 6 July at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Town Hall Approach Road, Tottenham, London, N15 4RX.

Makers Corner: Abi Gill Calligrapher

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We caught up with Abi who kindly shared her hobby and passion with us.

Please tell us about yourself?

I’m Abi and I am the founder of Abigail’s Calligraphy based in Haringey, north London. I started practicing calligraphy seriously about three years ago and have slowly started turning it into a business, mainly providing calligraphy for weddings but also making cards and gifts.

Can you please tell us what inspired you to turn your hands to calligraphy?

I’ve always admired beautiful handwriting. It’s a huge part of someone’s individuality. But it’s also something we see less and less of, as we all communicate through our phones and computers. I don’t know what most of my friends handwriting even looks like! I decided to take a couple of calligraphy courses to unwind and rediscover the beauty of creating something hand written.

The more I practiced and learnt, the more inspired I became. There are hundreds of different styles of calligraphy, known as scripts, many dating back hundreds of years. I learnt to write italic script, which is one most of us are familiar with. Perfecting a script takes years of practice and an eye for the technical, each script has different rules on the necessary angles and line heights. I branched into modern calligraphy too, which is a little more free flowing and is popular at the moment. This is what I use for most of my products.

What is it like to juggle your passion whilst holding down a full-time job?

Calligraphy is my hobby and it’s how I relax. I try and spend as much time as I can writing, but it can be hard. I work full time for the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint. Sometimes it can be hard to find as much time as I want to for my calligraphy after a full day at work. If your craft isn’t your main income, I think it’s important to be kind to yourself and not pressure yourself to work on it when you’re not in the right headspace or you’re tired, otherwise it becomes a chore rather than an enjoyment.

How do you limit your impact on the environment?

I create a whole range of calligraphy based products but I’m mainly selling cards at the market. The thing that strikes me about most card shops is the amount of single use plastic wrapping every single card. Nobody wants a grubby card, but we also don’t need the plastic to be single use. My cards are in plastic so you can pick them up and have a good look, but when you buy one I’ll keep the plastic to use again and you take it home in a recyclable paper bag.

Can you please tell us of your future aspirations?

I feel like I am very much at the start of my calligraphy business journey and I’m really excited to see where it will go! I love providing calligraphy services for weddings as it’s such a special thing to have something unique and handmade at your big day, so I hope to reach more brides and grooms! Alongside cards and postcards, I also want to explore where else I can use calligraphy. Ideas are always welcome and I’m always up for collaborating with others!

You can view more of Abi’s pieces at our 6 July Makers Market at The Bernie Grant Arts Centre. Until then…

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Makers Corner: Kate Louise Copsey

Hello! We love showcasing the amazing talented designer-makers London has to offer and today we caught up with an illustrator whose work is truly mind blowing!

Who is Kate Louise Copsey Illustration?

I’m Kate Louise Copsey, a London based Illustrator and Graphic Designer, who specialises in pop culture imagery, and book illustrations.

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What inspired you to become a maker?

I’ve loved to draw for as long as I can remember. As a child, if I ran out of paper, I’d start doodling on the walls, much to my parents chagrin! So it was a no brainer that art and design was going to be my future. I started my Etsy shop about a year ago, mainly out of curiosity and now I’m absolutely thrilled that it seems to be thriving!

Please describe the making/designing process.

I try to keep a genuine authenticity with all my work. All images I create are of something I care about in some way- a musician I love, a politician I believe in, or just something that I think is beautiful. It usually starts with a sketch, developed into a finished drawing – then scanned and coloured digitally. The good thing about digital, is you can change your mind over and over again – tweak it until you’re really happy, make it perfect!

What is it like juggling your passion whilst holding down a day job?

I’m currently juggling a day job, an Etsy shop and a Masters in Illustration, so I’m a pretty busy bee! I’d love to be busy, so it’s all good! I think it’s really important as an illustrator/ designer to constantly be developing your skills, trying out new things, and expanding your portfolio – so I find it quite easy to stay motivated.

After a long day designing and making, what do you do to switch off and relax?

I’m an avid reader, and always have time for a good book! I’ve turned a little pom pom crazy lately, making them is a good way to feel productive when in front the tv! And of course, I love to see friends, have dinners, go to exhibitions, and drink a cheeky bit of booze here and there!

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Thank you so much for speaking with us.

Catch a variety of local makers this 6 July at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Tottenham, N15 4RX

Kate Louise Copsey Illustration

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Makers Corner: Imogen Gilbert

We love featuring our makers, particularly ahead of market day to provide you a taste of what to expect. The quality is always exceptional, and it never ceases to amaze use the great items that are produced with sustainability and ethical practises at the forefront.

Today, meet local maker, Imogen Gilbert of Blue And Me Designs.

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What inspired you to became a maker?

I’ve been making things my whole life. I enjoy using my hands. So, creating products and selling them seemed like a good idea.

After a long day designing and making, what do you do to switch off and relax?

I sit in front of the TV with my knitting project and continue to create.

Can you tell us what is it like juggling your passion whilst holding down a day job and challenges you have encountered?

Selling my products and working on my other career is hard. The more jobs I take on, the less time I have for the shop. It’s also as a challenge as a handmade seller getting the word out about my shop and products.

Can you impart a quote or words of wisdom to inspire?

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” Nelson Mandela

Find Imogen and her soft furnishings on 4 May at The Beehive Pub (http://beehiven17.com/), Stoneleigh Road, N17 9BQ at our May Makers Market.

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Makers Corner: Samantha Hine

In our Makers Corner today, we share top tips and sustainability methods by Samantha Hine of The Vintage Letter Lady. Read on!

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How are your products sustainable?

All board games and card games I use are incomplete, missing pieces, ripped, torn, the board itself is broken and, so I take all the lovely parts and reuse them to make a piece of art for people’s homes. On some of the board you might see tea stains or pen marks,  but I feel this shows it has been loved and played with and now it has a new life. I love to reuse, remake and remove old things.

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After a long day designing, making, and juggling life, what do you do to switch off and relax?

Well my job is being a mummy. I used to work in the fashion industry, but when my twins came along it just wasn’t workable to do both. My little business is my release. Its my bit of me, when I am no longer mummy and can be Sam again.

I do struggle to ensure I spend enough time on my business while looking after the three boys, especially now no one naps! But for two morning a week, they are all in nursery. It’s amazing how much you can get done in 2.5hrs!! Plus I have a very supportive husband.

What is your top seasonal prep tip as a maker?

Try and enjoy it. Time goes so fast and sometimes you don’t get to enjoy the run up to the shows/events because we are so wrapped up in ensuring we have enough stock. Sometimes, everyone needs to stop and look at how much they have achieved.

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Can you impart a quote or words of wisdom to inspire?

Ha ha I love a quote! But my favourite is;

“Imagination is the highest kite one can fly” Lauren Bacall.

I actually did a letterpress workshop a few years ago and decided to create this as my piece which is now on our wall in the kitchen so we see it everyday as inspiration.

Find Samantha and her amazing upcycled vintage board games on 4 May at The Beehive Pub (http://beehiven17.com/), Stoneleigh Road, N17 9BQ at our May Makers Market.

www.thevintageletterlady.com

https://instagram.com/thevintageletterlady

 

Makers Corner: Alisha Lestrade

As a self taught sewer Alisha made her first dolls for her niece’s because they wanted dolls that looked like them, with skin colour and hairstyles like theirs, but couldn’t find anything similar in shops or online.

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She wanted to give making dolls a chance so headed to her favourite local market, Camden Lock, fitting in perfectly with its diverse and multicultural offering. Alisha opened Sugacandipop as a pop up shop in the Dingwalls Gallery area, next door to the Lower Market Hall in August 2012.

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Alisha made her dolls onsite and sold them 7 days a week and, with a lot of  help from her sister and a good friend, the shop soon became part of the tight community of market traders.

Initially only booked for a 2 weekk run, the Sugacandipop Pop-up Shop was so well received that it stayed open until December 2013.

It only closed when Alisha was due to have a baby starting a family of her own.

Her professional background is in childcare and playwork, specialising in crafts and she has worked with children for 15 years.

She has relaunched her diverse doll making business under a new name Thimble & Doll ready for Christmas 2017. The dolls are still designed, drawn, cut and stitched by hand by the lady herself.

 In 2012 she started with 5 skin tones but has now doubled this to 10! You can buy a selection of pre made dolls from Alisha’s online shop or make a bespoke order for you own doll. There are currently 4 styles of doll available and different sizes to choose from, with lots of customising options for that really personal touch.

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 “Diversity is a core value of my business and is important because representation matters. We don’t all look the same, we come in all different colours, so dolls should too!” – Alisha, Founder

Find Alisha and her amazing dolls on 4 May at The Beehive Pub (http://beehiven17.com/), Stoneleigh Road, N17 9BQ at our May Makers Market.

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Makers Corner: May Glen Design

We love learning more about our makers, their motivations and their ethical practices. Today in our Makers Corner, we have the pleasure of introducing a fellow local maker of tote bags, pins, tea towels, May Glen.

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What is your link to Tottenham, Haringey?

I live in Haringey and in my spare time help run weekend and private workshops as a tutor for Tottenham Art Classes. When I can, I enjoying coming to the life drawing classes at the Beehive Pub that Tottenham Art Classes run on Thursday evenings.

What inspired you to became a maker or, please describe the making/designing process?

I did a lino printing taster course a couple of years ago and have been doing it ever since. It’s a process that is very accessible and you can do it from home without any large-scale equipment. I make my prints at home on our small dining table and find it an enjoyable contrast to my day-job spent at a computer.

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What is it like owning your own business or like many, juggling multiple jobs?

I work full-time and make lino prints and illustrated products in my spare time. I don’t get the opportunity to spend as much time as I would like on it so my progress is slower than I would like, but it means I always have something in the pipeline to look forward to working on when I get the chance.

How are your products sustainable?

All of my lino and printed cards are printed onto recycled card and come with recycled envelopes, and all the protective cellophane sleeves are actually made of plant-starch and are completely compostable. My tote bags are made of high-quality organic cotton and along with my tea-towels are produced sustainably in the UK.

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Don’t forget to stop by The Beehive Pub on 4 May and say hi to May and all the other amazing creative makers!

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Makers Corner: Takako and Maurya

Our Makers Corner today features the lovely Takako and Maurya of Tamakurya Boutique whose interests lie in sustainable living, and are the founders of a forward thinking business partnership that fuses African textiles with ancient Japanese traditions and practices.
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Hello! Please can you introduce yourselves?

We, Takako & Maurya, are craft-loving mums who create beautiful objects and tools that are not impactful on the environment.
We produce Furoshiki — sustainable and reusable eco-wraps—from Ankara fabric and teach people how to utilise them as an alternative to single-use materials.
Tamakurya Boutique run workshops where we give an insight into this 2000 year-old Japanese practice of fabric wrapping and its history and development.
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Please can you share your processes?

A Furoshiki is a single square piece of cloth which, when folded in ways that we teach,  becomes a functional and adaptable tool for wrapping, carrying and storing a wide-variety of objects; from delicate glass bottles and gifts, to books and larger household objects. Furoshiki are reusable and an eco-friendly alternative to gift-wrapping paper or other disposable materials, which are often not recyclable and disposed of in landfill or by incineration. Furoshiki wrapping is a multi-purpose and useful way we can adapt our modern needs without lasting damage to our precious planet and the habitats dependent upon it.

What else do you make?

We also produce a variety of hand-made products including hairbands, ties and garments made by re-using vintage kimono fabric which are all available from out Etsy shop and regular markets around London.

Join us at The Beehive Pub on 4 May 2019 for our exciting May Makers Market – eek!!!

Makers Corner: Roomamakes

We have only a few days until our Spring Makers Market this 2 & 3 March at The Beehive Pub, N17 9BQ and still so many makers to introduce! Let’s go!

Hello. Who is Roomamakes?

Roomamakes is Rooma, mum of three boys with a background in the arts, including a degree specialising in printed textiles, and who went on to work in the fashion industry for a number of years.  However, although i veered off the creative track and into production, my love of creating and making was always there.

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We are intrigued to know, where do you get your inspiration from?

This was probably down to my mum who taught me how to sew,  knit and crochet at a very young age.  So once my boys were settled in school, I decided to take the plunge and do what I always loved. My mum was a machinist in the old Simpson’s factory in Hackney.  In her spare time she would make us outfits,  knit without the use of patterns and still manage to create amazing things. Her love of embroidery carried on with needlepoint in her retirement . She was very much a multi-tasker in the world of creating.

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After a long day creating, what do you find to be your go-to for relaxing and switching off?

I usually relax after the boys are tucked into bed… with a few catch up episodes of the current BBC drama!

I try to switch off from everything, but there is always some thing well within reach. A notebook to doodle in acts like therapy and I fall into a little bubble of my own!

Before you go, can you impart some words of wisdom for those starting out?

Life is short and if you never try, you never know!

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