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: 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: Claire Hill

Each person’s journey is a different one down the long road of creativity. It’s important to acknowledge great achievements, and challenges we might face and overcome.

We are delighted to share with you an artist who produces the best enamel pins, patches t-shirts and a variety of other items, Claire of Cobalthill

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

I work as a conceptual 3D designer in my day job which is great, I get to draw and sketch most days, but I miss the final production stage of design. It’s so great when you design something from concept stage, develop it, and manage it all the way through production to turn it into an actual physical thing which people interact with. So, I kept coming up with ideas for products, mainly pun-related (ha!), on my walk to work in the morning, and then I just thought, well why not design my own products on the side!

I started off small, quite literally, with a couple of pin designs, and from there I’ve designed patches, laser cut jewellery, screen-printed clothing…all products which are in some way a reflection of my own personal interests. I’ve been running Cobalt Hill for about 2.5 years, and I now know that I get the most enjoyment working on products that are pun or pop-culture related so that’s the direction I’m going to keep taking Cobalt Hill forward with.

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

I absolutely love going to gigs and music in general, which you might be able to tell from some of my products! I just love it when the whole crowd is singing back at the band, the sound of reverb, the post-gig chat, I just love it! I’m also a fan of going to the movies…it’s a couple of hours of being totally transported somewhere else, you’re not looking at your phone or getting disturbed- it’s just proper zone out time.

What has been your biggest achievement?

I’ve wanted to learn how to screen print for years, and this year I actually did it, which has made me very happy!!! I’ve still got a while to go, and I’ve made so many mistakes throughout my learning process to the point sometimes where I’ve wanted to give up (!!) but I stuck with it and I’m really happy with how my screen printed Tiger Shark collection has come out. It’s nice to have a hands on skill away from the computer screen, which can also benefit my business and creative ideas!

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

‘If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.’ (Don’t know who said it) You’ve just got to jump in sometimes, tackle something new, put something out there, and accept that perfection isn’t possible all the time if ever, but the doing and the progress is so so important and rewarding.

Thank you so much for speaking with us!

You can find the lovely Claire on Day 1 of our Spring Makers Market taking place on 2 -3 March 2019 at The Beehive Pub , N17 9BQ along with many other talented local makers and don’t forget, this is a two-day bumper handmade only market. See you then!!

Cobalthill

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