Craft shows and markets have been an integral part of my business ever since I first set it up in 2017, and they quickly became one of my favourite parts of being a self employed creative. At markets, I met my first customers, I got invaluable feedback on my work, I made amazing connections. Getting to meet people in person, learning how to talk about my own work in an interesting and engaging way, answering people’s questions and taking on board their ideas is so incredibly valuable for a small business like mine. I also got my first commissions through markets, as people’s imagination was sparked upon seeing all of my work displayed together. I have really enjoyed experimenting with display set ups, as it forces you to look at your work differently, and quickly shows how cohesive different pieces and collections are, and whether there are any gaps that could be filled with new products. The in-person shows have also been the best way to meet other people in the creative industry; super talented and kind makers, the extremely hard working show organisers, and lovely gallery managers and shop owners. To feel like a part of a community when you’re running an independent business is not only incredibly useful, but nourishing and affirming. When you’re in a studio or in front of your laptop day in and day out, it can feel like a lonely endeavour, and getting out to be amongst people has been a much-needed change. This is all to say, I am so incredibly grateful for everyone that organises, participates in and visits markets, for making me feel welcome. It means so much more to me than I can ever say.
Now of course, this year’s business calendar has looked very different for all of us. As the country went into lockdown in March, all of the usual craft shows and markets were cancelled or postponed indefinitely. While there has been a lot to grapple with this year, personally and professionally, this sudden shift impacted the whole community very strongly. Some makers, myself included, rely on markets as a large portion of their income, and to lose that was definitely a blow. Thankfully, the majority of organisers adapted incredibly quickly to the new situation, and moved their well-established events online. Online craft shows are about more than just shopping, although of course this is a large part of it. They give visitors a chance to browse a comprehensive group of extremely talented makers, many of whom bring out new products or exclusive collections for the event, as well as to get to know the people behind the work through video content, studio tours, demonstrations and classes. The community can come together again, albeit virtually, to interact and talk to each other.
I’m happy to announce that I’ll be taking part in my first online craft show on the weekend of the 5th and 6th of September. MADE Makers is a monthly virtual event organised by the fabulous Tutton & Young. I have attended a number of their real-life shows in the past, and they have been pivotal in the establishing and building of my business, and are always one of the highlights of my year. The last MADE show took place in October of last year (I've included some photos from the event above) and it was an absolutely brilliant week. Although the virtual craft fair will be a very different experience than what I am used to, I am nevertheless super excited to be taking part in a MADE event again this weekend.
I'll be setting up a display in my home, the same way I would at a craft show, and I’m planning to record and post a video of myself talking you through the work that is for sale and answering some of the most frequently asked questions. I’ll be posting this on my Instagram, and I’ll do my best to share it on my website or blog during the show too! I’ll also be adding some of my newest silver work to my online shop, including the beautifully sculptural Cocoon Brooch (I wrote about the making of this piece in the How It's Made - Cocoon Brooch blog post), and my contemporary take on classic hoop earrings, the Minimalist Hoops in two different sizes. If you would like an exclusive discount for the weekend, valid until the end of September, please subscribe to my newsletter. From 9am on Saturday, you will be able to browse 100 incredible maker’s content and work on the MADE Makers website. Each maker will have their own gallery of products you can look through, with links to their online shop. I hope you get a chance to pop by over the weekend!
As I’m always very keen to champion fellow small businesses, I’ve picked four makers from the line-up whose work I absolutely love, that I think you should keep your eye on this coming weekend.
I have only recently discovered this brand and I am absolutely enchanted by their products. They make clay and wooden products in the most beautiful colours. The turquoise salt cellar pictures is my particular favourite, as you know I love all hues of minty-turquoise green and the combination with the warm wooden tones is just stunning.
Eileen is a regular exhibitor at the MADE shows, and is also a Scottish based jeweller. She makes expertly crafted whimsical yet sophisticated precious metal jewellery and objects, taking forms of little animals and creatures. It’s very difficult to pick a favourite, but this silver whale pendant is definitely one of them.
Cecilia was my lovely neighbour at Made Marylebone in October 2018, and I fell in love with her woven textiles over the few days that we got to know each other. She is incredibly talented and has a great eye for colours and patterns. Her scarves are definitely on my wish list! Pictured is one of my favourite new pieces, the stunning blanket scarves.
Carolyn is also a recent regular of the MADE Events, and I love her unique way of storytelling through porcelain. Her work is hand thrown in her London studio, and decorated using screen printed designs. She uses a delectable, elegant colour scheme that compliments the forms and patterns beautifully. I love the below photo of turquoise and bold red vessels together.