Abbi of Jubilique and Louise

Abbi Cudden of Jubilique and Louise creates unique handmade greetings cards, ceramics and home wares. “I opened my Etsy shop in September 2013 after a good few years of experimenting with ideas, selling at various craft fairs and developing my brand. 

Everything in my shop is handmade by me in my studio based in Norwich. A lot of care and attention goes into each item – high quality and individuality is very important to me.”

Abbi also has lucky dip bags for sale in her shop. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m a big fan of lucky dip bags! “Each bag is a random selection, but will contain a face dish, a greetings card, a cute little badge, two tiny face dishes and a mini card! Maybe some extra surprises in some as well!”

Abbi will be at the Cambridge Made Summer Fair on the 11th of June at St. Andrew’s Street Baptist Church. If you plan to pop in for a browse, let us know you’re coming on our  event page, by clicking on ‘Interested’ or ‘Going’.

 

 

Interview:Harriet of Harriet Emily Design

Creating patterns for homewares is a dream come true for Harriet of Harriet Emily Design. “I started my own business at the beginning of the year. Although I have been working in various design jobs for the past few years, I thought it was finally time to start sharing my own designs and doing more of what I love – pattern design. I have always loved drawing and creating designs for all sorts of items. I currently design prints for a range of stationary, accessories and fabrics.”

“My work is inspired by vintage finds and collections. It showcases a variety of styles from geometric to floral and vintage colour pallets to bright contemporary prints. I love exploring new ideas and developing them in keeping with my own style. I have always found great inspiration in 1950’s homewares and Scandinavian design.  For me, the combination of colours and simplistic shapes stands out, adding a now retro feel to modern interiors.”

Harriet’s advice to those thinking about setting up their own business is, “If you are passionate about something you should keep going. What have you got to lose?  I spent a lot of time thinking about what I could do, but never quite getting round to doing it. Finally I took the leap this year and I am so happy that I did. You never know what you can achieve.”

Harriet hasn’t quit her day job just yet though and works on her business during evenings and weekends. “Within the next five years I hope to have a bigger studio set up where I can start screen printing my own fabric and wallpapers as a full time career.”

Harriet will be around to meet at the Cambridge Made Summer Fair on the 11th of June at St. Andrew’s Street Baptist Church. If you plan to pop in for a browse, let us know you’re coming on our  event page, by clicking on ‘Interested’ or ‘Going’.

Interview: Dittany of Dittany Rose

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Dittany of Dittany Rose sells fun, bold paper jewellery that has been screen printed and made by hand. “I cut the jewellery from card that has my design screen printed on it, which I then laminate and varnish with multiple coats. This makes the jewellery water resistant and light, yet strong.”

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“I did my Jewellery Degree at Middlesex University, where the emphasis was on mixing medias, pushing the boundaries of what a particular material could do. I work with silver and paper because I love the contrast between the durability of the silver and the supposed fragility of the paper. Because I’m working with paper I can make jewellery with colours and patterns that you won’t find anywhere else. All my jewellery is handmade and as such no two items are alike.”

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Dittany’s shed is where her researching and testing takes place. “I spend hours testing varnishes to try to make the paper as waterproof as possible. I’m like a scientist or a cook, noting times and combinations and trying to find the perfect recipe. I also try to find new ways to combine the silver and paper – when I started I was gluing everything together, now for most pieces I embed the silver in the paper so the bond is stronger.”

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Dittany advises anyone starting out, “You will make mistakes. You won’t get rich quick. Be clear about what your goals are.” Within five years Dittany would like “to have expanded the number of stockists I have, including by selling through some museum shops. At the moment my newest and best stockist is VK Gallery in St Ives, Cambridgeshire . It’s a lovely gallery and my work is selling well there.”

Dittany and other makers will be around to meet and chat with at the Cambridge Made Summer Fair on the 11th of June at St. Andrew’s Street Baptist Church. If you plan to pop in for a browse, let us know you’re coming on our  event page, by clicking on ‘Interested’ or ‘Going’.

 

 

Interview: Siobhán of HAHonline

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Handmade at Home or HAH began when Siobhán stumbled across some cute little vintage hangers in a junk shop. “I used the hangers to make peg bags and within a few months I had found more hangers and made more peg bags. I lost count of how many I made in the end. Much to my surprise people wanted to buy them. Soon more products followed, more fairs, festivals and markets. It wasn’t long before I realised that one impulse buy had resulted in me creating my own small business.”

Three years since finding those hangers HAH has developed into a small business selling a selection of beautiful products aimed at children. “There is no greater feedback than seeing a little face beaming back at you wearing something you’ve designed. Kids should be kids, I try to design clothing that is as practical and as fun as possible. So much young fashion these days is so grown up, I firmly believe that we should let them be little.”

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“Our first collection took its inspiration from the sayings, colours and shapes of the circus. Our brand new second collection “Pop” takes its inspiration from the wild world of Warhol and the swinging sixties. Think Monochrome with splashes of bright colour, spots, stripes, splats and plenty of pattern.”

Siobhán’s advice to those just starting out is, “Don’t overthink. If you think about it too much you can talk yourself out of it. Yes, it’s not always easy running your own business but there is also nothing more rewarding.”

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You can meet Siobhán and other makers at the Cambridge Made Summer Fair on the 11th of June at St. Andrew’s Street Baptist Church. If you plan to pop in for a browse, let us know you’re coming on our  event page, by clicking on ‘Interested’ or ‘Going’.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HAHonline

Interview: Debbie of Weaversfield Jewellery

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Debbie of Weaversfield Jewellery, who is one of our artists for the Cambridge Made Summer Fair on June 11th, makes primarily wire-wrapped and wire woven jewellery, in silver and copper, often with accents of semi-precious stones and interesting glass beads. She began Weaversfield about five years ago as a spare time activity and went full-time about two years ago.

“I felt I was wasting my life in my job, and I wanted to challenge the idea that you can’t expect to love your work. I’ve always loved making things and I felt that regret for not doing what I was desperate to do would be much worse than regretting actually doing it.

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“It was by accident that I found an aptitude for jewellery. I took a beading class because my husband usually works really late and I wanted something creative to do on my own. It was so enjoyable that I started to research techniques, and when I discovered wirework, something clicked. Not only do I think it looks beautiful, it can also be demanding, rewards experimentation, and is totally absorbing. I’m excited by the look of woven and wrapped wire, the translation of textile techniques to metal and the juxtaposition of the textures you can create with wire.

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“For me, making for a living means being keen to get up in the morning, feeling as though there’s a treat in store for me when I’m about to make a new piece, being excited when I realise I’ve got a few hours on a Saturday that I can spend making — even though I do it during the week too. It also means taking myself seriously as a creative person, perhaps even as an artist, something I had trouble with for a long time. I’m taking part for the first time in Cambridge Open Studios this year, and just a couple of years ago I never would have dreamed of doing that: I would have felt like an impostor, basically, but now I think ‘why not?’”

Inspiration

Debbie is inspired by natural forms and by artistic movements such as Art Deco and Art Nouveau – probably, she says. “because of books of colour plates I had as a child and used to look at constantly”. She also loves the Middle Eastern decorative arts.

“In terms of style and technique, I am totally in awe of the wire artists that come out of Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe. Some of their stuff is literally jaw-dropping. On the flip side, I try not to look very often, because it’s not always good to compare yourself. You can start to wonder if there’s any point in your own stuff when there is such wonderful art in the world, and that’s a destructive way to think! We all bring something unique to our work.

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Obstacles & Advice

Debbie identifies other issues that can be difficult for makers, saying that “lack of confidence and self-belief” were early obstacles for her. “I struggled in the first couple of years of making when something didn’t turn out well: I had no resilience and would despair that I was no good and had wasted loads of time I didn’t have on making something unsuccessful. Now I still don’t like it if I make a piece I’m not happy with, but I do have the sense now to put it down and go to bed, in the knowledge that when you’ve just made something you have limited objectivity about it. You also have to learn how to encourage yourself and not wait for external validation.”

To anyone thinking of starting a creative business, Debbie says: “You probably have to expect to make very little money for the first couple of years, and be sure you can weather that. If you can, get it to the point where it makes you a bare living before you quit your day job (I didn’t do this!). Try to be different in what you make. Remember that you are in it for the long term, and don’t despair at the inevitable setbacks. I have that famous poem by Samuel Beckett on my wall, and it’s helped me out so many times!

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter.

Try again. Fail again. Fail better

See Debbie’s work and that of our other artists on June 11th at St Andrews Street Baptist Church (near Arts Picturehouse) in Cambridge on June 11th, 10am-5pm. Here’s our event page. If you plan to pop in for a browse, do click to say you’re Interested or Going! 

Interview: Emma of The Beach Hut Studio

 

Emma of The Beach Hut Studio always wanted a beach hut, so she built one to use as a studio for creating coastal inspired ceramics in her garden.

“My studio space meant I could make more pieces and gave me a gallery space to show my work, so a few years ago I started doing Cambridge Open Studios, which was a great success, gave me confidence to continue and show my work in galleries.”

As a passionate beach comber Emma says, “I love the North Norfolk coast and have spent many a childhood holiday jumping off the dunes and crabbing at low tide. The wildness of the Norfolk coast is amazing, with its ever changing coastline after each tide. I use many items I have found on the beach in my work, making each piece totally unique.”

Emma recommends that those starting out join Cambridge Open Studios. “I was lucky really as galleries have approached me, which is great. Being part of the Cambridge Open Studios means you are on their website, which has a big presence, so customers and galleries can find you easier. Also the other people you meet doing open studios have really helped me, and given great advice.”

You can meet Emma and chat with her and other makers at the Cambridge Made Summer Fair on the 11th of June, 10am-5pm at St. Andrew’s Street Baptist Church (near Arts Picturehouse), Cambridge. Here’s our Facebook event page. If you plan to pop in for a browse, do click to say you’re Interested or Going! 

 

Interview: Anna of Berries for Bella

Anna of Berries for Bella taught herself how to crochet from books and videos while she was pregnant with her first baby. “As I got better I wanted to share my creations with a larger audience. It was really easy to open up an online shop on Etsy and list a few items. I was so excited to see people from around the world visit my shop and look at my work. My business has grown steadily and I now do ceramics and grow live plants in addition to my crochet flowerpot cosies.”

Anna is inspired by her Scandinavian heritage. “I love the playfulness and simple lines of Scandinavian design and its bright colours. I love to work in natural materials like wool and cotton.”

“Making means responsibility. My ambition is to provide great quality, long lasting products that don’t harm the environment. When designing a new product I always consider its usefulness. I find satisfaction in making products that can be loved for a long time in their new homes.”

Anna has wise words for those thinking about starting their own craft business, “Go for it if you think you’d enjoy it! With a craft business it’s possible to start out small without any big investments and grow at your own pace. Listen to advice from fellow small business owners. The crafting world is full of friendly people who are happy to share their experiences.”

You can meet Anna and other makers at the Cambridge Made Summer Fair on the 11th of June at St. Andrew’s Street Baptist Church.