I go to the Country Living Magazine Spring Fair with my soon to be Mother-in-law every year and even though this year, wintery weather was on the horizon, we didn’t let it dampen our spirits. The fair may have had fewer stands this year but we still managed to find lots of lovely things made by extremely talented people.
Here are a few of my favourite ‘Made in Britain’ companies and artists that were at the fair this year.
1. Bombus Ltd
The vintage inspired gifts and pictures of Bombus Ltd are designed and made by Amelia Coward. Her most popular range is the bespoke map heart collection. These hearts are made out of vintage maps and can be made as a framed heart, hanging heart, heart necklace or heart card. They are perfect wedding gifts as they can be personalised and the customer can choose a map where they got married.
This amazing jewellery is designed and handmade by Phoebe Sherwood-Moore in her own studio in Lewes, East Sussex. Her designs are inspired by wildlife and nature and my favourite item in her Woodland collection is the ’Squirrel, Acorn and Leaf Necklace’. I love the contrast of the silver and gold with the hand-turned oak, it’s absolutely gorgeous!
Emma Hardicker designs and silkscreen prints her work in her own studio at the Custard Factory in Birmingham. Her work is mainly inspired by nature but she also likes to contrast this work with designs made up of more urban and city type imagery. Her designs are very bold and vibrant and some of her prints are available to buy in Liberty London. You can buy her work as cards, fabrics, cushions and limited edition prints. One of my favourites is ‘Spring’ as I love the mix of bold colours against the more detailed areas in the picture.
4. Anna Tosney
Anna Tosney is an artist/printmaker from Yorkshire. Her work is mainly inspired by the British countryside and a lot of her work features farmers and animals such as sheep, cows, hares, ducks and dogs. In her work she mainly uses drypoint and monoprint techniques. I really love the print ‘Man and Dog’ in particular as I think the colours create a lot of atmosphere in the image and it also brings across a lovely feeling of companionship.
Laura Rose creates her textile artwork in her studio at the Farnham Malting’s in Surrey. In her work she uses a mixture of embroidery, drawing and mixed media. Her colourful artwork is mainly inspired by memories and story books from her childhood which brings across a nostalgic feeling in her work. My favoiurite is ‘The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ as I love the way Laura has used a combination of embroidery, appliqués, felt and patterned fabric to create the picture and there is even a 3d dolls house tea set on there! So cute!
You may have noticed that I have mainly looked at textile and print designers in this blog post. That might be because I’m planning to get back into print design myself soon so this meant that these artists happened to grab my attention more than others on the day.
I always love to find British designer/makers that I haven’t seen before and find it interesting to read what inspires them. This helps to inspire and motivate me to start creating and I hope it does the same for you too.
As I come from a county that is very famous for its shoemaking and I grew up in Wollaston, where Dr Martens used to be made (some still are), this industry has always been an important part of my life and something that makes me very proud of where I come from.
I will go into more detail about Dr Martens in another blog post but for now, here are a few companies that I have found that still make their footwear in the UK.
You may have seen adverts for this company on the TV. Hotter shoes are made in Lancashire and are designed not only to look stylish but to also be very comfortable. They currently have a wide range of footwear for Men and Women.
Loake Shoemakers have been making high quality footwear in Kettering, Northamptonshire since 1880. They are known for using the Goodyear welted construction and only the highest quality materials when making their shoes. There is now a Loake shop in London which opened in 2011.
3. Daisy Roots
Daisy Roots designs and makes footwear for babies and toddlers in Northamptonshire and has been doing so since 1995. They are very well known for their extremely cute designs and appliquéd booties. Their shoes are made from the finest quality chrome free tanned leather.
Barker have been making shoes in Earls Barton, Northamptonshire since 1880. Barker uses the Goodyear welt construction like Loake but they also came up with their own version called Barker Welt.
I will be adding more information about British shoemakers soon and I’m also hoping to buy a pair or Dr Martens to write about at some point so watch this space!
http://www.notonthehighstreet.com - great for gifts, home and garden, baby and child, weddings and even clothes. Some items have free delivery. They work closely with British designers and manufacturers and much of what they sell is made in the UK - look for the words “made in britain” when choosing. Note that not everything they sell is made in the UK.
Whilst browsing the online clothes shops the other day, I stumbled across this ‘Made in Britain’ collection on the Topshop website so I just had to share it with you.
On the Topshop website, this collection is described as ‘Slick utilitarian outerwear and sumptuous silk separates combine with graphic and delicate floral prints in the finest textures to create a grown-up collection that exudes charm. This SS13, pay tribute to your heritage and go all British.’
Here are a few of my favourites from this range:
1. Contrast Floral Silk Dress - £70.00
This dress is my absolute favourite in Topshop’s Made in Britain collection. It is designed by Boutique, one of Topshop’s in-house designed collections and is 100% silk. I love the contrasting patterns on this dress against the black, they look like vintage wallpaper!
2. Long Sleeved Flippy Silk Dress - £75.00
This stylish dress gives a more relaxed and modern look to the wardrobe essential ‘Little Black Dress’. It is also designed by Boutique and is 100% silk. I love its simplicity and the flattering way it hangs.
3. Jacquard Skirt - £30.00
This skirt is another item designed by Boutique. It has a green jacquard panel and is 68% cotton and 32% polyester. I love the asymmetric style of the skirt and how the green paisley pattern stands out against the black.
4. Check Shawl Coat - £160.00
This coat is designed by Boutique and is 80% wool and 20% polyamide. I really like the masculine style of this coat and how the relaxed way it hangs makes it feel a bit more feminine.
5. Crepe Zip Dress - £30.00
This dress is 100% silk and is designed by Unique. I love the way it has a military feel with the khaki colour and a hint of punk with the zips and the shape of the back but still looks very stylish.
I’m not a regular shopper at Topshop anymore now I’m a bit older but I was pleasantly surprised when I found this collection. Please feel free to check it out on the Topshop website and I hope you enjoy browsing as much as I have.
(All images are taken from the Topshop website)
May I begin by first apologising for the long delay in writing my latest blog post. I am hoping to start adding posts more regularly now so watch this space!
To get back into the ‘Made in Britain’ mood, I have been doing a bit of research and have been looking for other websites and blogs that also support all things British. Here is a selection that I have found already that you are sure to find inspiring, helpful and informative.
From Britain With Love is an online magazine and directory where you can find links to British made products including homewares, gifts, clothing and even food. If you are a British maker or company you can get listed on the directory which costs from £50. On this wonderful website you can also find information about creative courses, places to stay, gardening and cooking tips and advice on how to make things yourself.
2. Buy British
On Buy British, if you are a British maker or company, you can add information about your products for FREE. There is a lot of information on this website so it is sure to keep you busy. There is information about British days out, holidays, theatre, food and drink, car manufacturing, historical facts about Britain, News about Britain (including a list of British newspapers) and even a book shop where you can buy books about ‘Made in Britain’.
Things British is a shop near Carnaby Street in London where you can buy various gifts that have been handmade by highly talented crafters and artists in Britain. You can also find a selection of their products in their online shop. On the website, you can also join their forum so you can network with other crafters and share photos and videos of your work. If you want to find out more about renting space in their shop, they have all the information you need on their website.
4. UK Handmade
UK Handmade is another online magazine and directory for anything that has been handmade in Britain. There is a forum for crafters to join and you can also have your work in their showcase. On this website you are able to search for shops that sell British handmade products and also events that are taking place near you. There is information about designers, their work and workspaces and advice about starting up your own handmade business. You can also find lots of crafting, cooking, beauty, home and gardening tips in the lifestyle section. Join their ‘Buy Handmade’ campaign now!
5. UK Made
UK Made is a blog that supports manufacturing in Britain by recommending quality products that are made in the UK. There is lots of information about products that are currently being made in Britain and products that have been and gone. There is also a useful list of even more websites that support all things British.
Still Made In Britain is a website that promotes anything that is still manufactured in Britain including cars, clothing, toys, gifts, shoes, bags and so much more. If you have a company that makes products in Britain, you can be added to their huge directory for £25.
I hope you have found these websites as interesting and as useful as I have and enjoy investigating everything else that they offer!
As you may already know from one of my previous blog posts, my Westie Belle also loves things that are made in Britain. We recently visited her favourite pet boutique called Barkitty where Belle spotted a very patriotic Union Jack harness made by Mutts and Hounds. When she tried it on and had lots of attention and compliments from the other customers in the shop, she just had to have it!
The same Mutts and Hounds harness is also available in Tweed.
You can also buy a Mutts and Hounds Union Jack neckerchief.
Here are a few more ‘Made in Britain’ items that are available to buy at Barkitty
Scrufts dog collars and leads. These are available in a choice of designs and sizes.
Joules pet beds. These are available in a range of prints and sizes.
Super cute flower and bow pet collar embellishments, handmade by Kathy. These are definitely going on Belle’s Birthday list!
Hand crochet catnip filled mouse and corgi cat toys.
To find more amazing pet products, feel free to browse the Barkitty website and also like the Facebook page to receive updates about new stock. If you would like to visit the Barkitty Pet Boutique, you can find it at the Heart of the Shires Shopping Village in Northamptonshire. It is a lovely shop and Lisa (the owner) is very friendly and welcoming.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and that you are now in the mood to treat your best friend to some wonderful goodies from Barkitty!
Vicky and Belle x
(All the product images in this post belong to Barkitty Pet Boutique)
As well as running my own small business online, I also regularly do some freelance work for a magazine called Craftseller Magazine. This magazine is aimed at people who want to make and sell various crafts either at their gift shop, online or at craft fairs. In every issue you will find a selection of different makes that each include templates and instructions of how to make them. The magazine is also full of advice on how to make various things, different crafting techniques, information about craft courses, where to buy certain materials and also lots of tips to help with the running of your own small craft business.
In the latest issue of Craftseller Magazine (issue 10), all the makes have a very patriotic theme of red white and blue and Union Jack flags to celebrate this very British Summer with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and also not forgetting Wimbledon coming very soon! To help you prepare for the celebrations, the instructions in this magazine will show you how to make bunting, yummy scones, coconut ice squares and patriotic table decorations for your street party, Union Jack flags, a Corgi Cushion to cuddle while you watch the events on television, a Queen costume so your little Princess can be Queen for the day, Union jack knitted egg cozies for when you have your royal breakfast, a felt Olympic medal key ring, knitted Olympic Runner, beaded tiara, crown cushion and much more!
Here are a few examples of what you can find inside this issue of Craftseller Magazine:
This lovely Union Jack bunting was designed and made by Sarah Trevor.
The Union Jack flag, hankie and brooch pictured here are designed and handmade by Claire Watkins.
This cuddly felt Corgi Cushion was designed and made by Vicky Craxton (Me), owner of small business, Vicky’s Vintage Gifts.
These table decorations were designed and made by Annie Bellamy and they are perfect for any Jubilee street party!
This adorable but very regal Queen costume was designed and handmade by Rebecca Tuffnell.
These cracking Union Jack egg cosies were designed and knitted by Susanne Frank.
This vintage inspired crown cushion was designed and handmade by Emma Read, owner of small business, Hapitat.
I hope you enjoyed looking at these very British makes and if you would like to know how to make these wonderful things, issue 10 of Craftseller Magazine should still be available to buy in WHSmtihs, supermarkets and some newsagents. You can also buy back issues or subscribe to the magazine online.
(All the images in this blog post are from issue 10 of Craftseller Magazine.)
As part of my mission to support manufacturing in Britain, I have recently launched a new product range on my website, Vicky’s Vintage Gifts, where I sell various vintage and handmade items. In this new product range, you will find a selection of gifts, jewellery and artwork that has been designed and made in Britain by highly talented artists, makers and also larger companies.
On the first product launch for this new range, I added products designed and made by four artists/makers that are all very different to each other but their products all have a ‘vintage’ feel to them in some way.
Let’s take a look at some of these new products and the creative people who make them! I hope you like them as much as I do!
Wendy Nutt designs and makes her Sterling Silver jewellery in her own workshop in Poole, Dorset. She is constantly developing her skills and is finding new techniques and ways of working with Silver. I especially love her new Fretwork designs like the large butterfly necklace pictured above. She also uses this method on flower and bird shapes.
On the Vicky’s Vintage Gifts website, I have added a selection of Wendy’s Sterling Silver necklaces and ear studs which are in the shape of butterflies, birds, flowers and buttons. Although her work is contemporary, these designs give Wendy’s jewellery a vintage inspired style that I feel really compliments the products on my website.
Here are a couple more examples of Wendy’s work that you can buy on the Vicky’s Vintage Gifts website!
The beautiful photographs of Gingerlillytea Photography are taken by Northamptonshire photographer, Keri-Anne Pink. I absolutely LOVE the style of Keri-Anne’s work! Her imagery has a real mystical and vintage feel that really makes her work feel personal and very dreamlike. The images in her photographs include wild flowers, fields, teacups, fairy doors, deer, dolls house miniatures, masks, lace and fairylike women. Everything that is extremely pretty basically!
My personal favourites are the photos of dolls house tea sets as dolls house collecting is one of my many interests that I have had since I was a little girl!
On my website I am selling a selection of Gingerlillytea Photography 12″ x 8″ high quality prints that have a matt finish. These include Keri-Anne’s images of fairy doors, tea sets, blossoms, cupcakes and lots more!
Here are a couple more examples of Gingerlillytea Photography’s work that you can buy on the Vicky’s Vintage Gifts website!
The super sweet jewellery of Little Miss Delicious is handmade by Maxine Ashleigh Johnston in her Newcastle studio. She makes these tasty looking treats out of polymer clay and then delicately hand paints any details and finishes it off with a glaze. Maxine’s jewellery includes a large range of necklaces, charm bracelets, earrings, rings and brooches all made from either polymer clay or felt. All these delicious items of jewellery have a food related design that also has a bold colourful style that you can imagine in a 50′s Diner!
Other than the cupcake, my absolute favourite design is the Battenberg cake as it is just so cute and is the perfect item to wear while you enjoy a proper English afternoon tea!
On my website, I have added a selection of Little Miss Delicious necklaces to begin with but I am hoping to include a larger range of Maxine’s products very soon. The designs that these necklaces have, include cupcakes, Battenberg, pop tarts, cherries, ice cream, donuts and cookies. Each pendant comes on a 16″ long silver plated chain.
Here are a couple more examples of the Little Miss Delicious products that you can buy on the Vicky’s Vintage Gifts website!
Jenny Dunlop is a very talented textile artist who finds inspiration from different cultures, wildlife and colour. She creates her artwork at her home in Liverpool by painting images with watercolour and then adding layers of fabrics and machine stitching over the top. I love the quirky style of Jenny’s drawings and her method of creating layers with mixed media is one of my favourite techniques!
I love the colours she uses and the way she finishes off each print with pretty crystals and gems so that every print is individual and unique. When I look at Jenny’s artwork, I always fancy a cuppa afterwards! I wonder why? :S
On my website you will find a selection of high quality prints of Jenny’s original pieces of artwork. Each print is mounted except for the two greetings cards that are available. The Jenny Dunlop designs that are currently available at Vicky’s Vintage Gifts include images of teacups, cupcakes, houses and flowers. Jenny has so many amazing prints, I am sure I will be adding more to this product range very soon!
Here are a couple more examples of Jenny Dunlop’s work that you can buy on the Vicky’s Vintage Gifts website!
I hope you have enjoyed looking at these products and please don’t forget to take a closer look at the rest of the ‘Made In Britain’ product range over on the Vicky’s Vintage Gifts website. I will be adding more items soon so I will keep everybody up to date with any news.
If you make or know of somebody that makes vintage inspired products in Britain and you think these might be suitable for us to sell over at Vicky’s Vintage Gifts then please feel free to contact me via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to Wendy Nutt, Jenny Dunlop, Gingerlillytea Photography and Little Miss Delicious for providing us with such beautifully made products, we are so excited to include more of your work on our website in the future!