Wednesday, 25 May 2011


Featured on the Arts Market blog, a showcase of who's appearing at Handmade at Ilkley on Saturday - check out who's at the top of the list!!!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Handmade At Ilkley

So... there's now less than a week before my next show at Ilkley, it's come around so quickly!  I'm looking forward to it, after the success of Saltaire, and this time around, now that most of the prep work is already done, there is a lot less that needs doing!  It will also be nice to get to see somewhere new; it's shameful that I've lived in glorious Yorkshire for so many years now, and a lot of these little towns and villages are still new to me!

I'm also excited to check out some of the amazing work of the other artists exhibiting there too.  Check out The Arts Market's blog!

(Also, I didn't realise how many famous people came from Ilkley - Jilly Cooper, Alan Titchmarsh, Richard Whiteley, AND what's-his-face from the Kaiser Chiefs!!).

Having done most of the prep work already, I've had more time to play around with new ideas and designs.  I've made a few items for friends, including a set of earrings and necklace in rhodonite (a lovely dusky pink) for a friend at work, to wear to a wedding.  But rather stupidly, I forgot to photograph them before I gave them to her!  I was also commissioned to make a necklace for Katherine.  She gave me reasonably free reign over the design, saying that she wanted something with a picture on it, of something architectural.  So off to work I went, and came up with an Eiffel tower/postcard affair...

It's a bit blurry, because the actual finished size is only 2cm across, but you get the general idea!  I wanted to incorporate a few stones and sparkles with it too, so decided to add a few freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals in tones of beige, grey and orange (sounds an odd combo I know, but somehow it works!) to pick out the colours in the image.  I really hope she likes it, I'm so pleased with how it turned out!

In addition to making lovely things for my friends, I also hassled the ever-obliging Jasmin at Jasmin Studio Crafts for her help with an idea I've been mulling over for some time.  Charm bracelets!  I can't believe I didn't think of that before!  Jasmin sent me a goody-bag of some of her smaller-sized glass cabochons and pendant settings, as I wasn't sure what size would work best.  I had THE best fun looking for ideas, this time I was looking for themes rather than individual images.  I've only made a few so far, but if they go down well at the shows then I will definitely be making more!

Butterflies with carnelian and lapis beads

"love" with freshwater pearls, silver hearts and blue and yellow Swarovski crystals

My favourite! Afternoon tea anyone?  Vintage tea cups and yummy cupcakes, with freshwater pearls and rhodonite beads
There were a few sizes which Jasmin sent me which didn't really work as charms as they were ever so slightly too big, which meant they were too heavy to be comfortable to wear as a bracelet.  However, one small trigger clasp later and... ta da!!!  Bag charms!  I went with a purple theme here, as the picture I had used was pretty purple and yellow pansies, and my gorgeous friends Katie and Laura had given me a massive bag of purple glass beads as a birthday present.  What a treat!

This is literally a one-off, as the butterfly and dragonfly charms came from a couple of necklaces I had which had broken.  Nice to put them to good use!!

And finally...  another make.  Not jewellery this time, but a housewarming gift for my sister.  I think these are so cute, even if I say so myself!

So, that's me off comms, got yet another idea floating around... laters alligators!!

Monday, 2 May 2011


So as you may or may not have gathered, yesterday was the craft show at the gorgeous Victoria Hall in Saltaire.

I was a little bit apprehensive to start with, as I had been allocated table number 13... eek!  But I needn't have worried (besides, my mum pointed out her birthday is on the 13th, so it can't be that unlucky!).

I had a glamorous assistant in the form of Adeel, a friend and work colleague, who was given the daunting task of being in charge of the bowl of sweeties on the table.  He did a smashing job (Cadbury chocolate eclairs and opal fruits, yummy yummy) even if it was only the two of us eating them!  So a huge THANK YOU to him for giving up the majority of his Sunday to help me.  He did a lovely job of helping me set up the table, his side was much neater than mine!!!

I really didn't know what to expect when it came to sales and how many I would make.  I'd read a few blogs and accounts of people's experiences of selling at fairs and shows, and at best they made enough to cover the cost of the table.  So I thought to be on the safe side, expect the very least so even one sale would be a pleasant surprise.  Which it really was.  And so was the second... and the third (who was in fact a repeat purchase from my very first customer!!)...  All in all I think I made about 10 sales, which was loads more than I anticipated, and was really surprised that I had underestimated the 'pocket money market'.  The earrings and hair grips from the Picture Box Collection went down an absolute storm with the little girls who had come along with their mums.  I think I will have to re-stock rather quickly in time for the next show!!  I was quite surprised with just how popular they were, and the pendants too.  I didn't sell much in the way of the semi-precious stuff, which I was slightly disappointed about as it was that which took the most work to produce!!  But as they say the customer is always right so I can't really argue.

So all in all a smashing day was had by everyone, I have a lot to think about and plan for the next show (Ilkley, 28 May, put it in your diaries!!), and fingers crossed there are a lot of little girls who will look very pretty with their new earrings and hair slides at school tomorrow!!