Our Shop stocks the work of a number of artists and makers. Below you can find out a bit more about some of our makers – how they started and what inspires them.
We also feature details of makers attending our events – you can view these on our fair pages nearer the event date.
Essex jeweller, Ann, is the maker behind Annie’s Beads.
“It started when I purchased a handmade bracelet from a craft show and wondered if I could make one. I bought a very basic starter kit and was totally hooked! Everything was completely new to me and I had to start from scratch, I purchased a couple of excellent books, I really needed a version of “Jewellery Making for Dummies”, and I watched a lot of you tube!” remembers Ann.
Ann loves getting her stash of beads out and creating something which is unique and the only one of its kind. She enjoys choosing what colours, bead shapes and fixings to use and once they are laid out on a bead board the design can change many times!
“At first I would string my beads on beading wire or beading elastic but more recently I have started making beadwork bracelets and earrings which involve sewing different size and style beads together following a pattern to create a different appearance when completed, these are much more time consuming but are so worth the extra effort, the only problem is I have had to have much stronger lenses in my glasses, the beads can be very small!”
“I do hope you enjoy looking at my jewellery as much as I enjoy making it” says Ann.
Amy is the owner and crafter behind Beloved Threads, a small home run business offering handcrafted home décor, gifts and keepsakes intricately hand finished in natural wood embroidery hoops.
The Beloved Threads collection comprises of unique and eye catching machine embroidery designs, fabulous fabrics and individually hand stamped lettering.
All designs are mounted in natural wood embroidery hoops, intricately hand finished with felt backing and ‘Beloved Threads’ branding. A jute string loop will allow for easy hanging or simply prop onto a bookshelf.
Growing up in Yorkshire, Amy has always been a keen crafter and started making personalised gifts for loved ones to celebrate key milestones in their lives. She was overwhelmed by the response, knowing one of her hoops can give someone just as much joy as it did for her to make it, so the journey of Beloved Threads began.
Cathy has been quilling for over 30 years having bought a kit at a craft fair. The revival of interest in quilling in the UK started about 40 years ago and is actively promoted by The Quilling Guild an organisation made up of quillers and quilling enthusiasts of all ages and abilities. Cathy has been a member for many years and a local representative of the Quilling Guild for a number of those years promoting quilling in her area.
Cathy loves to share her enthusiasm for quilling and teaches small groups whenever she gets the opportunity. In the past she has also run courses for Adult Education services and privately at craft centres, and enjoys giving talks and demonstrating at craft fairs.
Cathy has designed a Beginners Kit which includes all you need to learn quilling and to create cards with a number of simple designs.
“My designs are inspired by many things in the world around me, nature being one of the main sources – flowers, trees, birds and animals all give me ideas for quilling. All my designs are original and although an idea may be repeated it does not come out just as a copy of another design; I am constantly developing new ideas and improving my designs”
“I create designs on Greetings Cards, make pictures, decorate boxes and paperweights, etc. working on the basis that if I can stick paper onto or put it in an object I will do this with quilling” says Cathy.
croucherli is the work of ceramic artist Lizzie Croucher, producing hand thrown pottery, specifically one-off and small batch items with their own personalities!
Based in Essex, Lizzie works out of her own little studio based in a community-led shared workshop, Colchester Makerspace, where she also volunteers as their workshop host.
Lizzie’s love for pottery began in 2010 through working weekends at a pottery painting cafe in South East London. After attending evening classes and building her practice alongside her work in arts admin and project management for 4 years, she took the leap and launched croucherli as an independent business in January 2019.
All pieces are designed, thrown, trimmed, sculpted, fired, glazed, fired again and packaged by Lizzie.
Driftwood Designs is the work of Essex maker, Hillary, a member of the Essex Craft Guild.
“Having lived on the Essex coast for nearly 50 years, my love and association with all things nautical lead me to produce collages from numerous beachcombing walks.
The popularity of these with both friends and family encouraged me to embark on a basic range of unique gifts. I then incorporated nautical decoupage into the range and now produce various items from driftwood, shells, beach glass and ceramics. These include 3D box pictures, driftwood plaques and models, tea lights and mirrors” says Hillary.
Driftwood Designs exhibits at numerous craft events throughout Essex, Kent and Suffolk, which Hillary really enjoys attending.
Elkie Wild Art
Emma from Elkie Wild Art is a coloured pencil and alcohol ink artist based in Suffolk.
Emma has a degree in Biology and Geology and a Research Masters in Biology and has always loved wildlife and the natural world, which has been the main focus for her artwork. She has been creating pictures using coloured pencils for many years and more recently has been experimenting with alcohol inks and other mediums.
Emma is also a UK stockist of coloured pencils and a range of accessories too.
Evelyn has been an artist, maker and educator for many years. Her inspiration is often texture and materials. Which she likes to explore using different techniques from glass fusing, pottery, silversmithing, paper collages and felt making. Working with raw wool, often sourced from local sheep or Alpacas in Suffolk, she cards and combes and then felts the wool with water, soap and muscle-power. It can be a time-consuming process until the natural materials bond together to form a new and strong material – felt.
Rougher wool works well for objects especially when incorporating other materials and fibres like shiny silk or spun wool threads. Their natural colours remind Evelyn of working with clay or porcelain – the inspiration for making vessels was born. We all have so many objects standing around – here we have the opportunity to put them away flat when not in use. The bottomless vessel! Sleeves are made to cover ugly vases, jars or even plastic bottles, and can be sent flat in the post – in a jiffy (bag). And when one includes a voucher for flowers or a seed packet for the garden, who will not like such a present! The vessel can be filled with dried or fresh flowers, greenery from the hedge or a candle. Evelyn produces one-off items; nothing will be produced in high numbers because the materials will always give her new ideas to explore.
Glyn is a woodturner based in Cambridgeshire.
Having always had a love of working with wood his interest turned to wood turning some forty years ago and he’s been smitten ever since. Glyn says “wood is a beautiful and amazing medium to work with, the grain and figuring can be stunning, every piece is unique”.
Glyn works mainly with English hardwoods which he generally sources locally. He also enjoys working with exotic timbers sourced from specialist suppliers.
Glyn comments “part of the enjoyment I get from working with wood is searching for interesting pieces. Sometimes timber in the early stages of decay can be very exciting, fungal attacks can produce fantastic patterns. This is nature at its best”.
Geoff is the man behind Grumpy’s Woodturning, based in Essex. Here Geoff describes how he got started.
“I have always had an interest in wooden items since my schooldays many moons ago. My interest in woodturning was kindled some years ago when I saw a woodturner demonstrating at a builders merchant trade show. It was very impressive to see a wooden blank transforming into a beautiful bowl.
The idea lay dormant until in 2015 I purchased a woodturning lathe and a set of turning gouges. At first, my pieces were sold to friends and family, then a friend suggested I start selling at craft fairs etc. At first I was hesitant but after much prompting I contacted Dee and booked my first event. To say I was nervous was an understatement. I should not have worried, my products were well received and sold well.
I now do several craft fairs a year and they are very enjoyable events. I like talking to people about my products and it’s great when people tell me how much they like the pieces on display.
In essence, woodturning is quite a straightforward process, a piece of timber is mounted on the lathe, the lathe is switched on and depending on the item being made, I set to work with a suitable gouge.”
The tools used in woodturning are hand held on a rest and all cuts are a combination of hand and eye co-ordination. Once the piece is turned to Geoff’s satisfaction, the finishing process begins. First the piece is sanded to a fine finish and then the sanding sealer is applied. This is when the attractive grain pattern pops out. Then, depending on what the piece is intended for, Geoff either polishes it with wax or food safe oil.
Geoff uses various timbers and likes home grown timbers such as Ash, Oak and Beech. He also enjoys working with timbers from abroad, with Sapele and Olive being favourites.
” I know a tree surgeon and sometimes he gets me some unusual timber like Laburnam. I also use reclaimed timber when I can get it. A couple of years ago a neighbour gave me some beautiful Mahogany that had been lying around at Tilbury Docks. It made some beautiful goblets” says Geoff.
Apart from the pens he makes, Geoff doesn’t work to a set plan. ” I start off knowing what I am going to make eg. a bowl and then the shape of the bowl evolves in my mind as the work progresses. This means my products are all unique and one of a kind” Geoff comments.
Geoff makes a range of products from simple items such as spinning tops to quite complex candle holders. Unless purely for display, he likes his pieces to be useable.
Geoff also takes commissions and so if you would like something made to order please contact him on 07707 510474 or by email at email@example.com.
“I started spinning by accident! In 2005 we extended our garden and needed something to keep the grass under control. The family decided they would like to try their hand at keeping a small flock of sheep and 6 Southdown sheep were purchased. The following summer the shearer was summoned and left us 6 fleeces. It actually costs more to have a sheep sheared than the value of the raw sheared fleece so I decided to learn to spin the wool and try to make something from it” says Helen.
The Southdown wool is soft with short staple and makes good warm gloves and hats. As time has passed the original 6 sheep have long since departed but Helen still has two of their descendants, now aged 13 – which is incredibly old for sheep!
“Unfortunately, the wool from these old sheep is too coarse for spinning, so I diversified, looking for other fibres to spin and found a local alpaca owner who was willing to sell me some fleece. This is a much more luxurious and silk like fibre and has the added bonus that the spun fibre doesn’t felt and clump like wool when it is worn. It is warm and comfortable and great to knit” comments Helen.
Jenny Southgate Jewellery
“I fell in love with designing and making jewellery over 30 years ago, when my granny, Jose, first taught me to string beads on treasured family visits to my grandparents’ home in Kent. Many of the beads and gemstones I use were inherited from Jose and her father, who worked as a bead and gemstone importer on Bond Street, London. My flower logo is dedicated to Jose, and is based on a silver brooch that I made for her having completed a silver jewellery-making course in my home town of Derby” says Jenny.
Jenny designs and makes each piece in her workshop in Suffolk, using hand-stamping and texturing techniques to create the designs on many of her metal pieces. This involves using a variety of steel stamps and hammers to create impressions on the surface of the metal, which are then darkened by oxidisation or the application of ink or wax, depending on the type of metal used.
She works with a variety of metals including sterling silver, copper and aluminium, all of which work well with stamping and texturing. Jenny finishes her pieces with high quality, stylish chains, clasps and components, which she either makes herself or sources from reputable suppliers such as Cookson Gold, Nunn Design, and TierraCast.
“When I’m not in my workshop designing and making jewellery I love to run and walk with my beloved dog, Bonnie, in the fields near my home. This is where I get my inspiration, incorporating design themes such as leaves and flowers into my pieces.
Thank you for supporting me, and I hope you enjoy wearing your jewellery as much as I enjoy making it”.
Based in north Suffolk, maker Sue has been designing and making jewellery for over ten years. Sue comments ” I have had artistic hobbies all my life but this medium has become both my passion and my business. I love to experiment with different colour and textural combinations in a diverse range of mediums from wood, metal and glass to semi precious stones. I source my beads from all over the world with the aim of delivering stand out pieces not seen anywhere else”.
Sue rarely replicates the jewellery she makes so that her customers get a piece that is truly unique. She always has a huge collection of beads in stock so she can create bespoke pieces for her customers if they need something for a particular occasion or to compliment a special outfit.
Every item in Nanuk Jewellery is handmade by Louise, owner of Nanuk Jewellery, from her home in Saffron Walden. Louise has always been creative and enjoyed making things, studying jewellery making and design at university, after which she spent some time working in a local jeweller’s before setting up Nanuk Jewellery. Louise sells her work mostly online, although she does enjoy the opportunity to participate in craft fairs and show her work in person, where it’s great to see people looking at her work face-to-face.
Louise’s focus has always primarily been jewellery, for which she mostly works with sterling silver, incorporating wire work, gemstones and traditional pearl knotting techniques.
“I enjoy using colourful strands of gemstone beads, making them into necklaces, bracelets and earrings with my own hand made silver fittings. I like to include colour and intricate small details in my work, and combining gemstone beads with my own unique handmade findings gives me a chance to do this” says Louise. She also makes a range of steampunk-inspired polymer clay jewellery, featuring dragons and fantastical, colourful creatures, as Nanuk Designs.
Recently Louise has begun to diversify, to include some handmade books alongside her jewellery work. She has completed several very enjoyable bookbinding classes, focusing on different styles of binding and traditional techniques, and has started to make her own journals and sketchbooks, using decorative papers and leather for the covers, and different paper for the pages to accommodate either writing and journaling or sketching and watercolours.
“In my spare time I am often still working on something creative, either embroidery, knitting, or trying some new creative hobby. I also read a great deal, particularly fantasy and science fiction which help inspire my steampunk-influenced work, and I enjoy walking in the countryside we are fortunate to have all around us in Saffron Walden”.
Peter Deans Ceramics
Peter is a potter based in Essex who specialises in classic decorative domestic ware such as large bowls, platters, jugs, salt pigs, vases, casserole dishes, garden pots and teapots.
Growing up in New Zealand, Peter has always enjoyed pottery, sharing studios with other potters in Christchurch before moving to the U.K and working for Chelsea Pottery. Nowadays Peter works from his studio on the Essex coast.
Peter is inspired by early Chinese/Japanese and Roman and Greek pottery.
“I am also influenced by natural forms such as the unique New Zealand kowhai flower, which I use as my main wax resist decoration. Some of my decorative bowls are influenced by the sea running over the pebbles and sand on the seashore. Others are derived from organic forms such as seedpods, poppy seed heads and pumpkins” says Peter.
Much of his glazed stoneware is reduction fired in a gas kiln, as Peter likes the rich colours you can obtain from the metal oxides, such as iron oxide, copper, cobalt and so on.
“I love to make beautiful pottery that people can admire and also use” says Peter.
Woolly & Sparkle
Woolly & Sparkle is the creation of Ruth Citeralla.
“I have always loved crafts from a young age by making things with my mum. Through school I found an obsession with my art lessons and decided I wanted to go to college. Screen printing was my new found love, and I was lucky to have the opportunity to complete a HND and Degree in Textile Design & Surface Decoration” says Ruth.
Ruth’s inspirations come from everything…..from the colour of leaves & flowers, patterns in nature, a work of art, to a sweet packet and from other people. Seeing something other people have created and wanting to have a go!
“I never found my dream job of becoming a designer so fast forward to November 2018, watching Kirstie I always wished I could find something creative to really get into and love. So, I picked up my pom pom makers that I had bought a few years previously and something clicked! My new obsession, making pom poms! And that lead to getting my ideas together and setting up Woolly and Sparkle, which was born a year later. My love of creating had come back and now I try to do a little bit each day. It’s my happy place”.
Each piece of St Justin jewellery and giftware is crafted by hand and eye in the lovely county of Cornwall. St Justin was established in 1984 in a small workshop in Pendeen, near St Just in Penwith. They make a range of jewellery and gift wares using pewter, bronze, silver and Cornish tin.