I just wanted to post a little update on my work for Prima lately. As you know, before Christmas, I was working for the magazine’s craft supplement. This is the result of that work. I’m actually back there next week working on issue two, but the first issue is out on the shelves now (until the end of March). Why not go and pick up a copy for some great crafting ideas and photos of lovely things? The magazine even comes with items to make a mouse shaped pin cushion, in an adorable floral fabric. It’s available in WH Smiths and Tesco, but if you see it anywhere else, let me know.
For a while now I’ve been wanting to expand the blog to feature interviews with crafters among other things. I’ll hopefully be making this a regular series and want to feature all types of crafty people. Today it’s the turn of Gemma from Gemmipop Designs, who talks about her foray into crafting and her work in general.
Gemma runs a jewellery shop on Etsy, a blog and has a very aesthetically pleasing Pinterest page. Her work mostly consists of laser cut jewellery and features plastic deer necklaces, hedgehog earrings and floral framed brooches. All her work is made in her workshop in Shropshire. Follow Gemma on Twitter for more information.
When and how did you first get into crafting?
I always enjoyed crafting. My gran taught me to knit when I was seven, but even before that my perfect day was spent cutting up crepe paper and cardboard! I started sewing when I was around eighteen, and picked up the knitting needles again around the same time, but I didn’t start crafting seriously until my early twenties when I started my degree in applied arts. I specialised in Jewellery and Metalwork and, although I work mostly in laser cut acrylic now, my love of textiles still features strongly in my work.
How would you describe your work?
I think of myself predominantly as a jeweller, so my work is mostly wearable, but generally the material I’m using dictates the outcome. I like the design opportunities you get with laser cut acrylic, and the tactile qualities of textiles, so I’m very much led by the materials at hand.
What is your favourite piece?
I think I’ve been most pleased with my range of frame brooches, which incorporates acrylic and fabric. It was an idea I worked on in metal at university, but it never quite worked until I tried it with acrylic. I have used vintage and retro print fabric, and well as vintage embroidered linens and I’ve always loved the outcome!
Who or what inspires your work?
I find inspiration in all sort of places – I love colour most of all, so I’m always led by that when I choose materials. I make an effort to visit as many art galleries and museums as I can, as I think it helps me to think outside of the purely crafty box!
What are you currently working on?
At the moment I am working hard re-stocking my shop after a very busy festive season, but I’m working on some exciting new designs in my sketchbook too.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to sell their work?
Starting my business was the best thing I’ve ever done, but it is unbelievably hard work. I am fortunate because I have my shop to keep me motivated, but I think it’s very hard if you’re trying to do it alone. I would say find some other local crafters and try to keep bouncing ideas around.
Thanks Gemma! If there’s a particular craft you’d like to know more about, or if you’d like to feature on the blog, then please get in touch.
All photos courtesy of Gemma Manning-Bentley
As mentioned previously, I won a sewing pattern from the lovely people at Simple Sew Patterns just after Christmas. I was able to pick a pattern of my choice and having had a good look at their sewing patterns, I chose the classic trouser pattern.
Having never made trousers before, I was slightly daunted by the prospect, but I love a good challenge and the pattern seemed easy enough. I’m usually lazy when it comes to doing practice runs, but I made sure I did one with this pattern, as I wasn’t quite sure what size to go for. In the end I sized up and this was probably the best idea as I found the ankles were slightly small and would have been smaller yet if I’d gone down a size. Plus sizing up enables me to eat more food, and that’s not a bad thing.
The pattern is for a peg leg style trouser with pleats in the waist and makes a very classic look. It’s a nice, easy pattern for anyone new to sewing trousers, but it is best if you’ve had some prior sewing experience first. The fabric I found (£4 a metre from my local craft shop) complimented the style of the trousers perfectly too. The blue tartan fabric has a touch of the old lady about it, but I like it. And it’s thick enough not to line it, which is always a winner in my book.
The trouser pattern can be found here. Let me know if you decide to make it.
I’ve noticed lately that there’s been a few craft competitions advertised online. I’ve picked out three so you can have a chance to enter too. Having won the above trouser pattern recently, over on Simple Sew Patterns, I think I should spread the love. The pattern came in today’s post and I can’t wait to get started on it.
By Hand London are hosting a competition to win two of their lovely patterns. All you need to do is to tell them your dirtiest sewing secrets, whether that is using your fabric scissors to cut anything other than fabric, or accidentally sewing fabric to your own clothes (Not something I’ve done, surprisingly, though I did once sew an almost vertical hem – yep, I’m not sure how that happened either). The deadline for this one is tomorrow (Thursday 9th) at 5pm.
I wish you all success. Let me know how you get on!
Sometime in the last week I received an email from The Amazings, an online craft course website, which said that their website was closing. Having written about them for Prima and knowing of them for a while now, this saddened me. The courses on offer on the website are unique and one-of-a-kind. Plus, they’re all taught by older ladies, with a view to enable participants to learn from their elders. Having been featured on Dragon’s Den and Mollie Makes, The Amazings is a well-known brand and I’m genuinely sad that it won’t be continuing. I’ve enrolled onto a few of their classes (this one and this one) but I’m ashamed to say I haven’t participated yet.
I’m going to change this soon though and thought I’d tell you all about it too. So, why not take advantage of the fact that the website is still live and enrol in a class? 30% of the fee you pay goes to the tutor and the classes and content will be available for at least 12 months from the time that you purchase them. Details of all the courses can be found here. There are also free trials available if you’d like a taster.
The brand will continue in some way, but in a very different form. If you’d like to read more about the closure and new venture, click here.
Happy new year everyone! I hope your Christmasses were awesome and included lots of sewing patterns and haberdashery. Mine certainly did, but I’ll leave that for another day. 2013 has been a good year for me, craft and career wise, and so I wanted to pay tribute to it in a little round up. I’ve included links to all the relevant blog posts, so if you want to read more, click away.
January – I was mostly busy knitting and reading up about knitting.
May – I finished a dress, something I hadn’t done in a little while.
August – I learnt to press flowers for the first time. I also started an internship at Prima magazine in August, which then led to paid work up until November. Blogging was slightly sparser during this time, but I still enjoyed many perks, like writing about all things crafty and attending press events, such as the Cath Kidston Spring/Summer 2014 show.
November – I saw the product of my first stint at Prima on the shelves. Prima Christmas Makes was a magazine dedicated to crafty Christmas tutorials. During November I also attended Renegade and Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair.
All in all, I’ve had a good year. Let’s hope 2014 will be another craft filled year for us all.
If you’re anything like me, you might be a little bit behind with some (or all) of your Christmas shopping. But worry not, because a lot of online shops are still selling unique gifts and there’s still time to get them sent out to you before it all starts.
Etsy, Folksy and Not on the High Street are great places for last minute gifts (although Etsy features sellers from all over the world – not so great if you’re in a different country, so bear that in mind). Urban Outfitters also has a quirky selection of goodies if you’re looking for something more unusual. Before you do anything though, read what each seller has to say about last order dates before Christmas. Each shop’s cut off dates are different and you wouldn’t want to be left without a present to give on Christmas Day.
Here’s a selection of my favourite gifts to give this Christmas. Better still, all the items I’ve chosen are the work of independent designers in the UK, so why not support small businesses and head on over to have a look.
1. Jodie Anna
Can take up to 8 days for delivery
I’ve admired Jodie Anna’s work for a very long time, ever since she sold a number of plastic bunting necklaces. The Christmas reindeer earrings from her shop are cute and don’t necessarily need to be worn just at Christmas. Wouldn’t her cupcake necklace make the sweetest little gift for somebody this year?
2. Hello Harriet
Christmas cut off dates for the UK: 20th December (made to order items take longer)
I first saw Hello Harriet at the Renegade Craft Fair. The range of products Harriet sells are quirky with a contemporary feel and the designs are inspired by animals of all kinds, including cats, pugs and bunnies. What’s not to love about an iPad mini case with bunnies on? Although the iPad case is my favourite, her nail transfer designs also make great stocking fillers.
3. Jewellery by Jaymie
Contact seller for final order dates
Jaymie’s icon inspired jewellery is the perfect gift for anyone who loves vintage. Who wouldn’t love wearing their favourite model/actress/singer around their neck? My favourite is the Twiggy necklace, though of course I couldn’t resist the Audrey Hepburn one either.
4. And Smile
Christmas cut off dates for the UK: 19th December
And Smile was another designer I saw at Renegade. The handmade badges, jewellery and prints are unique and there’s even a section dedicated to Christmas. These Moonrise Kingdom inspired pieces are my personal favourite (I bought the Suzy at Renegade).
5. Printable Wisdom
Downloads will be sent to email addresses within one working day
The great thing about the prints from Printable Wisdom are that they can be downloaded and printed almost straightaway, so there’s no need to worry about postage. As they can be printed at home, the cost has been kept low, so these beauties need only cost you a couple of quid. My favourite is this bicycle inspired one. I love all things to do with bicycles and can imagine this on my wall at home.
6. Layla Amber
Christmas cut off dates for the UK: 15th December
Layla Amber is another designer I’ve watched for a few years. Her woodland collection is full of lovely pieces to give this year. Just imagine how lovely it would be to receive one of these fox brooches. I know my friend would absolutely adore these bird hair clips too.
If you haven’t managed to order anything online (or don’t want to take the risk this close to Christmas), why not support local instead and head out to your high street. There’s usually a few shops selling work from independent designers there and you might pick up a bargain.
(All images are screenshots of the websites, apart from the first image which is my own)