Advent-ageous

I have always loved a good advent calendar. I still remember the nativity scene one we had when I were a lass and the excitement of opening a door, even though it was the same one we had every year and we carefully folded the door shut ready for the following year when we were done.

There’s even more excitement in the countdown in our house these days, as it’s my eldest’s birthday on Christmas Eve as well!

So we have always made a big thing of the Christmas season, and it’s still my kids’ favourite time of the year. When I spotted a wooden Santa figure with 24 drawers when they were really little, I knew I had to have him, and every year I intend to fill the drawers with something more exciting that chocolates or sweets, but so far have not managed to do so. I also see ideas for advent garlands and envelopes (damn you, Pinterest!) and think “ooh that’s a lovely idea”! and then somehow never manage to get around to putting it into practice.

So this year I am determined to do something different. My youngest and I spent some time in September learning how to make origami stars, and writing positive messages on them for when she had her own stall at Bearwood Crafty Pantry Food Festival. And we have as a family spent a lot of time in 2016 talking about what is right and wrong, what is kind and what is fair, in light of global and local news events. My girls are both turning out to be conscientious global citizens, and have a strong sense of what they believe to be right or fair, I am delighted (and not at all surprised) to see. So I thought perhaps we could combine a little sweet treat each day with a bit of thoughtfulness; by us adults, by them and sometimes requiring some action too. Last year we did a Christmas parcel for Ryan and Wayne, the two homeless men who used to sit outside the car park I use for work, and their dog, Bella. The girls were really into it, and had lots of suggestions for what we might include in it.

So I had a look at what other people had done, like the Padbury family with their random acts of kindness countdown, and also these great ideas in Country Living, and decided to come up with a combination of family treats (like a trip to the German Christmas market in Birmingham, or ice skating), some thoughtful consideration of others (from putting some coins in vending machines or parking meters through to smiling and saying hello to strangers in the street or bringing in cakes for colleagues), and some positive action like helping out the local Foodbank in the run up to Christmas, as well as some quality family time at home watching Christmas films, baking treats and going for walks. My intention is to print these off in long strips on paper and fold them into the origami stars, which would fit perfectly in the little drawers.

origami rainbow-stars

As long as I also put some chocolate in there, I think we should be OK….

Ethical craft at the Crafty Pantry

We are so pleased our friend Sushan wanted a stall at the Crafty Pantry with his social enterprise, Rangoli Crafts. We have a lot of time for Sushan, a truly nice guy with the sort of ethical credentials we love! We think you’ll like him too:

Most often I work with small independent producers in India. Apart from being hand-made, suppliers and artisans work on a fair trade basis, which means that they work in a large ventilated room with reasonable working hours and breaks. Water is recycled which ensures that post manufacturing waste does not have an adverse effect in the surrounding villages and most important of all is that they are paid decent wages with a social security net. The great thing about a social venture is that it isn’t just about you. It is about a need or cause that is bigger than you.

See? We really hope people come and spend some time talking to Sushan and of course buying his products. Expect recycled notebooks/photo albums (from vegetable fibres), pen boxes, letter holders and multiple drawer ceramic boxes.

rangoli crafts
Colourful spice drawers from Rangoli Crafts

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rangoli-Crafts-1425932567653961/

Whatever she’s doing, it’s working!

Working Clasp Jewellery and accessories are designed and produced by Rebecca, a regular at the Bearwood Handmade Fairs and graduate of the Interdisciplinary Textile Design Course at U.W.E. Rebecca developed an interest in the lasercutting process after graduating, becoming drawn to the technique in which she could develop endless possibilities and applications. After making various pieces of jewellery for friends and family, she set up the label Working Clasp to offer a range of eye catching and distinct lasercut and etched pieces to a wider audience. Some of her work contains culturally symbolic silhouettes that are often utilised to make witty statement pieces.

Gorgeous laser cut jewellery and accessories by Working Clasp
Gorgeous laser cut jewellery and accessories by Working Clasp

I find inspiration for my work from a combination of drawing and found imagery and like to use sections of my drawings as a starting point. I am always working on new designs combining various materials such as veneers, vinyls and fabrics to create bespoke collage pieces.

Working Clasp also make alternative bridal wear and wedding accessories such as headdresses, cufflinks, collar pins, invitations and table decorations. Find them in the main hall at the Crafty Pantry this Saturday – venue and times here.

Web: http://www.workingclasp.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Working-Clasp-Jewellery-165594400128258/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/workingclasp

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/workingclasp/

Clare Gets Crafty with crochet

Clare Gets Crafty so we’re told and by the looks of it, she certainly does! At the Crafty Pantry on Saturday expect crocheted colourful baby blankets, stripey little owls, rainbow dinosaurs, button bunnies, upcycled baskets from t-shirt yarn and mini potted cacti. Clare told us:

I make bright and colourful crochet items. All of my items are designed to be fun and spark joy. I started to crochet in 2011 and love how quickly I can make something. I find crochet very relaxing and really enjoy pulling together new colour combinations.

Swit swoo on the twit twoos!
Swit swoo on the twit twoos!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/claregetscrafty

Twitter: https://twitter.com/claregetscrafty

Bearwood, prepare to be Adorned by Zoe!

It’s the first time jewellery maker Zoe has had a stall at one of our fairs but we know she’s going to do really well. Alongside a passion for nature comes a respect for the environment. From her Smethwick home ‘studio’ Zoe designs her pieces with responsibility and sustainability in mind, using high quality gemstones and materials. 

With an art and design background and having crafted in some way or another for most of my life, I discovered jewellery making around 5 years ago. What began as a mere hobby, making simple beaded necklaces and stretchy bracelets, has now become a full-time passion, with a particularly special place in my heart for genuine gemstones. I love the way gemstones can give a snapshot of nature in action and the variety of colour and form, giving every piece I make a unique quality.”

adorned by zoe 3
Olive Green Shamballa-Style Macrame Bracelet Featuring Larvikite, Adorned by Zoe

You can find Zoe and her range of handmade jewellery at the Crafty Pantry on Saturday at Bearwood Baptist Church Hall, between 11am-4pm. See you there!

Web: www.adornedbyzoe.co.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/adornedbyzoe

She’s back in the game! And creating Bear-topia!

After a few years staying pretty well away from having her own craft stall our own Erin Power, flyer designer extraordinaire, has got right back on that horse and is ready to share some of her oh so fabulous wares. In her own words (which let’s face it, must be better than that first paragraph):

I draw things, knit things and sew things to keep myself sane.

erin's pot holders
Mighty useful pot holders, combining African prints with sashiko embroidery

Erin has a range of beautiful textiles using African fabrics include totes and bunting plus knitted things for the home. Buy it. It’s gorgeous and made with skill and love. She has also designed, especially for the Crafty Pantry, these limited edition prints featuring the legend “Bear-topia”. Do you want? Of course you do. This might be as close as you ever get to Beartopia.

Erin's bear-topia print
We can dream!

 

Web: http://www.erinpower.com (she kept that quiet)

a bee a bell and a Little Penn! Sharing a stall at the Crafty Pantry

This Saturday sees such a great range of artists and makers descending on Bearwood to share their designs and products. We’re really looking forward to exploring this next stall in our maker round-up. Little Penn’s Kate explains what makes her tick:

I really love to doodle and sketch, making illustrated works under the name Little Penn. I take inspiration from all sorts of areas including folklore, myth, wildlife and the world around me. I produce greetings cards, prints and commissioned work.

Kate has been working on some new hand printed textile pieces. Can’t wait to see them.

Little Penn's beautiful illustrated work
Little Penn’s beautiful illustrated work

Kate is sharing her stall with Abi of a bee a bell, who’ll be selling handprinted homeware items including watering cans, plant pots, brushes and door knobs. Abi told us:

a bee a bell combines traditional and contemporary processes inspired by British canal folk art, to produce a range of hand painted items. These are only available to buy in person at markets.

Contemporary British canal folk art from a bee a bell
Contemporary British canal folk art from a bee a bell

So get yourself down to the Crafty Pantry on Saturday between 11am and 4pm, Bearwood Baptist Church Hall and surrounds.

LINKS

Little Penn

Web: https://littlepenn.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LittlePennn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/littlepennillustration

a bee a bell

Web: http://www.abeeabell.co.uk

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/abee.abell/

Bearwood’s own illopetals bring the art to the Crafty Pantry

We met one half of creative duo illopetals when Leon came to a recent Bearwood Tapestry evening. Leon (‘illo’) is the character designer of the partnership, who naturally draws imaginative and quirky characters with a quick, freestyle approach, while Deborah (‘petals’) is a natural doodler and adds repeating patterns, detail and colour in a bold, playful way. Together their styles seamlessly fuse to create imaginative stories and abstract worlds.

illopetals

We love this, from their website:

They are interested in a diverse range of themes including nature, people, culture, technology, fashion and music and want their work to convey simplistic messages of happiness, well-being and love.” We think they’ll be right at home at the Crafty Pantry! Come and see their work on Saturday 17th September, 11am – 4pm, Bearwood Baptist Church Hall.

illopetals2

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/illopetals/

Web: https://illopetals.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/illopetals/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/illopetals

Putting the geek into the Crafty Pantry Food Festival

We’re getting closer to the big day. We’re so excited to be collaborating with our friends Bearwood Pantry on The Crafty Pantry, a food festival with added craft! We’ve invited some of our favourite artists and designer makers to get involved with Bearwood’s annual celebration of food and community, so let’s get the ball rolling and introduce you to our first maker.

Amanda Suckling is the geeky genius behind This Geek Love. Amanda says:

“I have decided to put my money where my mouth is and try to make a living out of what I love to do – making things! I love to crochet; blankets, hats, accessories, home decor… you name it. The only difference is they’re all a bit geeky! I can’t help it, it’s who I am!”

This Geek Love Instagram Feed
This Geek Love Instagram Feed

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thisgeeklove/

Instagram: @thisgeeklove

Shop: http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thisgeeklove

food festival flyer