I don't know about you, but 2015 went by in a flash for me. It was a busy year of starting at the the Hereford Art Markets, taking part in September and December h. Art events, visiting the Bologna Children's Book Fair and creating more books with my fantastic friend Alice Brunt. It was also a year of falling in love with a wonderful boy, a fantastic family holiday in Scotland and attending many, many weddings (perfect excuse to catch up and dance the night away with old friends!).
The sad end to the year is that the gorgeous ladies of the arter (Paula and Rachael) have made the difficult decision to close their beautiful home of handmade in Stratford. In the current climate it's getting more and more difficult for creatives to make a living. Paula and Rachael, with the help of Paula's gorgeous son Rory, have supported Mum and I right when we were starting out and we love them very much and wish them the very best with their next adventures.
It is one of my missions in 2016 to support independent shops and makers more. There's a fantastic campaign at the moment called Just A Card which aims to do just that. It's pretty much what it says on the tin- if a gallery or artist makes you smile and you love their work, try to spend a couple of quid on a card to support them if you can so that they can continue making beautiful things. As someone who spends hundreds and hundreds of pounds to be featured in various markets and events, believe me this can make all of the difference and help to cover costs.
With that in mind, here are a couple of my favourite makers from the last year:
The insanely talented Sharna Rothwell of Foxglove Bears makes the most beautiful bears I've ever seen. Just take a look at her page to see examples of her work. They make the perfect present to commemorate a beloved pet. I have purchased two commissions from Sharna- a Ryan the Gosling for Harvey and a Truffle the rabbit for Sam. If there's a dry eye in the house when you hand over one of these presents I'll eat my hat.
Between the Smith gang we have quite the collection:
I met Katie during one of the Hereford Art Markets this year. As well as being a thoroughly lovely person, she makes stunning cushions and home accessories using traditional hand-dying and hand-printing techniques. Dad gave Mum one of her dragonfly cushions for Christmas and it was very much a hit!
More to be added to the list soon!