Regular readers will know that as well as writing this blog, I’m also a craft bookbinder and have shared my adventures in paper, paste and bookcloth in previous posts.  A couple of weekends ago I had the pleasure of taking part in a local pop-up Christmas Maker’s Market organised by Chiswick Creatives.

It was hard work but also a hugely enjoyable – and very successful – weekend.  A carefully curated selection of quality products, excellent organisation, professional branding and extensive group marketing efforts all contributed to the success.   A steady stream of local residents came to see (and buy) what we had to offer, and one was even overheard saying “I didn’t expect it to be this good”(!).

For me, though, what made the event particularly special (on top of actually making decent sales at a market for the first time ever) was the warmth, talent, passion and commitment of the whole group.

The Chiswick Creatives ethos is:

Together we can do more!

They organise an informal, monthly meet-up for independent creatives/makers/artists in the Chiswick area. I’ve discovered that to have this kind of peer community to turn to for support and encouragement can be a real game-changer.  I’ll be honest, I’d been struggling a lot with my handmade book business. I’d allowed myself to get very isolated, which is a sure-fire way to lose your creative (and business) mojo.   Finding the Chiswick Creatives group has given my confidence a much-needed boost and restored my belief in what I do, which is absolutely priceless.

Here are all the makers who took part in the Chiswick Creatives Maker’s Market 2019.  Do take a look – there’s something for everyone.  I’ve included contact details for all, and most have online shops too (there are still a few shopping days until Christmas, just saying….)

Chiswick Creatives Christmas Maker’s Market 2019

Marina’s Home:  These beautiful, contemporary needlepoint kits are inspired by Marina’s love of minimalist Scandi/mid-century style – and by the numerous needlepoint cushions worked by her mum and given to family and friends as gifts: “This inspired me to create my own contemporary range of needlepoint designs, something that I would be happy to see gracing my own home. When I started on the road of designing needlepoint, my aim was to create designs that were simple but striking.”

Jill Meager:  Jill is a fine artist and makes wonderfully evocative portraits of animals and birds.  She says:  “I have long been fascinated by wild creatures and I feel a strong emotional connection to them. In my portraits, I try to capture their beauty, the profound meaning of their existence and the important and often under-estimated role they play in our lives.”

Woven in Words: A second Jill – Jill Hunter – takes words, textiles and old books and weaves them into intricate and emotive artworks.  Quotes from poems and literature are handwritten in delicate script and interwoven with ribbons, threads and textiles.  As Jill explains: “Some people capture moments in photography, in music, in art. I capture moments in words, colours and materials.”

Charlotte Berridge Studio:  inspired by the parks and buildings of Ealing and neighbouring areas, designer and illustrator Charlotte’s colourful, contemporary illustrations capture West London’s architecture: “I’ve used my distinctive illustrative style to create stylish prints of many of my favourite landmarks. Also popular, are my prints, postcards and tea towels featuring West London’s fabulous historic pubs.”  Charlotte is also the talent behind Chiswick Creative’s striking branding, which got more than a few compliments over the course of the weekend.

Angle Glass: Zoe creates stained glass to commission and her skills include exquisite hand-painted glass.   “Clients often want something unique and personal,” she says, “and so we’ll work closely together from the very start of the design process.  I enjoy playing with design – simplifying, reducing and styling the elements so that the composition is strong. The ideas behind the work mean that every project has depth and every project is unique.”

Carol Gilbert Ceramics:  Carol started making ceramics five years ago after a long career in science and industry, studying with individual ceramic artists and at various institutions.  Her colourful, contemporary ceramic work features simple, pared-back forms, luscious colours and fascinating glazes.  I managed to restrain myself and bought just one piece, but could easily have bought her whole stall.  Lost in Scent:  We were lucky to have our lovely market venue full of the beautiful aromas of the Lost in Scent products.  Darrell and Andy share a love of travel and have found a perfect way to preserve their memories – “Urban-based, fuelled by wanderlust, our candles and home fragrances bring the spirit of travel and exploration into your own home.”

Ici Pici Jewellery: Francesca works with sterling silver, brass, copper and bronze to create her contemporary jewellery.  Simple forms are fused with delicate details, and Francesca explains: “Each of IciPici pieces are handcrafted with a strong emphasis on bespoke design, and quality craftsmanship.”

Fairly Amy: Amy’s lovingly crafted banners, mobiles, masks and crowns are stylish and contemporary, and many of her products can be personalised.  She makes them from natural recycled fabrics and materials wherever possible, and her button collection is legendary: “I buy them in far too large a quantity from charity shops and use them to decorate everything, from eyes on an owl to actual functioning fasteners on a skirt.  All of my creations, are bright, fun and exciting and I do hope they make you smile.”

Cecilia King: Cecilia has been studying the varied techniques of woodworking for the last 10 years and brought a stunning selection of wooden bowls, boards, vessels and furniture to the Chiswick Creatives Maker’s Market.  “This will be the first time I will be selling my work through the collective, and genuinely feel that I am in the company of people who put their heart and soul into their work.”  Contact her at ceciliaking@gmail.com.

Juliet Strong Jewellery: Juliet creates elegant jewellery silver and gold, and occasionally semi-precious stones.  Of her inspiration she says: “ I find beauty in natural forms – waves and ripples, pebbles and driftwood, leaves and petals – and the effects time and the elements have on them.”

Ilkley London: With a textiles and fashion background, founder Kathryn Cambell produces richly hued, sumptuously patterned homewares, fabrics and wallpapers.  Her inspiration?  She’s returned to her Yorkshire roots: “At Ilkley London Homeware we have print, colour and texture at our heart. Inspired by the wild beauty of the Yorkshire moors combined with a contemporary edge for city living.”

Sticky Toffee Chic: “Bags of Love” couldn’t be a more apt description for Angela’s colourful bags, pouches and purses.  Her work is right at home here on the CBT blog as, in Angela’s words, “I love all kinds of fabrics and textures – as long as they are colourful.  It is important to me that I produce and design items which are of high quality as well as visually beautiful.” Aqua Handmade Books: that’s me! These refillable sketchbooks were a new product for the Chiswick Creatives Maker’s Market and almost sold out.  This was beyond expectations, and I’ve been busy making (and selling) more and will develop the range further in 2020.  Chatting to my customers, writers and artists alike, gave me lots of inspiration for new products. It’s going to be a busy, exciting time in the studio next year!

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