A little less than two months ago we advertised an opportunity for our makers to be involved in a community-oriented pop-up shop in West Norwood over the Christmas period. This post describing the shop is by one of the makers involved, Annahita Mansoori, who creates luxury printed stationery under the name of CL.AM Correspondence.
Rock Paper Scissors is a new pop-up retail space, shared by a collective of local creatives looking to showcase their wares, and be a part of the blossoming West Norwood art and design community. The pop-up is a collaborative partnership between Makerhood and West Norwood’s sustainable community project The Openworks, and is kindly hosted by learning disability charity L’arche at No. 9-13 West Norwood High Street.
The pop-up retail space enables local crafters through to new start-ups, to experienced entrepreneurs a chance to sell to the public in a shop environment, gaining invaluable skills and feedback, while feeling supported as part of a collective. From designer/makers, to photographers, to stationery and craft-there is a host of beautiful handmade wares on offer from over 20 local makers. We are also delighted to now be selling West Norwood Feast merchandise, alongside handmade cards and candles by the L’arche community.
There will be creative workshops run from L’arche with ‘The Stitch’ already well underway for all budding sewers. Run by local sewing enthusiast Tara every Saturday 11am-1pm, this is a chance to sew, knit, tailor, upholster or craft at any ability, while having a gossip with fellow stitch fans!
With Christmas now under a month away, the shop will be open from 10am-4pm Thursday-Sunday and is the perfect stop-off for unique and original handmade gifts. So this year please support your local community, boycott corporate retail, and #shoplocal for your nearest and dearest!
We’ll be taking part in Small Business Saturday on 6/7 December and we’re hosting a launch party from 18.30 – 20.30 on Wednesday 3 December so there are plenty of chances for you to pop in, meet some of the makers and do your Christmas shopping – hope you can join us!
Carol teaches feltmaking, needlefelting and various styles of embroidery. At her south London workshops you’ll spend time kickstarting your creativity, getting away from screens and housework for a few hours, working with beautiful materials, feeling productive, positive and focused, then you’ll go home with some lovely, tactile, handmade items for yourself or to give as gifts. You can also buy handmade workshop gift vouchers for friends – ideal for someone who doesn’t want to accumulate any more clutter!
Wolle + Hide make handmade high quality fashion accessories from wool, leather and sheepskin, creating tactile, useable bags and purses for design conscious individuals. They strongly believe in the revival in craft and design and the awareness in ethical based products and sustainability. Making handmade products has enabled them to show their passion for wonderful materials using simple shapes that show off the beautiful texture of the cloth, suppleness of the leather and the tactile nature of sheepskin: combining these materials to maximise the overall textural experience.
Cute & Paste use recycled wine corks as an inspiration for all sorts of home decor pieces; their creations include wine cork boards, coat hangers, key hooks, chalkboards and much more. The Cute & Paste twist to the old useful pin cork board gives them an abundance of character and charm. You can now make a cork board the feature of your room. Whenever possible they use recycled frames or carefully source them from hidden treasure troves. Most of the wine corks are collected from a friendly restaurant in central London (added to a few collected themselves along the way).
Originally a fine art graduate and at present a teacher of design and technology, Gill has designed and made products in a range of materials throughout her life. Her current project was born out of her hatred of waste and her conviction that something practical and stylish could be made out of all the perfectly good fabric that is discarded when an umbrella breaks, as they often do. It led to the creation of the ‘um-bag’, followed by brooches, bike seat covers and bunting.
Annie makes mosaics for the home and garden. She loves to upcycle and use all manner of materials, from car windscreen glass, broken jewellery, in fact anything she can lay her hands on! She also has a jewellery range which she makes from vintage china. She just loves the thought that small broken pieces can be up together again to make a beautiful whole. Each one of her pieces is original, unique and one of a kind.
Pam’s passion to observe and capture people and life in her surroundings has spanned over 30 years, dominating her work as an illustrator and fine artist internationally in New York, Hong Kong and Europe. She established her permanent studio in London in 1991, and now sells prints, posters and T-shirts of Brixton scenes she has sketched.
Kim Winter of Flextiles is a textile artist specialising in wet felting and dyeing with natural dyes, especially indigo. She particularly likes upcyling scarves from auctions and charity shops and overdyeing them using the Japanese technique of shibori (a kind of sophisticated tie dye). Because each scarf is a different fabric, pattern and colour, it makes it more interesting for her as an artist, and means that customers know they are buying something unique.
The Vegan Tart delightfully challenged my preconceptions – I didn’t imagine that vegan cakes and savouries would tempt me, or that their ‘Head Tart’, Dumisani Nyathi, would turn up sporting a beard, but after talking to him I’ll be pigging out on a ‘lime & thyme’ cake at the next opportunity!
Read on to find out what made The Vegan Tart special enough to win ‘Best in Show’ at the 2013 Brixton Bake-off.
Tell us a bit about The Vegan Tart, what you make and where you sell it.
I run The Vegan Tart with my partner. We make high quality vegan cakes and savouries. We bake traditional cakes but use our unique combinations of flavours to make them special.
Since 2011 we’ve been selling at the ‘Bakers and Flea’ market in Brixton on Station Road on the first Saturday of every month (next one April 5th). As well as the regular Brixton crowd, the Brixton Vegan Walkabout meetup comes along, bringing us up to 35 eager customers!
Our products are also available at The Lazy Rhubarb in Tulse Hill, and we do other ad-hoc markets and events, such as the Greenwich Food Fest in February and a recent vegan high tea at the Effra Social – these are listed on our website www.thevegantart.co.uk . We also take orders and are often baking away for a birthday or wedding, making sure there is great tasting food which can be eaten by everyone.
What inspired you to get started?
I’ve been vegan for about 5 years. Even before I became vegan, as an American, I found British cakes very dry, and after it was worse – the restaurants seemed to provide only dry bland offerings for vegans. I felt I could make better ones myself, and started experimenting. Then friends started to buy them, and orders started to take off in 2011. I was a support worker at the time, but after I went travelling to Spain and north Africa I began to think about working for myself, and decided to make baking a business on my return.
It doesn’t yet bring in enough to pay the rent, so I work 3 days a week as a gardener, but we are currently negotiating with the ‘cat cafe’ opening in the East End, and once we have two clients of that sort, I can bake full-time!
What makes your products special?
Besides them all being completely vegan, we do both cakes and savouries, and try to make our products a bit different from the usual – we mix it up a bit, jazzing up the flavours to give people alternative flavours eg a lime & thyme cake, a savoury fig & asparagus tart. We were also officially acknowledged as special by winning the Best in Show and Best Savoury categories at the 2013 Brixton Bake-off! There were over 30 entrants and the judges included the Mayor of Lambeth, Ms Cupcake, the manager of Morleys and Levi Roots.
It’s not just the quality of our products which makes us stand out though – we have quirkiness to our brand, such as our special apron and hat outfits, our branded granny trolley and army bag for transporting our goods, my job title (Head Tart), etc, which make us stand out from the crowd – people often make comments or ask to take pictures. I’d like to have a branded cargo bike to transport my goods in. It’s all very fun and home made, for example a friend made the aprons and hats, and we used an old banner to brand our trolley.
Sounds exciting – how do you go about marrying unusual flavours?
Even as a child I used to try making weird concoctions of noodle packs, those were my first experiments in flavour! I suppose it meant I was used to trying things out… I also invested in the Flavour Thesaurus. It’s not that good for vegan produce, but can give good ideas, it makes us think about the way the food hits the taste buds. We also research into websites and recipes and when we see an interesting combination of flavours, try it out. That’s how I discovered the ‘fig and asparagus’ combination.
You have a section on your website for ‘themed and quirky’ cakes. What’s the strangest cake you’ve been asked to make?
It was a topsy turvy cake for the annual ‘time for tea’ event at the Mental Health Foundation. I made a ‘Mad Hatters’ cake involving big chunks of cake which had to be balanced at crazy angles – that was not an easy cake to make!
What attracted you to get involved with Makerhood?
I wanted to get involved from the beginning but at that time it was just in Brixton and we were in Tulse Hill, I could see all these great networking events and very personable emails coming out and I kept thinking ‘hurry up, hurry up and come to our area!’ so I joined as soon as it opened to Tulse Hill, about a year ago.
It’s great, very friendly and affordable and the events are very useful. I’ve been to events on ‘branding your stall’, social media, and a food taster where Jay Rayner of the Observer gave feedback and a local shop owner helped with pricing, it’s really nice to have that kind of help and diversity.
I’m now a member of the steering group for Makerhood Lambeth, which gives me an opportunity to interact with a wide group of individuals who have a passion for creating and sharing that passion with others.
What do you like about living &/or working in Lambeth?
I’ve lived here since 2003, and I don’t know what it is about Lambeth, it’s brilliant, so diverse – in a lot of people’s minds it’s just Waterloo or Brixton, but there are all these places you can go to and the communities are never the same, the shops are never the same – I’m glad that Lambeth hasn’t been “uber-branded”!
What’s your hot tip for a hidden pleasure or treasure in Lambeth?
Bonnington Cafe in Vauxhall. It’s one of Lambeth’s hidden gems. Also the Rookery in Streatham, which is never busy and is very secluded…and the things you see by looking up. Opposite the White Lion in Streatham is a building with 4 elephants, take a look next time you are up that way!
You can try some of the wonderful cakes and savouries The Vegan Tart have to offer at the ‘Bake and Flea’ market in Brixton Station Road on the first Saturday of the month* , or check out the mouth-watering cakes you can order via their website www.thevegantart.co.uk
*next one is April 5th, but alas The Vegan Tart will be missing this month due to injury, so catch them on May 3rd
Kaylene Alder is a Brixton-based illustrator. Here she tells us how she came to create the banner for the Makerhood West Norwood website, and how you could share an aspect of Brixton with other local people and win one of her prints at the same time.
1. What kind of creative work do you do? I’m a freelance illustrator. I work on magazines, books and also personal work such as cards, screen prints, and special occasion work such as wedding stationery.
2. What inspired you to get into this? Initially I did a degree in fine art, but at that time I found the fine art world in Montreal, where I studied, very exclusive and almost deliberately convoluted and obscure. I found I took much more easily to illustration, as a medium which communicates strongly and allows room for a sense of humour.
I have been working as a teacher, but I realised how important making and creating are to me and wanted to get it more prominent in my life, so I began to take up freelance work. I now teach part-time so that I can pursue this.
3. What brought you to Brixton, and what kept you here? Desire to travel! I came here first in 2001 and then travelled for nine months in south-east Asia, and worked in South Korea for a time, but teacher training brought me back here.
4. Are you still teaching? Yes, I work part-time as a primary teacher, both as a general class teacher and as an art teacher. I am hoping to be involved in an interesting project soon, integrating arts subjects such as art, music and drama, with other learning such as maths and science. Most kids have a lot of energy and find it hard to sit still, so having something physical to do will help to keep their brains engaged!
5. I hear you designed the banner for the Makerhood West Norwood website – tell us more about how you got involved with Makerhood? I saw the website by chance, and did one of the Christmas stalls outside Studio 73 – from there it just snowballed. I volunteered at the ‘Making Uncovered’ event, which was a great day, very positive.
It was thanks to contacts I made through these events and sharing a Makerhood stall at the Urban Art fair that I came to do the banner. After Mark, my partner, gave me an old map of Brixton as a gift, I was inspired to use maps in my illustrative work – I really like working over them, they provide such rich backgrounds. As a result I’d done some work for the ‘new cartography’ project at The New Wolf, looking at four areas of London which included some work in the West Norwood area that provided a basis for the banner.
6. So Makerhood has helped you? Absolutely! Making Uncovered (I got a commission there, too!), the stalls at Studio 73, Urban Art etc, making friends and contacts, the Etsy mentorship project, and the Diverse ‘Makers in the Hood’ opportunity, it’s all been really helpful.
7. Now we know what brought you to Brixton, what keeps you here? London’s so big and still so small, everywhere has a community, you just have to seek it out, but Brixton feels like a proper community. I like its hustle, the fact that it is close to central London but has so much available locally – the park, the Ritzy, Brixton Village, the windmill – I love that it has a windmill, it is just so weird and amazing!
8. What’s your hot tip for a hidden pleasure or treasure in Brixton? Prima Donna (a Brazilian restaurant in Market Row) is one of our favourite places, they have an amazing sticky date pudding!
Also, community initiatives such as the Brixton Blog and the free Brixton Bugle paper. I am in awe of the people who run admirable projects such as these and Makerhood – they have boundless energy and enthusiasm for generating a community spirit in Brixton – so I help to distribute The Brixton Bugle on Friday mornings and do a monthly illustration for it. To involve local people in this, I invite them to tweet in their ideas for the subject of the next illustration. If their idea is selected, I send them one of the resulting prints!
If you’d like to see Kaylene’s work, take a look at her website. Many of her illustrations show aspects of Brixton, some of which are available from local shops such as Diverse Gifts, and if you’d like to inspire her with a subject for the next Brixton Bugle illustration and maybe win your own print, pick up a copy on a Friday morning and tweet your suggestions!
Saskia spoke to Bruno and Karl from the London Beer Lab about the opening of their micro-brewery later this month, and about exciting local beer plans with Brixton Buzz.
Why open a brewery in Brixton?
Bruno: When I moved to London I could not really find a wide variety of beer and I started to home brew. Back in my home town, in Lyon, it is possible to do home brewing courses. I was surprised to find that there were no brewing workshops in London, and I thought to myself “we should do this in London”. This is how it started. I use to work in finance, this is a bit of a transition for me. The first home brewing workshop took place in my flat last year. My entire flat got taken over by brewing equipment, so we decided to look for a place to open a micro-brewery.
Karl: We looked at possible sites across London, Brixton was the best location we could find. We are close to the Brixton high street,…
Bruno: …other businesses, and the community. The other possible sites were hidden in industrial parks. We are close to Brixton Market and the Tube, making it easy for people to find us.
Karl: We moved in February this year, in June we held our first brewing workshop here. The workshops have been great. People have been returning to bottle their beer and have been very happy. A couple brewed wheat beer especially for their wedding.
What type of beer will you be making?
Bruno: We just brewed some Bavarian wheat beer, and some amber ale. The brewing workshops we do every week will determine what we brew next. It can really be any type of beer, we will see what requests we are getting. In the fermentation room we have some Belgium styles, some altbier and pilsner. We want to experiment, that’s one of the guiding principles of the London Beer Lab. That’s why I wanted to open a brewery really, to brew different beers.
Karl: For the moment we will be focusing on bottled beer. We are also doing a collaboration with Brixton Buzz, they will crowd source the recipe for a beer from local internet forum Urban75. It is great how they get people involved. It looks like people are going for a medium strength pale ale, with something that gives it a bit of a buzz. Brixton Buzz will probably be available in local pubs from mid August. More will be revealed soon.
Will you cater mainly to the South London craft beer connoisseurs, or are you planning to win over a new audience?
Bruno: In fact we are planning for world domination.
Karl: It is not like we have different opinions… We both feel that people should not be drinking bad beer. We also don’t think that craft beer should be the preserve of the beard and sandals brigade or yuppies, it should be accessible to people and hopefully we can contribute to that locally.
Bruno: We will definitely cater for the beer connoisseurs, but also introduce beer to a new audience through our workshops. There are now in the region of 50 micro-breweries in London and we are planning to stock beer from other micro-breweries, for people to buy. Alongside that we will be selling our own beer. If we get a feel for the local taste, we may get local pubs interested.
Are you currently working with other local businesses?
Bruno: We are very much focused on getting up and running, and ready for our official opening later in August. We need to get some shelves, and cardboard boxes for the bottles. We are currently looking for a local bakery to work with. The spent grain we have left over from brewing can be made into bread. Do you know a local bakery?
To be continued.The London Beer Lab micro-brewery can be visited at Arch 41 Nursery Road (row of arches across the street from bar SW9). More information about the London Beer Lab brewing workshops can be found at http://londonbeerlab.com/
Throughout July, 10 Makerhoodies worked incredibly hard as part of Etsy UK mentoring month. Using the fantastic resources provided by Etsy UK makers revisited their photography and branding, tags and titles, SEO, pricing, shipping and marketing, carried out shop critiques, brainstormed their ideal customers and planned social media strategies. And they continued making of course…
To celebrate all of this work we’re having an Etsy coupon code sale. Until 14 August 2013 you can get 10% off all items in the makers’ Etsy shops by entering the code MMSALE when you checkout.
Luxury homeware brand specialising in upcycling rare and beautiful vintage textiles. Quirky printed tea towels from the 1950s onwards become striking bench cushions or handmade aprons. Vintage silk scarves get reborn as floor cushions. Ornate gilt brocade wedding kimonos are transformed into unique luxury wedding gifts. We hunt for unusual and rare textiles, redesign and repurpose them to create beautiful, unique pieces for the home.
OPIAN is a label ready-to-wear and accessories for women run by Chloé masson. Created in 2008 in Geneva, Switzerland, we are now based in London, England. All of our items are made out of organic, recycled, retrived or re-used materials, in order to limit the negative environmental impact on the environment. Most items are handmade and manufactured in small quantities or even one of a kind which makes them more exlusive. OPIAN style fits in a modern and minimalist feel while maintaining a comfortable look. OPIAN’s brand caters to a clientele that seeks to reconcile fashion and commitment.
No matter how many stories have been told, no matter how many images have been drawn, there are always new stories to be told, there are always new images to draw. I create artist books where my images can be coloured or used to make other people’s stories. Unique, exclusive prints. Only limited editions. Great opportunity to purchase the lovely academic calendars and other back to school prints
I’m a textile artist working mainly with wet felt and indigo dyeing. I like experimenting with textiles – which I define quite loosely, so I include felt, yarn, plastic, paper, metal and more. The beauty of making items from scratch is that each one is unique. So if you see something that you quite like but would prefer a different size/colour/shape, get in touch! I’d be happy to make something to your requirements.
I am a freelance illustrator living and working in the wilds of South London. I am a displaced (misplaced) Canadian, having found a home and inspiration in jolly ole’ Blighty. I love to draw ideas to life and am open to any and all illustrative projects. I welcome commissions so please contact me if you have any questions.
I hand-print cards, prints and various stationery on my vintage LETTERPRESS in Brixton, London using luxurious and environmentally friendly papers and inks. Each piece of card is fed through the press, piled, cut and enveloped by hand. The result is something you will instantly want to stroke, collect, frame or gift away.
Would you like to get tips on setting up or improving your Etsy stall? We’re offering a small group of makers the opportunity to take part in a new Etsy mentoring scheme to improve their online stalls.
You don’t need to have an Etsy stall to take part – just an interest in setting one up. You will be partnered with another Makerhood maker to help each other take your Etsy stalls to the next level, whether it’s getting your products online for the first time or fine tuning your photos and copy to boost sales. Together we will cover topics such as taking photographs, titles and tagging, using site stats and pricing.
Mentoring Month is running throughout July. Etsy is providing tips and online resources, and Makerhood will be offering local support as we go through Mentoring Month together.
At the end of the month we will arrange an event to celebrate and showcase our new and improved stalls. Etsy will be watching these events, and we might have the opportunity for our event to be featured in the Etsy blog.
If you would like to take part, please send an email to email@example.com, telling us the name of your Makerhood stall and why you would like to take part, by Friday 28 June.
We’re sorry but this opportunity is only for makers who already have a Makerhood stall or who are members of Makerhood Norwood.
Are you running or thinking about starting a creative business? Looking for advice on how to succeed? Come to our free business development event on 18 June.
Makerhood has teamed up with Eventbrite to bring you the Brite London: the Makers & Creatives edition – a night packed with great advice from successful creatives who’ve done it all themselves. Insightful talks, Q&A and plenty of time for chatting to fellow makers. Drinks and snacks will be provided, too!
Crowd funding: how to raise money for your creative business
The buzz word has been around for a while, but what does crowd-funding mean in practice? Does it actually work – and for whom? If you are thinking of a crowd-funding campaign, or simply want to find out more about raising funds from the public, this is your chance to learn from someone who’s run a recent successful campaign.
James McBennett is the founder and chief designer at Fabsie, a start-up making beautifully crafted ready-to-assemble furniture.
For their first product – a rocking stool – James ran a kick-starter campaign, raising over £26,000 and attracting over 530 backers. James will explain how to get your crowd-funding campaign off the ground.
How to use events, workshops and exhibitions to build support for your work
Events can be great fun and promotion for your business, but how do you know when to use events, and how to run them well?
What are the big Dos and Don’ts, and how do you spend your time effectively? Organising events is a lot of work – here’s your chance to learn from an expert on how to make that work for you.
Katie has organised numerous events, and has seen many others do that – she’ll share her experience of what succeeds and what doesn’t.
Social media: how to promote your work on social networks
Social media is the order of the day, but with so little time and so much to do, how do you pick the right channels for your business? What messages work best? How do you find time to do social media alongside running a creative business?
Hannah Needham is founder of This Is Your Kingdom, a curated online guide to the UK’s most lovely places to eat, drink, walk, think, potter, ponder, snuggle and shop.
Hannah left her day-job to start the venture with her business partner – soon after launch their readership soared, and they grew a loyal community of readers and contributors. Hannah will share her experience of using social media, how they formulated a strategy, and what was key to their success.
Makerhood: local makers working together
Makerhood is a social enterprise that supports makers and skills in south London, founded and run by a team of local volunteers. A maker’s life can be rather isolated, working away in your studio (or back bedroom!), wondering how much to charge for your work, worrying about stock, and where to get tax advice… Makerhood supports local makers, builds partnerships with local business, helps with business development advice and facilitates a local network for makers to help each other.
Kristina Glushkova, the co-founder of the project (and author of this post!), will talk about Makerhood’s mission and how being part of a makers’ collective can promote your creative work.
A few weeks ago we ran a survey among our makers asking about how they had benefited from joining Makerhood and which benefits they valued the most.
As an incentive to get people to answer we offered free space on our stall at Brixton Makers’ Market on 8 December.
We can now announce that the winner is…Nancy Sealy of Foxtrot Designs UK! Nancy is based in Brixton and makes a range of handmade gifts using a wide variety of materials, including recycled leather, clay, fabric, yarn and more.
She also supplies beautiful ethical yarn – great if you’re into knitting, crocheting or any type of textile or fibre arts.
Tomorrow we’ll have a range of Nancy’s handcrafted earrings and buttons, as well as spectacle cases and purses made from recycled leather – all perfect stocking fillers!
We’re going to be very busy tomorrow, as we’re also giving space to the Brixton Society, which will be offering a guided tour of the market at 2.30pm. So come down to Brixton Makers’ Market on Station Road tomorrow and have a look!
Need to relax, feel more courageous or clearer about your next steps in life? Come along to our mini flower essence workshop and take part in our interactive card game to help you choose a flower essence: ‘relax and let go’, ‘finding your way with goals ‘ or ‘courage’ flower essence blends.
Knitting and crochet – Sunday 16 September, 12-2pm
Remade in Brixton is all about zero waste, and ensuring sustainable, wise use of all our resources. Want to learn how to make something useful from old packaging? Come along to learn how to make wallets from used cartons. They are beautiful and bright, very durable and make lovely little gifts!