Making Uncovered: Elena Hall

elena hall1Elena Hall draws on tradition and a love of colour to inspire her unique knitted jewellery designs.

At Making Uncovered she will be demonstrating some of the techniques behind her work, including bobbin knitting and crochet.

Tell us a bit about your work.
I knit and crochet modern jewellery in neon embroidery threads, copper, recycled silver and semi-precious stones. The pieces I make are inspired by traditional techniques and are delicate, structured and original.

As well as my work with jewellery I also work with embroidery, and this has influenced the jewellery I make through the choice of materials – I crochet with chain and embroidery thread and knit with silver or copper and threads. I also incorporate semi-precious stones and colourful vintage beads into some of these.

I live and make in Brixton and sell via my website as well as at London designer maker fairs. I also work to commission, doing bespoke pieces for special events such as weddings and also to be sold through galleries.

Why are you taking part in Making Uncovered? elena hall3
I’ve been part of Makerhood for two years now and think it’s a fantastic network for connecting up creative people and spreading the word to the local community about how much interesting and unusual work is being produced close to where they live.

Equally it gives makers the opportunity to meet interested people based locally.

I visited last year’s Making Uncovered and it was completely buzzing with people and interesting makers, so when I heard Makerhood were organising another one this year I jumped at the chance to be involved.

I’m really looking forward to meeting lots of local people and seeing some of the demonstrations from other makers.

What will you be doing at Making Uncovered?

elena hall4I’m going to be running a workshop on making a crocheted silver chain bracelet with neon embroidery thread.

Throughout the day I’ll also be showing some of the other techniques I use in my work and the range of jewellery I make.

Elena’s workshop starts at 1.30pm and costs £10, including materials. Limited spaces available – book your ticket here.

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Meet the makers: Viv Moriarty

Knitter, crocheter and embroiderer Viv Moriarty is fascinated by the link between thinking and doing – something that she puts to good use when teaching

1. How long have you been knitting and crocheting?
All the women in my family – my aunts, granny and mum – knitted and crocheted, so I’ve done it as long as I can remember. I was knitting even when it wasn’t trendy: I used to knit things for friends at school – remember those 1970s Patricia Roberts’ sweaters? My mum is 86 and still can’t sit in front of the telly without crocheting. We were great believers in the devil finding work for idle hands to do!

2. What about embroidery?
I made some dining chair covers in Florentine tapestry – it took me years. And then I found that they wear out in certain areas where people sit! I also did a Certificate of Technical Embroidery at the Royal College of Needlework – I’m currently working on the Diploma.

3. And now you teach textiles as well as teaching in your day job?
I did a PGCE after university and taught in a primary school for a while. I used to do felting with the children – it fulfils the science curriculum about changing materials! Now I teach practising teachers who are studying for MAs and PhDs – but I also teach knitting and crochet to residents of a residents’ association in Notting Hill.

4. The two types of teaching sound quite different!
Yes! There’s a lot of “brain work” with the MA and PhD students, and it’s very much about individual endeavour, working on a one-to-one basis. With the residents’ association, although they have their own knitting, crochet or embroidery, we are making squares for a blanket, so there is a collective outcome. I also have to be quite adaptable – for example, some people can’t hold a crochet hook because they’ve had a stroke or have Parkinson’s disease. But I really enjoy working with them – they are of the generation who appreciate how much time goes into making something by hand.

5. And you’ve run several workshops for Makerhood as well.
Doing workshops for Makerhood really helped develop my confidence. And talking to other makers has opened my mind to other techniques and possibilities, as well as widening my social skills. My day job doesn’t  involve talking to people about creative things like this!

6. What about selling your items at markets?
I started selling through Makerhood because I didn’t know what to do with all the stuff I make. I wasn’t quite sure they were good enough, but one of my friends was really encouraging and gave me confidence. So I do have a stall and I’d like to sell more – but I think I’m better at teaching!

7. And finally – would you like to share some Stockwell secrets with us?
There’s the house where Van Gogh used to live at 87 Hackford Road [currently up for auction on 27 March with a guide price of £475,000]. Di Lieto Bakery on South Island Place sells fantastic croissants. And Tony’s Greengrocers on Brixton Road is a great family business that sells very reasonably priced fruit and veg.

You can see Viv’s cute knitted toys, crocheted booties and elegant embroidered brooches at http://brixton.makerhood.com/viv-moriarty. One of Viv’s brooches is also featured in the March 2012 issue of Mollie Makes magazine.

Knitting with SWCraftClub

On Sunday afternoon, before all of the craziness erupted in London, we took part in SWCraftClub’s pop up craft event at the Landor pub in Clapham. It’s difficult to picture a more contrasting scene to the madness that came later that evening. Around eight groups of crafty folks got together in a pub garden to help people make badges, jewellery, mood boards and upcycle their wardrobe. Makerhood’s contribution was a knitting and crochet drop-in workshop. We had two experts, Viv and Shona, on hand to get beginners started and to teach new techniques to those who were more advanced. And they did a brilliant job! Over the afternoon they taught crocheting to complete beginners, polished up rusty knitting skills and handled every request for advice that skilled knitters and crocheters threw at them.

We’d prepared a wide range of materials for people to use, including wool of course, but also recycled T-shirts, plastic bags, string and ribbon. These supplies were topped up by Hobbycraft who sponsored the event. Thanks Hobbycraft!

One of the nicest things about knitting is that it’s a slow, monotonous craft. This was also something that concerned us before the event; would people be prepared to commit their time or would they simply pass us by on their way to more immediate rewards? Well, the answer is that they were prepared to commit the time – at some points we had so many knitters that we ran out of seats and our experts had to stand. And the best thing was that the slow pace meant that we got to have proper chats with people, we learnt who taught them to knit, the others crafts they enjoy, about their children and homes, what they like and don’t like about the place they live. Chat and knitting. For me, there’s no better way to spend an afternoon. Thanks to all the people who joined us and knitted and crocheted with us.

Special thanks to Zoe from SWCraftClub for inviting us to be part of this event. Follow @SWCraftClub on Twitter and SWCraftClub on Facebook or check out http://swcraftclublondon.blogspot.com for more crafty events in South West London.

And also to our experts, Viv and Shona. Viv is as talented at sewing as she is at knitting – check out her stall on Makerhood.  Shona is planning some workshops to teach beginner’s knitting in the autumn. If you’re interested in taking part contact us on hello@makerhood.com and we’ll pass on your details.

SW Craft Club knitting and crochet workshop

Makerhood is holding a drop-in knitting and crochet workshop at the Summer Pop Up event this weekend organised by the SW Craft Club in Clapham. All ages and abilities welcome – and it’s free!

We’re going to have a range of materials available for you to try out – wool, of course, but also paper and string and plastic bags and raffia etc – and we’ll be able to show you a wide range of techniques such as colour work, cable, ruffles and so on.

If you’ve been dying to learn how to knit or crochet, or if you’re an expert who wants to try something experimental, come and join us. We’ll be in the garden if the weather is good (and inside if it’s not!).

The Makerhood workshop is one of many at the event, so as well as knitting you’ll be able to try your crafty hands at a whole range of other activities, from making mosaics to decorating cupcakes.

Location : Landor Pub, 70 Landor Street, Clapham

Date & time : 7 August 2011, 12 – 5pm

What to bring : Just yourself. We will have everything you need but feel free to bring alternative knitting materials to challenge us with if you like!

Contact details : karen@makerhood.com