Christmas party on 2 December

Get ready for Christmas by making cards to send to your friends and family, listening to live music and festive DJs, and having fun with some improvised games and pantomime!

Yes – the great Makerhood Christmas party is back, bigger and better than ever. This year it’s going to be downstairs at the Dogstar, 389 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, on Sunday 2 December, 3-7pm.

To whet your appetite, here’s a flavour of what happened at last year’s party.

We’ll provide materials for making cards, but feel free to bring your own – recycled materials particularly welcome. All ages welcome.

More details on our Facebook page. We look forward to seeing you there!

Perfect pitching

Does the thought of asking a retailer to stock your products bring you out in a cold sweat? Or do you want to email a journalist about featuring your work in a magazine but just sit there staring at a blank screen?

Then you must sign up for our Getting to grips with pitching workshops. These three  interactive workshops are specially designed for makers with no or little experience of pitching to help you develop your  pitching skills.

The written pitch
Wednesday, 26 September, 7-9pm, led by Kim Winter

This workshop will help you craft the perfect written pitch that will grab the reader’s attention and make sure she doesn’t hit the “delete” button. We’ll show you how to highlight your unique selling points and tell your story in the most appealing way. And we’ll discuss the importance of getting the tone right too.

Preparing to pitch to shops
Wednesday, 3 October, 7-9pm, led by Carole Mourier and Jane Doxey

So your product is ready and you’re raring to go and sell it to shops. But when you’re there, what do you say about your product and how will you present yourself?

This workshop will prepare you to successfully pitch your product to retailers, identify potential buyers, and present it in an engaging way. From packaging to questions and answers, it’s all about first impressions.

Pitching with confidence and calm
Wednesday 10 October, 7-9pm, led by Tanya Shoop and Andry Anastasiou

Have you noticed that some people seem so confident when pitching and selling, yet you just feel nervous? So what’s the trick? It’s all about preparation, learning how to manage nerves and working with techniques to create presence and confidence.

Explore how to present yourself with confidence when pitching to buyers or promoting your products. Learn techniques for managing nerves, good body language and staying grounded and energised. We will draw on and practise methods from the Alexander Technique and from a whole-person coaching approach.

We’re offering all three workshops for a discount price of £25, or individual workshops for £10 each. If you book early, you get all three workshops for just £20. You can book on Eventbrite, where you’ll also find more details on each workshop and the facilitators .

http://pitchingformakers.eventbrite.com/

See you there!

The lovely drawing at the top is by GOLDTOP.
The photo is from our Product Surgery event in June.

Meet the makers: Sinéad Koehler

Jewellery maker Sinéad Koehler has a packed schedule – she tells us about her hand-crafted wedding and running the Crafty Fox pop-up market at the Dogstar in Brixton

1. You make jewellery from found objects, which fits in well with the current trend for upcycling/recycling. Where did you get the idea for that?
I was looking for a creative outlet, away from my day job. I used to make jewellery when I was a girl, and I’m always buying jewellery, so it seemed an obvious choice. It takes quite a bit of time to track down the different objects – some I buy online, others I get from charity shops or by using bits of old jewellery. I never really expected to sell anything – but I opened up a shop on Etsy and then got some press coverage, which really helped. I still only do it for a hobby, though, as I’m a bit scared about taking the leap into a full-time business!

2. And from that you started the Crafty Fox pop-up market at the Dogstar in Brixton?
Well, organising events is my day job, so setting up a market is actually closer to my core skills than making jewellery! In fact, the jewellery making has been a bit sidelined recently, what with getting married and promoting the Crafty Fox.

3. Where did the name of the Crafty Fox come from?
I love foxes, and there are lots of them around Brixton, so it seemed a good link to the area. I also planned to get my friend jimbobart involved, and he’s great at drawing animals, so I knew he would be able to produce some great fun characters.

4. You mention getting married recently. I gather it was quite a crafty wedding!
We wanted to put as much of our own personalities into it as possible – handmade stuff is what we’re all about. The dress was a big problem – I thought I’d enjoy shopping for one, but I hated it. Then I thought of my mum’s wedding dress, which had been handmade, and used local contacts to find a dressmaker to alter it. And a friend made us an amazing cake – I left it entirely up to her, as I had so many other things to think about! You can read more about the wedding on my blog.

5. Does your husband make things as well?
Stephan doesn’t make things, but he’s passionate about music and he knows about promotion. He acts as my sounding board and is the DJ at Crafty Fox markets.

6. You’re originally from Northern Ireland – how long have you lived in Brixton?
I’ve lived in Brixton for three years now, and was in Clapham before that. We were renting in Clapham and started looking for somewhere to buy. When agents wanted to show us places in Brixton we weren’t very keen at first, but I love it now!

7. So with all your involvement with Etsy and Crafty Fox, why did you sign up with Makerhood?
Makerhood is a really interesting concept and I want to support the idea. Etsy has set up local groups but hasn’t really nailed it. I think there’s room for both – and the idea of encouraging people to buy locally really suits Brixton. I can see it working outside London too – anywhere where there’s a hub or community of makers.

8. Finally, what’s your top tip for a bit of “unknown Brixton”?
Before I moved to Brixton I went on a photo treasure hunt organised by Shoot Experience. We had to solve clues and take photos of the answers, which were then put on display at Photofusion Gallery. It helped me discover things about Brixton I didn’t know about, like the murals and the history of Windrush Square.

The next Crafty Fox pop-up market is on 1 September at the Dogstar, Brixton, 6-10pm.

You can see Sinéad’s original jewellery at http://brixton.makerhood.com/galavant

We go shopping!

Karen, Damian, Biba, Andy and I went to the lovely Crafty Fox Market at the Dogstar on Saturday. Fantastic! Great work from the organisers, three floors of lovely hand-made things and art, and great workshops. Artists and makers from all over London, and some from as far as Edinburgh and the Isle of White.

Among the sellers were James Ward (who created the lovely Crafty Fox logo) showing his amazing plates, Kanganarora with handmade textiles (absolutely loved the cow cushion!) and FabricNation making beautiful things from recycled fabrics. We also loved handmade puppets from Twisted Myth,  textile deer heads from Wooden Tree and cute creatures from Hope and Eden. And many many others.

Downstairs, there was a group of ladies totally consumed with learning to make brooches with Handmade in Tooting and Seaside Sisters – they came up with many beautiful pieces.  Ms Cupcake’s stall – from a new shop on Coldharbour lane– was constantly overcrowded. I’m personally not into cupcakes, but Damian had one and couldn’t stop talking about it. It was apparently delicious!

We brought some flyers and talked to people about Makerhood and the forthcoming local online marketplace. The makers we talked to were very positive; many said there should be one in their areas too – this was really encouraging.  Something to ponder for the future; meanwhile, I guess one option is to relocate to Brixton 🙂