Making Uncovered: AfroRetro

making_uncovered_afro_retro_0194 (1)
Lilly and Anna, the sister duo behind AfroRetro, will be demonstrating their unique blend of Ugandan textile art and upcycling at Making Uncovered, transforming various materials and fabrics into garments and other items.

Tell us something about your work.
We combine all the things that we love and are important to us in our accessories, jewellery and fashion range.

Our creations are a showcase of all the great ideas, opinions and amazing experiences we have been lucky to have as British Ugandans.

We forage in the streets of south London, not only for ideas but to source many of the materials we use to make our ranges from the local community.

We combine the goodies that you throw out with traditional African materials like banana leaves, Dutch wax and Ugandan bark cloth to make a quirky, hand made, ethical, upcycled range of T-shirts, earrings and snoods.

Why are you taking part in Making Uncovered?
UpcycledScarfWebSometimes words are just not enough. At Making Uncovered we have been given the amazing chance to show people who we are and what we do in our own words and actions. Such an opportunity was too good to miss out! We really wanted to be a part of this creative gathering and meet the people who inspire and drive our work.

What will you be doing at Making Uncovered?

WeaveTeeWebWe will be sharing the making love and unleashing your creative selves in a series of drop-in and timed workshops.

You can try your hand at weaving a greeting card, Ugandan style, using traditional African materials, or turning an unloved T-shirt into a fabulous circular scarf.

AfroRetro’s Making Uncovered workshops are at midday and 4pm and cost £20 each – book your place here! The price includes materials, but bring along an old T-shirt if you have one – the bigger the better!


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.

New makers

Apologies – we haven’t featured any new makers for a while, but we’ve been a bit snowed under with other things.

To make up for it, here’s a bumper selection of makers who have set up stalls in the past couple of months.

Jennifer Levet is a theatrical milliner who designs and makes hats for both men and women.

Tim Healy of printsforwalls sells his own canvas prints, many featuring Brockwell Park.

Mike Fell‘s unusual tape art is only one of his talents – he also produces paintings and prints.

Minoworks offers bespoke jewellery and fabrics inspired by history and ancient art.

Linda Ecalle of Kafoutch! makes very unusual upcycled furniture and accessories from waster materials, like this amazing cardboard shoe rack.

Little Ark‘s felt and fabric greetings cards are all designed and handmade in Herne Hill.

Ann Gordon‘s beautiful handmade books use original prints as end papers.

Doyle Photography, based in Camberwell, sells photos taken in London and all over the world, often at night.

New makers

Let’s bound into the new year with an introduction to some of the newest makers on Makerhood. We now have more than 60 stalls, so make it your resolution in 2012 to buy local and support the local economy and creativity. Happy new year to you all!

Beards and Bicycles celebrates the combination of practicality, beauty and enjoyment found in…bicycles!

Oishii~ital vegan delights is run by Yokunaru, who makes vegan, organic, fair trade food free of wheat, gluten and additives.

Imogen Paton is a Camberwell-based portrait artist who also makes necklaces, cushions, throws and baby mats.

Silka of Rubiccubestudio uses recycled materials in her pieces, including paintings, drawings, sculptures and jewellery.

Local Eyes is a photographer selling limited edition photos of “the less obvious and more interesting things around us”. See if you recognise any of the local scenes.


New makers

With Christmas almost on us, there’s been a rush of new makers signing up on Makerhood. A big welcome to some of our newest members!

Flo’s Dinners offers home-made, home-delivered baby food, nutritionally balanced and made fresh to order.

Cheeky Suds is the place to go for handmade novelty bath and body treats, all suitable for sensitive skin.

Andry’s Flower Essences are made from plants and flowers of Snowdonia and come in gorgeous handmade silk or cotton bags.

DairyLeiah offers handcut cards made by Brixton artist Leiah Callard.

Bezemymailan‘s colourful, graphic jewellery is made from wood and resin by a French costume/textile designer.

Hairy Jayne is selling gift vouchers towards stylish, low-maintenance haircuts in a private, quirky studio in Brixton.

Meet the makers: Lucy Moseley

Designer-maker Lucy Moseley of Moseley’s Giftware suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome and chronic migraine, but loves creating jewellery, cards and knitting when she has the energy!

1. Would you mind telling us about your disability?
I was studying philosophy at Cambridge University three and a half years ago when I contracted chronic fatigue syndrome. I had to drop out for a while, but I went back and pushed myself to finish the course and graduate. Since then I’ve been trying to come to terms with the condition.

2. How has your crafting helped you?
I can’t go to work, as I would end up falling over! But I had always been interested in photography, so I started making cards from photos I had taken. Then I started making cushions, as I’ve always collected fabrics, which I buy from antique and vintage stores from all over the country. I’d also been making jewellery for six years, so I thought I’d try to sell some of it. Again, I buy gemstones on my travels, such as when I went to visit my sister in Australia on her gap year.

3. Does this talent come from your family or have you taught yourself?
My mum used to do pottery and painting, and my aunt is a designer-maker. And I went to a half-hour session on making jewellery. But most of it is self-taught. I had this idea that I wanted to make tea cosies that looked like bobble hats, though I couldn’t knit. So I taught myself!

4. Tell us the story behind one of your products.
Lavender bags are one of my latest products on Makerhood. When I was little, I used to make lavender bags for my family at Christmas, with their names embroidered on them. They always seemed to make people very happy, so I made some for my Makerhood stall. I use vintage fabric and lace and fill them with lavender from the same bush at my family’s home in Dorset that I used when I was younger. People seem to like picking them up and smelling the lavender. The first comment I had was “I want one – to smell instead of the smelly people on the bus!”

5. You’ve lived in Brixton for a year – how does it inspire your work?
I love the diversity and multicultural-ness of Brixton, and I miss the sirens when I go away! But the inspiration for my work comes more from inside me and from nature – so I enjoy walking round the parks like Brockwell, Dulwich and Peckham Rye.

6. And what appeals to you about Makerhood?
I love the fact that we as sellers can connect with our buyers. I really enjoyed meeting a lady who bought one of my hand-knitted tea cosies! It is wonderful to be able to showcase your talent in the local area, too, and you get to meet other people who craft and make things.

7. Finally, what’s your top tip for a bit of “hidden Brixton”?
Try Barnado’s charity shop for bargains. I’ve picked up some pretty dresses, including a ballgown, as well as knitting needles, kids’ craft packs and ink cartridges for 99p!

Lucy starts a jewellery course at Holts Academy today – we wish her luck!

You can buy Lucy’s lavender bags, Christmas cards, tea cosies, jewellery and scented candles at

New makers

Say a big hello to makers who have set up new Makerhood stalls in the past couple of weeks.

Bright Side Dark Side sells exuberant floral fascinators and jewellery inspired by nature and tribal arts, using feathers, recycled leather, shells & semi-precious stones.

Community Technology offers refurbished computers and IT equipment, and is committed to promoting environmental and technological sustainability.

Alexandra of Aurora Aromatica, a mobile complementary therapist, is selling lavender and hops love-heart pillows to help you relax.

Rijole Bitata of Nera Phut Accessories specialises in jewellery and accessories made from a range of different materials, from fabric to semi-precious stones.

Tinker Tailor offers a mixture of handmade garments and customised vintage made by a Savile Row trained tailor from the highest quality materials sourced from English mills.

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

New makers this week

A big welcome to makers who have set up new stalls on Makerhood in the past week.
Moseley’s Giftware Lucylu’s luxury handmade gifts include sterling silver jewellery, like this single green pearl necklace and earring set.  All items are one-offs or limited editions, and she will also take commissions.

Black Cactus in London Anna Jackson’s hand-printed fabrics may feature peeved bunnies or colourful ice lollies. As well as the fabrics you can buy home accessories such as cushions, purses or even plastic bag dispensers.

New makers this week

Here’s an introduction to some of the makers who have joined Makerhood in the past week. Welcome aboard!

Sinéad is based in Brixton and makes affordable jewellery using found items. She is inspired by vintage fashions, nature and London, and runs the Crafty Fox Market, which usually takes place every few months at The Dogstar in Brixton.
BekyBoo Hat Designs
Rebecca Elizabeth Blow designs and manufactures a range of hats, fascinators and head pieces. You can choose one of her existing designs and she will match to your outfit, or contact her to create a totally new design just for you.

Ruth Wilson makes beautiful hand-made cushion covers in unusual designs from vintage fabric. She will also do bespoke commissions.
Love Cakes London
This family business uses the best ingredients to ensure quality and freshness, whether you need a cake for a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion. And they’ve been shortlisted as a finalist for the National Cupcake Championships on 15 August. Go Love Cakes!