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Exciting Times for Craft along with Food for Thought!

It’s a Crafty Business…

Part of being a craft business owner is being privy to a large amount of ‘trade news’ and there were a few interesting articles in one of the main ‘trade’ magazines last week that I thought you might like to share….

Craft Industry News…

I always think Kirstie Allsop is a bit like Marmite, you either love her or hate her! Personally I love her, I think she is open to trying new things and honest when they don’t work for her. Her love of creating knows no bounds and her sheer joy in the creative process is there for all to see. I remember watching her first craft series for TV when she tried out all sorts of crafts from blacksmithing and candle making  to glass blowing and more. As I sat watching I thought ‘that lady has got my dream job!’ I still think I would love to do what she does,  but nobody does it quite like Kirstie! Her ‘give it a go!’ approach has done a lot to promote making things yourself through her TV shows, and she cropped up in an interesting interview/article in a recent edition of ‘Craft Business’…

Craft – the perfect balance to our modern culture

There has been an increased interest in craft over recent years and Kirstie believes that the reason is pretty clear. She said: “I think it is coming back and the reason is because it is a counterbalance to our modern culture, doing something with your hands, doing something in a considered way, doing something calm and creative is such a refuge from the sort of life that we lead.’

The influence of television programmes has also helped to push craft back into the limelight. Programmes like Kirstie’s Handmade series, The Great British Sewing Bee and the Great Pottery Throwdown have helped to attract people back to craft. Kirstie said: “When we started doing Homemade Home everyone said you can’t have crafts on at 8pm. They were like no – this won’t wash. Channel 4 were really brave.”

But Kirstie also believes that craft has an important role to play in health and education. She said: “My kids have phones and iPads and they watch films on them in the evening. But a lot of kids are doing things pretty consistently on screens and we just don’t know that impacts on fine motor skills. Craft helps the link between your brain and your hands. The positivity of craft is endless. I did pottery at school and the number of schools now that have a wheel and kiln has just reduced dramatically. For many, many years the education agenda has been to promote academics – That is all very well for a percentage of the pupils but another percentage, which I really include myself in, are going to go into jobs where being able to do something with their hands is essential. You talk to motor manufacturers, for example, and they’ll say they are really struggling to get the designers who are able to make the models for the cars.”

“I have since become obsessed by the idea that everyone has got a craft, everyone has to have. If you think you can’t mend something, if you think you can’t hang a picture, if you think you’re incapable of doing anything then you feel very out of control. I think that element of it is very important.”

Kirstie will be back on our screens crafting later in the year. She said: “We have made the Christmas show already but we are doing a daytime Christmas show which we are filming in October.

News from Liberty…

… I have to admit I still have a soft spot for Liberty. Many of you will know that I spent a good few years there BC (before children) as a buyer for their, then, 24 branches. I still admire what they do and can spot a Liberty print at 100 paces! There are a couple of really fantastic, positive pieces of news from the great Emporium… an exhibition at The Sewing Bee Live event and an increase in the fabric department in the London store…

Liberty in Fashion exhibition at The Great British Sewing Bee Live

London’s Fashion and Textile Museum will present a stunning exhibition of archive Liberty pieces at The Great British Sewing Bee Live. Showing garments from the 1930’s to 1970’s – follow the influence Liberty has had on fashion through the years. Including works by designers such as Mary Quant and Jeanne Muir.

The Great British Sewing Bee Live takes place at ExCel London from September 21-24.

Liberty London has embarked on a new era in its long history with the re-launch of its dress fabric department.

Since 1875 when Arthur Liberty opened his shop on Regents Street selling coloured silks and ‘Objet D’art’ from the East, Liberty London has been synonymous with fabrics and dressmaking. Last month Liberty re-launched their dress fabric department, giving it 25%  more space and with new fabrics and suppliers being added in the Autumn. It has a new look and a new name ‘The Makery’.

This is really fantastic news and it’s great to see such a prestigious store leading in such a positive way!

Food for Thought…

We heard this week that The Craft Sanctuary in Hertford, a great shop doing similar things to us, will be closing at the end of the Summer. We are truly sorry to hear about this as it is one less place promoting and encouraging people to craft. I quite understand why, there are huge pressures on independent shops these days, with high rents and big increases in business rates, along with reducing foot fall along the high street, it can be a real struggle. We all rely on our wonderful customers supporting us and not straying ‘to the dark side’! (the internet).

We are really lucky to be in a town with a wealth of independent shops which make Saffron Walden a pretty unique place. There is a community spirit here that is well worth preserving. Let’s celebrate the wonderful shops and cafes we have by using them, or we will just be left with the usual store and café chains and Saffron Walden will be just like any other generic High Street – The ‘Shop Local’ campaign has never been needed more than it is right now. (Oops, sorry I seem to have just got on my soap box, but this is a cause I believe in most passionately.) As The Craft Sanctuary proves, it’s a case of ‘use it or lose it’!

We are very happy that good old Kirstie thinks the same as us and that Children need to be able to do ‘crafty’ things as part of their education and life skill learning and that adults also benefit immensely from creating. We are also happy that we are able to offer fun and interesting workshops for all ages and can help most people with friendly professional advice when they come into the shop.