Made in the Shade bring Springtime Jamboree craft to Edinburgh

comments
Made in the Shade bring Springtime Jamboree craft to Edinburgh

Clare Nicolson and Carrie Maclennan,

‘We didn’t set out to start a business when we started Made in the Shade. It was a hobby to take our minds off our hectic day jobs. We wanted to produce a fun event that would stand out and give customers a different experience.

We hosted our first Made in the Shade (MITS) shopping event at The Lighthouse in May 2008, showcasing local designers. Then last January, we realised MITS had the potential to grow into a business, so we planned to set up a permanent shop and gallery space.

I’d been earning a pittance as a university research student, so earning a pittance to get MITS up and running wasn’t such a huge drop! Outwith MITS, Clare [Nicolson, who co-founded MITS] is a textile designer and runs her own business. Clare makes beautiful digitally printed cushions, wall art, and little vintage fabric lavender birds. She sells her work in London, Paris, Japan and America; in Liberty, Paperchase and Habitat. Like me, Clare is a collector. She hoards vintage wallpapers; packaging; stationery. Clare’s been involved in Glasgow’s craft scene for over four years, promoting indie design. Between 2005–2009 I hosted crafty parties in Glasgow bars called [We Are] Fuzzy Felt Folk. They were intimate gatherings with live music and some impromptu/drunken crafting projects.

Opening The Maisonette [see above] is probably our biggest achievement. Before, all MITS work was done from our living rooms. The novelty of working from the comfort of the couch wears off quicker that you might think! The shop acts like a mini MITS event, open for business every day. We hold crafting events in the evenings too. The Maisonette allows us to get the message across to more customers – that craft can be covetable, that handmade is not the same as ‘homemade’ and that the neo-craft movement provides ethically produced, design-led, quality products worth investing in.

Despite the stresses of being responsible for our own business, and having no guaranteed salary, I’ve never been as happy in a job as I am working on MITS. We have the freedom to be creative.

When we were starting out, craft wasn’t trendy – it was quite geeky. It wasn’t fashionable to scour charity shops for bobbins of yarn, or learn to knit or cross-stitch. Over the last two years, craft has become extremely popular. The ‘make do and mend’ mantra of the 40s made its return when the UK economy slumped into recession.

We’ve worked with hundreds of indie designers over the last two years. We’ve known Rachael Lamb [aka Hannah Zakari, see opposite] for years, and we adore Gillian Kyle’s work – we stock her Tunnock’s Teacake designs, and I’m most excited by her new Creamola Foam range! Michelle Aaron has taken part in almost all our events and recently opened Auntie M’s Cake Lounge – a 50s-styled cake shop (opposite The Maisonette). Auntie M will be at our Springtime Jamboree in Edinburgh. We’ve also got live music from Kansas poppette Piney Gir, ‘The MITS Photobooth’, the usual vintage soundtrack, Flora the Tombola and free gifts for early birds. The Edinburgh vendor line-up is fabulous – with offbeat jewellery, homewares and vintage ephemera. (We’ll be back at The Roxy in July and November, and have events at The Lighthouse in August, October and December.) My priority has always been to integrate my interests and passions into my job. Made in the Shade allows me to do just that.’

The Springtime Jamboree, The Roxy Art House, Sat 15 May. The Made in the Shade Maisonette, De Courcy’s Arcade, Cresswell Lane, Glasgow, 337 3795. www.wearemadeintheshade.com

Corinne Robinson

25, aka Dazed Dorothy

What do you make?
Luxurious leather and suede handbags, belts, purses and passport covers. I also run a revamp service where people bring old leather boots or jackets to me and have them remade into something new.

When did you first became involved with MITS?
Two years ago, when it first began.

Are you a full-time ‘maker/crafter’ or do you have a day job?
I also lecture part-time in Cardonald College – taking a printed textiles class.

What do you remember about the first craft fair you took part in?
It was Portobello Town Hall, on a gorgeous summer day. I was quite nervous as I had only sold to friends and family, but it was exciting when people began commenting on how much they liked my accessories.

What do you like about your job?
Everything! I like being my own boss, doing something different every day, and being responsible for a creation from start to finish. I love being able to run my own business and work at college; it’s so motivating to work with enthusiastic and creative students.

What don’t you like about your job?
Paperwork!

Do you work from home?
I have a small studio in my back garden.

What changes have you seen in the past two years?
There seems to be a younger audience attending craft fairs. Customers realise these events are brimming with young designers with their own unique styles.

What would you advise others who want to turn a hobby into something more serious?
They need to have lots of determination, absolutely love what they do, and be prepared to learn a whole host of new skills.

See www.dazeddorothy.co.uk for info, from the end of May. Dazed Dorothy will also be at the Royal Highland Show, Ingliston, 24–27 June. All three featured designers will be at the MITS Springtime Jamboree on Sat 15 May.

Rachael Lamb

32, aka Hannah Zakari

What do you make?
I started out making jewellery and bags. When I started the online shop, Hannah Zakari, in 2004 it was solely for selling my own designs. As I got more involved in the craft scene (on sites like www.craftster.org) I realised nearly all the wonderful designers I was talking to were in the US. I saw an opportunity to broaden my business by importing their work and decided to go for it – thankfully it worked out well. Now the craft scene has taken off in the UK in a big way and I stock designers from all over the world. The success of HZ means I don’t always get time to make my own things, but I try and make time at least once a month to sit down and do something creative, even just for myself.

When did you first became involved with MITS?
I was at the first MITS at The Lighthouse.

Are you a full-time ‘maker/ crafter’ or do you have a day job?
Running Hannah Zakari is my full-time job.

What do you remember about the first craft fair you took part in?
It was organised by Miso Funky at Hillhead Library. It was my first time meeting other local crafters and makers, some of whom are still friends four years later.

What do you like about your job?
I love knowing that I’ve introduced customers to products they’ve not seen before. Hannah Zakari is full of my favourite indie designers, it’s one of the perks of the job that I get to surround myself with all this amazing stuff every day.

What don’t you like about your job?
Working for yourself has many perks, but it’s also a lot of responsibility. Having to work when you’re ill and do your tax returns have to be low points, but thankfully don’t happen too often.

Do you work from home?
I moved into a studio at the beginning of 2009 with Emma Henderson, who runs [design company] Showpony. I really enjoy having someone else around to discuss ideas with.

What would you advise other people who want to turn a hobby into a full-time job?
Stick to what you know and love, pay attention to the little details and treat your customers well!

www.hannahzakari.co.uk The first Hannah Zakari shop will open on Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh this July.

Angharad Jefferson

31

What do you make?
I am an illustrator. I draw with stitch.

When did you first became involved with MITS?
After I had my baby, I was looking for a way to sell my designs directly. I’d been following Carrie and Clare’s shows, and when they auditioned local designers for their shop I thought it was about time I got off the sofa, so I ventured over to Clare’s house with bags of my work. They fed me party rings. Who wouldn’t love girls with good biscuits?

Are you a full time ‘crafter’ or do you have a day job?
Right now I am in a transitional phase; keeping my toe in until my toddler goes to school. I graduated from the GSA in 2005, and worked with an agent who sold my designs to clothing manufacturers (including Topshop and The White Company). Now I want more control over my designs, and to sell them with my name attached.

What do you remember about the first craft fair you took part in?
My stand looked great, but I forgot change and bags; all the basics. My newbie status was hideously obvious. The other stallholders were absolutely lovely; it was a wonderful community experience.

What do you like about your job?
That it doesn’t feel like a job. I would be happily drawing away anyway right now, but to have Carrie and Clare’s support is really valuable. And the cheques don’t hurt either.

What don’t you like about your job?
That I don’t have more time to do it!

Do you work from home?
Yes. I used to work from a studio on Argyle Street. Once the knee biter goes to school I’ll go there again. I really miss the routine and the chat from other designers.

What changes have you seen in the past two years?
People want value for money right now. Customers come back because they want a unique product, and a conversation piece. I believe buying directly from the artist, knowing the provenance, adds value.
What would you advise other people who want to turn a hobby into a full-time job? Get a good idea, get crafting and get out there!

www.angharadjefferson.com

The Made in the Shade Springtime Jamboree

The Glaswegian indie designers' collective makes its first visit to Edinburgh. Vintage and unusual objects are on offer at this enhanced shopping experience featuring a vintage soundtrack while some of the crafteteers will be crafting in public.

Comments

Post a comment