The Paperdolls at Digmas

Well! What can we say...?
 Saturday's market at the Custard Factory was such a brilliant day! So much amazing talent and so many fantastic people willing to show their support by coming along and shopping with the independent makers & designers. Thank you! 

Enjoy the photos & video below... and subscribe to our mailing list for news of future events like this one!

 
 
 

Say hello to...

With just 1 week before the market - we are all very excited! Here's a little more info on 3 more of our lovely stallholders... See you at DIGMAS!

Emma Hardicker - Paperdolls blog

Artist & designer Emma Hardicker

Tell us a bit about your work and how you started...

I began my business in 2009 from a Summer House in the garden.  After studying a BA in Textile Design and working as a studio photographer, I decided to explore my creative talents fully. I began painting abstract landscapes to exhibit in galleries, before moving into my favourite medium of print.

What are some of the things that inspire you and your work?

Emma Hardicker - Paperdolls blog

I'm inspired by the flowers right outside my window. This was where I began creating fresh, contemporary pattern based floral designs, screen printing these highly collectable limited editions by hand.  I moved to my studio in The Custard Factory in Birmingham and now have the added influence of the city surroundings, so I've created a range of architectural cityscapes, filled with pattern and structure, as well as recognisable landmarks.

 

 

What’s next for you and your brand/work?

My aim is to create exciting pieces of art which do more than just brighten up a room. They will evoke memories, spark conversation and become a well loved part of your home. The business is now a thriving team of two, so everything is made by us, in house at our studio. Meaning we are able to proudly say all our products are made exclusively in the UK. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oats so good - Paperdolls blog

Ruth Phillips Patel - Oats so good

Tell us a little about how you first started making/designing/crafting – and how long have you been doing it?

Hi, I'm Ruth and I am the creator of 'Oats so good' and 'Chialicious'. About 18 months ago I decided to build my own business selling healthy hand prepared porridge, muesli and energy bite snacks with no added salt or refined sugar. For many years I've been combining ingredients to make my own oat based breakfast recipes and have always used what are now deemed as 'superfoods' long before they became 'on trend'. I think initially I was inspired by my Dad who has always added his favourite fruits and nuts to a simple muesli base to liven up his breakfast.  

Oats so good - Paperdolls blog

What are some of the things that inspire you and your work?

Well I love porridge so that helps! And I'm inspired by the fact that it's one of the healthiest breakfasts you can have. I like the idea that you really can revitalise your body through your breakfast. I'm prone to high cholesterol so eating plenty of oats helps me to manage that. I'm inspired by what nature has to offer and the endless possibilities involved in creating healthy breakfast variations.

What is the most challenging part of what you do?

The key challenges are a) finding the time to progress my ideas whilst being a full time Mum to Maya age 8 and Lewis age 3,  b) ensuring I stand out from the crowd amidst a fast growing and expanding superfood market.

What is your favourite part about the work you do?

Firstly I enjoy the creative process - much of what I achieved in my career prior to having children was creative and I was missing that aspect. Secondly I like meeting and talking to people at the markets where I sell my products. I also enjoy the research side and learning more about nutrition in general.

What’s next for you and your brand/work?

I'll be creating more recipes with unusual/lesser known ingredients, and adding some new product lines - look out for superfood chocolate drinks using raw cacoa powder and spices. I'm hoping to attend more markets next year and I will create an online presence.

Oats so good - Paperdolls blog

Any advice for other designer/makers just starting out?

I don't have an awful lot of experience under my belt just yet but I'd say you have to be passionate about what you're making and selling, understand your target market and be realistic about your business goals. Building your own business takes a lot of hard work ...so don't forget to indulge in some 'Oats so good' to keep your energy levels up!
 

 

 

 

 

carolyn carter - paperdolls blog

Carolyn Carter

Tell us a little about your work and how you started...

I studied photography at college, having always had an interest in that medium and had been collecting cameras and taking photographs since my early teenage years. I learnt to developed my photographs in the darkroom and enjoyed that creative process, which led me on to set up my own studio/darkroom in my home.
I've also always been interested in traditional craft and have been knitting and crocheting for as long as I can remember. When my first daughter was born, I made things while she napped and my designs grew from there. 

What are some of the things that inspire you and your work?

It sounds cliched, but in all honesty my natural surroundings are the biggest inspiration for my work. When you have a creative eye - you never stop looking and gleaning wherever you go! I love natural textures and colours, wood, clay, stone, wool, flora & fauna, etc. Other people inspire me too - I love to see what other artists & designers create - it spurs me on in my own work! 

carolyn carter - paperdolls blog

What is your favourite part about the work you do?

I enjoy that my day to day is very varied, which keeps things interesting. One day I might be doing a photo shoot, another I might be finishing a wholesale order or attending a market. Being my own boss means I can be flexible too - which is very useful when you have a young family! Creating and making is just an extension of me and I feel very enriched when I'm doing it and its an added bonus when I see someone enjoying a piece of my work.

What is the most challenging part of what you do?

Pricing my work! Making it affordable for everyone, but also getting paid fairly for the time & energy I put into it. Also having the confidence to put myself out there and not worry what other people think.

carolyn carter - paperdolls blog

Any advice for other designer/makers just starting out?

Don’t expect overnight success, be prepared to work hard and fail sometimes too. You will probably refine the idea over time, but this will lead to something you are really proud of. Don’t get distracted by what other people are doing, be focussed on the work you are passionate about and what your strengths are.

 

 

Say hello to...

This series of mini interviews introducing our Christmas traders has proved very popular - we're so glad you care about the story behind each maker as much as we do!

Here's the next 3... enjoy!

Colombo Silver - Paperdolls blog

Sophie Wiggins - Colombe Silver

Tell us a little about how you first started making/designing/crafting - and how long have you been doing it?

I've been working with metal since I was at school. As a kid, I wanted, in an occasionally painful way, to be good at drawing. I was, at best, average, and perpetually frustrated by the fact that I couldn't get the stuff I wanted to onto paper as well as I wanted to. I think perhaps I should have been a bit more dedicated - but I also didn't have the opportunity to do art after the age of about twelve. Unless you were obviously brilliant at it, if you were considered to be academic, you didn't get to do anything even vaguely vocational. However, in the sixth form, we got to choose an option subject - something outside the A levels. I did metalwork. Our teacher was a wonderful bloke, who loved his subject, loved people being interested in it and who was a pretty skilled jeweller. He taught me how to use a torch, a hammer, a jewellers' saw, tinsnips - how to solder, form; how to enamel and how to set a stone. It was hands down the best thing I ever did in school and I've been grateful to him for close to thirty years.

Colombo Silver - Paperdolls blog

What are some of the things that inspire you and your work?

Everything. I'm not joking. Colour. Line. The shape a dead branch makes against the sky. Fiction. Sci-if and fantasy - I spend far too much time designing for distant races of primitive aliens, or making things that look like archaelogical relics from unknown societies. Stones. A lot of the time the thing I make is dictated by the components.

 

What is the most challenging part of what you do?

Keeping track of everything I want to make! More seriously - marketing. It's hard to juggle enough time for it.

Colombo Silver - Paperdolls blog

What is your favourite part about the work you do?

The way metal behaves in the flame, especially that point where it goes from solid to liquid. And a lot of the rest of the process, to be honest. I'm far more interested in the actual process of fabrication that finished pieces. That's probably a flaw.

Any advice for other designer/makers just starting out?

Ha! Be prepared to work long hours. If you want to be a goldsmith, be prepared to have grubby hands and shocking nails. More seriously - know what you want to do. Know how to do it well. Be the kind of person who is good at being on your own and motivating yourself, without becoming odder than necessary. Don't expect it to be easy!

I've reached a point where I think most of my stuff is recognisably mine, which is what you want. It's about a way of seeing. And not everything is going to appeal to everybody, but I'm good with that.

 

Pollen Floral Joy - Paperdolls Blog

Judith McCormack - Pollen Floral Joy

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do...

I've always loved flowers, my first Saturday job when I was 14 was in a local florists. I did get sidetracked by a career in the law, so floral missions were then confined to weekends and days off but the dream of working with flowers was always there. I took every opportunity to gain experience and also did several years of evening classes to obtain floristry qualifications. Not glamorous at all, but it did help keep me connected with that flowery world .

So years later when the time was right I took a plunge into the world of flowers and set up as a wedding and events florist. That was 3 years ago and I wouldn't change it for the world.

 

What is the most challenging part of what you do? 

It's nothing to do with the flowers or the long hours of physical work in cold conditions, it's the dreaded admin. Accounts, invoicing, quotations, website, SEO, social media, marketing, the list goes on ...

pollenfloraljoy.co.uk - Paperdolls blog

What is your favourite part? 

I love the variety of my work, each week will be different whether I'm meeting a bride to discuss her ideas for her weddings flowers, designing for a wedding or event, setting up at a venue and seeing all of the ideas and designs come together. I also enjoy choosing the flowers and foliage for the latest wedding or event, it's always exciting to see the new seasons flowers. Being surrounded by colour and scent and texture is so wonderful and I think I appreciate more because of all those years spent in an office .

 

 

Lydia designs - Paperdolls Blog

Lydia Designs

Tell us a little about how you first started making/designing/crafting - and how long have you been doing it?

I have always been crafty and loved making things for as long as I can remember. My Mum is a skilled beader and I picked that up from her. We always made things together growing up so I get my creativity from her. In terms of running this business however I am officially in my third year. I left my full time teaching job to pursue this path because I found I was doing a lot of it in my spare time and loved doing it more so I made the leap to try and make a living at what I love doing.

 

 

Lydia designs - Paperdolls blog

What are some of the things that inspire you and your work?

Colour and textures tend to be a starting point for my beadwork. I like my pieces to be tactile and mixing colours together through a tonal variation or contrasting them is one of my favourite things to do. I love base metals probably more than silver and find myself working with copper and brass more but I still like to go back to silver for it's coolness and that is wonderful to work with. I love geometric shapes especially the circle and that dominates pretty much all of my metalwork. I love mythology, Celtic and pagan symbology and find those shapes and patterns come into the surface texturing and marking of my work. Within all this I like to incorporate wood into my pieces also so my jewellery is a real mixed media overall.

Lydia designs - Paperdolls blog

What is the most challenging part of what you do?

I work from home so staying motivated and keeping to a productive routine can be very challenging.

What is your favourite part about the work you do?

The creative freedom to pursue what interests me most.

 

Say hello to...

Introducing the next selection of talented designer/makers that will be featuring at our up and coming Christmas market.
(Only 2 weeks until the big day!)

Pickles Studio - Meet the Maker

Lynda - Pickles Studio

Tell us a little about how you first started making/designing/crafting - and how long have you been doing it?

I started drawing before anything else which eventually led on to making and designing. I use to draw everything and doodle on anything - At 20 I started making art prints and they were selling through a local shop called 'Rhubarb' for a short time.

At the same time I suddenly had a fascination with fabric and pattern. I taught myself how to sew and I started hand-stitching round cushions, unusual shaped cushions to felt foods! A local homeware shop called 'New England' brought a smalll wholesale batch and started selling them. I've been sewing for about 10 years now, I even sew for my day job! 

Pickles Studio - Meet the Maker

Since I've had children I started making fun interiors and toys. I started drawing again and I found a way to combine both sewing and my art work. 
 

What is the most challenging part of what you do? 

Once I've designed the pattern for my doll, cutting out the pieces can be a long process. Each doll has 20 - 30 little pieces (depending on the style) of fabric that needs to be sewn together. 

What is your favourite part about the work you do? 

My favourite part is designing the dolls into something real. I love sewing all the fabric parts together and seeing the end result. It's exciting. 

What’s next for you and your brand/work 

I would like to add some soft interiors into the brand so I'm working on that. My aim is also to be more involved in local craft fairs. 

Pickles Studio - Meet the Maker

Any advice for other designer/makers just starting out? 

Stay confidence, stay committed and work hard. Do what you love and don't worry about what other people think. Enjoy it and have fun! 

See more of Pickle Studio here.

 

 

 

 

Copper & Solder - Paperdolls Blog

Katie Figel - Copper & Solder

Tell us a little about how you first started making/designing/crafting - and how long have you been doing it?

I've always love creating and designing! When I was just 17 and studying Art at college, I held my own candle making workshops in Birmingham, Custard Factory in my spare time. I then went on to study printed textiles at University which lead me to a job in London, assisting a printed fashion and lifestyle brand. The closing of the brand made me redundant, I then moved back to the midlands and Copper & Solder was born..

What are some of the things that inspire you and your work?

I feel like I'm easily inspired by the smallest of things and constantly absorbing it.. From a visit to Rosendals Trädgård in Sweden to even just a scroll on Pinterest.. it can be anywhere.

Copper + Solder - Meet the Makers

What is the most challenging part of what you do?

Working with such industrial and natural materials can be fairly challenging. Let's just say, it doesn't always want to be your friend! Having your own brand and business itself is a certainly a challenge too, but i'm learning and that can only be very positive.

What is your favourite part about the work you do?

I enjoy it all really. As I do everything myself, it's nice to have something different to do every day. Actually, I do love the wrapping and packaging - it's very satisfying! It's also great to meet so many amazing people in the same boat.

Copper & Solder - Paperdolls Blog


What’s next for you and your brand/work?

New products - Always racking my brains and scribbling down new things to make.. Next year, we're treating ourselves to a brand spanking new site and we have some super exciting products in the pipeline. 

See more of Copper & Solder here.

 

 

Melanie Law - Paperdolls Blog

Melanie Law Designs

Tell us a little about how you first started making/designing/crafting - and how long have you been doing it?

I've always been a crafter...I am fairly sure I inherited the maker gene from my Dad. He seems able to make anything out of anything!

I started off making wooden plaques whilst on maternity leave for the first time. It was fun but I couldn't find a reliable supplier at the time so it fizzled out. Then, I made a birthday chalkboard for my Goddaughter Jessica's first birthday. Someone else saw the photo and ordered another... that is when things started to really take off!

Fast forward through various retail management roles, a career change that put me off office work for life and completion of The Prince's Trust Enterprise course...and here I am!

What are some of the things that inspire you and your work?

Melanie Law - Meet the Maker

I am obsessed with typography and fonts and quotes and reading! Almost every room in our house has at least one quote displayed...much to the dismay of my husband! I love how a font change can alter the tone of a quote or even a single word. I also love to read - I have just started an English Masters degree at Wolverhampton University and although it is hard work I am really enjoying it and genuinely look forward to writing my first essay.

My family are a constant source of inspiration for me. I like to record the funny things that my daughter says - for example I have a hand lettered quote framed on our living room wall of a conversation we had when she was three; "You can't have a cup of coffee, Georgia" "But COFFEE IS MY LIFE!"

What is the most challenging part of what you do?

Sometimes it can be difficult to balance work and family life - my five year old daughter and two year old son are too young to understand that sometimes I really do need to work. My daughter also has a habit of wanting to "help".

Also, working from home does limit my storage space so in the future I hope to be able to have a 'proper' studio space or one of those fabulous shed conversions in the garden.

What is your favourite part about the work you do?

For the most part, I can be there for my children whenever they need me. My daughter recently started school and I am so glad that I am able to drop her off and pick her up every single day, and get involved in the family learning community at the school.

Melanie Law Designs - Meet the maker

I also genuinely adore being able to provide work for special occasions like weddings and first birthdays. It is an honour to be asked to create a keepsake and the positive feedback from each customer is one of the best feelings in the world.

Any advice for other designer/makers just starting out?

The craft sector is becoming more and more saturated, so remember that you are the unique selling point. Show your personality - be that through your social media, your packaging or in personat events. People are buying into you when they look for handmade products so don't hide behind a logo!

See more of Melanie's work here.

Say hello to...

Introducing more fabulous designer/makers that you can find at our Christmas market
Here's what they have to say about their work...
Happy reading!

Meeni

Meeni - Craft extraordinaire!

Tell us a little about how you first started making/designing/crafting - and how long have you been doing it?

I have been drawing, painting, sewing and making pretty much all my life and I know this sounds like a cliché but it is something I have to do. I studied art and design at college and went to university as a mature student to take a degree in art history. It was becoming a mum and having the understanding of my partner that gave me the confidence to pursue a practical art career more seriously.


What are some of the things that inspire you and your work?

I love to work with reclaimed and vintage materials and I have a sizeable collection of all manner of fabrics, notions, magazine cuttings and books! I am drawn to the folk art of different cultures, the natural world, different seasonal celebrations and the world of childhood.  


What is your favourite part about the work you do?

I derive so much pleasure from making and being in that moment but one of the things I really enjoy is working out a new design or pattern. Figuring out how to turn a sketch into a pattern or a textile sculpture, or a turning a vague idea into a realised illustration.

Maker - Meeni

What’s next for you and your brand/work?

I really enjoy sharing my ideas and inspiring others to make and I am planning on growing my range of patterns, kits and tutorials alongside developing my range of illustrations and designs.

See more of Meeni's work here.

 
Bloom Collective

The Bloom Collective - Floristry duo
 

Tell us a little about how you first started making/designing/crafting - and how long have you been doing it?

We are a flower & botanicals duo from Birmingham, we formed our company a little over a year ago after meeting whilst studying at the Botanical Gardens - both from a Fine Art background we had lots in common and shared the same ideology about branding and botany; We wanted to do something that felt fresh - as we felt a lot of the floristry we saw locally felt slightly stale. We're still in our infancy and working day jobs, but the dream is to one day open our own flower and botanicals store in the City! 

IMG_5304.JPG

What are some of the things that inspire you and your work?

Nature and the man made , we like the contrast between concrete and greenery - which kind of reflects our roots as a City based company. We're also into interiors,  aesthetics and find inspiration from social media - there's so much good stuff out there at the moment and stuff like Instagram opens up a whole world of inspiration, we love it! 

Any advice for other designer/makers just starting out?

Yes, ignore the negativity, listen to the positivity, there's no better time for start ups and what do you have to lose?! Support other small businesses and I'm sure we can all take over the world together ! 

See more of the Bloom Collective here.

A is for Alice - Paperdolls Blog

A is for Alice - Costumes designer/Maker

Tell us a little about how you first started making/designing/crafting - and how long have you been doing it?

I have been drawing, crafting and creating all kinds of things for as long as I can remember - from calligraphy to pottery, I tried loads of different processes, until I realised my true love was the sewing machine! I trained as a costume designer and worked for over a decade in the theatre, as well as running my own costume hire business and doing some university lecturing too. 

What are some of the things that inspire you and your work?

My 2 crazy kids! It is often one of my daughter's amazingly quirky drawings that will spark and idea, and of course they are willing recipients of all my trial costumes!

A is for Alice - Paperdolls Blog

What is the most challenging part of what you do?

Time management. Juggling a small business, the school run and a toddler is certainly demanding, and especially in the run up to Halloween and Christmas, I can be working until the early hours. 

What is your favourite part about the work you do?

The unique requests and stories - I love getting an order for a 'big brother' cape as a gift from a baby sibling , or hearing about how excited a child was to receive one of my items for their birthday. Kids have such fantastic imaginations, I feel honoured to help create some magic!

Any advice for other designer/makers just starting out?

Don't give up! It can take at least a year for a business to get off the ground, and even longer to turn enough profit to pay yourself. Focus on good quality products, excellent customer service and beautiful photos, and don't be afraid to push yourself when new opportunities come your way!

See more of A is for Alice here.

 

Say hello to... Yasmin Hood

As part of the lead up to our exciting Christmas event we asked our featured designer/makers to answer a few questions about themselves and their work...

First up, Illustrator & designer Yasmin Hood:

Yasmin Hood - Illustrator

1) Tell us a little about how you first started making/designing/crafting - and how long have you been doing it?

I've always been a bit of a maker and doodler but the need to pay the rent got in the way of my ambition, so it was just a hobby. This was until we moved from Bristol to London and I didn't have a job so my husband encouraged me to pursue my creative ambition. I went to college to do my foundation at age 30 and then went on to study Illustration at Camberwell College of Arts. 


2) What are some of the things that inspire you and your work?

I tend to go put pen to paper and see what happens. I have limited time to overthink my work so if I'm drawing and something is happening then I go with that. Humans and animals tend to be my subject matter. I love children's drawings, anything that is expressive and free. 

3) What is the most challenging part of what you do?

Finding the time to finish work around having two small children! My children's book 'Amazing Animals' was made during my daughters nap times and took 15 months to finish. I have a 6 month old son too, we have just moved house, I'm writing a new children's book, making prints, the plus side is I now have a studio at home so I can dip in and out of things. I wouldn't have it any other way though.

Yasmin Hood - Illustrator

4) What is your favourite part about the work you do?

I love how I don't feel the need to stick to a style. This was my biggest problem during my studies, the feeling that this was important to create a brand around myself. I make what I love and that changes. It keeps my practice fresh and keeps me learning.
 

6) Any advice for other designer/makers just starting out?

Do what feels right to you. Work very hard. Try and do even half an hour of something creative and don't care about what other people think. Keep your practice fresh!

Thanks Yasmin!

See more of Yasmin's work here.
 

Summer Market 2016 - Pictures

We had a wonderful day at our Summer Handmade Market on Sunday. There was a great buzz and all the stalls looked amazing! 

There are so many talented makers & designers out there doing innovative, inspiring things - it's great to support the little people and provide a platform for them to showcase their work. Thank you to all those that came out and bought/browsed and showed their support.

Until next time!

(See our Meet the Maker page for details of all our stall holders from the Summer Market 2016)

Spring Market 2016 - Pictures

We had a wonderful afternoon at this years Spring market. Our stallholders did us proud with their beautifully displayed tables selling their wonderful handmade items.

The atmosphere was great and that was helped by our brilliant DJ, David Masters - who provided us with a backdrop of cool, chilled out tunes. 

Thanks to everyone that came out and supported the event, we really appreciate it!

Here are some photos from the day...

Links to further information on our sellers from this market can be found over on our Meet the Makers page.