Monday Craft Crush

Fine Cell Work - Craft is there for everyone May 7, 2017 09:29

Volunteer for Fine Cell Work

This week I was contacted by Jenni from Fine Cell Work.

If you haven't heard of them, they have a network of volunteers across the country who teach prisoners (mostly male prisoners) to do needlepoint, embroidery and quilting and then pay the prisoners for the work they complete.

Fine Cell Work

We all know how from experience how craft makes our lives better, but for prisoners it can improve wellbeing and self-esteem, reduce self harm and suicidal thoughs and give the prisoners an income by which to support their families or save for release.

Projects like this make me proud to be part of the craft community. On a daily basis we hear hate and anger and fear on the news, but I want to show my resistance to this by doing as many small kind and helpful activities as I can. And here's one way


House and Garden Festival


Fine Cell Work are this years charity partner for the House and Garden Festival.  They will be hosting the “Drop and Shop”, charging people at the event to leave their shopping with FCW volunteers whilst they continue browsing.

All money raised at the “Shop and Drop” will be donated to Fine Cell Work and they are looking for a team of volunteers to help on the days that the festival is running.

Volunteers do not have to sign up to help for a whole day but either a morning or an afternoon shift and  would get a full briefing beforehand. All volunteers will receive complimentary tickets to the event, receive 15% off FCW products and be able to feel like they are helping a great cause!

To volunteer contact Jenni Parker, Volunteer and Programmes Manager, Fine Cell Work,

House and Garden Festival: Spirit of Summer 21st – 24th June 10am – 5pm, at Kensington Olympia, London.

Hope to see you there! 

Fine Cell Work

Jessica Funaro February 6, 2017 18:36

Since I spend twenty minutes throwing my first pot I am totally obsessed with ceramics. My latest #mondaycraftcrush is potter Jessica Funaro and her simple, bold tableware. Sadly I don't think I'll be popping by her studio anytime soon - It's not that easy to get to from North London! But now I've seen her work, I've set myself a standard to aspire to in my attempts at throwing pots.

When I'm trying to develop a new piece of work, I collect lots of images of things I love to help me get in a creative, inspired state of mind.

Jessica FunaroI used to worry that I might inadvertently create a something based on another person's work, but I now realise that as soon as I move on to working with the material, I have my own reaction to it and it takes me in my own direction. Yes, the things I looked at in advance influence me, but it's impossible to create anything in isolation. I'm happy to accept the effect of other makers on my creative process because I do end up making it my own. And part of the reason I love to make is that I love to respond to trends, and I'm not alone there! 

Jessica Funaro

So take some time to look at other makers work, and pick out what you like about it. It will help you clarify what's important to you and what your drawn to, and inform what you make.  

Make sure you follow Jessica on Instagram here or check out her site here

It's a lot lot harder than you'd expect to make these! January 23, 2017 18:51

This week's #MondayCraftCrush is Bellerby and Co Globemakers. OK so it's not the most affordable stuff, but it's amazing to know that this level of skill and care still goes into making things. How hard can it be to make a globe? Well, seriously hard it turns out! 

Bellerby and Co Globemakers

But it's a wonderful story of perseverance, patience and attention to detail. One of the things I love about making things from scratch is the problem solving. There's nothing more satisfying than looking at something and working out how it was made, then doing it for yourself. It's a brilliant way to learn a craft, and you can see how globemaking has been revived in exactly this way here  by Bellerby and Co. Follow them on Instagram here to see the whole story, it's wonderful to watch.

The surprising similarity between printmaking and quilting January 16, 2017 16:00

This week I'm crushing on quilts by Skinny Malinky - aka Lucy Engels. I love how she works with plain block colour hexies, but makes it looks so modern. This is exactly how my quilts come out in my imagination, if not in reality. But from my experimentation with hexies, I can tell you that planning these geo patterns is not the effortless task it looks in Lucy's hands!

Skinny Malinky Quilt aka Lucy Engels is our #mondaycraftcrush

Having discovered her quilts, I was surprised to find Lucy is originally a print maker. I've always worked with textiles, and found the inky sticky fun of printmaking a world away from working with fabric. But it seems I could be wrong!

Skinny Malinky is #mondaycraftcrush

Lucy says about quilting " I embraced the process which I found was unexpectedly similar to printmaking. It has to be exact, layers create the final quilt, texture can be added to create dimension.  I love being able to use amazing fabric lines in my work, playing with a sophisticated palette whilst enjoying bold combinations."

Find out more at

I'm inspired to get quilting with plain fabrics! What do you prefer? Patterns or plain? 

The start of my indoor garden with Geo-Fleur January 8, 2017 19:14

If you're on Instagram, you've probably already discovered greenery guru Sophie Lee of Geo-Fleur. At London Craft Club, we're all very excited to discover she has a book coming out in April that you can pre-order on her site. I love indoor plants, but I am the opposite of green fingered so I'm hoping it will increase the chances of survival for my long suffering spider plants.

London Craft Club loves Geo-Fleur - #mondaycraftclub

As well as having a very gorgeous shop in Walthamstow, Geo-Fleur do a plant subscription box which makes for a really exciting monthly parcel - and everything Sophie has sent me is still alive months on. Wisely chosen plants, clearly, and they have all arrived potted up in lovely ceramic vessels too. 

Couple the practical plan knowledge with Sophie's beautiful photography and styling, and the shop and the geofleur Instagram account are both well worth seeking out. 

London Craft Club loves Geo-Fleur - #mondaycraftclub

 Visit to preorder the book, subscribe to a plant box or just buy lovely lovely things. 

I saw Bella Singleton's scarves from the other side of the room.... January 3, 2017 00:47

I remember seeing Bella Singleton's scarves and feeling the thrill of discovering something awesome and awkward at the same time. This is about the best reaction I can have to a piece of design, it's the mark of something really special and reminds me why I love crafted things so much.

Bella Singleton is London Craft Club's #mondaycraftcrush

We first met her at the Country Living Fair in 2016 and she's become a bit of a cult brand since then. You can find her work at the Tate Modern shop now, so it's not so much of a secret now. I like to think we were ahead of the game though...

Bella Singleton is London Craft Club's #mondaycraftcrush

Have a browse of her very lovely Instagram feed, or just get to her website with your credit card ready. They may not be cheap, but as we are always saying, it's so much better to save and blow the budget on one truly beautiful item than endless cheap Primani's.

Bella Singleton is London Craft Club's #mondaycraftcrush. Check back each week to find out more

We're wishing Bella a fantastic and successful 2017!

Ugly Mugs I Really Love December 26, 2016 23:38

Milo Mades' tagline is ugly mugs and tiny jugs

As ever, I have unwittingly bought into a huge trend and I currently obsessed with ceramics that look a little awkward, rough or hand made. Of course the real skill is in balancing that awkwardness with lovely proportions and colours, so at first you don't spot how carefully elegant  they are.

Right now I am besotted with Milo Made ceramics. Imagine a shelf with tons of these lined up on it. My ability to kill plants would finally be appreciated too!

Milo Made is our #mondaycraftcrush

I don't care if my stubby fingers wouldn't fit through that little handle. It is the most gorgeous shape, I would get someone with elegant hands to hold it for me. My coffee would be so much better in this mug.

Milo Made is our #mondaycraftclub

Milo Made is our #mondaycraftcrush


I'm so looking forward to finding Milo Li-Ren Mckeand at an event soon soon and getting to know more about Milo Made


Heather from Growing Spaces December 19, 2016 22:23

Not so long ago I was asked by House of Fraser to do a blog post and a VIP workshop making luminary jars. Not only did I have great afternoon with free rein to pick myself a sack of stuff from the HoF Christmas department, but I met Heather Young, my latest #mondaycraftcrush.

Heather is a successful interiors journalist, the blogger behind Growing Spaces and the kind of fun but kick-ass woman I'm always really pleased to meet.

Growing Spaces Heather Young

My luminary project was created with non-crafty types in mind, but as ever there were lots of unexpected creative ideas popping up in the group. Heather's paper townscape was like her blog - crafty, creative and epicly stylish.

 Growing Spaces Ikea cracker hack

There are many reasons I love her blog so much. One is that it mixes my two favourite hobbies of creating a beautiful space to live in, and creating things with my hands. But what makes it stand out is that Heather, like me, has two kids in her life, as well as her own freelance work and a heap of ambition for living in a home that reflects her and her family well.

Heather Young of Growing Spaces home office

It's no mean task, but her blog is full of achievable but inspirational projects. Some blogs make you feel like a mess. Growing Spaces makes me feel like I can actually achieve the home I'd love


Forest + Found December 12, 2016 01:46

Forest + Found are Max Bainbridge and Abigail Booth, both trained in fine art and now exploring traditional crafting techniques. When we bumped into them in the Summer, I got very excited about the gorgeous things they make. Max explained how they forage a lot of the materials they work with from Epping Forest.

Forest + Found are London Craft Club's #mondaycraftcrush

I'd rather forgotten that there's more to Epping than just a Tube stop. It's good to be reminded that we don't always need to go to Hobbycraft for our materials. The roots of crafting are in natural materials and in working with the resources you have, rather than those you can buy and even in London there's a wealth of raw materials to work with if you are in the right frame of mind to look for them. 

Forest + Found are London Craft Club's #mondaycraftcrush

Max and Abigail are using foraged wood and plants to create hand carved items and natural dyes for textile arts. Their work is  beautiful, and in the spirit of slow and sustainable making that is increasingly holding its own. I was so pleased (and a tiny bit smug) to be reading Elle Decoration and see them featured as award winners.

Very exciting shoes for kids December 3, 2016 23:13

The Little Shoemaker's story isn't unlike that of many modern makers. As is often the way, a creative approach to the day job opened up all sorts of opportunities - find out more about the Little Shoemaker here

The Lilttle Shoemakers Elves

Thes handmade shoes make me wish I'd had a little girl - on the whole, I'm not much into the frilly pink that dominates little girl outfits, but black and gold and handmade? These are girlie shoes I'm seriously excited about. 

OH Shoes!

If you follow @thelittleshoemaker on Instagram, you'll spot regular appearances from the Elves, who must be Brighton's best shod kids! Seeing as I just can't get my own size 5 tootsies into these, I'll be needing some nieces... 

Bookmark the site for when you need to get dream gift for a little girl, that will also make her mama very happy too!

We all love Poppy! July 31, 2016 07:10 1 Comment

Yesterday we had crafty celebrity Poppy Chancellor join us for our montly Coffee and Craft session and we were blown away by her! No only was she incredibly generous in giving away all the trade secrets of being a pro-crafter and author, but she was funny, inspiring and adorable.

Wonderful Poppy Chancellor

We had a full house of well over 20 people squished into every corner to see Poppy as she shared some of her favourite designs, tons of top tips on paper cutting and showed us her new book. It's not out until September so we've had first peak of it. Stuffed with designs and templates with coloured papers included, lots of us went and pre-ordered on Amazon

After her chat and Q&A session, we all had a go at some paper cutting. As we only had half an hour for cutting, we worked on some quick Chinese animals and stuck them on to cards, using Poppy's favourite foam pads to show off the 3D nature of the designs.

Have a look at the pics and find Poppy on Instagram here and find her Youtube Channel here

People packed in everywhere
 Top Tips from Poppy
Paper cutting with Poppy
Poppy love foam pads
Poppy likes to use foam pads or cigarette filters to mount papercuts so you can see the 3D nature of them.

Meet Rosa Pietsch, a jewellery designer specialising in Laser Cutting April 5, 2016 00:00 14129 Comments

If you're interested in our Laser Cutting for Crafters session, find out first hand from jewellery designer Rosa Pietsch what it's like to use laser cutting to create a jewellery line. We caught up with her last week:
Rosa Pietsch
Rosa, do you have a formal training or are you self taught?
- I trained in fashion and textiles design and worked in this area for a number of years while working on my own jewellery designs - my dad taught me the basics of resin-casting and I did a short course in Illustrator, but apart from that I am mostly self-taught when it comes to jewellery design.
 Rosa Pietsch
Did you always use technology in your work or is it a new thing for you? 
- I didn't know how to use CAD until I took a short course in Illustrator. I really took to it and from there I began designing and making laser-cut jewellery. Before that I didn't use much technology in my work, apart from Photoshop for print design, etc. As I had already been working on hand-cast resin jewellery, it was the combination of hand-craft techniques with machined materials that interested me and got me inspired to begin making my current range!
Rosa Pietsch
Where do you get your inspiration from?
- I get inspired by a really wide and eclectic range of things. I'm from a textile background, so I get a lot of inspiration from things like vintage prints and embroideries. I also take inspiration from travel - for example, I designed some pieces last year which were inspired by vintage Thai embroidered florals. I also take lots of inspiration from the materials I use themselves, I'm always thinking of different ways to use and combine them and this often inspires a design before I know what shapes I'll be using.
Rosa Pietsch
How much does the technology influence what you make? 
- Quite a lot. There are limitations in using laser-cut flat materials, and lots of things to consider, for example making sure you aren't cutting shapes that are too small and breakable. I like the fact that there are some limitations though, it encourages creative thinking and problem-solving!
Rosa Pietsch
What are you favorite things about working with laser cutting?
- I like that there are so many possibilities, basically if you can draw a shape you can laser-cut it! There are so many variations of acrylics and woods to use, and you can also easily personalise or edit designs if you have access to a laser-cutter. I also genuinely quite enjoy the process of creating designs in CAD, and assembling really intricate laser-cut shapes.
Rosa Pietsch
Do you have a day job and if so how do you balance the two careers? 
- Up til last year I worked full-time in design for womenswear - mainly in printed textiles, jewellery and accessories. It was quite a struggle to balance the two, and I found I never had enough time to really develop my own ideas and designs until I was fully pleased with them. Since I went freelance, my designs have really developed and I am much happier with the work I'm producing now that I have more time to focus on it! It was a scary decision to go freelance, as obviously living in London that can mean a fair bit of financial uncertainty, but I've enjoyed the challenge. I still work freelance in accessories and print for a few clients, which is nice as I get some variety in my work life.
Rosa Pietsch
Which famous person wold you like to make something for and why?
- That's a really tricky question! I love music, and try to go to as many live gigs and festivals as I can, so it would be amazing to make something for a band or singer. It would be fun to make something intended for a performance as I'd get to be really creative and potentially work with someone inspiring. 
Thanks to Rosa for taking the time to talk to us. Check out Rosa's work here and follow her on Twitter @rosapietsch
If you'd like to try Laser Cutting, check out our session here  - it includes how to use the right software and is aimed at total non-techies! Plus there's drinks afterwards included - it's just £12!
Rosa Pietsch

Meet Rhiannon Palmer October 6, 2015 16:37

Rhiannon PalmerConcrete has been having a bit of a moment, and it's about time. It's got a strident physical presence, but it's actually remarkable versatile for an industrial material. When we met Rhiannon Palmer, who uses concrete in her sculpture and jewellery, we were immediately curious to see if we could partner up to develop a workshop. The end result is proving a runaway success already with places booking up super fast at the Handmade Fair last month. Find out more or book a place here

About Rhiannon
While studying Contemporary Crafts at Falmouth University Rhiannon was introduced to concrete as a creative medium and the love affair began. She honed her skills with concrete by producing an array of concrete and mixed media sculptures but it wasn't until she left University that she had the idea to translate her sculpture into bold, urban, contemporary jewellery. Rhiannon now lives and works in London but hopes to spread the love of concrete worldwide.

Rhiannon Palmer Baseline Necklace 

Baseline Necklace (image courtesy of  Rhiannon Palmer)

Rhiannon recently exhibited at TENT as part of Etsy's exhibition 'Four Corners of Craft. It was a wonderfully curated show that brought together some amazing talent from across the UK. The private view was a buzz of activity and the show, which was only open for 4 days, brought thousands of people through the door. It seems the rise and rise of craft is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.

You can buy Rhiannon's work at  Bust Christmas Craftacular, on Sunday November 22nd @ York Hall, 5 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green E2 9PJ and  Etsy's Made Local Christmas Market, Saturday/Sunday 5th and 6th of December, @ The Vinyl Factory,16 - 18 Marshall Street,  Soho, W1F 7BE 

Rhiannon says "I love concrete for its amazing versatility, it has the ability to be rough and smooth, bold and delicate. It is relatively unknown as a creative medium and it excites me to explore the unknown and to push concrete as a material to create some inspiring and intriguing jewellery. In the new year I will be working on a technique to incorporate stones into my work. I believe bringing together a common industrial material with precious stones could create a beautiful contrast"
Rhiannon Palmer Jewellery
(image courtesy of  Rhiannon Palmer)