|In October Handmade Happiness will be three years old. The shop currently sells the work of 35 designer/makers, 90% of them living near to the shop. The work is selected on the basis of originality, good design and good workmanship. |
After a spare, minimalist look three years ago the shop is now full of beautiful objects. Most items are useful as well as beautiful.
This week there are two new rag rugs made by Ruth Ellacott, and six new applique cushions by Tanya Williamson (of a boxer dog, a kingfisher, two of garden birds, a butterfly and a pug dog).
I often wonder why the individuals whose work sells in Handmade Happiness aren't famous. If we lived in a true meritocracy they would be. Many makers hold down full time jobs and squeeze sewing time, pot throwing time or wood turning time into their evenings and weekends. Few people can afford to do what they love all of the time. The money is too erratic. But that doesn't detract from the great talent they possess which they must express in any time available to them.
The joy of having 'a shop of one's own' (apologies Virginia Woolf) is the people. The people that wander in for a look around and enjoy looking at all the wonderful handmade objects. The kaleidoscopes by Frank Higgins or the velvet cushion art by Penny Seume often trigger some great conversations. For me every day is a social event!
I also love changing the window and re-arranging the shop, making the carrier bags and small bags from customers' old magazines and making something nice to sell in the shop, although recently my making time is all about knitting and sewing for my new grandchild.
On the downside the shop isn't in a great position. If it was in the High Street I would get a lot more customers. However once someone has found Handmade Happiness and likes it they tend to return. And maybe the fact that it is not in the High Street gives it that slight air of mystery and secrecy that people like. It's their own discovery.