Saturday 28 June 2014

Felting Experiments

Colours and contrasts. I like this piece. Jenny Stacy
These could be landscape brooches. Maybe need embroidering. Jenny Stacy
A spaghetti mess of embroidery silks. They are actually not tangled!
Another little landscape brooch-to-be by Jenny Stacy
Half made heart brooches that need stitching and embellishing.
Big brooches awaiting brooch backs and stitching. Jenny Stacy
Bee Mellor and I continue our experimental jewellery making collaboration and this week I have made pieces of needlefelt and pieces of handmade felt (not pictured) to send to her. Interestingly her parcel to me of finished jewellery took a week from Australia to England. My parcel to her from England to Australia took two weeks to reach her.

The comments from customers on our first  batch of jewellery has taught us a lot that will be reflected in the second batch of jewellery which will be flying from Australia to England soon. Now I will make more needlefelted pieces so I can send Bee a nice big parcel of bits to work her magic on next week.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Anthropologie, Guildford - display

Painted old French books displaying door knobs
Mirror discs glued to short sticks of wood.
Pretty hair slides in a glass jar with floral hair band
Fabric wrapped boards to display necklaces.
A close up of those door knobs on books.
Every Anthropologie shop has different displays. I've written about the London Anthropologies - in the King's Road and Regent Street before but this is the first time I've visited their Guildford shop. Penny Seume, whose cushions and lampshades are in Handmade Happiness has an area designed around her work in their new Bath store including a papier mache mantlepiece and a big arm chair covered in her velvet fabric.

It's inspiring to see such unusual displays and it must be great fun to be part of the team that thinks up what zany, off-the-wall idea to create next.  It's all about re-cycling. Using old, sometimes disposable objects in an original way. The chandeliers made of plastic drinking cups and plastic spoons come to mind and the used fruit tea bags hanging like a curtain in their Regent Street window. Giant painted murals made like waves with cut/torn cardboard boxes. Those looked wonderful and make me want to do something equally unusual in Handmade Happiness.

 It would be ideal if you could make art out of objects that would otherwise go to landfill. But perhaps rotting food and babies nappies would be beyond the imagination of even the talented Anthopologie team. Cutting and painting or re-covering plastic milk containers and tin cans would be relatively easy. In fact,  round mirrors could be glued to tin can ends to make a feature much like the wood and mirror art seen above. And the jewellery boards pictured have reminded me that a remnant of fabric could be wrapped round a cheap pin board to make a  picture and then there's  the bedheads I want to make with fabric covered foam ...

Friday 20 June 2014

Simple linen dresses

Blue linen dress size 16 made by Pam Dew £75
Grey linen top size 14/16 £49-50 made by Pam Dew
Coral jacket £49.50 made by Pam Dew
Simple grey linen dress £75.00 made by Pam Dew size 12-14
 Pam Dew is the busiest women I know and yet she has found time to make these clothes for Handmade Happiness probably in the time most of us mere mortals would be asleep! The dresses can be worn year round. Either by themselves or with a t-shirt under in the summer or with knitwear under and over in the winter. The good linen fabric can be accessorised up for the smartest occasion but also looks cool and streamlined for every day. 

My problem now is where can customers try them on? HH is beginning to feel a bit small. I am picturing an upholstered screen in front of the understairs area...

This week Handmade Happiness is mentioned in the Petersfield Post as a favourite shop. If you are local I urge you to read Hugo Deadman's column on page 20 about his move from Hackney in London to Petersfield. It's worth the price of the paper alone.

Yesterday well wishers in the form of two lovely ladies who use beautiful fabrics in their soft furnishings business brought in a sack of off-cuts to the shop. These are so appreciated. The fabric gets used in cushions, applique, quilts, needle-felting, collage and towards Christmas for Christmas decorations. Thank you to them.

I also want to thank the customers who bring in their old magazines. Vogues get converted to the shop's carrier bags and Country Livings and other house style magazines to simple bags for small purchases. Re-cycling and saving money. Thank you.

Monday 16 June 2014

Textile jewellery by Bee and me

Soft pendant by Bee Mellor and Jenny Stacy
Pendant on silk ribbon designed and made by Bee Mellor. sold
Statement brooch by Bee Mellor with felting by Jenny Stacy
Large brooch by Bee Mellor and Jenny Stacy
Heart brooch by Bee Mellor and Jenny Stacy. sold
Velvet and silk pendant made by Bee Mellor. sold
On Saturday the postman brought a big brown envelope illustrated with birds in branches containing this jewellery (plus two necklaces not shown yet) from my friend Bee Mellor. I love the packaging  Bee's designed. The jewellery is our first collaboration and I hope these pieces are the first of many. Bee has made these from materials I have made. It still feels like a work in progress as reaction from customers will maybe cause the designs to be modified and materials changed. It will be interesting to see which pieces are the most popular.  

Saturday 14 June 2014

Paul Hinkin's turned wood pieces

An ultra smooth plate of cherry wood by Paul Hinkin
Oak bowl by Paul Hinkin
Oak bowl and larger ash bowl by Paul Hinkin
Two shallow poplar bowls by Paul Hinkin with cushion (left) by Kate Box and cycle cushion by Pam Dew
Recently I wrote about two wood plates I have under the title 'Simple is Beautiful.' Reading that led to these wonderfully tactile pieces being brought into Handmade Happiness where they are now for sale.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Monday is London

Scarf horse in Hermes window
Selfridges is the place for magazines
New make up colours?
The entrance to a  Montessori school
Butler and Wilson's window
White childrens' clothes in Tartine et Chocolat
Liberty art fabrics
Interesting Liberty prints mobile
 Today I'm looking forward to a creative play session with two visitors at my home this afternoon. Millie will be looking after the shop for me. Pictures to come.

On Monday I met up with Amy in London and we spent a long time in John Lewis looking at baby equipment. Gosh, how prices have soared since I had small children! The weather was perfect for wandering and, as usual, I took pictures of anything that caught my eye. 

Unusually I was not tempted to buy anything at all. I would rather make than buy right now.
I'd just like more time to make in. I did buy some lovely hand spun Jacobs wool to knit a baby blanket with from Handmade Happiness. Sue Flux, from Petersfield has spun this wool from sheep at Froxfield. You can't get much more local than that! The wool is natural colours - off-white or brown, straight from the sheep, £6-50 to £8-50 a skein.

See below for another post. I've gone a bit crazy with two posts in one day. That is because it could be the last time I write for a while. I've decided to hold off until I get some comments. Writing with no feed back over a long period of time is not rewarding and that is why I have stopped writing as regularly as I used to. Comments encourage me to write more. It's a circular thing...!

Saturday 7 June 2014

Needlefelting and collaborating

Painted lace.

Yesterday I needlefelted in the shop for most of the day.  It is fun to lay different materials - silk, fabrics, and wool on to a piece of felt and see what the effect of needlefelting it in looks like. 

These pieces and others that the photographs weren't good enough to publish are winging their way to Australia. Why? Because my friend Bee Mellor emigrated there from the nearby village of Liss. She and I are collaborating on a range of jewellery for Handmade Happiness. 

When Bee and her husband visited England last year we talked a lot about a joint project. Bee is a fine artist and machine embroiderer. Our ideas on colour are similar and we communicate regularly by email. Before she flew back Bee chose felted and needlefelted pieces from my stash to work with. 

Last week Bee sent pictures of what she has made with these pieces. I am thrilled with the look of the jewellery Bee has produced.  I can't wait to have it in the shop. Bee has also packaged it beautifully. Her parcel to me has been sent and my parcel to her will shortly be crossing it.

I will share photographs of these one-off art jewellery pieces with you when they are on sale in Handmade Happiness. 

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Simple is beautiful

A perfectly-turned wood plate showing the grain of the wood by Arthur Dean
A simple hewn bowl by Arthur Dean
Two linen pieces and two cotton lawn pieces I bought at C&H fabrics yesterday
...and more baby yarn. This one is 100% cotton 'ecobaby' by Debbie Bliss.
I'm looking for wood pieces like these for Handmade Happiness to sell.
Many years ago I used to spend August selling my things in Arundel at the month long Arundel art and craft exhibition. That's where I bought this perfect plate made by Arthur Dean (please correct if I'm mis-remembering his name). He understood the simple beauty of wood and conveyed that in his pieces. He didn't mark or colour the wood or do fancy patterns or shapes, he just let the wood speak for itself.

Did you follow the tv series 'The Island'? Thirteen 'modern' men were deliberately marooned on a Pacific island for a month and left to fend for themselves. They all survived but some were more comfortable during the experience than others. Some bent and cut the trees around them to make beds for themselves, weaving palm tree leaves to make covers and shelters. As these men were off the ground they didn't suffer the many bites that the men who merely laid down to sleep on the sand suffered. By the end of the month every man had learned to work with nature to ensure his survival and the survival of the group. 

I think a lot of us yearn for a life where we can test our making skills. A knife and a piece of wood. It doesn't have to be complicated.

 So many visitors to Handmade Happiness wish they had more time to make something with their own hands. It's inspiring to see what other people create and makes us want to have a go to see what we can achieve. But please, keep it simple. Simple is beautiful. My mother used to say:'It's better to learn to do something simple perfectly than to try to do something complicated and fail.' (I don't actually agree with this because it's only by trying and failing that we learn different skills.) What do you think?