Spotlight on Milana Felt Designs

Today’s spotlight is on Milana – the most amazing felted goodies I’ve seen!  I can’t begin to imagine how long it takes to create something like Elsa’s stole (2nd picture down), but it really is a piece of art.

What is your name, how long have you been crafting and what is your main craft?

Hi. My name is Elsa and I’m a woolaholic. I’ve been a felter for 5 years now.  I’m originally from Mallorca but have been in the UK for many years.  Yes, my life in the UK is very different but one thing Cumbria, where I’m based now, has in common with my island home is not the weather, but sheep! felt pebble necklaceI’ve loved working with wool from a young age and always had a crochet project on the go until I discovered felting. The creative and tactile process of turning a heap of random fibres into such a beautiful, and functional material is something I feel everyone should experience.

What is your favourite item which you make and why do you like making it?

Because I enjoy variety in my making, I find working with felt the ideal medium.  My favourite use of felt is to create one-of-a-kind wearable pieces such as delicate wraps and funky stoles.  vintage style stoleI usually start with either a piece of fabric (for nuno felt) or a specific colour in mind and let that dictate the finished project.  Ideas evolve during the creating process and so it’s always exciting to see the finished results.

Do you have any tips for budding sellers / crafters?

It can be hard work being a maker.  You have to adapt and become many things including creative director, stock controller, administrator, web designer, marketing manager, photographer, copywriter, etc.  But two things I’ve learnt as a newbie are:-

1. Not to try and do too much too soon. It’s ok to build things up slowly and get things right rather than rushing in and regretting it.

2. Online shops, bricks and mortar shops and market stalls can create different business and creative opportunities. In time, they’re all definitely worth exploring. ladybird and pebble felted soaps

Good luck to all makers in their current and future ventures!

Where to find Elsa

Shop:    www.milana.folksy.com

Email:   milanafelt@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/milanadesigns

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Spotlight on Washed and Found

Today’s spotlight is on Washed and Found, who makes lovely beachy themed jewellery.  I also love beachcombing.  I think one of the best things I have found is a piece of drift wood shaped like a J, and I always hold out for something truly amazing!

My name is Suzanne Francis.  I have always like to make things since I was a small child, but have been making beaded jewellery for well over 8 years, including wire work and children’s fimo clay jewellery.  I’m self taught so no formal qualifications in jewellery making.

seaglass heart earrings

I have focused on sea glass jewellery in the last 2-3 years for which I have a particular passion for.  I have collected sea glass for many years and have quite a large collection.  I live in London, so whenever I go on holiday around the coast I find myself combing the beaches for sea glass, driftwood and any other interesting things – it’s quite addictive.

I used to sell at local markets and also through a website, but I decided to put my focus and energy into making mainly sea glass jewellery, and selling it through my Folksy shop. It’s still quite young – under 6 months, but has been really well received which I’m really enjoying – it’s a great confidence booster.  I also stock sea glass beads, stamped keyrings and love working with copper wire and washers.

seaglass beads
It’s hard to say which is my favourite thing to make, as I enjoy all of it so much.  I suppose I get a particular thrill in making my drilled heart pieces, when they are made up into pendants etc – it’s nice to look at them and think, I made that!  It’s something that takes a little more time and skill to make – which adds to the enjoyment and satisfaction.
seaglass heart necklace

Any tips?

I think the main tips for anyone thinking about selling jewellery successfully is that they should enjoy what they make.  Your enthusiasm and passion should come through in how you present your work to your customers as well.  You spend all that time making it so you want to make it look it’s most attractive, be consistent with your items and photos – it gives your shop front a more professional feel.

Promotion is also another must, I found when I started that my items would get lost among the thousands of other listed items, so I found creating a facebook page and posting on pinterest spreads the word and generates more sales.  It’s taken me quite a long time to arrive at this point, so it’s not been a quick journey but an evolving one.

Where to find Washed and Found 

Washed and Found Folksy shop

Washed and Found on Pinterest

Washed and Found on Facebook

Spotlight on Heartmade Beejoux

Today’s spotlight is on Heartmade Beejoux, who makes beaded jewellery.  I particularly love the cake necklace, and Monica also has some great tips for craft sellers.

My name is Monica and I am the designer at Heartmade Beejoux.  I am 28 years old and I moved to the UK almost a year ago.  I’ve always been attracted to beading, ever since I was 5 and transformed one of mum’s broken necklaces in a bracelet for myself.  I wore it for a very long time and since then I knew I would like to make more.  I started beading more seriously when I received a professional jewellery making tool kit.  I was so excited about the whole process that I ended up buying tiny beads.  I got better at that now! heartmade beejoux cake necklaceI always ask myself if I’d wear the item I’m making, so I end up making lots of bracelets.  I love wearing bracelets and watches!  I only make bespoke items and you can find a piece of my soul in every item.  I love each one of them in their own little way.  Of course it happens often when I have a finished item that I ask myself if I’d wear it and end up not selling it in the end.  That’s the fun of beading, I suppose! 

IMG_0105

Any tips?

I’ve been selling on various websites throughout the years, but now I can be found on Etsy and Folksy.  One of the most important aspects to selling my items online are the photos.   They make a real difference.  They are the best way to show my customers exactly what they will get, and they are what sticks in a buyer’s mind when they are making their choice. 

I only started my blog for a couple weeks now, so I am still learning on that side – baby steps – but I found it’s very important to keep it updated, to keep people coming back.

heartmade beejoux teal and goldI love the craft world and currently am a full time beader, sharing my time between beads and social media, from my home in Surrey.

Where to find Heartmade Beejoux

Folksy – https://beta.folksy.com/shops/HeartmadeBeejoux
Website – http://heartmadebeejoux.com/

Spotlight on Leah Rose Designs

Today’s spotlight feature is on Nora of Leah Rose Designs, who makes lovely cushions, tote bags and other bits and bobs. 

leah rose designsI am Nora (Leah Rose Designs ) and I have been sewing, knitting and crocheting since I was about five which is more years then I care to think about!  My mother was a City and Guilds trained tailoress and had also trained as a dressmaker with a London couture house.  She taught me to sew and instilled in me a love for my craft which has remained with me all my life.  My father was an architect and through him I acquired my love of design. 

nora william morris cushion

I inherited from my mother a large collection of vintage fabrics and textiles which I have added to over the years.  I love everything  Arts and Crafts; William Morris’s intricate floral designs, Pugin’s architecture, William de Morgan beautiful tiles the list goes on and on.  I tend to collect a lot of sixties and seventies fabric as those sort of designs were so popular then.  I have a vast collection of mid-century fabric and some more modern prints.  The textile designs tend to inspire my finished products.  My favourite items tend to be cushions and bags made from my vintage fabrics.nora russian dollsWhere to find Leah Rose Designs

Alongside her folksy shop and facebook page, Nora also tries to attend a craft fair a month.  I personally love the little Russian Dolls above, I’m so tempted to get some!

If you are interested in taking part in the spotlight series, post a comment and I will be in touch.

Spotlight on Saltmarsh and Samphire

This year, I am launching a series of features of fellow crafters and bloggers.  The first feature is on 3 artists collectively known as Saltmarsh and Samphire.saltmarsh and samphireBrett Gardner is a photographer who recently made the leap from wedding photographer to nature and landscape photographer following his true passion and has been short listed in national competitions including British Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

A Little R&R by Brett  Little r n r

Diana Stickley originally trained as a graphic designer (possibly a few more years ago than she would care to mention…), and has worked as a visual artist and printmaker for a number of years in Norfolk.

Sun, Sea and Pebbles by Diana  Sun Sea and Pebbles

Emma Stickley has a background in visual arts, having studied The History of Art and Design at University.  She terms herself a trainee photographer, being a very recent convert to the medium.

Roses by Emma  Roses

Our favourite crafts

Our favourite crafts would be printmaking and photography.  Diana loves to take inspiration from the seaside and beach as she lives close to the North Norfolk Coast.  Beach huts and sandcastles feature prominently in her work.  Even tiny pebbles found on the beach can provide inspiration for a fine art piece later on.

Brett is passionate about the natural world.  He is based in Lincolnshire near the Wolds and takes inspiration from the woods near to his home (as well as the coast when he come to Norfolk every few weeks).  His macro/close up photography can take the patience of a saint, but the results he achieves are well worth the huge efforts.

Emma loves flower photography and enjoys taking photos of plants in situ as well as cut flowers in a simple studio set up.

We like printmaking and photography because of the huge variety of effects and results you can achieve with the same set of tools.  The possibilities end only with your imagination.

Any Tips?

We are all fairly new to selling online, having only set up our Folksy shop in August 2013.  We have found that setting up a Facebook page for our business in November 2013 has allowed us to get our work out to a wider audience that simply sticking with the Folksy shop.  It is also really lovely to share and appreciate other fabulous crafter’s and maker’s work on our page too – we think it is definitely a two way street!

Where can you find them?

You can find Saltmarsh and Samphire on Folksy at http://www.folksy.com/shops/saltmarshandsamphire

Facebook at  www.facebook.com/saltmarshandsamphire

Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/saltmarshandsam

If you are up for some more musings, Brett blogs at http://www.brettgardnerphotography.blogspot.co.uk and Emma at http://www.organdie.co.uk

If you are interested in taking part in the spotlight series, post a comment and I will be in touch.