Tag: handmade

I Like It Here

 

In the ravenous and fast-moving consumer times that we live in (I am no angel I can assure you), I am always keen to promote designers and boutiques that give design-led shoppers the chance to purchase homewares that are both stylish and ethically responsible; both factors being of equal importance.

Only recently has the gap between style and responsibility started to really close in the interiors world, and no one illustrates its progress better than the lovely Hanna Jaaskelainen, who recently set up a new online boutique called I Like It Here. She got in touch to tell me about the project and I think it is great. In fact I have been online all day coveting pretty much everything in stock – from rugs to handbags and necklaces you didn’t even know you needed.

Offering carefully curated home and fashion accessories from Kathmandu, Stoke-on-Trent and Brooklyn, I Like It Here is a sophisticated, eclectic and colourful online shop that appeals to nomads and glamazons alike. Sourcing its products from three very distinct yet specialised locations, its stock is a cut above your usual socially responsible offering and is blazing a trail for a new generation of directly sourced artisanal goods that are as stylish – if not more so – than their mass-produced counterparts.

I asked Hanna about the inspiration behind the store and its signature style:

How did the concept for the boutique come about?

I wanted to reflect my mixed background, feeling like a slight outside observer wherever I have lived. It is rooted in my travelling a lot and experiencing different cultures, and my constant search for good design – from the smallest of objects to the grandest of furniture.

How did you settle on your three chosen locations?

The three locations were my starting point to show consumers that a small, ethically-minded luxe boutique can source products globally and intelligently. The idea is to bring one world and its crafts, materials and traditions into one lifestyle store.

I chose Brooklyn because I travel to New York for inspiration, and on a sabbatical struck upon the amazing Etwas bags we now sell; Stoke-on-Trent because I was attracted to the heritage of the area and strongly feel it’s about time to make these neglected UK towns fashionable again, and I wanted to help represent the best of British craft-manufacturing.

And with Kathmandu, I had an opportunity with my recent travels to meet some amazing people and visit the social enterprise projects they are involved in – in the factories and studios I saw first-hand how the handicrafts are created by women’s enterprises – like the colourful woven pouches.

 

Do you think consumers are becoming more aware of the origins of their purchases?

Absolutely. The emotional connection with the shopping is so important: the origins, how it’s made, who made it and the whole story behind the purchase, small or large. Many high street shops celebrate their eco-ranges of Fair Trade cotton, for example, but how far this socially responsible attitude goes is ambiguous. With I Like It Here I wanted to set out from the start with an open policy about the products sold.

What do you look for when you buy something?

First comes emotion: what do I sense when I see something? And then the practical aspects of the purchase: ideally it’s ethically made, and in general quality is important. I’d rather buy less, but get good value from the purchases I make.

The boutique reflects my personal taste at the moment; all items are chosen by me and I would not sell an item I wouldn’t have bought myself.

What is most important to you?

Finding happiness and that people close to you are safe; living intelligently and responsibly without forgetting to have fun.

What are you currently reading?

Isprinsessan by Camilla Lackberg (translated it’s Ice Princess) – a Swedish Crime Detective novel.

Where is your favourite place?

It varies. You can’t beat Helsinki in August or Zanzibar in January, Portland Oregon in May… and funnily enough I quite like international airports.

 

You can visit the bouqtiue here.

People we’re loving: ConiLab

While away over New year, I was contacted by Barcelona-based graphic designer Coni Della Vedova (aka ConiLab) and think her covetable prints are the perfect way to kick off 2012.

Initially hailing from Buenos Aires, where she studied graphic design, Coni specialises in handmade silkscreen prints with positive catchy slogans that very much speak for themselves. Snap one up now and start the year off as you mean to go on.

 

 

 

 

You can find her prints on Etsy here.

 

Handmade in Britain 2011

On the weekend I went along to the 2011 Handmade in Britain expo at London’s Chelsea Town Hall. I am ashamed to have only written it up now but time seems to have slipped away.

Organised by fashion and home accessories designer Piyush Suri, the fair started in 2007 with the aim of bringing together and promoting craftsmen from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. There was a wonderful variety of crafts to explore including jewellery, ceramics, textiles, glassware, and paper sculptures – and the workmanship was second to none. With our purse strings firmly tightened, the only purchases made were from the lovely Namiko Murakoshi of NamNam ceramics, who I met at Artsmart and whose stall was irresistible with all its little faces:

 

 

Other designers that caught my eye:

Deryn Relph

 

Norman Yap Ceramics (also pictured at top)

Noa Ceramics

 

Lettie Belle

 

Rachel’s Wool

 

Folksy love-in: Hopper and Space


Chairs, £595

Until this morning I always browsed on Folksy for sweet, crafty, handmade things like finger puppets, placemats or soap – never  believing it to be the place for big, proper, impressive furniture. (Incidentally I did just order this, which looks lovely. I have high hopes).

But today I was proven wrong as a sleek trio of contemporary upcycled pieces by sellers Hopper and Space caught my eye and I thought it was definitely worth posting on – even if they’re not everyone’s style, they are proof that the UK’s online handmade community can thrive on a big scale as well as small, and testament to how far Folksy has come since it offered cutesy pin cushions and greetings cards.

Sofa, £1,295

Joe and Ben of Hopper & Space take vintage furniture, cover it with a neutral cream or fawn brushed linen and a contemporary flash of colour – usually neon – and the designs work really well on the angular, retro lines which can often seem too tough. Shunning sweatshops, unethical factories and mass production, they reupholster whatever comes their way, usually spanning the 40s to the 80s. Two of the three pieces they’re currently selling are reupholstered 1953 chairs and a sofa by British company E Gomme, who introduced their ‘G Range’ in the fifties to provide affordable and individual pieces to design-aware homemakers.


Chairs, £695

Their thoughtfully designed 2011 incarnations do exactly the same thing and should be snapped up immediately by anyone in need of a chair. Sadly, I am not.

 

Knitted trophies by Rachel Denny

Artist and craft wonder Rachel Denny lives in Oregon and has recently risen to design fame for her playful knitted animal heads – a creative, animal-friendly take on the hunting trophy to which no one could really object.

She describes her work as “an exploration of the seductive beauty of our natural world and the imprint that human intervention has made on its flora and fauna”. She is particularly interested in the transformation undergone by natural forms within an man-made, urban backdrop, and the process of reevaluation caused by displacing nature.

“A deer in an urban backyard, a family of Peregrine falcons at my neighborhood park, a coyote skirting a parking lot… these all become a moment of wonder as they shake us out of our daily routines.”

She exhibits regularly in the US and you can see more of her stuff at racheldenny.com.

Folsky love-in: Julia Smith Ceramics

I recently found ceramicist Julia Smith on Folksy.com, who hand throws and decorates these delicately illustrated cups, bowls and jugs in her studio in Ardesier, near Inverness.

While the Christmas present hunt is on, and all everyone wants to do is hit the shops, splash some cash and tick it off the list, giving something British made, by hand and with a whole lot of love has the edge for sure.

Clockwise from top: Small Swallows cup, £12; Butterfly mug, £16; Flying Mallard cup, £15; Bird & Chicks bowl, £12; Small Blue Flowery bowl, £14 and Hills bowl, £16 – all by Julia Smith Ceramics at Folksy.com

Cash vs. credit: mug cosies

Cosy Mug, £25, Linda Bloomfield; padded Mug Hug, £7, Ruby May London at notonthehighstreet.com

Folksy love-in: Pin cushions with a difference

At a certain point in a woman’s life, the importance of a pin cushion becomes clear. For some it is aged forty plus, lovingly darning their husband’s socks; for others it is earlier, when they realise that sewing their socks themselves is not such a bad idea after all.

This can  either be seen as the beginning of the end, or a whole new horizon involving fun novelty accessories which only add to the charm of your home.

An afternoon browsing on Folksy.com for fun handmade pin cushions only proves this last point.

Top row: cactus pin cushion, £2.50; donut pin cushion, £3.50; mouse pin cushion, £12.50. Middle row: house pin cushion, £5; flower pin cushion, £10; enter your pin here cushion, £5. Bottom row: cupcake pin cushion, £11; cupcake sketch pin cushion, £3.50; octopus pin cushion, £6.

Folksy love-in: ceramic herb labels

After being told by you guys about Folksy, the UK’s version of Etsy, I think it’s no bad idea to showcase products from there instead of transatlantic goodies that you cannot buy so easily. So… for our first Folksy love-in, I decided to let my green-fingered enthusiasm roll and post these rustic little ceramic herb labels, £5 by Little Brick House.

ceramic herb labels

ceramic herb labels

They also sell other quirky ceramics – including heart decorations and textured planters. It’s all great value and handmade with love.

little brick house

Etsy love-in: Tialys

book end by tialys

I spotted these earlier today on Etsy and love them…

France-based seller Tialys uses old scraps of fabric, or even rough coffee sacks, to make these little owls, each one unique and full to the brim with French rustic charm and charisma. All the scruffy little creations use upcycled or recycled materials, from vintage coconut buttons to natural wheat for wadding. As Tialys assures buyers of the Brazilian coffee owl, above left, “he has a conscience!”

decorated labels by tialys

I love her Alice in Wonderland-inspired Incredibly Generous tags for Incredibly Generous Gifts, above, perfect for sprucing up those presents that are slightly last minute / from the bargain bin / straight out of the present drawer…  They come is sets of 4, so you can give and give and give… and still have one for yourself.

bread basket by tialys on etsy

tialys postcard from paris

Who knew a lavender filled postcard from Paris could seem just as vital to your domestic wellbeing as a little canvas bread basket?

Check out her shop here.