Crescent Maille: From the moment I picked up two pairs of pliers and started crafting my first bracelet I was immediately hooked. Chain maille is a passion and a joy. Creating jewelry in traditional weaves and using these weaves as a starting point for my own designs, I strive to make jewelry that is as much a pleasure to wear as it is to behold.
I work primarily with sterling silver rings, made by hand by the best sources. Sterling silver is pliable but durable, so luxurious, with such brilliance; though metal, it feels soft to the touch. When crafted to perfection, a silver chain maille bracelet is an amazing thing, mesmerizing as it bends and moves and molds itself to your wrist; it feels almost alive.
Crafting chain maille is very labor-intensive and time-consuming; many pieces are made from hundreds of individually linked rings and take hours. I value my time and trade, and believe in fair pay for all artists and artisans; I won’t under-price a piece just to sell a few more.
Did you remember to wear green today?
Organic, fair trade, roasted-to-order, Irish Creme flavored coffee by Downtown Roasters.
It’s October, which means only one thing in Manchester – the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair is coming! During 22-24 October, a wide range of British designer-makers will descend on Manchester’s Spinningfields to showcase their talents to an incredibly captive audience, me included of course. I’m so pleased that my city is playing host to such a great event, as it really emphasises the growing handmade community outside of London.
The inaugural GNCCF was held at Manchester Grammar School in 2008 and relocated to Spinningfields for the 2009 event. Organisers Ann-Marie Franey and Angela Mann came up with the idea for the event during their visits to London’s annual Chelsea Craft Fair (now Origin). They felt that there should be an event of similar standard in the North, and just a short while later, when their children were older, the idea of GNCCF came into fruition. Ann-Marie and Angela spent more than a year carrying out market research with potential exhibitors and visitors before deciding to go ahead.
Manchester was chosen as the fair’s venue due to its ease of access to visitors from Cheshire, Yorkshire, Merseyside, Derbyshire and Lancashire. Hosting the GNCCF in the city centre also helps to boost the local economy, and moving the fair to Spinningfields proved to be an excellent business decision as it doubled the audience to over 6500 in 2009. 8000 visitors are expected to attend this October.
Applications to exhibit at the fair are invited from designer-makers of ceramics, glass, textiles, furniture, wood, metal, jewellery etc. and exhibitors are chosen by a panel of industry experts. GNCCF has already built up an excellent reputation in the UK and this year’s show was vastly oversubscribed, with 160 exhibitors making the final cut.
Ann-Marie and Angela undertake most aspects of the organising themselves, and with five children between them it’s no mean feat! However, the long hours spent working on the event paid off in 2009 when they saw the queues of visitors excited to get in and received excellent feedback from exhibitors and visitors alike. The ultimate payback for the pair is that they get to share their passion for contemporary craft and hopefully engage new audiences.
I’m certainly looking forward to this year’s fair, as it will be bigger than ever before with two show pavillions. One area will be entirely dedicated to Great Northern Graduates, a showcase of the best graduate students from the region’s craft and design courses. There will also be a jewelry making workshop – I’m off to check that out!
What do you think makes a great craft fair? I’d love to hear about your experiences – post here or send me your tips for making the best of an event via Twitter to @elliethouret. I’ll include the best tips in an upcoming post!
Body yogurt sounds a lot like body butter to me. It is a food name, used to describe a spa product. Both come in jars, and are applied to skin. And shea butter is one of the ingredients.
The body yogurt from Mea Culpa Body And Bath has a surprisingly different texture than body butter, or moisturizer. It feels soft and looks fluffy, but has a slightly gritty texture. Then it absorbs right into the skin. I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it at first. But it moisturizes without irritating. So what’s not to like?
I ordered the set of three body yogurts, my favorite way to order from a seller whose products I have not previously tried. I chose the scents Neroli, Eucalyptus, and Coconut. For whatever reason the Neroli is yellow in color. But the Eucalyptus and Coconut are both white.
I found the Neroli smell to be overpowering. And my husband asked about the stink (definitely not a compliment). In its defense, it does smell like Neroli – just a bit too much Neroli for my family. My five year old put it all over herself. And nobody wanted to sit by her.
The Coconut and Eucalyptus body yogurts smell fresh and inviting. But to be fair, all three have the same texture. And a very large number of scents are available. I just happened to think those three sounded best at the time I ordered.
I purchased the Neroli thinking that it would blend subtly and well with perfume. However, it is more of its own perfume. Which is not bad if you are looking for a strong scent, or like to layer scents.
I like the two ounce size jars a lot. They fit perfectly in my purse. And I have the opportunity to try three scents without making a big commitment.
Finding handmade beauty products can seem like a challenge. Until last year, I didn’t even know that they existed. Besides rounding up the usual online suspects, where can you go to find artisan crafted beauty products?
Some of these locations may sound very rural. But if you are in the city you need not fear. You’ll be finding handmade products almost everywhere once you know where to look.