Helen Thompstone from Folksy shop A Farmer’s Daughter grew up on a dairy farm, and really is the daughter of a farmer (called Richard). Her work is inspired by food, farming and the countryside, and has a particularly British feel. We asked Helen to tell us more about her brilliant and unique breed of work…
Red Sheep and Blue Sheep Mugs, £12
We’re fascinated by your shop name. Did you grow up milking cows and shearing sheep?
Yes, I am really a farmer’s daughter (it’s surprising how many people ask me that!) I grew up on our family dairy farm, so I’ve always been used to cows and the outdoors. Growing up, my brother and I would help where we could, getting the cows in for milking and other jobs like stacking bales and bottle-feeding lambs. There’s always something to do on a farm and I feel very lucky to have grown up with so much space to explore. I’m really proud to be a farmer’s daughter, so it was a perfect name for me to use for my business.
We’ve just found this mindblowing video of Jeff Soan’s amazing articulating wooden seal.
You can view Jeff’s current stock on Folksy here: Jeff Soan : Wooden Creatures.
Judith Needham discovered a talent for weaving willow when she took it up as a hobby. Since then it has become her career, and she now creates small-scale decorative and utilitarian and pieces which she sells through her Folksy shop Wove, alongside large playhouses and dens built for lucky children (and even luckier adults)…
The Onion Playhouse, £800, by Wove
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your work?
Craft is my third career. I originally did a degree in electronic engineering and ended up in fundraising and project management for various charities. During a career break looking after my daughter I built her a willow playhouse in our garden using basket-making skills I’d learned as a hobby years earlier. It was much admired and friends suggested that I should build more and sell them. This has developed into a business which includes making baskets and smaller items, bespoke on-site work (particularly in living willow), and teaching both adults and children to weave with willow.
This Friday and Saturday (29-30th November) is the Selvedge Winter Fair. Amid the gathering of beautiful textiles and fine crafts will be four of our favourite Folksy makers: Jess Quinn, Blueberry Park, Gabrielle Vary and Stephanie Cole.
The Selvedge Winter fair takes place at Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, London, this Friday from 11am to 5pm, and Saturday from 10am to 5pm.
Dyfrig Peris and Jennie Corr run Peris & Corr, a small eco screen-printing studio, from their high-ceilinged, white-walled dream of a workshop in rural Wales, where they have the landscape of the Snowdonia National Park for company. They have created a range of beautiful homeware, stationery and prints that combine traditional folk patterns with a crisp graphics, and a peppering of Welsh prose. We’d like to do a life-swap please. Until then, a peek inside their studio and creative minds will have to do…
Large Christmas Dove Decoration, £9.50, by Peris & Corr on Folksy
Kirsti Brown has developed two distinct ranges. She set up her Folksy shop Kirsti B Ceramics as an outlet for her decorative work, which features marks and patterns inspired by Scandinavian design. But she also exhibits her work in galleries and shops across the UK under the name Kirsti Hannah Brown Ceramics. We talked to Kirsti about her influences and her love of clay…
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
I live and work in North Wales with my husband who is a teacher-and-would-be-actor and our two daughters who are both in primary school. From a very young age I always loved making things from fabric, paper and Lego, but my favourite past-time involved creating a tiny plasticine world in a stripy cake tin. The inspiration for my work comes from drawings which I develop into ideas on paper, and then into 3D maquettes using card and masking tape, before working in clay.
Vase with turquoise bird, £22, by Kirsti B Ceramics on Folksy
Jonathan Chapman, aka Mr Yen, first discovered paper cutting while researching Hans Christian Andersen’s illustrated fairytales at university. He was intrigued by the possibilities of what could be created with just a single piece of paper and a surgical scalpel. He now uses both traditional handcutting techniques and lasercutting to create a distinct range of intricate papercut art, as well as bespoke designs for clients and wedding customers. His work has been featured in magazines and blogs across the world, and the odd shop window too!
Who is Mr Yen?
Mr Yen is a one-man operation that consists of only me, Jonathan Chapman. I design my products, cut them, photograph and style them, and then pack and post them out to customers too. I reply to all my emails and post on several social media sites as myself too.
Sarah Papworth from Beetroot Press makes us happy. She uses traditional silkscreen techniques to create prints that are bright and infused with joy. Her own textiles and paper prints are cleverly interspersed with the odd vintage find to create a range with a cohesive, old-fashioned feel.
Can you describe Beetroot Press?
Beetroot Press is a planet-kind range of home and giftware, British by origin and design. A lot of love goes into my work, which is hand made by me and printed using traditional silk-screen methods to create whimsical, contemporary and unique products. I am inspired by the nature I see around me, like horses, squirrels, florals and garden birds. I draw uplifting designs to make you smile. Beetroot Press is all about joy, colour and items that are easy to slot into a creative family-style home, and for those who are young at heart, like me.
Folksy Friday : Written in the Stars
Kim Lawler from Finest Imaginary doesn’t do average laser-cut jewellery. Her ideas are so original you can almost see her brain ticking in each piece. She works in acrylic, wood, paper and cork, and understands the qualities of each piece, and how they can be combined to create distinctive, thoughtful, clever pieces. Her work has wit, design and integrity. We’re big fans.
Can you describe Finest Imaginary?
Finest Imaginary is the culmination of many days spent in an office, when all I wanted to be doing was making things with my hands. I love to play around with colour and shapes, and Finest Imaginary is the place I do that.
We love the way you think. Where do your ideas come from?
Where don’t they come from, more like. I find inspiration everywhere. I’m a massive animal lover (with my home being ruled by two kitties and one feisty golden retriever), so that obviously plays a lot into my creations. I’m obsessed with colour, geometric patterns, maps, and books. I listen to loads of podcasts about really random stuff, and might hear something that’ll spark a design idea!
Compass necklace, £15, by Finest Imaginary
Folksy Friday : Hints of Winter
We’ve fallen head over heels with Lucy Vernon’s bright, bold, graphic knits. We asked Lucy to tell us a little bit more about her work and her Folksy shop Holly and Evie…
Stripy Knitted Scottish Lambswool Baby Blanket, £40, by Holly and Evie
How did you start selling your work?
I’ve always loved making things and giving them to my family as presents. People were telling me I should sell what I was making, so I thought I’d have a go! First I decided on what I loved doing most, which is knitting and crochet. Then my mother bought me a knitting machine and I bought the wool. After that I made a few blankets and cushions and opened my shop…
Lambswool Cloud and Rain Knitted Blanket, £55, by Hollie and Evie