Buy Less, Buy Better, Buy Handmade
This Christmas the good people at Folksy have united the craft sector – we’re a sector, ok? – as part of a national campaign to encourage shoppers to make considered shopping decisions, supporting makers and independent businesses rather than dystopian corporate behemoths such as…well, we all know who they are. More is more: give us your money! Because who needs sustainability or equality of opportunity, right?
It’s called Buy Less, Buy Better, Buy Handmade, and it’s been founded as a timely reminder that we don't need to fill our shopping baskets with piles of mass-produced presents every year when there are so many well-crafted handmade gifts out there. Made to last, by people who care.
Think about how you shop
I for one absolutely love to shop handmade. It’s not just because I’m a maker and these are my people, although that helps. It’s because I know that when I shop small, I support someone who’s put themselves out there to try something new and is offering a truly unique and considered product.
As a community or, ahem… ‘sector’, we makers do really all look out for each other. So when you shop smaller and independent, you’re investing in a circular economy because the people you’re buying from are passing it on and buying local in their own right. Not only that, but you’re supporting an artisan at a difficult time, helping keeping a craft and a traditional way of working alive.
That’s worth thinking about actually. How many brilliant local artisans and makers are ensuring that traditional craftsmanship that is kinder to the planet is not just forgotten but given space to flourish? When you buy smaller, independent or handmade, you really are buying better.
On that note, here’s a rundown of some of my top artisan makers in the North. I can think of no better candidates to direct you to this Christmas.
From their studio in Stockport, Coral and her amazing team of three seamstresses run clothing brand Emiko.
Emiko takes its inspiration from traditional Japanese silhouettes and vintage utility clothing. Every item they make is so lovingly crafted and designed from start to finish. I cannot recommend them highly enough. I was recently treated to Emiko’s Kiruto jacket, and it has become a firm wardrobe favourite. It’s classy, casual, and works really well with other outfits, layering up as the weather gets colder. Just great.
DANIEL SMYTH STUDIO
Daniel is based in Wellington Studios, Ancoats, a literal stone’s throw from Cedar studio on Pollard’s Yard. And it is here that he creates all kinds of amazing wheel-thrown ceramics.
Daniel’s practice is fuelled by a fascination with the versatility of a material, and how these materials can crossover into other artistic mediums such as drawing, printmaking and painting. Retaining their context yet coming out as something totally new and fresh.
I’m super excited to have had chance to collaborate with Daniel recently. He’s designed an exclusive collection of oil burners that I will be launching this week (Monday 5th December to be exact) so do keep your eyes peeled on my IG!
ARA THE ALTAR
Ara the Altar is run by Lauren, who I’ve been so pleased to meet through my work with Cedar.
Lauren has created, no, curated the most amazing jewellery brand. She makes every piece to order from her studio in Stockport using 100% recycled solid gold and silver. As a brand, Ara the Altar’s commitment to ethics and sustainability is a real inspiration to me, as is the thought and craft that Lauren puts into every part of her business, and its value-led production process.
If anyone is looking for a tip from Ara the Altar this year, the Eye Amulet necklace comes with free complimentary engraving. It’s on my Christmas list.
MADE IN THE WOODSHED
Helen is the creative mind behind Made in the Woodshed. She hand-carves the most beautiful contemporary homeware in her garden studio space.
Helen works with reclaimed woods sourced from sustainably-managed forests. So her pieces are true one-offs that come adorned with some really beautiful markings and characteristics.
Her daughter Lucy is in charge of all things marketing and photography at Made in the Woodshead. She also happens to run @yourkindlifestyle, a slow living store that stocks a carefully curated range of artisanal brands and small-batch collections. An ideal place to shop this year to support all us makers and have a considered Christmas where you give a little something back in exchange for everything you get.