Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Festival of Craft and recycling

Recycling is important to me. My family have recycled as long as i can remember. It is not a new thing. My folks, with no money and three small girls in the late 60's, early 70's .. well you just were thrifty. I think perhaps 'saving' things for possible future use in my genes, along with my tendancy towards clutter!
When i was 16 i took an evening class in indigo dying and batik, funnily enough with Alice (we have known each other a long old time!). My dad made us both a batik frame from the old wooden clothes horse that my mum had used to dry my cloth nappies on. He had kept it in the loft and then reinvented it years later. Also my mum was a primary teacher so egg boxes, cereal packets and the like were always saved in true 'Blue Peter' style.
Nowadays we are all more aware about waste and are hopefully moving towards reducing what we consume as well as continuing to recycle. I am always interested in how materials are reinvented and recycled and i would like to share with you some interesting products and people i have come across. Please click on the highlighted links to view their websites.

A friend of ours has just turned 40.... We went to his party in Dorset a while ago (our recent camping trip) but have just got the present we had ordered through. I saw these on not on the high street, by pop guru and thought they were fun....

Bowls made by recycling old LP vinyl records.

We were after a particular artist so emailed them and had to wait a bit but it was worth it. The bowl arrived and we were delighted. What's more we didn't think about the date which would be on the record and by shere fluke it is 1967 the year he was born! wow.. how about that.. very pleased.. now i hope he will like it.

A few weeks ago i went a local Festival of Crafts and came across Joanne Tinker who recycles metal bottle tops from beer bottles and creates beautiful pendants, earrings and brooches. I was excited by these and very tempted, but she was very busy and i didn't get a chance to speak to her. Her necklaces were my favourite pieces.

She also had little box frames containing tiny sweet wrapper cups, a great idea and so colourful. My sister and i used to make these when we were children so they felt particulary nostalgic.

There were a few other artists recycling.. Elizabeth Cook recycles fabrics.. mainly old woolens which she felts... not a new technique to many bloggers yet i thought her use of colours and the simplicity of her designs was good.

I was also inspired by Julie Roberts who uses textiles and handmade paper. Paper making and papier mache are techniques i loved using whilst at art college and hope to experiment with again soon. Her lampshades were like jelly fish sea anenomes. They were quite large and in real life stunningly beautiful. She is based at the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading if anyone is near and is interested in searching her out.

Another interesting exhibitor from the festival was....Elizabeth Beverley with her beautiful plant dyes wool for knitting. I would love to do some natural dying. I have my mum's old recepies from when she studied natural dying.. i even have her old dye vat in which i remember her steeping onion skins and other such raw material, when i was a child. I always loved the wooden tongs she used.. i wonder if she still has them. I would also love to knit. I come from a family of knitters.. even my dad knits. I am the one that sews rather than knits but i had the urge the other day to do some knitting when i saw my girls knitting with 'nana'. I went out and brought some yarn and am now the proud owner of a cotton dishcloth. I already have 2 bought from a friends craft stall a while back, they really are good and have a great abrasive quality. I think i will make some more.. it may help me to enjoy cleaning a little more.

Other interesting recycling sites to look up...
Anna Roebuck's Bags to riches.... Anna is an artist who recycles plastic bags in to jewellery, art and lights.
Doy bags ......colourful, fun bags and home accessories made from recycled juice packs by a women's cooperative in the Philippines and Remarkable recycled stationary goods.

Hope you find some of these links useful and if you know of any interesting other links please leave a comment.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Apples and pumpkins..

We took part in an amazing event this weekend at RHS Wisley in Surrey.

The event was a Taste of Autumn, which was a celebration of Autumn and local produce. The event also included a display of competition fruit from the National Fruit show held last week in Kent. I've never seen so many different varieties of apples. Apple tasting and lots of local produce sampling was in full swing all throughout the weekend, even local WI groups were there serving homemade soup and preserves.
The weather was glorious and visitor numbers exceeded all expectations.


...and more apples.

Our stall was just opposite the display garden for the Wisley trials which showed a small shed and vegetable plot, with lots of perfect picked produce. Check out these pumpkins...

The display was so charming, and it even came with a resident robin. He flew in whilst they were setting up on Wednesday and came back everyday. He had definately marked his territory. He also liked to swoop up to the other end of the marque to feast on the berries on the Woody Plants display (much to their annoyance!)

If you look carefully you can just make him out on the shed door.

It was a great family event, with pumpkin carving and Autumn craft activities. Here is a small friend with his fab 'Shrek' pumpkin!

Our stall fitted in well with all our fruit, vegetable and flower designs. We met some lovely customers and made very good sales. We only have three of our shopper bags left in stock now!
The RHS staff are fantastic and were all so helpful. After a week with a sick child, and a school craft fair on Thursday evening, i was extremely tired, but it was such a pleasure to be involved in and i really enjoyed the whole experience. The only sad thing was that we didn't get to meet alice c... we almost did.. but it wasn't to be. Maybe another time.

Here is our stall..

The t.shirts which we designed for Hampton Court with either a strawberry or apple on proved popular. We have apples left in all sizes and strawberries in the large only.
small age 3-4, medium age 5-6 and large age 7-8.
They are a transfer print from taken from our original appliques. They are £5 each .. please email if you would like to buy one. They are not on the website yet but i do hope to add them soon.

This week is half term for us... We have already had a day out with Alice and the boys ending with seeing the film Ratatouille.. great fun. We are also hoping to create some more Autumnal pics and make our Hallowean costumes this week!
I'll leave you with a picture my youngest did after collecting some leaves a few weeks ago... This is for Louise at thisismypatch.

owl, moon and tree.

Have a great week.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What have i been up to?

These past few weeks the main sound in my house has been the tap tap tap of the computer keys.

We have been working hard to update our folkydokee website.

After my brief tuition in basic html and dreamweaver (very limited but still exciting) from my man, we have between us been, taking, cropping and adding product photos and now have a site (still needs some additions) ready to receive online purchasing. We have some products still to update and hopefully we are now on a roll and will achieve this in the coming weeks.

Many of the products which are ready made or as we like to say 'off the peg' have been reduced. We are now making a distinction between these and made to order items which still can be made up but at the usual price. This covers the element of design time and fabric sourcing to each orders needs.

The reason for this new move is that we are changing direction and have chosen to vacate the studio at the end of the year. In the New Year we will continue to collaborate and will be able to take on special orders based on our work to date. We will also be developing some other personal projects, continuing commission pieces and will perhaps do some workshops.
We are really excited about all the possibilities that this new freedom will allow us, both individually and together.

Please do go over and have a look our updated website and if you know anyone who would like our creations, please encourage them to have a look too.
Thanks for all your support.
Alice and Ginny

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Studio catch up...

Things have been busy at The Flour Loft this year....

For those of you who have read this blog for a while, you will know that we exhibited as 'folkydokee handmade' at the Hampton Court Flower show in July. This was a lovely show to do not least as we could have a jolly good look round at the fantastic gardens early in the day before it all got too busy. As a small company it was hard work getting the stock ready, but it was also extremely enjoyable. We feel we designed and made our best stuff yet for this show and were really pleased with how the stand came together. I think it is one we are most proud of, along with this one as a close second.......

This was our stand at Country Living's Christmas show last year. A great show to do and where we met a lovely publishing lady!
We have had to make the hard decision not to do Country Living's Christmas Fair this year. In addition to really enjoying doing this show, it is also very lucrative and for both reasons we will very much miss it. We are though, at this precise moment in full throws of writing our book with a finish deadline for the end of November!!! so obviously need to focus on this.

Having said that we are still open for business and are already taking Christmas orders for Stockings and Advents. In the next few weeks i will be posting some images of the Advents and Stockings which we have left from last year. These will be sold off at a reduced rate. We will not be making up any new Christmas stock but we will, as usual be taking orders. If you would like something made to order please don't leave it too late to contact us as we are only able to take on a limited number of orders this year.

Our next show is the RHS's A Taste of Autumn at Wisley. This is a fantastic event which runs from the 19th to the 22nd October and also hosts The National Fruit Show. Check out the link for further info. We will be exhibiting on the Saturday and Sunday only. Please come and say hello if you are there. We may also, time and book permitting, do a few small local craft fairs. I will posts details if we do.

As i write this the sun is shining and it's hard to think Christmas is not too far away. ( sorry!!) I have been using the light today to photograph some of the Christmas stock to put on the website. It has got me wondering how early do most people start to think about the festive season? Have you already started buying or making presents? My mum has declared we are having a frugal, thoughtful, non excessive low impact Christmas.. basically she doesn't really want a present and would rather money go to a charity or to people less fortunate. As we are all creative i expect homemade will be the order of the day. Last year Alice and i decided to buy 'thoughtful presents' and we bought a lot of things from Ecotopia and The Centre for Alternative Technology.

How do you feel about Christmas? What does it mean to you? Do you hate all the commercialism? It is far too early for me to be posting this?

ok.. so we have only just got used to Autumn... Only one day left to vote for your favourite season on my little poll on the side bar. Autumn is out ahead at the moment. Can it be caught or are you all just happy in the' here and now'?

My favourite is Spring.. a time of new beginnings.. hope.....

Happy Thursday!