I’m very honoured to have been invited to represent not just Sheffield and Sheffield Sellers on Etsy, but the UK, at the annual European Etsy Team Captains’ Summit in Warsaw this weekend!!!
The online shop will remain open, however, please note that no orders will be posted until 10th October at the earliest.
Due to the intensive nature of the conference, I am unlikely to be able to respond to any correspondence during this time either. Please do bear with me as I will be working my way through my email inbox as swiftly as possible when I return to the studio.
It’s fair to say that this year has been a bit of a belter!
I am so honoured to have been asked to be involved in so many amazing projects and here’s a little round up of this year’s highlights. There have been so many other super exciting things that have happened too…but these are the biggest ones!
A good chunk of the amazing things that have happened this year have been directly as a result of the enormous efforts of the Year of Making team. This city-wide and discipline-wide celebration of creativity and making in Sheffield has been utterly invaluable to the successes that I have had this year. Every project I have been involved during this year has been supported by the team and I owe them a HUGE debt of gratitude. Thank you to all of you, but most especially Tamar Millen, you are a total wonder woman!
We had been tasked by Etsy, as the team leadership, to organise a Christmas Market during the first weekend of December…no small feat for a bunch of first timers!
Cue much discussion about the how we were going to organise this mammoth task and how we were going to pay for it!
April, May and June were all about Operation Hat Stand.
We kicked off in April with our first craft market, swiftly followed by another one in May. We also managed, between the three of us, to lead a hugely successful facinator workshop for over 70 members of the Seven Hills WI! You can check out the images here thanks to SHWI’er Laura’s fab photography skills…we were too busy to breathe, let alone document the evening!
We set up shop in the Winter Garden pop-up space on 2nd June and there we stayed until the end of the month. This was our first time running the shop for a whole month…and it was our best year to date! We have booked our spot for June 2017, but that’s all I can tell you so far!
We were very honoured to have not only Dr Julie MacDonald, the High Sheriff of South Yorkshire join us for our launch party, but also The Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Denise Fox, 120th Lord Mayor of the City of Sheffield.
This project wouldn’t have been a thing for the last 3 years, and wouldn’t continue to happen, with out the on-going commitment (all year round!) from my colleagues Amanda (Amanda Moon Headwear) and Siobhan (Siobhan Nicholson Millinery). Thank you!
I love our girl gang and am so excited about planning the 2017 pop-up shop.
A Sweltering Summer…
I say June was all about Operation Hat Stand….mostly!
In June I had to beat the fear and deliver a demonstration day to some very discerning customers.
I was asked invited to Oasis Watermead Academy to inspire their pupils ahead of their end of year school picnic, when, inspired by the Queen’s Birthday garden parties they would all be making their own hats to wear.
Yes, I did get to meet almost every child in the school that day! It was a huge amount of fun though and I was given the most amazing design ideas to take away for my own inspiration.
July was a bit of a rollercoaster month. I’d spent the first 6 months of the year thinking “once Hat Stand is out of the way, I’ll do…..” How wrong was I?
I’d spent every spare moment of June making a brand new design for the acclaimed Made In Sheffield exhibition at Millenium Gallery which closes on 8th January 2017.
I didn’t make things easy for myself, but my collaboration with my Exchange Place Studios neighbour, Giles Grover of Small Machines created so many opportunities in the months to come I was completely blown away!
You can read more about the feature over on the Hat Stand blog here.
Autumn into Winter was a bit of a blur…
I’ll be honest, September was a pretty scary month with a huge first to be overcome.
It started off with another unexpected front cover feature, again from HaTalk Magazine, but this time I was on my own as the prestigious Hat of the Month feature all about my exhibition hat.
I then re-convened with my Hat Stand colleagues to take part in the Meet the Maker series of demonstration sessions, held inside the Made In Sheffield exhibition at Millenium Gallery. Good job I’d beaten my demonstrating nerves earlier in summer!
The final challenge of the month was a public speaking engagement…not nervewracking at all! However, I wasn’t on my own, I was invited along with my collaborator Giles Grover of Small Machines to talk about our experience of making the exhibition hat as part of the Year of Making showcases at the Festival of the Mind. As the talk was to be held in a Spiegeltent, possibly the most opulent temporary structure I have ever had the pleasure to be in, it was an opportunity not to be missed!
October. This may surprise you, things went a little bit quiet!
Well, technically, thats not true as I was frantically trying to get ahead with all the planning that we, the team leaders of Sheffield Sellers on Etsy were doing for the Etsy Made Local market….and boy, was there a lot of admin to do!
I also had a couple of vintage fairs, including my first one in the West Midlands for over four years…I did sneak in a visit home and a sort of weekend off for that one!
Fast forward to November.
Having one hat in an exhibition was something I never in my wildest dreams imagined would ever happen…let alone two!!! Thanks to yet another Year of Making opportunity, I was invited to create another unique piece for the Woven exhibition at the Makers Gallery.
The invitation to take part in this exhibition was even more special as it was curated by the one and only Tokyo Jo. I have been a long-standing admirer of Jo’s work for nearly a decade and it’s fair to say I had to reign in the fan-girl response when she got in touch!
There can’t be anyone in Sheffield who has never heard of the Crucible Theatre, in fact, I think you’d be hard pushed to find anyone who has never heard of The Crucible, full stop. As the home of snooker, and Sheffield institution, I had no fear when I was invited by Year of Making to take part in their showcase of projects that had taken place during the 2016.
And when I say this, naturally, I am lying through my teeth…I was VERY nervous!
Again, my fears were unfounded. I was joined on stage with the ever cheerful and encouraging Nick Wright of Ernest Wright & Son Ltd, scissor makers extraordinaire.
However, I threw open my studio door at Exchange Place Studios to the public to give them an insight into what happens behind the scenes in a creative cave…once I’d had a serious tidy up that was!
I was incredibly relieved to meet some people during the course of the weekend who had been at The Crucible earlier in the week and they were all very kind in their praise about my delivery and content of the conversation I had with Nick….phew!
And then suddenly it was December!
The first weekend of the month was the climax, culmination, pinnacle (all those words!) of over eight months planning with my fellow Sheffield Sellers on Etsy team members. Etsy Made Local was live!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow team leaders Rob (Sheffield Mug Co), Donna (Charley & Billie) and Jayne (Maxwell Harrison Jewellery) for their tireless commitment, support, enthusiasm and downright hardwork in the run up to the event, during and after.
Oh, and thanks for putting up with my coping strategy of wine at every opportunity!
We had a preview evening, an art installation, over 54 stallholders and 2 full days of trading during the weekend….we pulled out all the stops for this. You can find the official photos from the Preview Evening on our Facebook page
I’ll be the first to admit I look somewhat delirious in this photo, and the jury is still out as to whether that was due to exhaustion, relief or happiness at how well the event turned out. With an estimated 4-5k people through the door over the weekend, it surpassed all our expectations when our our significant promotion was conducted via a social media campaign.
Well, frankly if you made it to the end of this round-up, you are probably as knackered and exhausted as I am!
I’m going to spend most of the Christmas period asleep so I can be ready to be on it in the new year….I have a big project to launch in the coming months.