Crafting the UK way

ladybird-gift-lets-get-crafting-activity-kit-4664-pIt perhaps would not be unfair to say that while crafts and crafting is going through somewhat of a small renaissance, with the likes of Kirsty Allsop’s promotion, it is still not really something for the masses. Most people would prefer something easily bought and easily thrown away. This is something that we have had to face head on this year as the disposable end of the market is not that which is produced in the UK. We were not particularly thrifty before we started this year and while I think we could say that we valued the things we bought we would naturally go for the lowest price over the best quality.

Crafting in the UK is a tradition that goes back ages, and in these rather poor economic times people are turning back to crafting to help support incomes and sometimes just to give them something to do. James is a classic example of this having started to learn the art of leather working when he was made redundant just over a month ago. There are some great websites for those who would rather not sit for most of every weekend at craft fairs like where you buy directly from the sellers and the likes of where you buy from a central seller. Both are fantastic ways of getting real handmade items and really support the grass roots of the economy.

GWAG-LogoWe have had some super contact with Giftwrapped and Gorgeous as well as some of their brilliant sellers like; Aye Do Gifts and Claire Troughton who both make superb jewellery items, Sean Aherne Art whose brilliantly comical prints are perfect for any British wall and Suzanne Lake’s wooden gifts and The Radical Tea Towel Company both of which are perfect for adorning any British kitchen. For more details on all of these suppliers as well as GWaG and Folksy please see our directory.

There are a wealth of sites just like Gift Wrapped and Gorgeous out there selling on the crafts of the British public. Make sure, however, that you look for where things are being made and if in doubt ask, there are plenty of places who are happy to call things British just because they are distributed here. I suppose what I am trying to say here is that yes there are some High Streets that are lucky to have an element of craft and independence to them, if this is yours please please use it, if not try thinking ahead for your gifts and treats and look for something British made through and through. I can’t tell you what a difference it has made for James having something to develop and learn while he is looking for his next employer and there are millions of households up and down the country who are the same. Crafting may not be for everyone but for those who make a living from it, however big or small, need supporting and shouting about beyond the walls of the local village hall. There is plenty out there to choose from so next time you need a gift don’t think disposable, think crafty!

– Emily


  1. In Lymm (Cheshire) we did have that element of craft and independence with a wonderful shop selling a great array of products many of which were made in the UK (including Kirstie Allsop’s cards!). Unfortunately, not enough footfall over the winter months has lead to its closure, so it’s very important to support these shops if you can otherwise more will be lost.

    In the absence of bricks and mortar shops then you hit the nail on the head: the key thing is planning ahead (often a challenge with a busy family!) and using the online stores selling British goods (From Britain with love is another good one) to find products.

    For a wider range then you can use directories of companies that make products in the UK. I set up the directory with the aim of having the most comprehensive directory of companies (mostly SMBs and crafters!) who make their own products in the UK. It doesn’t include services or distributors and I’m always particularly rigorous in checking when I see the Union Jack emblazoned on a product – it’s often made elsewhere and doesn’t get included on Kimwetu!

  2. I set up my handmade jewellery business a few years ago and have been selling on Etsy for some time, as well as recently signing up with Gift Wrapped & Gorgeous. Like you I didn’t give a huge amount of thought to where products were made before, but having my own business has really transformed the way I think about these things. Now I always try to source handmade, locally produced items whenever I can and I’ve found so many amazing things as a result that I’d never have known about otherwise! For example, on Mother’s Day last year we bought my mother-in-law some homemade cakes and biscuits from a seller on Etsy who happened to live nearby. It was so fun choosing what to give, and I’d like to think it meant more than some mass-produced products packaged elsewhere and sold on every high street in the country.

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