London Craft Week is currently in full swing. Only in its second year, the event showcases exceptional craftsmanship from around the world via a programme of over 130 events across the capital. The line-up this year includes hidden workshops and exhibitions by both unknown makers and famous masters.
Of course, this is just a snapshot of the creativity bubbling away all over the UK. On Etsy – an online marketplace for makers to sell their wares – a search for "UK shops" brings back over 6000 results. That’s a lot of talented people putting their skills to good use.
To help you discover the people behind the Etsy shops and the items they’ve handcrafted, we’ve put together a list of our favourite sellers for your delectation.
From her home studio in Bath, Harriet creates charming illustrations based on cats and other animals. These cute pictures adorn everything from tote bags and phone cases to temporary tattoos. Harriet also blogs and sells her products on her own website – helloharriet.com.
Rebecca Gladstone Jewellery
From art and design teacher to jewellery maker, Rebecca Gladstone creates her exquisite pieces by hand. Her signature style includes clean lines and geometric forms – perfect for a pared-down look. Check out www.rebeccagladstone.com to see more of Rebecca’s designs as well as lookbooks for her collections.
As a freelance textile designer, Nikki Strange has worked with some of the biggest names in high street fashion including ASOS, Topshop and Urban Outfitters. She set up her own label in 2003, specialising in whimsical prints created using watercolours and inks. Browse Nikki’s Etsy shop and you’ll see her designs adorning tech accessories, stationery and homewares. You can also find out more about her on her website – www.nikkistrange.co.uk.
Leaping into life in February 2013, Ladybird Likes is the creative outlet for Zoe Jade – a craft-loving West Londoner with a penchant for all things retro and kitsch. Although originally specialising in wooden laser cut jewellery, Zoe Jade has expanded her range to include stationery and gift items. You’ll find her wares on Etsy and her own website – www.ladybirdlikes.com – as well as other sites around the web.
Latvian-born Viktorija creates quirky illustrations in her London studio using watercolour and gouache paints. These whimsical pictures are then transformed into prints, postcards, enamels pins and decorative tape – ready for you to purchase and enjoy at home. Find out more about Viktorija’s work here – www.andsmilestudio.com.
Dick Vincent Illustrations
Dick Vincent draws inspiration from animals and the great outdoors, as well as popular culture and films. Blending print, hand drawn elements and typography, his illustrations are simple yet full of charm. Bearded outdoorsmen and foxes are common motifs, although don’t be surprised to see Batman and C-3PO also making an appearance. Previous illustrations by Dick Vincent can be found here – dickvincent.blogspot.co.uk.
Brighton-based duo Jacques Keogh and Karli Dendy started DesignosaurYEAH back in February 2012. As the name suggests, the jewellery-makers’ signature pieces are laser cut dinosaur silhouettes and skeletons. However, more recent members of the animal kingdom are also available – from see-through Perspex chameleons to engraved cedar wood sloths. Keep up-to-date with everything DesignosaurYEAH are doing via their blog – designosauryeah.blogspot.co.uk.
I like CATS
Brighton is home to another Etsy seller in our top ten list – I like CATS by designer Toby Oliver Dean. It’s not difficult to guess what Toby’s favourite animal is. From sculptures and brooches to greetings cards and prints, cute felines adorn everything that he creates. Whether you’re a cat lover or not, it’s hard not to be charmed by Toby’s designs. Visit i-like-cats.co.uk to see the full range from I like CATS.
If pooches are your preferred pet, Tabby Rabbit has a plethora of dog-inspired prints, paintings and homewares for you to peruse. Whilst studying textile design at university, Tabby discovered a love for drawing and lino printing. Tabby Rabbit was set up as an outlet for her creative output. Alongside her pre-made products, Tabby also offers custom pet portraits on Etsy and her website – www.tabbyrabbit.com – don’t worry, she’ll draw other animals too!
After completing her degree, illustrator Sally Haysom set about turning her drawings into wearable items. Her early jewellery was heavily influenced by the animal kingdom. However, a recent change of direction has given rise to more geometric designs that play with pattern and colour. To see all myBearHands collections, visit mybearhands.co.uk.
Which Etsy shop listed above is your favourite? Tell us in the comments below.
Image via KnitSpirit