Meet the Maker - Donna Enticknap, Little Vagaries

Name: Donna Enticknap
Business Name: Little Vagaries
Location: Bournemouth
Regular Markets:  No regular markets, but I’ll be at a craft fair at Lulubelle’s tearooms in Canford Cliffs on December 8th.
// Tell us a little bit about what you do.
I make illustrations, highly detailed, very small scale and intricate, and hopefully with a sense of narrative.... pictures which focus on animals and the natural world. A lot of my work is black and white, but I also paint with different varieties of tea, which gives a nice range of tones and colours. I also make hand-illustrated stones, and dabble in papercuts and print-making.

// Where does your inspiration come from?
Maps, distant lands, old stories. A lot of my inspiration comes from folk tales, poetry, or song lyrics.. the poems of Loren Eiseley and Wallace Stevens had a big influence on a lot of my recent work. Nature too.. walks in the woods, or along the beach, camping trips, the view from my window. There’s a family of foxes that was visiting my garden over the summer, and that was just perfect, getting to see them daily and study their habits.
And if I’m feeling stunted, my favourite place to go is the forest, or for long car journeys as a passenger so I can look out the window, always one of my favourite cures for creative block.

// When did you start your business? 
What I do is not really a business.. but I started selling my work back in 2008 when I opened my Etsy shop

// Where does the name come from?
I don’t really know, I’m a little vague on that point ;)

// Did you undertake any training in your craft or are you self-taught?
My parents taught me to draw when I was very young, and I studied art for GCSE, A level, a foundation course at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design (now known as the AUB). Everything else, I’ve learned along the way. At the moment I’m starting to teach myself print making, just got the tools to start woodblock printing, and I’ve been experimenting with cyanotype. Trial and error. I would also love to learn how to animate.... that’s something I wish I had studied, but let’s see how far I get.

// What was the first thing you ever sold and how did it make you feel?
The first thing I sold was a print of my drawing “Guardians”. It was a giclee print that I had hand-embellished with gold ink details, and I was very proud of it. It went off to the United States, and that made me happy, to think of my little world, travelling across the bigger world.

// Do you have any advice for other crafters just starting out? 
Just create, as much as you can. Do something every day, no matter how small. Break your boundaries, make mistakes, and push yourself. I’d like to think I take my own advice, but I forget it sometimes. I am learning, and trying to live and work more deliberately.

// What’s your favourite thing about Dorset?
Mainly, its age and history. I love folklore and mythology, and we have a lot of that in the south of England.. pookas and boggarts, the Wild Hunt..  But also the landscape; the Purbeck coast, the vastness of the New Forest, the tiny country roads and fields around Knowlton Church and Sixpenny Handley.... It’s a beautiful part of the world.

// What could you not live without?
My husband, and my cats.
And music.
And books.

// If you could eat anything right now what would you eat?
Pancakes. Or cheese.

// And finally, do you have any exciting plans coming up for your business?  Any inside scoops you can share with us? The last couple of weeks I was in Florida, I started work on a new range of silk scarves with my foxes, and some hares, using flora that I found in the Floridian garden. I’m also planning to work on a new series of tea-stain drawings, possibly of Dorset landmarks. We’ll see.


Handmade in Focus - Little Vagaries

This weeks Handmade in Focus is all about Little Vagaries, handmade illustrations by Donna Enticknap.

I first came across Little Vagaries at a Coffee, Craft & Cupcakes event at The Pavillion, Bournemouth. Donna's illistrations are awe-sinspiring!  The intricate detailing, the colours, the subject matter, all of it luring you into the story which is being told.

I fell in love with an illustration Donna had drawn telling the story of the bear who stole the heat.  It was beautiful.....but I had just been made redundant and I couldn't justify buying something I didn't need.  I thought about that illsutration for over a year and a couple of months ago Donna and I both had stalls at the same craft fair.  I saw 'the bear that stole the heat' and I just had to buy it....immediately.  It was even more special second time around as the story is a folk take from Canada and having been on a trip to Canada this year to reconnect with lost family, I was sold!

Another one of my favourites is Fox Light - It is beautiful!  I love black & white prints and the way Donna has made the fox leap out from the page is mesmerising.

I also really like the Narrative of the Explorations Expeditions, the colours in this print are so beautiful.

And the flower picker is another of my favourites too.....can you tell yet that I love them all!!!

Donna not only works on paper but also on stone, and these fantastic mini illustrations would look so cute on the corner of a windowsill or tucked into the base of a plant.....in fact nestled just about anywhere in your home.  Beautiful little creatures for friends and visitors to discover as they move around your home.

And just the ticket for Christmas are these lovely Leaping Fox Christmas cards, when Christmas is done and dusted your friends and family can frame them and hang them on the wall!

Annoyingly I've never been able to draw, if I had just 10% of the talent of Donna I'd be overjoyed!  You can see more of Donna's stunning illustrations on her website and they are available to buy in her Etsy Shop.

You can also keep up to date with her latest works by liking her Facebook page and following her on twitter.   And don't forget to check back on Wednesday evening to find out more about Donna in the Meet the Maker feature.

Happy Monday my lovelies. xx


Handmade for Him!

It's a real short one this week.  I've been up to my eyes silversmithing and doing paperwork, BORING!, all week!  Although it's been manic I've loved every minute.  I'm hoping to have lots of news to share with you on Sunday!

I hope you enjoyed this weeks Handmade in Focus and Meet the Makers instalments, I'd love to know what you think of these two new features on the blog.

This Friday I bring you handmade gifts for him!  They're all made by hand in the  United Kingdom.  If you've got a man in your life who deserves a gift which was lovingly crafted by hand then check out all the items in this weeks treasury for lots of inspiration.

What have you got planned for the weekend?  I'm doing some more silversmithing, going to a German Bar, visiting a craft fair and seeing lots of friends.  Nice.

Happy Friday my lovelies.  xx


Meet the Maker - Made by Swimmer

Name: Sue and Jo Thomas
Business Name: Made by Swimmer
Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
Website: We mostly use our etsy store these days as we find it easier to connect with sellers and buyers www.etsy.com/shop/Madebyswimmer. We do also sell on our website www.madebyswimmer.com
Regular Markets: Boscombe Vintage Market – 1st Saturday of every month
Friends of Bruce Castle Park, Tottenham, London - quarterly

// Tell us a little bit about what you do.
We design and make toys, soft furnishings and accessories using recycled fabrics. We aim to make unique, high quality handmade items that will be cherished and loved for a long time. We like to think that our creations make people smile and bring back childhood memories.

// Where does your inspiration come from?
We love trawling flea markets, car boot sales and charity shops to find hidden treasures. We love to give new life back into other people’s discarded fabrics and unwanted items by creating our unique and whimsical designs. We are inspired by our own fond childhood memories and by our passion for recycling.

// When did you start your business? 
Our business evolved initially from supporting a community school art project a few years ago. This then gave us the confidence and inspiration to branch out on our own. We are still developing our business but have our own website and etsy shop.

// Where does the name come from?
The name comes from an old printing blog that we found many years ago of a swimming lady. We thought this fitting as our logo as we live by the sea and initially we made beach inspired creations. The name came from this although ironically neither us are very good swimmers!

// Did you undertake any training in your craft or are you self-taught?
We have sewn and made things since our childhood so have years of experience -  basically we are self- taught.

// What was the first thing you ever sold and how did it make you feel?
Our first market was as part of a collective. We sold lots of hand knitted wrist bands backed in vintage fabric. We were totally blown away by people actually buying things we had made!

// Do you have any advice for other crafters just starting out?
It can be a slow start but have faith in what you make. It can take time to find the right market place for your work so don’t be put off if you don’t sell much at a particular market.

// What’s your favourite thing about Dorset?
The sea and local beauty spots and there is a great creative community out there.

// What could you not live without?
The sea!

// If you could eat anything right now what would you eat?
A plate of oysters and freshly caught crab.

// And finally, do you have any exciting plans coming up for your business?  Any inside scoops you can share with us?
We can't say too much but we have some exciting collaborations coming up with new businesses – watch this space!

I really hope you enjoyed meeting the makers behind Made by Swimmer.  I'd love to get your feedback on the new Handmade in Focus and Meet the Maker features....are you enjoying them?  Is it something you'd like to see more of?  What sort of frequency would you like to see after Christmas, once a fortnight, once a month?  All feedback is good feedback!

Happy Wednesday my lovelies xx 


Handmade In Focus - Made by Swimmer

So, here we are again, ready for another Handmade In Focus!  This week we're featuring Made by Swimmer.

I love plush toys and soft furnishings and one of my favourite makers right now is Made by Swimmer.  They make the most beautiful items....I think I want pretty  much one of everything in their shop! 

My sofa is not only a place to sit, it is also home to my ever growing farm.....and one that really needs a new addition......... but which to choose......

..... Bertie the Whale?

.....the Crocodile?

........Fleur the Sleepy Fox?

.......I think it might have to be the Staffordshire Cats!


.......Too cute!!!!

I love all of these plush toys, such great shapes and the detail on them is brilliant.  And they have such great character too!  

As well as plush toys they make beautiful cushions........

I love the Prawn cushion!  Wouldn't it make a great present for a seafood lover!  They also do a cricket cushion in a fabulous shade of green!  I love the slightly abstract choice of subject matter, a really interesting addition to any living room or bedspread I'd say.

Not only are their products beautiful but they're made from recycled fabrics too!  (How can the Environment Officer in me possibly resist them!)

As well as toys and cushions they also do accessories and this little chap really caught my eye....

He's a little poodle brooch......I know someone who would just love him!  Plus they do bags, glasses cases, and much much more.

I first came across Made by swimmer at the Arts Bournemouth Vintage Market and I fell in love with their Blue Tit Cushion.....it's not on their website but I just had to show you a picture of it, it's absolutely stunning!

I really urge you to check out Made by Swimmer.  They're currently working on some Christmas items to adorn your wonderful Christmas trees!  You can find out what markets they'll be at in the Meet the Maker feature on Wednesday.  I can't wait to share the Meet the Maker feature with you guys!

For now don't forget to check them out in the following places online:

Website & Shop
Etsy Shop

And for more photos of their previous creations check out them out on Pinterest.

I really hope you enjoyed the second installment of Handmade In Focus!  I'm loving writing about all the wonderful handmade goodness going on out there!

Happy Monday my lovelies. xx



A wierd and wonderful weekend!

Enjoy the mess
(Piccie from here)

Hey there my lovelies!  How are we all doing?  Did you have a good weekend?  I've just stuffed my face with roast pheasant and all the trimmings!  Yum yum!  I love Autumn!

I've had a slightly odd weekend.  A meal out with the Boy turned into an impromptu pub crawl on Friday night.  Saturday was spent trying to clear out my studio.  It's full of vintage stock from a shop I used to have.  This might have been spurred on by a sneaky peak on Right Move and finding an interesting house!  

Saturday evening was spent watching Iron Man 3........not my choice but definitely better than Iron Man 2! 

But the highlight of my weekend was an Etsy Team meet up with the Dorset Team and having my photo taken for The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce).......crazy hey!  I always forget to take photos from these sorts of things!

Oh and this evening I found out a Gallery wants to trial selling my jewellery!!!!!  I am having the best weekend!  he he!!!!  I'll share more details when I can!

Wow....I'm looking forward to a little sleep now!

Happy Sunday my lovelies. xx



Handmade in Dorset - Christmas Gifts for Her

Happy Friday my lovelies!  We made it to the end of the week, in one piece! How has your week been?  I've been on a 3 day Environment Management Systems Internal Auditor Course, I thought it was going to be a little dry but turns out I really enjoyed it! (must be the pinikity perfectionist in me!).

My week started with a long awaited trip to Orthopaedic Outpatients for my poorly foot.  I had x-rays and then saw the consultant.  I was expecting a diagnosis of a torn tendon or some such, I was not expecting to be told it was Suspected Friebergs Disease.......necrosis of the bone at the head of the second metatarsal!  WTF!!!!  It's only suspected at this point, I have to go back for an MRI, probably in January, to confirm diagnosis and set a treatment plan.  Has anyone ever heard of Freibergs before?  Apparently it's fairly uncommon especially in people over the age of 20.....but turns out one of my friends has it too....how strange!

So this week I'm going to share with you a little treasury I made on Etsy featuring Christmas gifts for the ladies in your life....be it Mum, Sister, Wife, Daughter, Auntie, Girlfriend or Grandma!  All of these beautiful items are handmade in Dorset!

I hope you like the treasury....I loved curating it.

Some other things which have caught my eye around the web this week are:

This weekend I'm taking it easy and resting my foot some more (under Dr's orders!) , I'm hoping to see some friends and get some silvermsithing done.  What are your plans?

Happy Friday Everyone! xx


Meet the Maker - Sarah Lovell Art

Hey there!  Welcome to the first in the Meet the Maker series.  Each week I'll be bringing you a blog all about the artist featured in Mondays Handmade in Focus series.  So here goes..........

Name: Sarah Thompson
Business Name: Sarah Lovell Art
Location: Wimborne Minster, Dorset
Website: www.sarahlovellart.co.uk
Regular Markets: The Anonymous Travelling Market which I have done 4 times, and other local markets too.

// Tell us a little bit about what you do.

I draw and paint mainly, and I love it! I then use my paintings as card designs and some of them are available as prints. I have recently produced my first colouring book, which is hopefully going to be the first of many.

I also do some sewing and have a collection of handmade sewn products on my website too, as well as a collection of bike and scooter ribbons (which are really popular as gifts for little ones to personalise their ride-ons).

// Where does your inspiration come from?

I have always loved to draw, ever since I can remember. I am inspired by my family, especially my children, by animals and sometimes by dreams I have. My work has a dream like quality to it.

// When did you start your business? 

Sarah Lovell Art has been up and running for about a year now.

// Where does the name come from?

My name! I have kept my art and business running under my maiden name. My married name is Thompson, but I still like to be Lovell too!

// Did you undertake any training in your craft or are you self-taught?

Yes, I studied art to degree level at Winchester School of Art, where I actually specialised in sculpture. Now I just do more 2D creations. 

// What was the first thing you ever sold and how did it make you feel?

Someone bought a drawing of mine whilst I was doing my art foundation course, and remember feeling so happy that someone wanted some of my art for their home! It is the same feeling now, every time someone buys a card, a print, or I get an on line order, it never fails to fill me with happiness and excitement that my art is going to be in someone else’s home.

// Do you have any advice for other crafters just starting out?
The thing that I have been told, and learnt through reading books, blogs, magazines etc is that just do what you love and love what you do, because that will show through, and if you love it, someone else will too!

// What’s your favourite thing about Dorset?

The beautiful countryside, and being close to the seaside.

// What could you not live without?

My lovely family and beautiful children, they amaze me every day!

// If you could eat anything right now what would you eat?

Lindt lindor chocolates (the red ones)!

// And finally, do you have any exciting plans coming up for your business?  Any inside scoops you can share with us?

I am planning on releasing a new colouring book in the new year to compliment the UK Wildlife Colouring book- same idea, different animals, watch this space!

Wow, what a great insight into the world of Sarah Lovell Art.  I really hope you enjoyed it.  I'd love to know what you think of this new feature.  Did you like the range of questions?  Would you like to me ask anything else of future Meet the Maker participants?  Let me know!

Happy Wednesday my lovelies. xx 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...