Our group started up in Walthamstow Village back in June 2006: a group of just six of us set up tables on a windy village square to sell scarves, bags, cushions and childrens clothes - we should have worn the scarves! We had another go at Apple Day at the Vestry that October, before we finally tired of the great outdoors and organized an evening bring-a-bottle party at the Grove Cafe on Hatherley Mews in December.
And now here we are. This and subsequent events proved a huge success, attracting lots of local buyers keen to snap up high quality, handmade gifts direct from the makers. Everybody gets involved in promotion, so we have become an unincorporated community group, self funded by setting up a membership system. The group has grown to over 50 designer-makers, selling jewellery, bags, cushions, children's gifts and clothing, art prints, cards and photography, and of course a kitchen full of homemade cakes. People want to buy something unique and unusual that they won't find on every high street. It's also great for men looking for something individual for their partners, or for people of all ages and tastes, to pick up something for themselves, family or friends that they just wouldn't find elsewhere, with the added personal touch of it being local, handmade- and taking part in a social event...
By making close links with the many other groups in the area, especially the E17 Art Trail, we really feel that our community is made stronger by the personal touch of events where you can 'meet the maker' and understand the process of making and creating, inspiring young and old to take up new hobbies, and help members to plan and develop new careers, or just have a creative outlet. Members benefit from a webpage, priority booking, and 2012 opportunities included showcases at the Vestry House Museum and William Morris Gallery, Valentines Day display at the opening of Wood Street Market, a social media workshop, a special offer for professional product images taken by Nicola Tree, a pop up stall at the Farmers Market.
What people say:
"I have been to the art and craft events at Lauderdale House (Highgate) and the quality of design and making here is much better.."
"The designers have all upped their game in terms of presentation- every stall looks great"
"The website is a great tool, all the images look lovely and it means that they can be seen not just at events....it makes me want to come again and again to see who is here"
"I have been coming for three years and this is the best selection ever-"
"It's such lovely work-does everyone make a living doing this?"