SLOANmade & Artists Open Houses

Yet again I should start this blog post with an apology for not writing it sooner. BUT I reckon that as you’re here reading it, you know me well enough by now and that given the events of the last year you’ll understand why I’m not going to beat myself up when life gets in the way of a planned blogpost.

So speaking of the last year, back when I was recovering from surgery and I couldn’t do much more than wash and dress myself without needing to lie down for the rest of the day I decided that if I got the opportunity I’d really like to get back to the process of ‘making’. It’s been a good few years since I made ready to wear accessories under my ‘duppdupp’ label in Scotland and whilst I don’t want to buried under  mountain of coned yarn knitting endless hats, scarves and bags I missed the joy of designing, sampling, making and finishing an item. Plus of course my newly liberated brain was coming up with some new ideas. This is how SLOANmade was born.

SLOANmade  is really an opportunity for me to explore my sometimes random ideas, techniques, shapes and designs that will be translated into a small collection of ready to wear accessories. As well as focussing on a slower, hand crafted approach to items that are carefully and lovingly hand made,  it’ll be an ideal way for me to explore new techniques and generally get back the ‘making mojo’ I’d lost way before my brain tumours were diagnosed. Plus it will be another way in which I can celebrate my new, less-stressed approach to life and, to be honest, the fact that I’m still here at all.

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The first collection of bags revisits one of my favourite stitches that I developed back in the days of ‘duppdupp’. The Seersucker clutch bags are machine knitted in fine lambswool on a hand flat knitting machine before being felted in a washing machine to  make the fabric more durable. It’s then interfaced, lined and made up into the new clutch bag shape and if I’m honest – given the way my head works now – I’m really pleased with both the look and feel of the bag.

As you can see from the pictures the bags are fully lined and this provides a contrast piped effect on the outside of the flap plus the natural curve at the knitted cast and cast off edges provides a really pretty edge detail which is tipped in a contrast colour on many of the bags. The pinched bottom shape allows the bag to sit upright when full, plus there’s also a small inside pocket and it closes securely with a magnetic clasp.

As I mentioned in a previous post I’m showing the SLOANmade collection as part of Brighton’s Artists Open House event. Along with my husband Sam who’s showing some of his brilliant photography and Ben King who crafts  handmade furniture from a selection of English woods we’re collectively exhibiting as ‘Created’ at  Digital Freelance  in Kemp Town so if you’re in the East Sussex area why not pop down and see us?

To celebrate the new making me I designed a new business card and it arrived yesterday. I”m really pleased with them, what do you think?

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I’m also in the process of updating the website so you’ll also be able to view and buy the SLOANmade collection from there. I promise there will be a blog post soon about that!

Have a great weekend

J x

 

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Down in the smoke part 2

I’d forgotten what it was like to commute in London. I did it a lot in my younger days, either travelling in on the train and tube or at its worst getting up at 5.30am leaving my house at 6.30am and then driving to High Wycombe for 9.00am and THEN starting work. When you’re in the midst of it it’s just a necessary eveil but it’s not until you come out of it – in my case moving to Scotland – that you think ‘did I reallydo that everyday?!’

Anyway I had a little trip down commuting memory lane on Friday as Sam had a job in Westminster and it was my job to get him and all the equipment there safely and on time. The down side however was sitting and waiting around all day for the job to finish and then get him home again. Bored doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt, yes I know I could have taken work, in fact I did, but you know when you’d just rather be somewhere else? Anywhere else?

I did however manage to escape for a couple of hours and wandered off to Oxford Street. A quick visit to John Lewis, not what it used to be. Why is yarn & haberdashery on the 4th floor next to toys? I nearly lost the will to live by the time I got up there, then it was off to Liberty always worth the effort with it’s weird layout it reminded me of Jenners and the instore displays are beautifully stylish with a wonderful sense of fun.

The highlight of my  wee dander though was a visit to MacCulloch and Wallis on Dering Street. If you haven’t been you must. It hasn’t changed a bit in all the time I’ve known it. Spread over 3 floors it has everything a nimble fingered crafter could need and it makes a fab change from the more slick and polished haberdashery departments. I could have spent a lot of money but I had to keep in mind the de cluttering we’re supposed to be doing at the moment so all I came away with was some velvet ribbon to finish off a design I’ve just done for The Knitter

but lots and lots of ideas for future designs.