As part of our ShopSomerset campaign this Christmas, we’ve put together our top picks for decorations and presents that have been handmade in the county by some very talented craftspeople.
These items are available from our shop on Mantle Street in Wellington or via mail order by calling 01823 660076.
Handmade wet felted robin
Made by Naomi Stannard in Somerset
Naomi is a fibre artist specialising in needle felted animals and decorative art. All of the crafts and gifts she makes are made with the fibres from the alpacas and rare breed sheep that she keeps on her family run farm in Somerset, which has more than 40 acres with 300 sheep, with a mixture of 14 different rare and primitive breeds, a herd of 20 alpacas and also a colony herd of English Angora Fibre rabbits.
The farm also houses some of the rarest of breeds with the most endangered being the Boreray sheep with between 300 to 500 in existence. All of the fibres and wools are processed and dyed on the farm using traditional skills and equipment and all of Naomi’s creations can be sourced back to individual animals.
A variety of Naomi’s felted work is available from her shop here on our top floor. She also runs regular felting workshops with us.
Willow bauble with lights
Made by Sarah Webb from Webb Works Willows in Somerset
Sarah is a basket maker and willow artist living and working in Somerset. She makes a variety of baskets and willow sculptures, as well as teaching the art of willow work, including traditional willow basketry, willow sculpture and lantern making.
She started basketmaking at the age of 17 after being accepted onto an apprenticeship with local basket maker, Norman Studley. She has gone on to develop her skills to include sculpture, lantern making and coiled work, which won her second place for contemporary basketry at the International Pinolere Basketry Competition in 2008.
Sarah’s willow work is available from her shop on our first floor.
Christina and Chloe specialise in making handmade fabric lampshades in Somerset. They met several years ago while working as nurses for the NHS and struck up a friendship over their mutual love for all things craft. In January 2016 they attended a lampshade making workshop where they learnt to make different styles of lampshade and experimented with different fabrics and before they knew it, their business was formed.
They have now set up a small studio in Somerset, when on their days off from nursing, they design and make their range of lampshades. Each one is handmade to a high standard and is individually wrapped.
Christina and Chloe’s shop, C&C Lampshades, can be found on our top floor.
Lampshade base H38cm, £35, made by The Ropeshed.
Fabric unicorn decoration
Bek Tainton from Taunton in Somerset found she didn’t have time to paint after having her children between 2005 and 2008, but still needed a creative outlet, so started sewing instead.
She began by making dolls clothes and graduated to selling items at craft fairs but wanted to be able to draw and design. She discovered free machine embroidery and began sewing pictures.
She now makes cushions, pictures, decorations and gifts using the free machine embroidery
method and you’ll find her fab shop, Oh Sew Lovely, which is packed full of goodies, on the top floor of The Emporium.
Leaf print make-up purse
The super talented Jeanette from Bird Modern Vintage on our first floor started her business in 2014. She was working as an art and textiles teacher at the time and regularly experimented with heat techniques and plastics. She discovered shrink plastic and now makes original pieces of jewellery and textiles that are digitally coloured and printed onto plastic and baked. She now works on her business full-time.