Doggie draught excluder

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dachshund-shaped draught excluder handmade in Harris tweed by Queenie on Notonthehighstreet

We already have one dog that guards the door. Fudge our Weimaraner is ever alert to everything – from potential intruders to the morning post – reacting with equal madness to both! But just in case he needs back-up, here’s his new partner.

dashund shaped draught excluder handmade in Harris tweed by Queenie on Notonthehighstreet still wrapped in its plastic packaging

It’s always good to receive items in the post that combine excellent packaging with that nice personal touch. Once released, he was ready for action. In addition to assisting Fudge in the security detail, his main duty will of course be to keep out those nasty winter draughts!

dtail of postcard enclosed with the dashund shaped draught excluder handmade in Harris tweed by Queenie on Notonthehighstreet

We found our new doggie draught excluder in Queenie by Margo Elder’s shop on Notonthehighstreet. He’s beautifully handmade from genuine Harris tweed and comes in a variety of colourways. Here he is pictured with a few of his friends.

multicoloured collection of dashund shaped, Harris tweed draught excluders handmade in Harris tweed by Queenie on Notonthehighstreet

Margo Elder is just one of thousands of independent traders to be found at Notonthehighstreet. So if you’re looking for those individual household touches or a special gift, it’s a must visit site.

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Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010 blog post banner

collection of postcards and business cards from artists & craftspeople exhibiting at Great Norther Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

We spent Friday evening at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Spinningfields, Manchester city centre…

handmade enamelled copper nature-inspired figures by Janine Partington who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

…and a very pleasant evening it was too.

colourful handbuilt functional ceramics with hand cut stencil decoration by Ken Eardley who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

The fair expanded into two pavilions for its second year.

colourful handmade screen prints, etchings and lino cuts by Ruth Green who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

A great mix of ceramics, glass, metal, paper and textiles… from both new exhibitors and favourites from last year.

collection of slipware pottery by Hannah McAndrew who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

There were so many great stalls – we’ve just selected a few that caught our eye.

We’ll start with Jane Blease Design.

handmade bent plywood and threaded cotton lamps and artwork by Jane Blease Design who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

She uses plywood and threaded cotton to produce artworks, light shades and jewellery.

detail from a handmade bent plywood and threaded cotton lampshade by Jane Blease Design who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

It’s striking from a distance, then fascinating in the detail.

handmade bent plywood and threaded cotton jewellery by Jane Blease Design who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

A piece of Jane’s work was temptation number one and we’d only been in the marquee for a few seconds!

Moving along to &made,

cushions and cacti-shaped pin cushion from &made who exhibited at Great Norther Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

Andrea Lord produces lovely hand-sewn pieces…

cushions and cacti-shaped pin cushion from &made who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

…her items simply & beautifully displayed.

cushions and cacti-shaped pin cushion from &made who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010cushions and cacti-shaped pin cushion from &made who exhibited at Great Norther Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

Cushions, wall hangings and rows of gorgeous cacti pin cushions in their little terracotta pots!

cushion and cacti-shaped pin cushions in terra cotta pots from &made who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

We mentioned Derek Wilson Ceramics in our post from last year’s fair.

handthrown functional porcelain tableware by Derek Wilson who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

His stand, filled with his beautiful and delicate porcelain, stopped us in our tracks again…

handthrown porcelain jug by Derek Wilson who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

….elegant, understated simplicity.

Ruth Green Design has proved another favourite with our blog readers – and a shot of her prints always rides high in our Flickr photo viewings.

colourful handmade screen prints, etchings and lino cuts by Ruth Green who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

We lingered at her stall for a good while.

colourful handmade screen prints, etchings and lino cuts by Ruth Green who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

Her prints, sold in limited edition runs, look fabulous hanging all together.

colourful handmade screen prints, etchings and lino cuts by Ruth Green who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

The Pear Tree, one of her  new designs, was another strong temptation!

You can always guarantee a striking display from Hannah Nunn’s Radiance Lighting

handmade laminated papercut lampshades by Hannah Nunn who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

…the warm cosy glow of her beautiful, nature-inspired shades…

handmade laminated papercut lampshades by Hannah Nunn who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

…the designs hand cut from paper and then laminated.

Adelle having a pit stop in the bar area at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

Phew… time for a pit stop… a sit down with a glass of wine!!

First-time exhibitor Ken Eardley made the long drive up from Brighton where he has his studio.

colourful handbuilt functional ceramics with hand cut stencil decoration by Ken Eardley who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

His range of striking pottery with stylised trees, flowers & leaves was a real show stopper.

colourful handbuilt functional ceramics with hand cut stencil decoration by Ken Eardley who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

Functional and beautiful – always a winning combination.

colourful handbuilt functional ceramics with hand cut stencil decoration by Ken Eardley who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

No doubt his work will be starring in lots of interiors magazines in the future!

The natural landscape strongly inspires & influences the work of enameller Janine Partington.

handmade enamelled copper nature-inspired figures by Janine Partington who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

Trees, flowers, seed heads, birds and animals.

handmade enamelled copper nature-inspired figures by Janine Partington who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

She produces enamel panels, small sculptures and jewellery.

handmade enamelled copper nature-inspired jewellery by Janine Partington who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

We’d love to stroll through a magical forest of her making.

Kent-based Maxine Sutton plays with imagery of familiar everyday domestic objects and the natural world.

hand-embroidered and printed textiles by Maxine Sutton who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

Incorporating them into embroidered and printed textiles to produce a range of interior products.

hand-embroidered and printed textiles by Maxine Sutton who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

There were lots of eye-catching items on her stand.

hand-embroidered and printed textiles by Maxine Sutton who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

We’ve got a standard lamp that would happily accommodate one of her large shades… and we just loved the coffee pot/cafetiere cosies with their Scandinavian feel.

The work of Sarra Kate is bright and effervescent – just like Sarra Kate herself!

colourful textile banners, cushions and greetings cards made from original collages by Sarra Kate who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

Her stand called out to us from a long way away.

detail from a colourful textile banner made from original collage by Sarra Kate who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

She starts her pieces by making colourful collages which are then laser printed onto textiles and paper…

colourful  greeting cards made from original collages by Sarra Kate who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

…which go into making wall hangings, cushions and cards.

Last, but certainly not least, we have Hannah McAndrew, another of our favourites from last year.

collection of slipware pottery by Hannah McAndrew who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

This is where we finally gave into temptation.

collection of slipware pottery by Hannah McAndrew who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

We admired her stand last year, filled with its mediæval-inspired slipware pottery.

collection of slipware pottery by Hannah McAndrew who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

This year we just had to take a few of her pieces home!

detail from slipware pottery jug by Hannah McAndrew who exhibited at Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2010

We’ve concentrated on featuring homes and interiors products, but there was also lots & lots of fantastic fashion & jewellery – and if we featured any more this post would turn into a novel!

All the makers will be packing up and making their way home as we write this… so be sure to put the fair in your diary for next year!

Housing Stock

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three vintage hand painted wooden houses

These were an interesting little buy last week.

vintage handmade hand painted wooden house with red roof and door

A group of three vintage handmade toy houses.

detail of blue vintage wooden house detail of yellow vintage wooden house

They’re constructed of ply around a solid block of wood – then painted.

underside of handmade hand painted wooden house

We’re not sure when they date from, although they obviously have a bit of age – 1940s/50s probably.

vintage handmade hand painted wooden house with yellow roof & door

We love these naive toys and folk art.

vintage handmade hand painted wooden house with blue roof & door

Probably made by dad or grandad for a young child… very sweet!

Give ’em the slip

We’re still thinking about some of the smashing things we saw at the GNCCF. One of our favourite stands was the slipware pottery produced by Hannah McAndrew shown below.

This pottery decoration technique is very ancient – and involves applying wet clay over unglazed pot… either by dipping, piping or painting. Hannah’s pieces have an almost Medieval quality whilst maintaining a modern feel. These small ‘Birdie’ mugs are great, and she also had some fantastic larger pieces…

…such as this jug & plates with oak leaf decoration.

We have a few bits of slipware dotted around our house such as this lovely little candleholder. Slipware has a timeless quality and is very good at tying together antique & modern pieces.

We picked up this amazing  charger a few years ago at a bric-a-brac shop down on the south coast.

It now sits on an antique coffer – it looks lovely against the patina of the old oak.

This large pottery tankard was also a good find – picked up relatively recently at a local flea market. It’s got a bit of age to it – and we think it’s absolutely beautiful!

This mug was made relatively recently but is very interesting all the same because of its social history.

This simple little fish plate is another favourite. The scales look to have been created by dragging a small stick through stripes of the wet slip.

And finally, this bowl which sits on our bathroom window sill and is normally full of bath salts & a little scoop – ready to ease the aches & pains brought on by our constant moving of boxes and furniture!

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair ’09

We spent a splendid few hours at the launch of the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair. This year, it’s being held in Manchester city centre at Spinningfields.

There are almost 150 stands featuring the work of top class designer-makers from as far afield as Cornwall, Bristol, Argyll, London… with a strong representation from Greater Manchester and the North West. There was a huge turnout of visitors – many bagging themselves some fabulous early Christmas presents (for friends, family & themselves!).

We couldn’t blog about absolutely all the craftspeople there, so here’s a bit about some of the ones who especially caught our eye…

We were both really taken by these delicate and tactile hand-thrown porcelain vessels from Belfast-based Derek Wilson Ceramics. His display was the epitome of pared back, understated loveliness!

Adelle has a soft spot for colourful & playful jewellery like these felt pieces from Lynsey Walters

…and a well-known penchant for vintage and vintage inspired handbags & purses!

These ones above are from Monica Boxley who, as well as using original vintage fabrics, makes beautiful handmade leather handbags inspired by a 1950s one belonging to her mother. It’s named the Marianne in homage.

As we’re on the subject of bags & purses, here are some lovely natural linen examples below from Teresa Green who makes an array of goods using textiles that she designs & hand prints.

If you’re a regular reader of our blog posts, you’ll know that we love pottery. The timeless slipware made by Hannah McAndrew is just the kind of thing that gets us excited.

Her pieces would sit equally comfortably in both an ultra modern pad as well as well as an antique furnished country cottage.

There’s another Hannah exhibiting who’s work we’ve known & loved for a very long time. She’s Hannah Nunn, a lighting designer based a 10-minute drive away from us in Hebden Bridge.

If you’re ever in the area, her shop Radiance is in Hebden town centre. If not, she also sells online.

Ruth Green Design had a lovely display of eye-catching silk screen prints.

In addition to screen prints she has a lovely selection of linocuts and oil on paper works available on her website.

Tricia Needham is another screen printer whose work caught our attention. She makes these tea cosies as well as cushions, bags, scarves and ties (seen adorning the neck of Jon Snow no less!).

One stand that was getting a lot of attention from visitors on the night was Ingrid Wagner‘s…

Ingrid was encouraging people to try their hand at knitting with her giant needles and huge balls of wool & fabric. Ingrid in fact broke the world record last year for ‘extreme knitting’ – using needles three and a half metres long!

The Fair’s on until Sunday 25th October so get down there, it’s well worth a visit!

Vintage Manchester

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Handmade beige felt cushion with No place like home decoration

We originally wrote this post way back in May 2009 and since then there have been lots of changes on the Manchester vintage and hand-made scene so we thought it was high time to update our guide.

We’ll mainly concentrate on the Northern Quarter area of the city centre so we’ll start with Manchester Craft & Design Centre (17 Oak Street, M4 5JD). It’s a wonderful old Victorian building – a former fish & poultry market.

exterior view of Manchester Craft & Design Centre | H is for Home

Spread over 2 floors, it houses a number of fabulous designer/makers, each with their own workspace cum retail outlet.

interior view of Manchester Craft & Design Centre

A Few Fine Things sign, Manchester Craft & Design Centre A Few Fine Things workshop, Manchester Craft & Design Centre

perspex rings for sale in Manchester Craft & Design Centre

There are lots of gorgeous jewellery, clothing, home furnishings and accessories on sale.

clutch bag available from Suzanne Devine at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Special mention must go to Calico Angel at Holm, owned by Susan Kane & Clinton Pilkington.

Calico Angel, Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Not only are their products beautiful but the display was really imaginative – it’s an inspiring space.

Calico Angel, Manchester Craft & Design Centre, Manchester

Calico Angel, Manchester Craft & Design Centre, Manchester

There’s also a lovely little coffee shop, Café Aromat, on the premises. On a recent trip we had the best home-made muffins we’ve ever tasted!

Café Aromat at the Manchester Craft & Design Centre

As you leave the centre, don’t forget to pop into the RSPCA charity shop opposite (15 Oak Street, M4 5JD). We give it a mention because there aren’t many charity shops in the area and you can find the odd vintage treasure in there.

RSPCA charity shop on Oak Street, Manchester

Just around the corner is James Darby (Thomas Street M4 1ER) a bespoke tailor.

Exterior of James Darby, Thomas Street, Manchester

In his words, “Think authentic Savile Row meets Picasso, old school quality with contemporary artisan twist.”

interior of James Darby Bespoke Tailor's shop, Thomas Street, Manchester

James counts many Manchester band members as customers; think Oasis, Happy Mondays, The Courteeners et al.

Interior view of James Darby, Thomas Street, Manchester

During the visit Adelle was completely smitten by James’s boxer, Trevor. He completely emptied her pockets of dog treats!

Interior view of James Darby, Thomas Street, Manchester

Sticking with the hand-crafted theme, we move along to Craft Saturday.

Handmade purses on Manchester Fashion Market

Its name is a give-away, it’s an outdoor market held on Saturdays at the Piccadilly end of Tib Street alongside the Food Market.

Handmade purses on Manchester Fashion Market

It consists of a number of outdoor stalls selling clothing, bags, accessories, jewellery, gifts and homewares – many using recycled fabric and materials.

vintage fabric goods on Manchester Fashion Market

We’ll begin the vintage chapter with Retro Rehab (91 Oldham Street, M1 1JR).

Exterior view of Retro Rehab, Oldham Street, Manchester

It’s probably the best shop in the area to source pretty, patterned 1950s dresses.

Interior view of Retro Rehab, Oldham Street, Manchester

Opposite is Ryan Vintage (46-50 Oldham Street, M4 1LE).

shop front of Ryan Vintage on Oldham Street, Manchester

A real rummager’s paradise – both men’s & women’s fashion and very popular with Manchester’s large student population.

interior of Ryan Vintage shop, Oldham Street, Manchester

Also on this street is Pop Boutique (34-36 Oldham Street, M1 1JN), one of the most long-standing vintage shops in the area.

Sign on the outside of Pop Boutique, Manchester

It always has a few tempting things in the window. Once inside, you’ll find their own label, retro fashion upstairs a bustling, adjoining café (great for people watching) and vintage homewares downstairs.

Pop Boutique's window display

There are also branches of the shop in Liverpool, London, Leeds and Gothenburg, Sweden.

Inside Pop Boutique, Manchester

A bit further along the road on the opposite side is Blue Rinse (21-23 Oldham Street M1 1JG).

selection of vintage trainers hanging from the ceiling in Blue Rinse, Oldham Street, Manchester

selection of vintage trainers hanging in the window of Blue Rinse, Oldham Street, Manchester

Adelle found a bright floral shirt that she quite liked the look of!

selection of vintage denim dungarees in Blue Rinse, Oldham Street, Manchester

Also on Oldham Street is Oxfam Originals (51 Oldham Street, M4 1JR)

turquoise vintage crocheted maxi-dress in the window of Oxfam Originals, Oldham Street, Manchester

… a great selection of clothes, bags, shoes and ties and of course, the money you spend goes to charity!

Close by is Affleck’s Palace, (52 Church Street, M4 1PW) something of a Manchester institution.

interior of Afflecks Palace, Manchester

Three floors of fashion, vintage and alternative culture.

Vintage telephones on sale in Affleck's Palace

Across the road & round the corner, Junk Shop (2 Dale Street, M1 1JW) is also a fairly new addition.

store front of Junk Shop, Dale Street, Manchester

This shop’s ethos is all about sustainable, ethical fashion.

interior view of Junk Shop, Dale Street, Manchester

They make re-purposed fashion via their own labels – Made In The Mill, Jumble and Label of Love.

interior view of Junk Shop, Dale Street, Manchester

The entire shop interior is fitted using recycled and reclaimed materials – including a counter made from Fairy Liquid bottles! They also run regular dressmaking, tailoring and styling courses.

interior view of Junk Shop, Dale Street, Manchester

Deep Vintage Clothing (10 Hilton Street, M1 1JF) is the new kid on the block, based in the shop that was previously American Graffitti.

selection of vintage check shirts in Deep, Hilton Street, Manchester

selection of vintage denim waistcoats in Deep, Hilton Street, Manchester

Deep sells lots of up-cycled clothing using re-configured denim and screen-printed sweatshirts in a rainbow selection of colours.

selection of vintage upcycled sweatshirts in Deep, Hilton Street, Manchester

They also have a music station where you can stand and listen through headphones whilst admiring album artwork.

shop front of Cow off Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester

A short walk away from the main Northern Quarter area, across Piccadilly Gardens is Cow (Unit C1, City Tower, Parker Street, Piccadilly Gardens, M1 4AH).

entrance to the Cow changing rooms

As well as Manchester, there are Cow outlets in Sheffield, Birmingham and Nottingham.

large green vintage trunk used in merchandise display at Cow off Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester

It was by far the largest vintage store on our trail and its merchandise displays were really imaginatively done.

Adelle with two vintage dresses she bought from Cow off Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester

Adelle managed to keep her purse in her bag for most of the trip but, at £15 for the pair, these two dresses proved too much of a temptation – they came home with us!

red bench in the cow shop

There are also some good art & craft supply shops like Abakan Fabrics, Hobby & Home (111-115 Oldham Street, M4 1LN) and Fred Auldous (37 Lever Street, M1 1LW).

wool in Abakan Fabrics shop window

Here’s a handy map of the Northern Quarter where we’ve highlighted the location of all the shops featured in this post.

map of the Northern Quarter, Manchester with vintage & handmade shops marked out

On our day out taking photos we only walked round the city centre but there are lots of vintage shops in the ‘burbs. Our favourite out-of-town vintage shop is Wowie Zowie in Chorlton. They have a wide selection of well edited, excellent quality stock. It’s tricky to fill a shop with lots of choice without making it look too cluttered – Wowie Zowie really pulls it off.

interior view of Wowie Zowie vintage shop in Chorlton, Manchester

We don’t get to visit nearly as often as we’d like – but that’s probably a good thing for our bank balance as we never leave empty-handed!

interior view of Wowie Zowie vintage shop in Chorlton, Manchester

Here are a few of others we highly recommend:

One of the biggest changes on the vintage Manchester scene is the rise in the number of vintage fairs & events. It suits some folks – no need to have a permanent bricks & mortar shop where you need to be at least 5 days a week (and therefore frees up your time to go hunting for stock!); none of the associated overheads of having premises: rent, rates, utility bills; you get the chance to meet lots of other sellers; you can have a stall in Manchester one week, Leeds the next and York the week after – have vintage, will travel!

Here’s a list of vintage Manchester events & fairs – we’ve covered the whole of Greater Manchester as there are lots of them popping up.

If we’ve omitted any vintage shops or events out please let us know – we’ll happily add them!