Handmade & Proud!
Today we meet two creatives that both experience making products and running their business from home. So many can relate to this and it is tight to fit everything in, but like everyone they manage and thrive. Find out about their favourite items to make and the markets they enjoy selling at.
Where it all began:
I started Kitsch Republic in 2011. I initially focussed on my love for vintage homewares and making cushions. I loved making cushions from unusual and vintage fabrics, but as time has gone by the products that I make have completely evolved! Whilst Kitsch Republic was born through a love of kitsch, vintage & retro, this is now firmly imprinted on the style of products I make, but no longer really features any true vintage pieces. In the end I loved making things more than I did searching for vintage finds at car boot sales whatever the weather!
In 2013 I made one lampshade in my tiny house in Bollington, where I lived at the time. It wasn’t great, I made it with the frame upside down! However, from this first make I dedicated myself to learning the best techniques to make excellent quality lampshades, making interesting and unusual lampshades that you simply can’t find anywhere else! Over time we have expanded our product range to other homewares, including enamel cups, chopping boards and coasters, but the show stoppers at my stall is always the lampshades. Since Kitsch Republic’s humble beginnings in being a vintage dealer, we are firmly now in the handmade category, and between myself and my partner Dave we make or print everything ourselves.
Growing up in the Potteries I was always drawing and making, but it wasn’t until redundancy four years ago that I started to sell my own work. After attending a workshop at the V & A I began to realise my potential and PaperLilac was born, named after the first make I had put into a frame, a lilac stem made from tissue paper and wire.
Where I currently work:
We have recently moved house to somewhere bigger so we can have a dedicated room for Kitsch Republic, plus a handy garage. I never realised how life changing having a garage to store market stuff would be!
Having recently relocated from the hills of Mossley, where I had a studio at Woodend Mill, I now live in Cambridgeshire with my husband and two sons and I am getting used to working in the confines of our conservatory and framing in the garage, and getting used to sharing my work space with the cat!
Work in progress:
At the moment I am working on more chopping board designs, and I am always on the look-out for interesting and unusual fabrics that I can make lampshades with. I am also working on my own fabric designs for lampshades so that we can really offer exclusive products to our customers. We currently have a couple of designs of our own, but in future we certainly hope to have designed many more! As has always been with Kitsch Republic, we are constantly evolving and improving!
I’ve been mainly working on commissions this month, but I have also diversified and have started to use shrink plastic in my work to create art that can be worn.
My favourite items to make are the lampshades, I love making ones which are real statement pieces!
My proudest moment so far was being commissioned to create an Egyptian cat card for the British Museum, which was sold during the exhibition of Sunken Cities last year. Although being based in Manchester until very recently, the bee paper cut design has so far been my best seller.
Kitsch Republic currently have a few regular market spots around the North West. Currently we are regulars at:
Heaton Moor Market, Stockport
Love Bollington Market, Bollington
Treacle Market, Macclesfield
We also like to book guest spots at markets just to get our products out there to new audiences.
You can find me and PaperLilac at Ely Craft and Collectibles market held every Saturday, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to see which dates I’ll be there.
Loved reading about our stallholders? Why not click this link and read another Meet the Maker blog…