Making love It’s two years since the ‘neo-craft’ collective, Made in the Shade began. As they celebrate their 2nd birthday with the first craft fair in Edinburgh, Carrie Maclennan looks back
Clare Nicolson (left) and Carrie Maclennan of Made in the Shade
‘W e didn’t set out to start a business when we started Made in the Shade. It was a hobby to take our minds off our hectic day jobs. We wanted to produce a fun event that
would stand out and give customers a different experience.
We hosted our first Made in the Shade (MITS) shopping event at The Lighthouse in May 2008, showcasing local designers. Then last January, we realised MITS had the potential to grow into a business, so we planned to set up a permanent shop and gallery space.
I’d been earning a pittance as a university research student, so earning a pittance to get MITS up and running wasn’t such a huge drop! Outwith MITS, Clare [Nicolson, who co-founded MITS] is a textile designer and runs her own business. Clare makes beautiful digitally printed cushions, wall art, and little vintage fabric lavender birds. She sells her work in London, Paris, Japan and America; in Liberty, Paperchase and Habitat. Like me, Clare is a collector. She hoards vintage wallpapers; packaging; stationery. Clare’s been involved in Glasgow’s craft scene for over four years, promoting indie design. Between 2005–2009 I hosted crafty parties in Glasgow bars called [We Are] Fuzzy Felt Folk. They were intimate gatherings with live music and some impromptu/drunken crafting projects. Opening The Maisonette [see above] is probably our biggest achievement. Before, all MITS work was done from our living rooms. The novelty of working from the comfort of the couch wears off quicker that you might think! The shop acts like a mini MITS event, open for business every day. We hold crafting events in the evenings too. The Maisonette allows us to get the message across to more customers – that craft can be covetable, that handmade is not the same as ‘homemade’ and that the neo-craft movement provides ethically produced, design-led, quality products worth investing in.
22 THE LIST 13–27 May 2010
Despite the stresses of being responsible for our own business, and having no guaranteed salary, I’ve never been as happy in a job as I am working on MITS. We have the freedom to be creative. When we were starting out, craft wasn’t trendy – it was quite geeky. It wasn’t fashionable to scour charity shops for bobbins of yarn, or learn to knit or cross-stitch. Over the last two years, craft has become extremely popular. The ‘make do and mend’ mantra of the 40s made its return when the UK economy slumped into recession.
We’ve worked with hundreds of indie designers over the last two years. We’ve known Rachael Lamb [aka Hannah Zakari, see opposite] for years, and we adore Gillian Kyle’s work – we stock her Tunnock’s Teacake designs, and I’m most excited by her new Creamola Foam range! Michelle Aaron has taken part in almost all our events and recently opened Auntie M’s Cake Lounge – a 50s-styled cake shop (opposite The Maisonette). Auntie M will be at our Springtime Jamboree in Edinburgh. We’ve also got live music from Kansas poppette Piney Gir, ‘The MITS Photobooth’, the usual vintage soundtrack, Flora the Tombola and free gifts for early birds. The Edinburgh vendor line-up is fabulous – with offbeat jewellery, homewares and vintage ephemera. (We’ll be back at The Roxy in July and November, and have events at The Lighthouse in August, October and December.) My priority has always been to integrate my interests and passions into my job. Made in the Shade allows me to do just that.’
The Springtime Jamboree, The Roxy Art House, Sat 15 May. The Made in the Shade Maisonette, De Courcy’s Arcade, Cresswell Lane, Glasgow, 337 3795. www.wearemadeintheshade.com