Andrea from Dandylion Design

Midday Makers

I started at art school at 17 and although I always felt my destiny was to be a sculptor; the desire to earn a decent living led me to study furniture and product design at degree level. When I left Kingston, in the middle of a deep recession, all I wanted to do was to set up a market stall and sell things that I’d made. The drawback was having the money to buy the raw materials to make anything in the first place. So, I ended up working for a firm of architects on a short-term contract to earn the cash to do so. Two years later I had to concede I’d become an interior designer. This led to a long career working in many sectors – public, residential, retail and exhibition. I learnt a lot, had a great time and made some great friends along the way. Although I thought I’d have more time to pursue my making passion when I started a family; freelance work paid the bills and filled the hours I wasn’t being a mum.

Lockdown in many ways has been a blessing for me. As I could no longer do anything that wasn’t home based. It forced me to assess what I really should be doing career wise as my industry had taken a nosedive.

One Christmas, years ago I had asked my husband to buy me a cheap hobby kiln. As I have always loved glass and the three-dimensional depth and purity of colour within it, I had hoped to experiment with this material. However, coming to grips with firing schedules had stood as a rather silly obstacle for far too long. Lockdown gave me the time to study this dark alchemy and it was almost a week before I blew that kiln up! Then I slogged through the technical details of firing schedules properly. Along with everything I could find out about glass compatibility and brought a new kiln.

Now, although every time I put something in the kiln it’s still an experiment, I never want to lose that sense of play. Equally over the years of experimenting with many materials I have enjoyed the endless possibilities there are in combining textures that I have grown to adore. Whether it’s timber, metal, leather, flint, plaster or something more obscure; there is a distinctive relationship I have with them all; and a respect for their limitations and potential. I can’t imagine sticking to one material forever, but I am now fully immersed in the love affair I’m having with glass and feel I’m at the beginning of a long and rewarding journey. There’s so much to learn and so many ideas I want to put into practice, that I think it’s safe to assume my new kiln will have a long and hard life.

Finally, the next best thing to my original dream of setting up a market stall, in our COVID world, is a virtual one. I am grateful to makers market from home for setting up and supporting such an exciting platform.

Watch Andrea’s interview on our Midday Makers series on IGTV.

Visit her Instagram @dandyliondesignalv

Hannah Lush Life London

Hannah from Lush Life London

Midday Makers

My name is Hannah Smith and I run a small business called Lush Life Crafts (@lushlife_ldn on Instagram). I grew up and still live in North Norfolk. I originally set out to become a chef in London then decided to pursue a career in Nutrition, which led me to study a degree at Kingston University. I’m currently in my first year and I love it.

I’ve always been obsessed with crafts and it’s long been my escape from everything. I started selling my makes at car boot sales with my mum when I was younger starting with handmade cards. I eventually started a craft stalls in 2016 and opened my Etsy shop, Lush Life LDN, in 2017. At the start my products were very mixed to say the least. I eventually started to narrow my product range down to mostly hair accessories, although I do branch out to key rings, brooches and paper crafts on my Etsy shop. 

I usually sell the majority of my products at craft stalls, however since the pandemic began all my planned stalls for the summer have been understandably cancelled. However, it has given me an opportunity to regroup and most importantly, get organised! I now have a sort of office /work room to work from, which has made things so much easier. This time has also given me an opportunity expand my business online via virtual markets such as Makers Market from Home and through Facebook and Instagram. 

Makers Market from Home has given me an fantastic opportunity to expand my business and my network. I’ve met so many fantastic creatives and makers through this platform, and it’s really encouraging to see so many makers together supporting each other. That’s what Makers Market from Home means to me, its a family of creatives and makers, supporting each other through unprecedented and uncertain times.

Watch Hannah’s interview on our Midday Makers series on IGTV.

Visit her Instagram @lushlife_ldn