Penny from Penny Varley Ceramics

Midday Makers

Back in the 1980’s I threw my first pot on a manual potters wheel, it was one of the most difficult things I had ever tried to do..  keeping clay on the wheel, standing up pushing the kick bar backwards and forwards to make the wheel go round and have some idea about what you are trying to achieve….Then in the late 1990’s I signed up for a pottery evening class at my local college, was I mad or did I just like getting messy? Obviously there was still a spark somewhere.  I attended three times a week and was totally hooked.  I loved throwing once I got the knack and creating slab and coil pots.  Our house was quickly filling up with my work and friends and family knew what they would be getting for birthdays and Christmas.One day my husband asked ‘ what are you going to do with all these pots?’. My reply ‘ I have no idea, but I have lots more ideas and I want to continue. At the time we were living in a small house with a long garden.  We sold and moved to our current home in the village of Tysoe in Warwickshire which had the perfect place for a studio and within 6 months the studio was built.

I started selling my work through the local tourist information centre and some craft fairs and in 2005 gave up the day job as a manager in the Civil Service to follow my dream and I launched Penny Varley Ceramics.It was scary with no money coming in but I stuck to my guns and introduced teaching pottery into my repertoire. As well as speaker events, both things I had been involved with in my previous life.I have a staple range of domestic ware bowls, jugs, coasters and tea towels and then I have my unique pieces.  These are all one off’s and will often be inspired by the view I have from my studio up to the Edge Hill escarpment.  I love to experiment with texture and colour and as a keen dog walker I observe and collect items on my walks to inspire new work. I am passionate about my garden and a few years ago decide to work with a clay that would be frostproof.  New clay, new firing temperatures  and new glazes have all taken my work on a different path.My purpose build garden studio is my area of calm and sanctuary.  My commute to work is less than a minute (usually with a golden retriever and a cup of tea).  The radio switches from radio 4 to radio 2 depending on my mood, but there is no phone or internet.’ organised chaos’ is how I would describe my studio as I often have more than one project on the go at a time.  ‘ there is order but only I know what that order is’.

At the start of March my diary was full of commitments for shows, teaching and talks.  As we know that all changes and I discovered Makers Market From Home.  I decided to embrace social media and technology.  I bought a new phone got posting and signed up for the makers market.  July was my initiation.  I loved setting up my stand and having something to work towards.  I have missed my shows and fellow artists and the banter and the MMFH has filled that  void for me.  It was lovely to do the interview with Andy and the idea of ambassador  is pure genius.  As a designer maker of 3d object s it is difficult sometimes for customers to understand the processAnd to get the overall view of the work, any platform that enables that is a winner in my book.  Thank you MMFH for having the vision and seeing it through.

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

Visit her Instagram @pennyvarleycermics

Louise from Louby Lou’s Luxuries

Midday Makers

My name is Louise and I’m from Norwich. I grew up in Aylsham and went to Aylsham high school and later onto Eaton collage. 

My business name is Louby Lou’s Luxuries. The name idea came from a nickname my mother-in-law gave me and it really have stuck, even the dog knows me by it. 

The reason I started my business is because I was always buying wax melts for myself and even for presents so I thought why am I not making these myself. I have come a long way since my first ever craft fair and have definitely learnt a lot in terms of how I make my melts to how I like to set up my stall. 

I now offer a range of scents in categories including Fruity, Floral & Fresh, Drinks, Inspired By and Men’s Aftershave. These can be purchased in Pick ‘n’ Mix shapes, Mini Snap Bars and Gift Boxed Shapes.  

My latest product to my business is a range of fashion hoop and hook earrings. 

I am working hard to try and increase my followers and I believe Makers Market From Home is a great platform to help people do this.

Have a watch of our Midday Makers chat with Louise on our IGTV channel.

 Instagram – @loubylousluxuries 

Felicity Knights from Annie Honey Stitches

Midday Makers

Hi, I’m felicity, also known as Annie Honey Stitches!

I’ve been dabbling in textiles since high school, popped to art school in Norwich for a year to do my foundation degree, focusing on textiles and exploring free motion embroidery.

Then I got a job and a boyfriend /marriage/child/career/divorce etc and it all took a back burner for a while!

2 years ago I set up Annie Honey, with an exhibition at a popular coffee shop in Ipswich, and haven’t looked back since! I work full time hours between a school & being a barista, so the sewing is done when I can. 

Annie Honey is named after my maternal grandmother who I never got to meet. I loved her name and always wanted to name a child after her, but my actual child is a boy and it didn’t fit, so the business, being my second baby, gets the name! 

I work in free motion embroidery, basically drawing with a sewing machine, and love to create special one off pieces. 

I love doing markets and have found so much more confidence over time to get out and sell my stuff. I love being able to meet the faces of the lovely people who buy my work! 

Obviously lockdown has changed the face of small businesses and how they run, and the addition of Makers Market From Home has been amazing to open up a whole other dimension of selling and sharing and community. 

Watch our cheerful Monday lunchtime chat with Felicity on our Midday Makers IGTV series.

Visit Felicity’s Etsy Shop Annie Honey Stitches

Instagram @AnnieHoneyStitches