First Light Festival Midday Makers Takeover

Midday Makers

As part of First Light Festival 2020 we did an Instagram takeover on the @firstlightlowestoft IG account and hosted a #FirstLightMakersMarket!

We spoke with three makers who have a local link to Lowestoft including Kay Lillian Designs, Helen Thrower Jewellery and Rachel’s Soaps.

It was brilliant to chat to these talented local creatives and to see inside their studios LIVE as part of #FirstLightFromHome.

Please have a watch of our interviews with these fabulous #MiddayMakers on the First Light IGTV channel here.


Lani Scholtz from Sincerely Africa

Midday Makers

My name is Lani, I’m a wife, mom and dog mom. My family and I live on the border between Cheshire and Staffordshire in a beautiful little town called Congleton so we get the best of both worlds! I grew up in South Africa, studied animal science, became an animal nutritionist, and moved to the UK in 2015. When I moved, I was in the midst of completing an MBA degree which had a big influence on me in the sense that I knew I wanted a career change.

I came up with the idea of Sincerely Africa while on maternity leave, sitting in a freezing cold kitchen in the middle of summer with the rain pouring down outside, I missed sunshine and a warm breeze. I wanted something to cheer me up and my first thought was to get some flowers in my kitchen.

My sister, a photographer and I collaborated to create and photograph my designs every time I went to South Africa and then last year, I had enough savings to start my business. I started slow by printing only one or two tablecloths at a time but soon realised that bulk printing saves a lot of money.

I use a local printing company in Staffordshire to print my designs on 100% cotton, half panama weave fabric. They send me the huge roll of fabric which I then make into various kitchen textiles but mainly tablecloths.

I got furloughed at the start of April and decided to really hunker down and see how much I can achieve while I am at home. Not just to grow my business as much as possible but also to use the time to get to know my community and learn how to use social media efficiently and effectively.

Watch Lani’s interview with MMFH Ambassador Alice O’Connell on our Midday Makers IGTV.

Visit Lani’s website at

Instagram @sincerely_africa_products

Katy from Katy Wilkinson Jewellery

Midday Makers

Hello! Nice to meet you. I’m Katy and I am the face, the designer, the maker and sales person behind Katy Wilkinson Jewellery. Oh and the photographer, finance manager, etc, etc… I am a wife and mum to two gorgeous small ones and after years of having my own business, I can finally now say it is my Day Job! Hooray!

I handcraft simple and timeless jewellery designs in sterling silver, gold and gemstones, make to order and also take on a lot of commissions. I work from home in a purpose built studio within my double garage and love spending every minute I can in there. Having a fairly recent obsession with gemstones, I really enjoy creating one-off pieces using hand-picked gemstones. Having a small and growing collection gives me the opportunity to offer a really personal design service, whereby the customer can choose a stone they love the most to be set in their commissioned or made to order piece of jewellery.

My creative journey started when I was a lot younger. I was always one of the ‘arty’ ones at school and eventually went on to take Art, Product Design and Biology (I know – seems weird, but I loved it!) A-Levels. After A-levels I didn’t feel ready for Uni so I decided to go to collage to complete a Level 3 Diploma in Art Foundation Studies. It was only for a year, but it was a year of experimentation in different art mediums and it was great fun.

It gave me the opportunity to explore different areas of design that I hadn’t had exposure to before, such as 3D design and from there I started creating body adornments from all sorts of materials. After finding out that there were Uni courses focusing on Jewellery design, I jumped at the chance of heading in this direction and applied to a few including Birmingham City University – The School of Jewellery, where I spent the next three years.

I had such an amazing three years at the School of Jewellery. It was hard work and we were in School every day, using the workshops and learning new techniques. But as an Art based course we were really encouraged to think outside the box and so my Degree Show comprised of a collection of pieces and adornments based on the emotion of Frustration, mostly created using an amazing piece of kit, called a Laser Welder, to create cage like structures from Stainless Steel and Gold.

During my third year I won a few awards, one of which, the Marketing Birmingham’s Jewellery Student of the year 2006, gave me the opportunity to have my work modelled by Erin O’Connor (used to model for M&S) and have my work worn on the Catwalk. These experiences further fuelled my love for the industry and so as soon as I graduated in 2006, I returned home (to Wiltshire) to set up my business.

Since then, I had been working part time as a Jeweller whilst having a day job in Marketing. During this time I had built up collections and ranges, taken on commissions, had been attending craft fairs and sold online, determined to make a go of it so that one day I could finally be a Jewellery Designer Maker full time!

Guess what, in 2019 I made the leap!! When the time came to decide if I was going to head back to the day job after my second maternity leave, I decided to bite the bullet and resign! And it truly was the best decision I’ve ever made. I can now focus on being the creative that I’ve always wanted to be and at the same time, working from home gives me the opportunity to spend more time with my family.

Finding the MakersMarketFromHome and taking part in every one of the markets so far has been a great experience and a fabulous way to spend some of the Saturdays that I would have ordinarily been at physical local markets selling my creations. It’s also been a great way of growing my online profile and I have met some other fabulous makers who ordinarily I would never have met by attending my local markets and who I chat to on a regular basis now. It’s such a fabulous community to be a part of.

Watch Katy’s interview on our IGTV channel here.

Visit Katy’s website

Instagram @KewJewellery

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

Gemma from Quirk Botanicals

Midday Makers

Hi there! I’m Gemma, and welcome to Quirk Botanicals, my vegan and cruelty-free beauty business.

Based in Manchester, I created Quirk back in 2017. Quirk is all about embracing and celebrating natural beauty. All of my products are made with carefully selected ingredients and, of course, a lot of love!

From a really young age I’ve always been creative, and throughout school I focused a lot on my art and photography. I also fell in love with history and ultimately this led me to the University of Nottingham where I did a degree in Archaeology.

While I enjoyed my degree (and I had THE BEST time at uni) I knew that this wasn’t something I wanted to do as a career. In my 3rd year I got a part-time job as a Marketing Intern in a local theatre which opened the doors to me becoming a Marketing Assistant after I had left Nottingham and returned to my native Manchester.

Again, as much as I enjoyed the work I was doing, something wasn’t right, and I was beginning to doubt that I belonged in the ‘corporate’ world. It was during this time, with my new disposable income, that I began shopping at a certain high street store, and obsessively stocked up on bath bombs.

One evening, after what was just an awful day at work, my husband, Jon, convinced me to start a DIY project to save some money – that was making bath bombs. That’s how Quirk began. Every night when I got home from work, I’d get my ingredients out, I’d pour over books about cosmetics, natural beauty, skincare – I became a woman possessed!

I finally decided that enough was enough, and with my family’s support, I quit my job and decided to pursue Quirk full-time (it was also around this time that me and Jon decided to get married – I don’t recommend starting a business and planning a wedding at the same time!)

Quirk allows me to nurture my creative AND academic sides. I’ve learnt so much about the cosmetic/beauty industry through my journey and it’s made me more determined to make Quirk simple, transparent and authentic with the products I make.

Outside of Quirk I spend my time with my husband, my family and my cats! (but most of the time I can be found in my bath bomb cave!) Becoming involved with the Makers Market From Home has been incredible – there are so many amazing and inspiring small businesses out there, and it’s such a wonderful community to be a part of.

Watch Gemma’s interview as part of our Midday Makers series on IGTV.

Visit Quirk Botanicals on Etsy

Instagram @QuirkBotanicals

Facebook Quirk Botanicals

Twitter @QuirkBotanicals

Alice O’Connell from Wool & Water / Wool & Whiskers

Midday Makers

Hello, I am Alice and I am the busy, knitting hands behind both Wool & Water and Wool & Whiskers, my curious and unexpected knitwear labels.

At Wool & Water you will find my limited edition, knitted Bow Ties, Suspenders, Neck Ties and Pins and Wool & Whiskers is my Pet Label where I knit Bow Ties for Cats and Dogs and now, Catnip Toys too.

I learnt to knit while working as a TV and Theatre actress – a consequence of spending so much time filming, means lots of waiting… I have cast on and off some of my proudest pieces while in corsets, flares or faux blood stained t-shirts!

My TV acting credits include; Holby City, Jonathan Creek, Silent Witness, The Rotter’s Club, Doctor Who, The Verdict, City of Vice, Outnumbered, Casualty, Doctors, The Bill to name drop a few… I was knitting or learning to knit on all of these sets and more.

As soon as I started to knit, I was hooked (excuse the pun) and was quickly taking requests from friends, crew members and it just grew.

In the pursuit of more creative side hustles than just temping and catering gigs in-between auditions I started taking commissions from a growing network of private clients and eventually for various British Knitwear Designers and indie labels, all alongside acting.  

Nearly 10 years later, after a life changing chat with a designer I met with, I signed up to study Knitwear Design (at the infamous Knit One in Brighton), and immersed myself in all things knitted. It was amazing, inspiring and galvanising. This step away from acting coincided with a somewhat impulsive move for my husband and I from London to Amsterdam with our 2 rescue cats and a lot of wool, which is where I set up Wool & Water.  

I have a passion for natural fibres, the knitted textile and the aim to combine traditional craft with a modern aesthetic.

Wool & Water is a celebration of curiosity, individualism and personal expression and Wool & Whiskers, my pet label, is about fun, sparking smiles and offering a unique way to include your fur baby in family events and celebrations.

I am an old soul, I am inspired by both modern and classic forms of; music, film, fashion, art. All of these creative forms inspire me to create pieces anchored in heritage yet fresh in perspective.

Alongside my labels, I work as a Voice Actress here in Amsterdam and voice documentaries, adverts, museum audio guides, public service announcements… the work is fun and varied and I love it. I still do the odd bit of on screen acting now and again as and when the opportunities come knocking and I always make sure I have my knitting with me!

My love of knitting also led me to start teaching, which I still do, exclusively online right now, and I love being a part of people’s early creative journey. Many of my students have gone on to launch knitwear labels themselves.

Watch Alice’s Midday Makers live chat here on our IGTV.

Websites and

Instagram @woolandwaterltd and @woolandwhiskers

Facebook @woolandwhiskers

Andy Greenacre from Unruly Print

Midday Makers

In my business Unruly Print I hand-draw, hand-cut and hand-print all of my designs, using traditional lino printing methods and techniques. The imagery in my work is inspired from my own childhood memories, but I also work on commissions for customers memories too. Each lino print is a unique artwork and comes signed by me.

Like everyone I loved playing and being creative as a kid. I have really fond memories of this time and there were always lots of other children in the house because Mum and Dad child-minded. This meant we spent every spare minute coming up with games and making things with bits of old cardboard, paint and glue.

As I grew up, I forget to make time to play, society and life threw some challenges my way that got in the way of being creative. Lucky for me I was given the chance to go to uni at the ‘mature’ age of 23, I successfully gained a Fine Art degree and Masters in Art.

After leaving university I had a series of different jobs to help balance and juggle the life of an artist and the reality of bills and adult life. I went into teaching for 5 years and while doing this was able to spend time learning with the children through play. This is when I started to revisit a childhood skill of printing and from a print of Southwold Lighthouse in 2017, Unruly Print was born.

I am now a full-time artist working in print, photographing, sculpture and digital media. I am also a speaker and broadcaster of creativity and I am passionate about giving everyone the opportunity to experience and enjoy art.

Makers Market From Home has given me a focus for my creation of prints. In ‘normal’ times I would try and create new work for upcoming markets, now I have a virtual market to work towards instead. I have met some wonderful makers and customers which has made me feel less alone in this time of isolation.

Watch Andy’s Midday Makers video here.

For more info please visit:

Etsy Shop – Unruly Print

Instagram – @UnrulyPrint