As we emerge from a year of reflection let’s not return to our old consumer habits. Instead, let’s make the most of local markets. Here are seven stalls to make the most of by the end of May.
On March 22nd the unbelievable happened. The world as we know it began to return to some sort of normality. As non-essential retail opened back up on the high street, those that had succumbed to the pass-the-parcel of online shopping were poised, ready. Although something was different. They had their cotton bags in hand.
Now a month or so on and everything seems to be back to how it initially was, except it wasn’t. When we’re sitting on our rapidly sanitised outdoor chairs, probably soaked to the core from the rain, we’re appreciating and savouring every sip of freedom. And when we’re shopping – whether that be window shopping or diving eyes first into the newly stocked rails – we’re appreciating every fibre, every pattern, every moment of spending that money that has been accumulating in our purses and pockets for over a year.
Lockdown was, and still is, known as the year of reflection, with one of the biggest reflections being that of our shopping habits. As pay collected on our cards and shop doors remained closed, our need to constantly consume began to tire and that hunger began to subside. Do we really want to undo how far we’ve come?
Instead, why not take a trip to Cardiff and, without hot-footing it into a chain store, stick to the streets and meet some of the lovely craft businesses showcasing their lockdown creations in the Craft Folk stalls. Why? As enlightened by Jane, founder and organizer of Craft Folk, making the most of small businesses featuring in Cardiff’s stalls is important as the alternative would be the loss of arts and crafts in the marketplace.
And if you’re thinking ‘Well yeah but they can just sell online?’ Then you wouldn’t be wrong, many businesses have turned to the online sphere to sell their creations in lockdown but, as Jane so simply put, “There’s no substitute for the customer seeing the work on our stalls and interacting with the person who made it,” Jane expressed before adding, “This will never change and the continuation of art and craft events will be ever more prominent in the future, with the emphasis on supporting local makers whilst also encouraging new ones.”
So, now the importance of supporting local and small is in the forefront of your thoughts, let’s meet some of the makers, shall we?
Welsh Coast Pebble Craft
Welsh Coast Pebble Craft does exactly what it says on the tin. These beautiful pebbled artworks are not only designed to bring a little bit of the beach to your home, but to remind you of the very best times of life spent out in the open air. How relaxing.
From lovers to dogs and scenic views, if there’s one thing each design has in common, it’s the theme of sitting on a log and watching the world go by. Welsh Coast Pebble Craft’s designs are made from wood, sea glass and pebbles found along the Welsh shoreline and popped onto a strong board, exhibited within crisp white frames.
It’s not unique, it’s Uneek. If your home style is a mixture of minimalism meets cottagecore then you should be keeping one eye on Uneek Workshop at all times. Using recycled, natural woods like oak, beech and sycamore, Uneek creates the most natural of home decor, all by hand.
Alongside mirrors, photo frames and wall hangings, Uneek also specialises in creating vases that have been woodturned. Just like pottery, Uneeks wooden items have been placed on a rotating wheel and carved by hand before being left with beautiful dark and rough edging, or painted in vibrant colours. Uneeks designs are a product of true, highly skilled craftsmanship.
Pretty Vibe Botanics
Pretty Vibe Botanics specialise in luxury vegan lifestyle products and has something to suit any specific scent. The team use EcoSoya wax (100% natural, vegan friendly, sustainable and biodegradable) to create their rustic candles that are all handcrafted and hand poured in the Pretty Vibe Botanics’ little studio in South Wales.
Soy candles, reed diffusers, vegan wax melts and botanical bath salts – Pretty Vibe Botanics has something for every scent enthusiast. What’s better is that all packaging, jars and bottles are recyclable. And with every jar or bottle returned, the team will take £1 off your next purchase AND plant a tree with Ecologi. *Round of applause*
Lesley Jane Jewellery
Lesley Jane Jewellery is the epitome of traditional craft with a twist, making raw pieces of jewellery from her own two hands for the hands of others. Using traditional metalwork and enamelling techniques alongside more current collage and digital design tools, Lesley turns reclaimed copper and silver, and materials like enamel into pieces of art to adorn the body. From vintage ceramics to book illustrations and maps to fabrics, if it’s nostalgic Lesley has been inspired by it, and you’ll probably find hints of it being reinterpreted into her jewellery and small metalwork.
“Now that restrictions are easing, it’s so lovely to be out at markets again, seeing my customers face to face!,” Lesley mentioned before adding “During lockdown the people of Wales have been buying local and supporting our work on social media, which has really helped keep the business alive.”
Reloved Designs by Dawn
You can never have too many bags – especially if they aren’t costing the earth in any way. Revolved Designs by Dawn is a whole treasure trove of bags that have been created from reclaimed fabrics. Many of Dawns designs feature a statement pocket – either from a pair of old jeans, upcycled from another bag or hand sewn from other recycled fabrics.
As you can imagine, each bag is hand sewn and completely one of a kind. From totes to drawstring bags; shoulder bags and handbags to backpacks, you name it, Dawn’s designed it and popped a pocket on top.
Bluebell Peak Designs
Bluebell Peak Designs was initially inspired by founder, Yanina’s favourite view, Cam Peak in Gloucestershire – emblazoned with bright bluebells, and a lack of eco-friendly night lights for children. Yanina sets out to bring the best of british wildlife to homes everywhere, as sustainably as possible. Using a laser cutter, cotton and locally sourced ply, Yanina designs vases, ornaments and unique lamps laser cut into the shapes of wildlife creatures big and small.
“Whilst it has been quieter than normal (as to be expected) the support from people has been overwhelming, and it’s been wonderful seeing faces old and new discovering my new work,” Yanina began to explain before adding, “The makers and artisans that feature in Craft Folk markets are an amazing support network and Jane has been amazing through all the turbulence – she really deserves a medal for her work.”
And last but in no way least, Castell Apothecary. Carefully packaged into home fragrances and body care products is a whole wealth of knowledge and passion for the natural and beneficial properties of plants. From Rambling Rose to Wild Bluebell, these products are made from thoughtfully selected botanicals and oils and dedicated to making you feel your best both mentally and physically.
Castell Apothecary’s products, including the Nos Da bath milk, Cariad Flower Garden soaps and Cwtch candles are all natural and handmade in Britain. The independent Welsh company commended in the beauty shortlist awards 2020 is also completely recyclable.