Last week I talked about a certain section of the crafting community who put down other crafters because they are 'hobbyists' or who use commercially-made components in their work. So in redress, this week I would like to talk about the other side of the coin, the craftspeople I know who are supportive and inclusive and give constructive, positive feed back. By that I don't mean that they just say 'ooh lovely' to everything, but that they always find something good (and truthful) to say about others work. They don't feel the need to be negative just to make themselves look good.
First up is the amazing Sooz, who runs my favourite beading forum Bead Buddies and who encouraged me to start this blog. She has a bead shop, The Bead Shed, but she also crochets, knits, cooks, tie-dyes, she's a lampworker, she teaches beading and she's had tutorials published in magazines ... this woman can turn her hand to anything. You can find some of her work on her blog, Soozintheshed, here http://soozintheshed.blogspot.co.uk/ This is one of my favourite pieces of her recent work, a sparkly crochet shawl.
My very good friend Tan Grey of Tan Grey Glass has picked me up many a time when I've been ready to give it all up. She encourages and inspires her fellow crafters, and she is always the first to give praise for a job well done . She is a truly inspired artist who makes the most beautiful things from recycled glass. She lives in Cornwall and her work is as fresh as a sea breeze. She has an Etsy shop Tan Grey Glass where she sells her work. It's hard to choose a favourite from her current shop items, but this piece just edges it I think. It's made from recycled glass that Tan has hand-painted and fired.
I really don't know where I would have been this last year without the support of my friend Gail. She has supported me through a difficult time with her professional expertise and has been a total godsend. Added to that she's a very clever beader, who makes gorgeous work like this 'rockpool cuff'. How beautiful is this?
I am a huge admirer of the work of George Harper East, who is an amazing silversmith and chain maille worker. George is another talented crafter who gives advice and support to fellow craftspeople and helps them improve their skills. Her website is here http://www.mizgeorge.co.uk. Because she is a jewellery maker herself she knows the kind of things that jewellery makers want. Look at this clever bead cap and headpin set she has made, to use with a lentil-shaped bead - how clever is that?
I've only recently become addicted to Facebook and realised what a useful site it is for crafters. One of my new Facebook friends is Lucy, of Lucy Made Me. She makes beautiful things with fabric, like these stunning cushions - my favourite is the blue one second from the end on the right.
She sells her work in Gorgeous Gerties in Dorking (I'll tell you all about Gerties next week, it needs a post all to itself!) where she has a pretty stand full of all kinds of cheerful things to brighten your home. We met there one Saturday when we were shopping and she was restocking her stand. I know from her Facebook page that she regularly promotes the work of her fellow craftspeople and helps to publicise them.
And isn't that they way it should be? There are enough people out there putting us down - I'm sure we've all heard the comments when we sell at craft fairs; the 'my daughter makes jewellery/cards/scarves exactly like that', the 'why bother, you can buy it in [insert name of high street bargain shop] for less', the 'why waste your money on home made tat' - and we don't need other craftspeople to do it too. The craftspeople I've talked about here, and all the other lovely people who support and encourage their fellow crafters, know that you don't need to make others look small to try to make yourself look good. We are stronger together. United we stand, and all that.