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  1. It seems, the more I look around, the more I realise that the arts and crafts world is dominated by women. I'm not sure if this comes as much of a surprise to me to be honest. Throughout the ages women have been encouraged into 'domestic sciences' and even 10-15 years ago when I was at school boys were not seen to taking textiles! Their subjects were DT or graphics. I was the only boy in years to take textiles as a GCSE, something I was incredibly proud of! I am not going to start harping on about gender roles and I have just thrown out some obscenely stereotypical statements, although in my experience these are sadly somewhat accurate!

    James Green Printworks Sheffield City View

    James Green Printworks - https://folksy.com/shops/jamesgreenprintworks

    I sell as part of All Good Stuff in Sheffield and Our Handmade Collective in Leeds and both venues are heavily dominated by women (which I may add is not a bad thing! I am simply very jealous and wish I had half the skill that my peers have!). I only began to think about this after receiving an invite to apply to sell at ManMade, a Male only arts and crafts sellers event in London linked to Crafty Fox Market. I then began to look around at my stockists and the events and activities I saw on social media and came across an event for Female entrepreneurs in Sheffield at Union Street.  Is there anything for male entrepreneurs? Where do I go to get advice and help or to build my contact list?

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    Chris Boland Designs - http://www.chrisbolanddesigns.com/

    There are so many incredible Male makers out there and Sheffield is no exception. I pride myself on being a male artists/crafts person in a female dominated industry. I only have to look at instagram to notice the distinct difference in male and female makers. Why is this? What possible reason is there for this imbalance? Is it nature? Is it nurture? Who knows...who cares...lets celebrate Man made!

     

    Mark Turner Sheffield

    Mark Turner - http://www.mjtartwork.com/about.html

    This is not a provocative post which is aiming to rile anyone up or cause any great debate but is something that I am noticing more and more. Lets celebrate man made equally to wo-man made and promote the status of men in arts and crafts to encourage others to embrace their creativity.

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    Steve Roche Stonemason - http://www.rochestone.co.uk/index.php

    Showcasing some of my favourite male artists and makers - James Green, Mark Turner, Chris Boland and Steve Roche

  2. Last weekend I made the epic journey (...it only took me an hour!) to Nottingham to take part in the fabulous Bird in Borrowed Feathers Mini Market. 20 makers came together for the fabulous weekend in the bright and inviting Malt Cross, Nottingham. I had the distinct pleasure of sharing the top room with 7 other incredible makers! 

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    Some of the wonderful seller I had the pleasure of meeting before BIBF at previous fairs or online (you have to love Social Media!). One of the incredibly talented sellers I met last Christmas was Deborah Ballinger of Deborah Ballinger Illustrations. Deborah creates beautiful and original pencil drawings which she applies in a whole host of ways onto beautiful products including more recently her slightly fabulous t-shirts! I have a real soft spot for these t-shirts and I am still very tempted to order one of the bone T's.

    Fancy seeing more? You can find Deborah's website here - www.deborahballinger.co.uk

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    I have spent loads of time chatting away to HAH online! I felt like we knew each other before we actually met in person! Oh the joys of Social Media! When I had the privilege of casting an eye upon HAH's products in real life I really fell for the tea towel ties and the Japanese fabrics! Simple stunning! Fancy casting an eye on these lovely creations? Check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HAHhandmadeathome

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    Chloe Hall Illustration - There were so many incredibly talented artists and makers at BIBF last weekend. However I must admit that I was most taken by Chloe Hall and her unique approach to illustration. I can honestly say that I have never seen a hand embroidered illustration before! I love the idea of mixing media myself and I am experimenting with mixed screen prints and lino cuts, however Chloe took it a step further and really thought out of the box!

    On her stunning illustrations she adds detail by hand embroidering using a range of traditional embroidery techniques! My particular favourite was the 'men at the beach' print with embroidered swim suit detailing. I would highly recommend taking a look at her work - I even bought an illustration to add to my print wall! What a find! Find her work at www.chloe-hall.co.uk

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    Among the other fabulous sellers there was:

    Buckle and Cog - What a genius concept! Create your own watched - choose a face...choose a strap...keep time in style! I love the idea of a 'watch bar'. Head to the website and grab yours now! www.buckleandcog.co.uk

    Miss Nova - Bright and bold screen printed fabrics in functional products - these original designs come in all shapes and sizes! Want to check out more? Head to www.facebook.com/missnovadesigns

    Wildgoose Designs - describing her work as 'drawing with a sewing machine' this free motion machine embroidery is stunning. I ma a sucker for a penguin or a bit of wildlife themed art and I was very taken seeing this stunning work in person! Find more at www.wildgoosedesigns.co.uk

    Dawn Feeney Jewellery - Dawn, along with beautiful sterling silver jewellery, creates some of the most stunning heat treated copper art I have ever seen! Hand cut and simple jaw droppingly good! Find her at www.dawnfeenerjewellery.co.uk

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    If you liked the look of the work on offer head over to the Bird in Borrowed Feathers Facebook page and hit like to keep up to date with the latest news!

    www.facebook.com/birdinborrowedfeathersmarket

    In collaboration with Handmade Nottingham - www.handmadenottingham.co.uk