It is indicative of the high standard of stalls at Little Otter Markets that many of our makers are also exhibiting their work at the renowned exhibition of contemporary craft Made by Hand held in City Hall, Cardiff this coming weekend - including poet and print maker Francesca Kay.
I love seeing Francesca Kay at our events. She has a fabulous personality and is such a lovely fun person to chat to. Her range consists of poems in seed packets and on postcards, lots of words made into letterpress prints, handmade books and badges - in fact, everything to do with the joy of words and ideas.
I asked Francesca to tell us how she spends her Christmas...
Come and meet Francesca Kay at Penarth's Handmade Market on Sunday 18th November 2018, 11-4pm in the Paget Rooms, Penarth.
Every year, we introduce you to new and exciting work at Little Otter Markets and include new faces in the lineups. This year, we have a number of makers making their Little Otter Markets debuts in Penarth and/or Rhiwbina including a very talented jewellery maker, Suzi Dorey.
Suzi will be at Penarth's Handmade Market on Sunday 18th November. Come and discover her beautiful range there.
Ahead of the market, I asked Suzi to tell us a little bit about her work and what she gets up to during the festive season....
What are you working on for the Christmas season?
I’m so excited about Christmas and all the lovely jewels to make! It’s obviously a super busy time of year, with loads of making and lovely commissions for people, but I love making things knowing someone is going to be excited to open it on Christmas day! I’ve just made some really wide hammered silver cuffs which I’m really excited about; I’m making loads of my star jewellery in mixed metals as that’s always a favourite, and also my cute little dinosaurs, each one hand drawn and hand cut, so they all have different personalities! I love Turquoise stones too so there will be plenty of those set in necklaces and earrings, and I’m also thinking about making some fancy Christmas decorations too, if I get time!
What is your favourite thing about Christmas?
I adore Christmas, I’m such a kid! I love the traditions - every year my Godmother, Mum and I gather to decorate the Christmas tree a few weeks before Christmas, which kick starts the excitement. Oh and the food! When else can you start eating chocolate at breakfast?!
How do you spend it?
We split our time between my family in Bristol and my partner’s family in France, so we get to do it twice! I love doing things the way they’ve been done since I was little- opening stockings in bed (Yes - my mum still does us christmas stockings! But to redress the balance I do them for her and Dad too now!), eating the satsuma at the bottom and some chocolate coins, helping make the lunch with a bucks fizz, and then tree presents after lunch to lift everyone out of the food snoozes! Over in France it’s the perfect place for a country walk to blow out the cobwebs and snuggling up by the fire with a glass of fizz!
What’s the worst Christmas present you have ever received?
Well, I wouldn’t want to drop anyone in it, so I’m not sure I can say- but I’m pretty sure I got something destined for someone else once!
Favourite Christmas song?
It has to be Fairytale of New York by Kirsty McColl and the Pogues- when I hear that for the first time on the radio, it feels like Christmas can begin!
This year's Penarth's Handmade Market on Sunday 18th November promises to be a Christmas cracker of an event with ten makers joining us for the very first time at Little Otter Markets.
From jewellery to ceramics, homewares to accessories, these makers will be showcasing some amazing work and if you are struggling to find presents for those hard to buy for relatives, come along in November.
I don't know about you but I love to get out of storage all of my scarves once the cold weather arrives, and there is always room for one more in my collection. So I am very excited to welcome on board Karen Vosmer aka the Artisan Scarf Lady. I asked Karen to tell us a little bit about herself and her work....over to Karen.
"My name is Karen Vosmer, and I am a Textile Artist living in Wales. I dye and felt, quality one-off scarves, accessories and other products using fine merino wool and silks. I love to “play with colour” and describe creating a felt scarf as “painting with wool”. "
"My current work for Christmas - inline with current fashion trends - includes wool felt neck collars in warm purples, mustard, teal and reds. I am also making silk roses and wool felt brooches.
How do you spend Christmas?
Relaxing with family, and playing games with my Son and Mum :)
Any worst Christmas "pressies"?
I won two prizes in last year's Christmas Raffle - A £5 voucher for the local Butcher - I am Vegetarian; and a gift box of beauty products - I only use natural skin Products!
What is your favourite Christmas song?
Band Aid - "Do they know it's Christmas"
Come and meet Karen at Penarth's Handmade Market on Sunday 18th November, 11-4pm in the Paget Rooms, Penarth. For more information on the event, visit our PHM page.
Cake is a key ingredient of any Little Otter Events market, and one stall selling cake that is always a favourite with our customers, is run by the very lovely Melanie Constantinou aka baked by Mel.
Mel started baking as a business as a single parent to two small boys living on Machen mountain, outside Caerphilly. Fast forward to the present day, and Mel has built up a very successful business from her kitchen in Llantwit Major - she holds workshops, attends corporate events, supplies retailers and fulfils private orders.
At our markets in Penarth and Rhiwbina this November, Mel will be selling a scrumptious range of homebakes including her award winning bara brith and her latest creation, walnut and ale bara brith which she tells me is lovely for Christmas. As Mel explains, "You can eat it plain or buttered just as you would a traditional bara brith, but this one is also excellent with cheese!"
I absolutely love Mel's Persian rocky road, and if you haven't tried her brownies or gin & tonic cakes yet, you are in for a treat too!
Just for fun, I asked Mel to tell us a little bit about how she spends her Christmas...
I've been a big fan of the work of Nicky Barter of The Catkin Boutique ever since she joined us for the first ever Rhiwbina's Handmade Market way back in 2013.
Nicky designs and makes jewellery and prints from original animal illustrations. She loves to make items that are cute, quirky and that have a sense of fun. She designs and makes jewellery, totes and scarves from original illustrations, taking her inspiration from nature especially animals.
I asked Nicky how she spends Christmas and what she is looking forward to this festive season...
Nicky will be joining us at both our Christmas events this November:
Penarth's Handmade Market on Sunday 18th November at the Paget Rooms, Penarth and
Rhiwbina's Handmade Market on Sunday 25th November in the Memorial Hall, Rhiwbina.
Both events are open 11-4pm, £1.50 entry fee adults, kids free entry.
April Liddell. Founder of Little Otter Markets. Lives a crafty life. Loves going for walks with her dog Betsi, listening to music, and eating chelsea buns.