As part of our Christmas campaign we’re looking at the lives of those makers involved in the Exclusive Collection for Folksy. This week we meet Catherine & Ed from way way up North, lover of the great outdoors Sarah Hancox and insomniac Allistair J Burt!
We are Bread & Jam, a husband and wife creative team based high up in the Northern corner of the North Pennines, about as high as you can get. We work out of our studio at home, a 17th Century long house, with wobbly beams and creaky floors. The winters can be harsh here, which is why you can normally find us busying ourselves around the log burner.
Catherine has been making paper based bunting through her own Folksy store for some time now so it made perfect sense for this to be our starting point. The only thing we needed to do was to introduce some hand printed elements and to put our own Bread & Jam twist to it. We didn’t really want to go down a traditional Christmas colour palette , we like things a little different here at Bread & Jam, so we decided to go for colours which bring a real sense of party and celebration. We picked our favourite Christmas song, Winter Wonderland to use for the wording, when you hear it, you instantly feel like Christmas has arrived.
We’re just getting going with Bread & Jam, the year ahead looks like it’s going to be one hell of a ride. There is so much going on right now and so much more planned for the coming months it’s a wonder if we will have time for our own Christmas festivities. Rest assured though, we will have plenty of our own bunting strung up around the house to get us in the Christmas spirit.
Domestic home wares that celebrate our cultural heritage seem to be the perfect vehicle for the techniques and imagery I love working with; our homes have increasingly becoming a refuge from the pressures of the outside world and somewhere where we can express ourselves. For me creating a reassuring and peaceful retreat is essential in maintaining a healthy work / life balance.
For my tea cosy’s I like to use traditional materials; a focus on reworking; tweeds and felted woollens supported by velvet and cottons are evocative of days gone by and reflect my love of traditional British fabrics, the idiosyncrasies of British culture, heritage and tradition.
I live with my partner Steve in a tiny stone cottage in a historic Peak District village so the luxury of a dedicated workspace surrounded by all my fabrics is not possible. Everything I’m working on gets cleared away when I’ve finished and at this time of year, I still produce everything on a little pine cricket table in front of a log burning stove surrounded by our dogs, but if I’m honest, what more do I need!
As a craftsperson I am still finding my feet; techniques and methods are all very new and I am learning as I go; that is one of the biggest joys – mastering something new or solving a problem – I find I am continually inspired by my surroundings and motivated to make; there are still so many ideas I want to explore and I can’t wait to see where they lead me.
Most of my work involves humor and it is the reactions I get from people that drive me to come up with ideas. I get a real kick out of watching people laughing away at something I’ve made and sometimes will sneak into my exhibitions when no one knows who I am and listen to the visitors chuckling away. It’s this connection with people that makes it all worthwhile and I guess really, when you boil away everything else, the aim with all my projects and art work is to try and make the world a little bit more interesting for the people that encounter them.
I think the balance between the Architecture day job and the evening ‘creative’ projects works well. Though the truth is I’m an insomniac and a workaholic, and probably neither does me much good but it’s just the way I am, if I spy an interesting idea I just get drawn in.
I currently create work from a spare room in our flat overlooking a large wooded park in Glasgow. The beauty of this workspace is that the building has a flat roof so if in need of some fresh air and tranquillity you can nip up there to sit on the bench in the roof garden and relax. In saying that though I am just at the moment in discussions about taking over a great little space near where I live and converting it into a proper studio for the first time. Maybe with a bit more separation between life and work I might find I get more done and possibly even start to get a proper nights sleep.
Don’t leave Christmas until the last minute! You can see the full Exclusive Collection here.