Carla and Wendy are the last in our series on the makers involved in our Exclusive Collection – 14 handmade items created exclusively for Folksy. From a garden lab in Northern Ireland and a barn studio in Dorset they have managed to cook up two wonderfully seasonal products for your Christmas wish list. Enjoy!
ScENT is a husband and wife team. Carla is the soap artist; she spends most of her time in the lab perfecting her art whilst enviously gazing out the window to see her three male counterparts bouncing about on the trampoline. I’m Garreth, home-maker and occasional soap-maker. More often than not found in the spare room when the kiddies are sleeping, sitting at the laptop working out ways to package soap, coming up with new ideas and promoting our soaps in whatever way I can. Carla says I’m the boss.
We specialise in “Soap Art” which was introduced to us in Brazil. I had a passion for social business and understanding crafts that I felt as a nation we had corporately forgotten (preferring instead to pay multinational companies lots of money to throw at advertising just so we’d buy more of their products). We discovered a course in soap-making but as I had no Portuguese Carla decided to go.
With the prospect of homelessness, no job and a very large question mark hanging over our future we decided to spend about 50% of our last £2000 on this course and some equipment. We returned to the UK to launch our own business and began selling on the internet through Folksy. We now live in my father’s old holiday home where we have established our little studio within a stone’s throw of the sea in the beautiful Strangford Area of Northern Ireland.
One of my favourite Christmas foods has got to be the Christmas pudding. Having looked at a few recipes we saw that we could use very similar natural ingredients in a cosmetic e.g. orange peel, lemon zest, nutmeg, etc. Carla made moulds of the actual ingredients one would expect to find in a pudding i.e. sultanas, raisins etc. Now you not only get our show-piece soap but you can also cut out segments of the soap to reveal a true to life Christmas pudding whilst leaving the rest on display.
Add a little gold dust for Christmas and you have our wonderful Christmas Pudding Soaps – exclusive to Folksy.
From my studio Red Brick Glass on the Dorset coast I make handmade fused glass products and run glass making workshops. My barn studio is in the garden of my home which I share with my husband, three little ones and eight chickens. The barn is a gorgeous space, with enormous double wooden doors which I can open in summer and a brand new wood burner to keep me cosy in the winter.
I was thrilled to be asked to make a glass product exclusively for Folksy this Christmas and have really enjoyed experimenting with ideas to make my Icicle Glass Fairy Lights. The string of fairy lights has ten LED bulbs which are surrounded by six delicate fused glass clear icicles which have been sprinkled with glass snow. I wanted to make a product that was elegant and which would add a little winter wonderland magic to homes.
I create the fairy lights by hand cutting sheets of clear glass into one hundred and twenty icicle shapes, deliberately making them all slightly different. I sprinkle fine white crushed glass granules (my glass snow) onto the glass. A piece of specialist wire is then sandwiched between two of the icicle pieces. When all sixty glass icicles are finished they are ready to be fired in my glass kiln for 24 hours. Once the kiln has slowly cooled, the glass is finished by hand and then attached using the wire to the fairy lights, and yes, there really are sixty icicles on each set! I’m really pleased with these fairy lights which really do look stunning when lit.
I first experimented with fusing glass during my degree in Glass and Architectural Glass at Edinburgh College of Art back in 2000. It was a fantastic course where students learnt a range of glass making skills including glass blowing, stained glass, architectural glass, casting, and kiln formed glass which included fused glass.
After graduating, with a 1st class honours degree I received funding from the Crafts Council’s Setting Up Scheme. I started my first studio in a tiny red brick building so it became The Red Brick Glass Studio, and my business Red Brick Glass began. Primarily I worked as an architectural glass artist, designing large scale glass work such as window, doors, partition screens and light boxes into public spaces such as shops and hospitals. After taking a few years off to raise my three children I returned to glass making and wanted to make and sell products from home so my business would fit in with family life.
Here are a few things that make me smile when I am not in the studio; blossom, big family get togethers, stars, fish finger sandwiches, running, beach huts, Pimms, my bell tent, the smell of cut grass, weeping willows, my new iPhone, Punch and Judy shows, picking blackberries, the Aga, eating al fresco, Sunday roasts, the sound of seagulls, my pink radio, and Benny my Morris Minor.
You can see the full Exclusive Collection here.