Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Laura of Hashtag House via Meet The Makers of The Handmade Fair

Welcome to our #MeetTheMaker special, Meet The Makers of The Handmade FairEvery day for two weeks we will meet some of the fabulous creatives who will be attending this year's Kirstie Allsopp's 'The Handmade Fair'. The fair will run from 16th - 18th September 2016 at The Green (Hampton Court Palace).

Don't forget to use your special Crafty Bs discount code when you are booking your tickets! You can also win yourself some tickets here.

Next up is Laura of Hashtag House sharing some artwork that she has created with the use of laser engraving. 
Hi Laura, tell us a little bit about yourself
This always sounds like I’m on a quiz show but I’m Laura, I’m 24 years old and I’m a Designer from Leeds! I’ve always loved all things making from being a little girl, badgering my mum for a piece of yellow sponge to create the ‘cheese’ on my handmade burger shaped CD holder, to being lucky enough to be able to make things as my job!

*in best quiz show voice* and the handmade item you are sharing with us?
The ‘Adventure’ piece is a laser engraved 3D illustration of a Canadian mountain range, inspired by the ideology of travelling, finding adventure and taking time out to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the world. Made from 6 pieces of 3mm Poplar Plywood, the wooden engraving is layered with the foreground becoming the uppermost focus and the subsequent layers each recessing to create a tiered effect. This provides a perspective to the illustration that couldn’t be achieved with a flat image, whilst also adding to the tactility that comes when you engrave into a substrate. Each piece ends up being entirely unique as no two pieces of wood have the same grain and different wood grains react differently to the laser beam, producing slight individualities. The illustration started out as a pen drawing that was then scanned into Adobe Illustrator, turned into a vector image for the laser cutter to read and then engraved/cut as per the drawing. I then hand assemble each one to achieve the final layered outcome.

That is amazing and a great example of level of intricacy and detail that goes into handmade items.  How long have you been using laser cutting and engraving in your crafts?
I was first introduced to laser cutting when I was at high school, we had a laser cutter in one of the technology rooms and I got the chance to use it for a project during my 3D Design A Level. I didn’t really think about the process again until the final year of my degree when I used it to realise an intricate piece of absorbent typography and started to discover its capabilities. This sparked my interest and I subsequently went on a laser cutting course run by The Art House and came to the realisation that there was so much that could be done using this process that hadn’t even been touched upon. In a print market that is predominantly led by traditional printing processes I felt that laser cutting/engraving could add a really unique twist that people hadn’t seen before, challenging the current trends in the print market with an alternative that could push the boundaries of print design.

So when and why did you decide to turn your creative skills into a business?
I decided to turn my creative skills into a business in 2014, 1 month after handing in my final project at University. One of the main reasons for this was because of a debilitating illness called Interstitial Cystitis that I was diagnosed with aged 12. It’s a condition where my bladder’s protective lining has eroded away, causing it to bleed and resulting in chronic pain amongst other significant urinary symptoms. I now have monthly hospital visits for treatment to try and keep on top of the condition and this hospital commitment plus the debilitating symptoms meant that main stream work might prove difficult to manage; so I set up Hashtag House with the intention of carving out a career in the industry I love whilst providing myself with the flexibility of a situation where I can work when I feel good and rest when I don’t.

A truly inspiring story of not being defeated by a life changing illness and setting up such a great business using your talents. What inspires you and keeps you motivated?
My main motivation comes from the fact that I love what I do. It never feels like a job or something that I’m doing just to make a living. It is something I enjoy spending my time doing and something that I would spend my free time doing were I to be in a different job, so I am motivated by knowing that I am in a privileged position to be able to make a living from my passion.

No doubt you have worked hard to be there! So where can the Crafty Bs find you online?
You can find me on Twitter (@hashtaghouseltd) Facebook, Instagram, (@hashtaghouse_ ), Pinterest (@hashtaghouse)

Are you ready and excited about The HandMade Fair?
Overall I’m feeling really excited about being part of it, with just a slight hint of nerves (ok maybe a lot of nerves!) It’s by far the biggest fair I’ve done, which naturally brings some trepidation, but having so many talented makers/crafters in one place for 3 days of crafting delight is going to make for an awesome atmosphere that I can’t wait to experience!
I’m most looking forward to being surrounded by other creatives in an environment that’s totally dedicated to handmade crafts. I’m looking forward to hopefully being able to try out something new while I’m there and see a whole variety of ways of working that may inspire elements of my future work.

What will visitors find at the Hashtag House stand? 
An array of designer led homeware and giftable items all of which utilise laser cutting or laser engraving in their creation and all of which are designed and made by me in my little home studio. We will also be offering a Handmade Fair discount of 10% off everything over the 3 days!

Wow, we are getting all the exclusives here! Where will we find you?
E103 in the East Marquee of the Shopping Village.

What will you be up to between now and The Handmade Fair?
I want to explore combining laser cutting with lino printing to introduce colour into my work. The laser engraving process involves effectively burning into a material, which can only create a sepia tone within the image and although I think this is a really beautiful look, the next stage in progressing the technique would be to enhance it with a selective colour palette.

I can't wait to see the results. Right, final leg, a quick fire round!

Your crafting hero?
I don’t know if you’d class him as crafting but my making hero is Jimmy Diresta.

Name three stands you will be visiting at The Handmade Fair?
Cloth&Candy, Jes Hooper and Bad Brownie

Your favourite handmade item?
A screen printed/laser engraved oak shelf by designer Dan Heath, reclaimed from Drury Lane Library in Wakefield.

Your favourite place?

Favourite beverage?
A brew!

Favourite chocolate bar?

Three things that make you happy?
Snorkelling, staffies and chocolate bourbons.

Your biggest achievement?
Achieving a First Class Degree with The Chancellor’s Award from The University of Huddersfield.

Describe The Handmade Fair in 5 words or less
Not to be missed.

Thanks so much for sharing your creation with us Laura and I look forward to seeing some more from you at the fair! 

Crafty Bs, are you getting excited? If you have missed any interviews, catch up here here

Mrs Crafty B
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