As a member of the Crafts Council it goes without saying that I am incredibly passionate about designers and makers. I firmly believe that Britain is at the forefront of design and craft.
If you still think the idea of buying a handmade gift is somehow twee or a little bit shoddy, think again.
There is a certain romance that goes with buying a hand crafted piece. For example, Dave Green produces beautiful porcelain in his studio in Lancashire where they are made and fired. The simple shapes and muted colour palette are elegant and modern. (His work is pictured above.)
It's not all bunting!
Not all craft fairs are festooned with bunting and a vintage tea room - take the hugely successful MADE, which is held in London and Brighton each year. MADE is a well curated selection of cutting edge craft artists and makers.
They have exhibited work from makers like Sarah Elwick whose knitwear and home accessories are stunning. Sarah also uses British wool, which over the past few years has become very important. Using and buying British wool filters down to the producers and the environment which something the 'Campaign For Wool' highlights.
Sarah Elwick Pram Blanket £79.00
There are so many reasons to buy British crafted items, almost too numerous to list here, but the economy is a vital one. When we decide to spend the extra money we have, whether it be a little or a lot, makes a huge difference to people's livelihoods.
For example, if I were to purchase a pair of mittens that were hand knitted with British wool, I am not only supporting the crafter, but also the manufacturer who spun the wool, the producers of the dye to colour my mittens, and the farmer who raised the sheep. It becomes a rather different pair of mittens, and I bet they make my hands feel warmer just because of the story behind them.
As a maker myself, I personally know what a difference it makes. With every piece I sell it allows me to budget how much I can afford to spend on my food shop that month. I have children, so you may wonder why I chose such a precarious career? Ultimately it's what I am trained to do and I have been able to filter my skills into teaching and working with galleries, schools, health and education programs.
I enjoy making and the joy it brings to people who purchase my work, but also the satisfaction of using my hands to create.
I hope you find something this Christmas that is crafted and that it brings not only you a sense of fulfilment in supporting the person who made it, but also in giving it to someone who will treasure it.
Main image Dave Green stoneware/porcelain teapot, £29.95.