We work with makers from around the UK, most often via supporting organisations, charities and social enterprises, to ensure the most beneficial arrangements for our craftspeople, all of whom face social challenges and barriers to conventional employment. Read on to find out more about them.
Our candles are all made by a social firm that provides safe and caring employment for people with learning disabilities. Service users work as part of a team in the company’s factory in Powys to make a range of candles and related products. To see the exclusive products this team have made for us, click here.
We work with several groups of talented potters.
Our stoneware mugs, beakers, plates and bowls are made by adults with learning disabilities who are receiving residential support at Camphill Community in Gloucestershire. At this residential community, adults get the opportunity to feel valued and to gain independence through the development of craft skills. Their beautiful airy pottery looks out over the Severn Hills and we think their work has a calming, natural quality. Look carefully and you might spot the initials of the maker on the underside of the product.
Knitted cotton and wool
Creatively Mindful is based near Hitchin, Hertfordshire, and aims to help people deal with daily stress and low level anxiety through creative activities, breathing techniques and simple brain training exercises. For Aerende, it is producing a range of items knitted by women recovering from cancer and other textile items made by young people who face barriers to employment.
Our bed linen, lightshades and macramé plant hangers are made at an inspiring London-based social enterprise supporting isolated women into learning new skills and employment. At its headquarters in East London, women facing multiple disadvantages are supported on free programmes that provide in-depth training in sewing, machining and garment making, and offer individual one-to-one support for complex issues. Courses are designed to raise aspirations, confidence, skills and well-being for women that need it most. In some cases, women enrolled are suffering depression, are survivors of trafficking, have limited English or little/no education. The courses holistically enhance skills for future employment, either with the FabricWorks production team or in the wider textile industry, or in other avenues of employment.Their sewing quality is second to none and they are currently working on a range of items to utilise the offcuts from our bed linen.
Fine Cell Work is a social enterprise that fosters hope, discipline and self-esteem for prisoners by training them in skilled needlework techniques. Prisoners from around the UK are taught by volunteers from the Embroiderers and Quilters Guild and paid for their work creating highly embroidered cushions, bags and quilts.
Our wood and paper products come from a range of makers.
Our chopping boards, coffee scoops and wooden utensils are all made in Scotland at a lovely site by the banks of the Leith. Here, groups of adults are trained in the art of wood carving as part of a therapeutic programme to assist their recovery from mental health illnesses. Every product helps increase self-belief and confidence which is why every item comes with the tag stating the name of its maker. The wood itself is all coppiced on behalf of the local council and, as each item is made almost entirely by hand, the environmental impact is virtually zero. People power at its finest. As of 2019 this organisation sadly had to close due to funding issues but we still have a small number of their products for sale.
Our clothes racks in leather and wood are made by adults with learning disabilities at Botton Village, a nurturing residential community in Yorkshire. Their ethos is to empower individuals and celebrate ability by building relationships and providing purposeful activity.
Our espadrilles are handmade in London from waste leather as part of a project supporting low-income women in tower hamlets. Many of the women face a number of barriers to full-time work including social exclusion, limited language skills, and low levels of education. Juta works alongside other programmes (including English classes, Keep Fit, IT sessions and a women’s discussion group designed to build skills and confidence) to raise self-esteem, provide meaningful work and encourage active participation in community and aid integration in society. Profit from each pair of espadrilles goes back to the women who make them, as a pot of money that can be spent on the activities and support they choose, and as a sustainable and supported route to employment.
The Soap Co is the positive luxury arm of the charity Clarity. It employs blind or otherwise disabled people to produce a range of hand washes and lotions with environmentally friendly packaging from locations in East London and the Lake District.
Blankets and woven items
Ashleigh is a master weaver based in Blairgowrie, Scotland, with clients all over the world and a number of students locally. A great proponent of the quality and potential of hand-weaving, he works on a reconfigured 1950s Weavemaster, adding modern parts to the ‘wee old lass’ to make it suitable for use as a hand-loom. As a wheelchair user, Ashleigh cannot operate a traditional treadle-powered floor loom. Although this means the weaving takes longer, he says he never minds because weaving is his passion. All of his designs, including the limited-edition Aerende throws, reflect his individuality and creative eye.