All of our makers are facing social challenges and barriers to conventional employment. We represent people from around the UK, most often via supporting organisations, charities and social enterprises, to ensure the most beneficial arrangements for our craftspeople. Read on to find out more about them.
Beacons Creative is 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.
Camphill Village Trust
Camphill Village Trust is a national charity that helps people with learning disabilities, mental health problems and other special needs to live meaningful lives in supported communities. Its ethos is to improve life skills and independence through considered support, self-expression and productive activity. We are working with the pottery at The Grange in Gloucestershire, where a small team have designed and made a series of ceramic items, and the basketry at Delrow, near Watford, where residents are experts in the historic art of basket weaving. In future we hope to add many additional products from these and other CVT communities across the country.
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.
FabricWorks is the enterprise arm of the Stitches in Time charity. It creates textile commissions whilst supporting unemployed women in training and towards employment. At its headquarters in Limehouse, London, women facing multiple disadvantage are supported on free programmes and courses 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.
Fine Cell Work
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.
Fruitful Woods is a social enterprise located on the banks of the Water of Leith in Edinburgh that enables people who have been experiencing mental ill-health to achieve their potential. As a team, they undertake local forestry work, managing local woodlands and orchards, and transforming surplus wood into a range of craft items.
Juta is a social enterprise that works with women at St Hilda's East Community Centre in Shoreditch, London, to create a range of ethical, environmental espadrilles. 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 Refugee Council
The Refugee Council is a London-based charity that provides support and advice to refugees and asylum seekers arriving in the UK. Together with them and other refugee charities, we are assisting rehoused women from Syria with their relocation through a trial scheme in which they can develop practical business skills for work in the UK. Gaining experience in a new country enhances their CVs, provides meaningful activity and job opportunities. To facilitate this, we are working collaboratively on a range of textile homewares, including tea towels and napkins, that the women can make in their own homes. A wider variety of items will be added as the women grow in confidence and ability.
The Soap Co
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.
Studio 306 is a creative arts Community Interest Company in Wood Green, North London, for people recovering from mental health illnesses. Its aim is to help users rediscover or learn new craft skills, and to gain confidence and self esteem in a safe studio environment.
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.
The Woodsman is a father of three from London. He is currently taking a break from conventional life and has been living in woods in the home counties on and off since March 2015, where he is currently developing a series of pen and ink drawings in wood block style. Before becoming homeless he worked in design.
What Daisy Did/Northampton Hope Centre
Angela is the first employee of a new initiative between ethical bag manufacturers What Daisy Did and the Northampton Hope Centre homeless charity. Formerly homeless, Angela now handmakes products for What Daisy Did (which includes our Brooklyn backpack) and is being supported as she learns a raft of skills to enhance long-term employability.