Tag Archives: arts and craft in cardiff

Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Charlotte Twin Made

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Charlotte of the awesome Twin Made. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

I keep getting the occasional feeling I caused all this because I really needed a week off – mine was so I could sort my garden out! Well, I got my wish and my garden isn’t looking much different!

In February, at least I think it was February, time is a weird thing right now, Ok, sometime at the beginning of the year my business got flooded, not once but twice! I know, I know, who moves into a basement right next to the Taff.

We were recovering from that, and business was getting back to usual and people started to contact me about the upcoming classes that I host.

The FAQ was: is the class still going ahead? Umm, yes. I started to get worried and made my partner summarise the news to me. Things were getting strange, rumblings of a lockdown like Spain were being whispered about. I started hoping for a clear and specific lockdown of a few weeks. I had loads of shit I could get done and that garden wasn’t sorting itself.

My Birthday was on 19th March, everything we had planned got cancelled. I decided not to go and visit my twin in London. Ed and I wandered into Cardiff City Centre and picked up a lot of wool, some beers and doughnuts. The City felt like a ghost town and the beginning of an episode of Black Mirror.

As the UK Government bumbled its way into a lockdown, my fellow indie businesses were getting in touch as we discussed what to do. I started to cancel the next week of classes and then the next fortnight and then all of April and then reluctantly May’s as I was receiving emails, one by one, cancelling upcoming work, as days passed March dates were cancelled and then April and then before I knew it all the work and workshops I had booked in over the Summer had been cancelled, taking with it my income.

Most people have been amazing and understanding but I had a few demand their deposits refunded, this was heartbreaking as when people pay deposits it all gets used to buy and create kits ready for the workshops and pay things like rent and bills. I offered alternatives but in the end, for my mental health I refunded the few deposits, I was so lucky only a few went this route.

Panic set in. My partner and I are both self employed. He couldn’t carry on Dog Walking and even if he could, most customers didn’t need him as they were now working from home.

I worked through my online shops and took down all physical items. I had a full week of mood swings – manically laughing in the kitchen for no reason, a big old cry in the living room, stopped still in bedroom wondering what the fuckity fuck.

I set up a tip jar on my website, people, friends, family and even strangers were reaching out and offering help. Commissions started coming in, I was so grateful I was regularly bursting into tears. With those came lots and lots of unsolicited business advice – most of which was time consuming, above my skill level or something I already did, I got good at replying: Sure, thanks but they were all energy consuming. I needed to be doing more to help, the feeling of uselessness was setting in. I found the Scrub Hub and got involved in sewing scrubs. I felt useful!

I slowly started to put things back on sale on my website and started creating free downloads: colouring in and craft sheets. I worked on turning my sewing classes into kits – weirdly all stuff on my to-do-list which i just hadn’t got around too. I created guides and hacks. My business was still able to work and I set up a desk on the living room table – the perfect place to keep an eye out from deliveries.

My regular job is teaching people how to sew and make things from my colourful studio in the basement of Nos Da Hostel and Bar. I miss the faces I regularly see and teaching my classes.

My group of friends quickly set up a weekly quiz and soon followed by a family one – I am seeing friends and family far more often and laughing at home hair cuts and living for couples arguing over zoom!

The garden is slowly getting done and I am decorating my window, like a mad lady. Crochet and daily chats with twinny and friends are keeping me sane. I love how easy it is to cycle across Cardiff to deliver orders! We even took a Matisse inspired art class and I am having a go at paper art: Check out WinterCroft Masks and this Paper Prawn by Lisa Lloyd – things I would never have time to do before.

My pals at Green City have been hosting craft clubs which I have loved participating in and will be signing up for more!

Ed has started working for Deliveroo at weekends, a job he likes of elements of, but a gentle reminder: TIP YOUR DELIVER PERSON! They are out there, in a pandemic, delivering you delicious food! He sure misses the dogs and has fully embraced helping out a friend by feeding their guinea pigs!

Each time I say: When things get back to normal, I stop myself as I hope some good changes come out of this! I miss all the beautiful faces and social aspects of my job and I can’t wait to get back to Nos Da for a pint or two, but for now I will keep on keeping on with an occasional cry thrown in.

Stay Safe, Stay Sane, Stay Awesome!

Visit Charlotte and Twin Made – buy her things and keep her in business! Twin Made website | Twin Made instagram | Twin Made Twitter | Twin Made Facebook.

See all the free Twin Made downloads

Charlotte (with the pink hair!) and twin, Kathryn

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Snapped Up Market – Furry Little Creatures at the Printhaus

Contributing writer Jodie Ashdown popped along to the Snapped Up Market at the Printhaus to have a go at some activities. Here’s what she got up to!

Printhaus Snapped Up Market

Sitting just off the main street, nestled in between closed hairdressers and Sunday drinkers is a special little place. A place that throws open its doors to the public so that they can print, shop, sew, hammer and drink craft beer to their heart’s content.

And this place is called the Snapped-Up Market.

Occurring quarterly, the Snapped-Up Market is a hands-on experience with activities suitable for adults and children and an overarching theme unique to that particular market. This time the market, which took place on the 6 April 2014, was focused around the theme ‘Furry Little Creatures’. Previous themes have included ‘Heroes & Comix’ and ‘Circus’.

Taking place in the Printhaus workshop on Llandaff Road, the market is a chance for local artists, artisans and generally artistic people to come along and show their wares, as well as giving us less-creative folk the chance to try our hand at making something awesome.

Printhaus Snapped Up Market

Printhaus Snapped Up Market

We are Cardiff headed down on the day to try out a few of the crafts and sample one, maybe two, of the beers.

Snapped Up Market

The atmosphere is immediately uplifting, even in the dreary rainfall of a cloudy April Sunday. Everyone is friendly and relaxed, not just the stallholders and artists but also the customers who meander, coffee in hand, through the workshop under crisscrossed bunting surrounded by original art. The graffiti artwork adorning the outer walls is an accurate indication of the creative hub inside. We decided to have a go at a few of the activities on offer.

First up was Alys from www.thepocketpirate.com. Aside from selling, among other things, handmade cushions, fabric purses and bags, Alys provides you with the opportunity to make a leather purse. The procedure is pretty simple: you choose your leather, cut, mark, stick, sew, chat and then you’re done. A simple but effective project, all for £7.

Jodie at the Printhaus

Next was Lydia who will guide you through making your own silver ring. It’s a satisfying process involving a hammer, acid and a blow torch. For obvious reasons, you have to be over 16 years old but it’s a pretty unique way of hammering out your frustrations and turning them into something beautiful. Lydia also has an array of silver jewellery on sale at the market and also does bespoke designs. Here’s her website: www.niziblian.com.

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The printing part of the market came next. The Printhaus ( www.theprinthaus.org ) have a good stock of printing equipment which the team (Nigel, Tom, Jude and Rob) bought after some pretty solid fundraising, which can be used to put designs on all manner of things including t-shirts, tote bags and tea towels. They run courses on site and there’s an option to become a member, meaning that after training and induction you can use the facilities whenever you want for a small fee. They’re a not-for-profit organisation who want to help bridge the gap between school or college to starting a business by providing an art space and all the necessary equipment.

Printhaus

I began my printing escapades with Helen of www.nellystreasures.com who took me through putting a design onto a tea towel. Helen also had a clothing rail and other pretty special knitted items for sale as well as being a dab hand at screen printing. Next to Helen is the kids table where the little ‘uns can get in on the action, I don’t know what they were doing but it definitely sounded like fun.

Snapped Up Market teatowel

Furnished with my special new tea towel, I headed over to the Print Haus guys to pick out a design for my t-shirt and tote bag. The guys will guide you through everything, even the oddly satisfying act of seeing your newly printed t-shirt drop all nice and warm out of the end of the tunnel dryer, it’s slightly akin to freshly baked bread. T-shirts are just £10 including printing and the tote bags are £5.

Snapped Up Market

And there were other activities I didn’t even get round to, not to mention the many stalls and craft tables set up. It is a creative and friendly environment with a real sense of community with an admirable ethos; provide an accessible and open environment in which anyone can learn everything about printing and create one off designs. And not only that, the opportunity is offered to become a member and then display your wares at the Snapped-Up Market. The project is a breath of fresh air from the big brand, high street take over and is one which definitely deserves to be supported.

Printhaus

Run by locals, for locals, supporting locals and good fun for kids and adults. It’s a sweet initiative and something which Cardiff could really do with more of.

The next market is on 6 July – keep an eye on the Printhaus Facebook page for updates – and the theme is Wrestling. I’ll see you there.

Printhaus outside

Printhaus Snapped Up Market

For more information about The Printhaus and all the excellent things they do there…

The Printhaus website

Printhaus Facebook

Snapped Up Market Facebook page – next event 6 July for a wrestling-themed day!