Flags have always been popular and especially as a tourist anywhere you realise the amount of merchandise out there from mugs and fridge magnets to tea towels and every school girls favourite, the eraser. This year especially with the Queens Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics being held in London the demand for British inspired products is massive.
The handmade market is definitely not new to the use of the Union jack image but recently there has been an explosion in the variety of products available. There are some truly beautiful creations out there from the very traditional to the more unusual colour combinations. There are products to suit every taste.
This is a gorgeous creation on the miss mustard seed definitely would be a statement piece:
I think sometimes when we use an image that is so well known and loved we can forget the history behind the image. The flag combines the crosses of England and Wales (The cross of St George), Scotland (The cross saltire of St Andrew) and Ireland (The cross saltire of St Partick). The Welsh dragon does not appear as when the first Union Flag was created in 1606, Wales was already united with England and no longer a separate principality.
The origins of the flag can be seen from the standards used in warfare such as by the Roman Legions and the Middle Ages where flags were used as heraldic devices in battle to distinguish the sides. Later during the early 17th Century it was customary and then a legal requirement for ships to carry flags designating their nationality.
I have just got back from a lovely few days with my husband and his family in Guernsey in the Channel Islands. They have all been going for a long time and this was my 3rd trip with them.
A big highlight for me is the very short flight, just 30minutes from Southampton. I really hate flying so the shorter the better, though every time we have flown to Guernsey so far we go via Jersey so have to land and take off twice per journey. This time it was a straight through though the the landing was not good, a little bit windy.
Guernsey is a beautiful island. It reminds me of my home in South Devon where I grew up. Rolling green hills, very narrow lanes, sandy beaches and gorgeous coastline.
Even though we are only there for 3 full days we managed to pack quite a lot into our days. We went for a few coastal walks and as always I was a little snap happy, taking pictures of everything. On the first day we did a walk along the coast at L’Ancresse Common. I found a really great seat that looked out to the sea.
Guernsey’s capital is St Peter Port, it is a beautiful port that has been in use since Roman times. It has loads of history and is lovely just to wander around. A favorite cafe of the Bishop family is Dix Neuf, which is nice to stop at after a bit of shopping and have a coffee. It is a pretty port with a mix of architectural styles rising up the hills overlooking the harbor. It also has a lot of really expensive looking boats.
Another great place to visit is The Little Chapel. It was built by Brother Déodat who started work in March 1914. His plan was to create a miniature version of the famous grotto and basilica at Lourdes in France. It is decorated with seashells, pebbles and colourful pieces of broken china.
Holidays always go so quickly and this was no exception but I enjoyed every minute of it.
I found the trip really inspirational and have got so many ideas for paintings, prints and textiles that I don’t know where to start. I think that the sea is a perfect subject for the summer so there is a beginning. My mind tends to want to do everything at once so I think I need to sit down with some of my photos and my sketch book and see where it takes me.
Yesterday I attended a craft fair at the Last Drop Village near Bolton. It is a lovely venue, a collection of Georgian farm building which have been made into a hotel and spa with a tea shop and gallery. My lovely sister Emma came with me to help me out though I think she spent a lot of her time in a queue getting cups of tea.
I met a lot of really lovely fellow crafters and in particular Lynn Holland who does the most lovely illustrations including her cute Doodly Birds collection. Check out her wonderful blog where she has been kind enough to include a photo of one of my cake stands that she brought off me yesterday. There is also a link to her Etsy shop, full of wonderful goodies.
Yesterday was the best I have done at a craft fair to date. The last two were definitely more of a learning curve but were still invaluable experience. Yesterday was the first time that I got my selling hat on a got to grips with properly talking to people and interacting and not waiting for people to ask me things. I can be a very shy person but I really enjoyed bantering with customers and fellow stall holders and getting more confident and it definitely makes a huge difference to sales. Also a big tip is standing up, don’t sit down when customers come over it makes a huge difference, it is easier to interact with people if you are on eye level with them.
I have woken up today feeling really good about getting going with my crafty business and planning where I go from here so watch this space……