Issue 31 Folk (Digital only)
LAST CHRISTMAS – Clare, our Advertising Manager, inspired the office by making her gifts by hand. But even she was surprised by how well they were received – the only person excluded from her handmade bounty was her brother, and Clare reports he looked rather downcast when he unwrapped his shop-bought alternative (he’s having a cushion made from a vintage army blanket this year). We hope our festive guide to a handmade holiday, which includes a range of gifts suggested by our favourite designers will inspire you in a similar way.
It was amid all this talk of the handmade that I remembered an old school rule – girls could only exchange homemade gifts at Christmas. It was meant to avoid the worst excesses of oneupmanship but we were still horribly competitive. Removing the pressure, especially self-imposed pressure, from present giving is not easy. Kate Cavendish suggests we loosen up, let go of our pride and try to enjoy the process of making, or just choosing, special things for our loved ones.
Buying our presents is not an admission of failure, and if you chose or commission well, it supports craftspeople and artisans which is actually something to be proud of. Our gift guide, beautifully illustrated by Rachel Early, has plenty of ideas or if you are looking to invest in artwork this issue’s featured artists, Ann Carrington, Geraldine Larkin and Donya Coward, all work with sequins, giving their pieces a festive feel. A glimpse of glitter was all it took to bring out the magpie in us and we’ve also explored the history of the sequin, and touched on tinsel. Swarovski crystals, and all things sparkly might seem frivolous, but they are the perfect way to lift your spirits during this second ‘credit-crunch’ Christmas.
The key to diffusing seasonal stress and its attendant financial worries is planning. J. Morgan Puett, designer turned founder of an artist’s colony in Pennsylvania, shops all year round and then spreads her actual gift giving between Christmas and the New Year. It’s a calmer, more sophisticated approach but with just a few weeks until Christmas it’s probably too late to adopt it this year. So let’s plough on as usual, make a few gifts, bake a few pies, plug the gaps with some shop-bought treats. Muddle through and make sure spending time with the people that matter, not the forgotten brandy butter, is at the top of that ever-growing list. Happy Holidays...
Polly Leonard, Founder