This blog post features part one of an inside-out tour of Marigold the Maker; a recipe for Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs, an introduction to some new products and a subscriber special offer discount code for the new E-book Collection.
Firstly, let me say hello and a warm welcome to all my new subscribers from me! Below is a short March Meet the Maker introduction where you'll learn more about my brand, my values and making process. You can also read more about me in the interview I did last year for The Big Draw.
March Meet the Maker!
Tell us about Marigold the Maker, when did you first launch your business?
Marigold the Maker began in 2018. I spent much of my 20s and 30s working hard as a teacher, leader and most latterly, as a headteacher in inner London primary schools. In the evenings, weekends and holidays I'd take art courses and spend time in my studio making. I always longed to be an artist full time but financially it never felt possible. By 2018 I had saved enough money to give myself the gift of time (2 years) and space (a studio) to develop my creative practice so I finally took the leap to follow my heart and long held dream and became a full-time maker!
Would you say Marigold the Maker has a specific style?
Yes, I'd say right from the beginning the style that emerged could perhaps be described as natural with a modern edge. It's been described by others as "Modern Amish with a nod to the Bloomsbury group" in the past. Over the years the style has developed more of a spacious feel whilst maintaining the original natural with a modern edge look. The style will no doubt continue to evolve as I develop personally as an artist and maker.
Tell us about the core values and beliefs that lie at the heart of Marigold the Maker?
I'd say that the values that underpin the ethos of my business are the same as the values I choose to live my life by: truth, beauty and creativity.
Much of what I do is about finding a sense of truth in the stillness that creativity provides. When I'm making whatever the outlet for my creativity be it cooking, drawing, writing, printing, gardening, dyeing or sewing, I become fully absorbed in the process and I find a place of truth beyond the busyness. Using my hands quietens my thoughts and increases my awareness of the present moment. Making for me is soothing as well as exciting.
I value the beauty of nature in all I that I do and create. Growing up on a mountainside in rural Wales, I developed a strong and lasting relationship with nature that runs deep in my veins. The beauty of nature never fails to inspire me, I'm constantly in awe of it and try to live harmoniously and respectfully along side it. Sustainability has always been a priority for me in terms of sourcing materials and creating products. This year I have been collecting waste materials such as coffee grounds, avocados and onion skins in my kitchen and foraging in my local area and allotment for natural dye stuff to make ink and dye fabric with.
Creativity for me is the energy and life force that brings the most joy to me and those around me. I strive daily to enable creativity to flow through me freely. But the part of my work that brings me the strongest sense of reward and purpose is passing it on to others. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing others discover and recover their own sense of creativity. The core purpose of all my workshops, kits, online courses and the communities I've created is to encourage others to live a more creative life and experience more of the joy and satisfaction that comes with being creative.
What would we find on your desk right now?
Due to lockdown and my fiance now working from home, my desk for the past year has been the kitchen table! So far it's been working pretty well except I have to do a lot of clearing the decks at the end of the day and for meal times but this isn't necessary a bad habit to get into.
I try to structure my week into days: Mondays are for making, so my desk is usually strewn with scissors, natural dyed fabric, cutting mats and the sewing maching. Tuesdays is an admin and teaching day so my desk is usually covered with my laptop, various cameras and leads and my sketchbook set up for online teaching. Wednesday is my "Creative Space" day which often involves playing with a mixture of materials and developing ideas and designs. My desk is often covered in bits of paper, paints, books and often natural materials. And Thursdays and Fridays involve more admin and teaching so it's back to the laptop, cameras, wires and sketchbook.
Tell us about your most recent creation?
Following the Month of Mending event I hosted in February, I finally made some long awaited Darning Kits. I really enjoyed sourcing the materials and making the needle cases by hand using Welsh flannel that my mum passed on to me from my grandmother's fabric stash.
It's like a Darning Starter Kit that contains all you need to get started and you can continue to add to your collection of darning wool and tools over the years. My favourite feature is that it's doubly sustainable in that it's a kit aimed at extending the life of existing garments which reduces the need to use more of the world's resources to make new clothes and the kit contains really high quality, carefully chosen items that are designed to last a life time and then, hopefully revive the tradition of passing down mending kits through the generations.
And what are you working on at the moment?
I'm currently working on making a small batch of quilted Roll Up Pencil Cases using avocado dyed fabric. As it's Spring I've started wanting to sketch outside so the Roll Up Pencil Case means I can pack all the drawing tools I need and access them easily when I'm sketching in nature. I'm also creating a pattern and a limited number of kits so people can make their own Roll Up Pencil Cases.
Follow this simple, sustainable recipe to make naturally dyed eggs and create a beautiful Easter display!
You will need:
4 eggs - blown (see below for instructions on how to do this)
2 jam jars with lids
Half a red cabbage (roughly chopped)
2 tbsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp white vinegar
Gold or white paint
Blow the eggs by piercing both ends with a needle (gentle but persistent wiggling helps) and creating two holes approx 3-4mm wide (wider holes make it much easier to blow). Place the egg over a bowl and hold the sides of the eggs gently with both hands. Place your mouth over the top of the egg and blow the egg out of it’s shell into the bowl below. If the egg gets stuck coming out wiggle the needle inside the bottom hole to loosen it then continue blowing.
Give the blown egg shells a wash then leave to dry.
In a saucepan bring the red cabbage and 500ml water to the boil then simmer with a lid on for 30 mins. Leave to cool completely then strain the dyed water into a jam jar and add 1 tbsp of white vinegar.
Push two of the blown eggs into the jar and screw the lid on to ensure the eggs are completely covered. Leave them overnight or for up to 2 days for stronger dye colour.
Remove the eggs very carefully (there will be a film of dye over the surface of the egg at this stage that will come away easily when wet but will fix permanently when dry). Place them on a plate and leave the eggs to dry completely.
Repeat the same process for the turmeric dye bath so you should end up with blue and yellow eggs.
You could then paint the eggs using acrylic paint or add gold speckles using a tooth pick and gold paint.
To tie them to a branch snap a matchstick or cocktail stick into three, wrap and tie a piece of cotton thread to the piece of stick then gently push the stick through the top hole of the egg so that it lodges inside then wrap and tie the cotton to the branch.
The Darning Kit
A simple, beautiful darning kit perfect for beginners.
Contains all my favourite darning materials and includes a special limited edition needle case made from hand woven Welsh flannel passed down to me from my Grandmother.
An artisan kit and one-time investment to last a life-time and be passed down through generations.
View kit details and purchase - limited stock available!
Subscriber Special Offer!
20% off all E-books!
£10 reduced to £8!
Learn a new creative skill for just £8!
Enter the discount code ebook to get 20% off all e-books!
(hurry though- offer expires 31st March 2021!)
The perfect digital reference to guide you step by step through the process of making your own ink from natural and waste materials; the basics of the ancient art of block printing and all your need to know (and more) about the expressive art of mono printing!