My craft heritage

Craft + Cake are happy bed fellows

With the launch of our open workshops for hand-me-down, we thought it was timely to talk about our own craft heritage. Everyone who makes has one, and hand-me-down is as much about celebrating these stories as it is about exploring the history of women's domestic needle craft in Scotland's archives.

I have always enjoyed making. I remember the pain of submitting not one, but two pictures to Tony Hart's gallery on TV, only to never see my creations on the screen. The first was a drawing of Evil Edna from Willo the Wisp (which was very brave of me as I was terrified of her - maybe some sort of 4 year old exposure therapy!). When that creation failed to make the cut, I got cynical and made an owl out of pencil shavings as there was ALWAYS one of those in the gallery.

Cynicism (perhaps unsurprisingly) didn't work either.

But those knock backs, and the hundreds more we all face throughout the years, has not daunted my desire to use my hands to create things I love.

The passion for beads came about when I was about ten (and Fimo mad at the time). My mum was doing the City & Guilds in Creative Embroidery with Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn, so I got to visit all sorts of wonderful craft shops. One of these was a visit to a bead shop in London. Not one of the well known ones, but a small shop off a high street somewhere in North West London. That day I bought some seed beads and a marvellous bag of allsorts - "sweepings" it was called and you got a bumper mix for a fiver. The joy of sorting through those sweepings was fantastic.

My lovely cousin Nicola added to the stash after a wonderful visit to the Covent Garden bead shop, which was on Neal Street back then. But despite a growing stash, I had little idea what to do with the beads, so mostly just put the beads in different boxes and admired them.

As a teenager, in the fog of glandular fever and feeling thoroughly fed up, my mum came back from the shops with a craft magazine that had a pattern for Danish seed bead stars. And then I was away... I made hundreds of stars in between naps as I recovered.

A while later, for Art & Design GCSE, without any solid knowledge of bead embroidery I made this harlequin inspired by Picasso's early work and my Grandpa's artist mannequin.

Not bad for beginner, eh?

I continued making in all sorts of ways, but university (and the lure of the pub) somewhat diminished my progression in beadwork. This was until, in 2005 I decided what I wanted to do more than anything in the world was open a bead shop. I'm so glad I decided to make it a pop up shop as a physical shop would have bankrupted me by now, but that was the beginning of Mrs Magooty.

I still enjoy lots of other crafts but as all avid crafters say (with a sigh) "I just don't have the space / time / money for another craft!"

At Christmas time however, I reckon all bets are off. Any craft is welcome and the time to make should be prioritised. Last Christmas I made this lovely advent calendar.

I bought the fabric at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Edinburgh and I've googled to find the designer of the fabric, but to no avail. So apologies for no credit where it's due.

But with it feeling pretty darn cold today, and with the darker nights closing in, there's something brilliant to celebrate - more chance to make things! Although this year it will be less about Christmas related crafts, and more about heritage as we furiously stitch our way to the hand-me-down exhibition in January. If you're local to Glasgow and are a crafter, do join us at our workshops!

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