Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Haven For The Handmade

Since autumn last year, Proud Lion has shared the premises at 40 Albion Street with the wonderful Stuffed Nonsense!

Run by Bex Smith and Eleri Parry, Stuffed Nonsense sells all manner of hand crafted items and giftware from paintings to brooches and keyrings to cuddly monsters - often made out of recycled old clothing like socks and jumpers.

Bex took some time to tell me how it all started with a monster swap!

"We were bored and frustrated in our not so creative day jobs so we tried to lighten things up a bit. I made a polar bear for El called Frances and El made a sock monster for me called Poxy.

We realised we made a good creative team so made a few bits and pieces and opened a Folksy shop. Sales went well from there. Then a shop in Cirencester spotted us and asked if we wanted to sell there - which we did (and still do).

Then one day Ben at Proud Lion asked us into the shop and offered us upstairs. We figured life's too short to stand around wondering what if...

We knew we had the passion for the handmade and we knew we could make it work. Cheltenham needs a funky little place like our shop! We are putting the fun back into the High Street!"

It's more than just high jinx and good humour too, Bex and El are both determined to help where they can.

This Saturday, Stuffed Nonsense is hosting a unique charity event - Handmade For Haiti - I asked Bex to explain what they have planned.

"Handmade for Haiti is an exclusive shopping event with a twist. Our small but perfectly formed shop is going to be transformed into a village tea party... think bunting, cups and saucers, handmade cakes, party rings and 1920's music. We will donate 100% of the takings to the section of UNICEF dealing with the victims of the Haiti earthquake."

In addition to the usual offerings from Stuffed Nonsense, Bex and El have managed to line up some new and exclusive sellers who wanted to help and have sent new items that will be available for a limited time only.

"We can not emphasise how much wonderful handmade talent will be available to buy on Saturday. We are so pleased to have these guys in our shops," Bex enthused.

"First up we have nelliD. She's a very talented lady who makes unique resin jewellery (think candy colours, pop style, bubble rings - things like that.)

Then there is OhBadgers. This lady has a talent to draw like no other! The screen printed cards she sent down for the event are awe inspiring... she's also sent down some hand illustrated pocket mirrors, screen printed prints of birds, cats and owls, some very lovely vintage style necklaces with illustrations of birds in them and some similar style brooches.

Also there are lovelies due from Wollies - super quirky plastic jewellery all hand decorated/illustrated by the talented Olly - and unique handmade wonders from Lou Peaujeux (we are expecting some great cards, pin badges and pocket mirrors).

These guys normally sell on the handmade haven that is Folksy, but there prices will be a bit cheaper and you wont have the p&p too!"

I asked Bex what gave Stuffed Nonsense the idea to fund raise this way.

"Well we don't have a huge amount of spare cash (or any for that matter!) so couldn't really donate money that way. However we both have the ability to stitch and draw... so we thought that there had to be some way we would use our creative skills to help, and this is what we came up with. Also, any excuse to eat cake and drink tea is good in our eyes!"

Stuffed Nonsense will be open from 10am and Handmade For Haiti begins at midday with tea and cakes for all, in return for a small donation.

So that's Saturday 27th February from 12pm. Stuffed Nonsense and Proud Lion will be open from 10am. Pop along and grab yourself a wonderful handmade goody! You can feel good about yourself too, as it's all for charity!

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