Father's Day is coming up on Sunday 19 June. Here's our pick of Father's Day Gifts - all handmade in and around Muswell Hill by members of our collective. .
Ros Freeborn is a paper collage artist based in Muswell Hill who uses all kinds of paper to create her art. She found a way to turn her work into a product - paper lampshades which come as a flatpack in an A4 envelope with five panels of special paper printed with the design she’s created and held together with two wheel-shaped supports. She sells the paper lampshades via her website www.papershades.co.uk and they cost just £30 including postage and packing.
During lockdown Ros was at home in her studio and, like everyone else, longing to visit places, see people and explore the world. So she decided to go travelling through her creativity. The result is a range of Papershades Places, paper lampshades which celebrate a wide variety of places in the United Kingdom.
At first she made designs of places which had personal meaning. She says: “I sat down in my studio and started channelling all the places I’ve lived in in my life and have a special connection with. I began with Oxford where I was born and spent some of my childhood; then I created two towns in Shropshire, Ludlow and Shrewsbury which I ‘discovered’ as a teenager while youth hostelling along the Welsh border. Then there’s Yorkshire where my grandmother was brought up and Kent where my grandparents lived. A cousin of mine lived in Cornwall for years and we had so many wonderful family holidays staying with her and exploring the beautiful countryside near Falmouth. I have a daughter in Cambridge and friends in Edinburgh. Once I started thinking about it there was no end to the places I’ve had a connection with and really wanted to celebrate in my paper collage way."
But Ros didn’t stop there. Once these Places Papershades were on the website, local papers and radio stations got in touch and she was invited to talk on local BBC Radio station and be featured in regional papers.
Ros says: “During lockdown, when the shops were shut, online retail became quite the thing. I loved getting orders from people wanting to send Papershades as a present to someone special whom they couldn’t visit. I’d pop in a cheery note saying that my Papershade of Norfolk, for instance, came with love from a daughter to a mother, and I’d send it off to someone in Norwich or Cromer who loved the thoughtfulness of the gift and they they, in turn would send one to someone they loved.
The next thing that happened was that people got in touch with me suggesting I should make designs of places where they lived. So I created designs of places like The Wirral, South Shields, Aberdovey in Wales, Plymouth and Derby. I haven’t lived in those places but it was wonderful to research the area and create an impression of the countryside, the towns and cities and all the important landmarks."
Ros continues to create her own impressions of places in paper which are turned into lampshades. She welcomes suggestions from people who’d like to commission a design, with the promise that they’ll buy several of them. She says: “I have a particular palette of paper which I use for these design so that there’s quite a ‘family resemblance’ within them and no doubt at all that they are in my style.”
Beach of Dreams is an epic journey to discover the hidden gems of the East Coast of England. It runs from 26 June - 1 August from Lowestoft to Tilbury. It invites collaboration from communities and artists along the way in Suffolk, Essex, Southend, and Thurrock. Kinetika’s Artistic Director, Ali Pretty, and Guardian journalist Kevin Rushby are walking the entire route, joined by artists, writers, scientists, and local residents.
Together, guided by strong environmental themes and the challenges of our current time, they will consider the question “How can we creatively reimagine our future?”
The event is run by Kinetica is an internationally renowned company specialising in creating large-scale silks.
An installation of all 500 pennants will mark the beginning of the walk on 27 June, at sunrise on the beach at Lowestoft, during the First Light Summer Solstice. The route follows the coast, taking in stunning scenery, wild landscapes and seaside towns. Further installations and events take place along the way including Harwich Festival on 10 July and the finale at Tilbury Fort on 1 August.
Find out more about where you can visit the Beach of Dreams here
We're very excited to have three new creatives join our collective.
Sunbul Akhtar - Night Press
Sunbul runs Night Press from her home studio in Muswell Hill. Working in publishing in the day, Sunbul began printing as a creative after-work outlet before starting an online shop in 2019. Working exclusively with lino cut prints in a series of themes, Sunbul’s portfolio includes illustrated graphic novel posters, whimsical cityscapes, and prints on her Pakistani heritage.
Lino cut art involves carving a design onto a sheet of linoleum or wood, creating a negative space where the surface is carved. Using ink, an impression is made of the block. It is the earliest form of printing and allows the printmaker to reproduce artwork by hand.
At Night Press, Sunbul produces all of her prints by hand, using traditional techniques such as hand burnishing her prints with a wooden tool.
Read more here
Hilary Masetti - Hilary Sketches
After a career in HR and then a break to bring up her boys, Hilary is excited to be able to follow her passion and focus on her artwork. She has always been a keen artist after selling her first watercolour piece of her schoolbag at the age of 15! More recently she has been drawn to urban sketching through her love of detail and the beauty of local architecture in Muswell Hill and the surrounding areas.
'The process starts for me when I explore and take photos of local buildings. I am spoilt for choice around here! I love recording the amazing detail in buildings we pass by every day but can easily overlook'.
Read more here
Isabelle Blondiau - Isabee
Isabelle Blondiau of Isabee makes beautiful handmade applique t-shirts featuring original designs for babies and children.
Isabelle studied photography in Belgium and came to London to learn English. She worked as a professional photographer for many years before switching her career to becoming a designer maker over 15 years ago.
Isabelle's range is all about colours, simplicity, fun and quality. The organic and ethically made cottons are gentle and soft to the skin - perfect for little ones.
Read more here
To celebrate International Women's Day, members of Muswell Hill Creatives have come together to celebrate the brilliant women past and present who inspire their lives/their work.
Laura Knight by Ros Freeborn, Papershades
Laura Knight was a very talented artist and one of the first female artists to study life painting amongst men at art school - a radical thing to do in 1913 when she created Self Portrait with Model. She shows herself painting a nude model, with the model in the background and the work on a canvas - a very clever set up involving mirrors. And it's an intriguing work to see close up with such variety of style and paint application.
She moved to Cornwall with her husband and was a leading light of the Newlyn School. She depicted women at work in her paintings - especially during WW2 and she was commissioned to record the Nuremburg Trial in 1946, depicting the Nazi criminals in the dock. She never stopped working, right up until her death.
Patricia van den Akker, The Design Trust by
Rob Jones, Romor Designs
Patricia is a force of nature! She has a strong belief in what she does, supporting artists and makers in setting up and running their businesses. Her advice and support has been a critical factor in the success of my business and she specifically saved my bacon last year when she ran her 'How to teach online' classes in 2020 when lockdown had effectively closed my business.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by JC, Queenie Organics
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortzez worked her way up from a poor background with grassroots issues. Daughter of an immigrant in a mainly white male environment, she isn't afraid to speak truth to power.
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye by Sue Copeland
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is a British artist and writer acclaimed for her enigmatic portraits of fictitious people - both familiar and mysterious. The colour she uses in her work is wonderful.
Frida Kahlo by Jeremy Ornstin, Ceramic Justice
We visited her house in Mexico City. What struck me was her passion. Her indomitable spirit; channelling her suffering through her art and outlook, giving expression to raw experience. She confronted life full on. But I saw that, by rendering it in full colour, she embraced it too.
What do I take from that? I suppose that in artistic terms, once you find a medium in which you feel you can express creativity, no matter how raw or untutored your skill's level, grab the opportunity. Don't compromise and don't get distracted by comparing yourself with others in your field, and keep focused on your passion.
Ruth Asawa by Michele Wyckoff Smith
Educated at Black Mountain College by Joseph Albers and Buckminster Fuller, Ruth Asawa developed a style of woven metal biomorphic forms that were both fragile and etherial, as well as commanding and monumental. Despite being born in America to Japanese parents, Asawa was none the less interned in a camp during World War II. Strangely, she has credited this difficult experience with the making of her as an artist.
I remember a photo spread of a fountain commission she completed in San Francisco in the 1970s. My mother was so impressed by the piece, we eventually made a point of visiting it in person. The large work resonated with my mother, and brought Asawa's creations to my attention.
Great Aunt Nell by Jenny Freebury,
Crouch End Candles
My Great Great Great Grandfather was a door keeper at Eton School in the early 20th Century and died suddenly leaving his wife to bring up a family of 4 girls. She started to take in the washing and mending and established a wash-house serving the Eton School boys and surrounding gentry. My Great Great Aunt Nell was one of her daughters and took on the business after her beau died in the Boer War.
She never married, but expanded the business into one of the biggest Wash houses in the area. She was a strong woman in a world where most businesses were run by men. Every Friday my Great Aunt Nell would pay her staff, drop the takings at the bank and then make her way to the Grapes Hotel in Slough, walk through the 'men only' door to the tap room, with its sawdust covered floor and order herself a large whisky. She would drink it with her head held high - "respected as one of the men". Her reputation was tough but fair, and she always had bags of penny sweets in her pockets for the local children.
Judy Murray by Steph Rubbo Saddlery & Leather Work
I think this quote of hers in The Scotsman of 28 Nov 2020 sums it up “I never saw obstacles as barriers that stopped you, I saw them as things that you had to find a way over or under or round because I’ve never let anyone stop me. I’m one of those people that if you tell me I can’t do something, I will go out of my way to prove you wrong and that’s been the story of my life.”
She is well known for her involvement in tennis, not just training Andy and Jamie, but she has done so much more for the grass roots of the game, through to the LTA. She also does a lot to highlight the back stories of what women in sport have to do to be successful. She also picked Oti and Bill to win Strictly.
Catherine Hough by Samantha Sweet
Catherine was one of my tutors on my BA Hons degree in 3 Dimensional Design. She was the first person to emphasise that glass could be a sculptural material. I was very grateful when she took me on as an apprentice in her London studio where I worked there for 8 years learning production glass blowing, cold working and the business of running a glass studio.
For all the time I have known Catherine she has been incredibly dedicated to working with glass to the highest standards technically while pushing the boundaries with her own, distinctive style.
Anni Albers by Cecilia Child, By Cecil
Anni Albers is a name that looms large in the weaving world. And while I love her woven pieces, it is her sketchbook work that I find particularly interesting. She was so playful with her design work and continuously found new ways to make marks and incorporate new materials into her work.
Weaving and textiles have traditionally been viewed as women's work and therefore not as worthy of attention. To see the craft elevated to an art form at the Tate retrospective in 2018 felt like the beginning of a long-denied recognition.
Kate Fletcher by Tracey Lord, Lord and Taft
I’ve chosen Kate Fletcher because she was the first person who really made me think properly and deeply about the issue of sustainability. Her pioneering book was particularly important to me as at the time I discovered it I was teaching a fashion/textiles degree course and leading the critical thinking module. We spent a lot of time debating sustainability in the industry and Kate’s approach was the first I’d seen that tackled all aspects of the concept of sustainability, from processes, environmental impact, labour, fibres and chemicals to economy and ideology. It challenged and energised me and my students and that urge to question how and why I do things the way I do has remained with me ever since.
Now we are all much more used to thinking this way but she changed my work ethic and informs my approach to this day. She’s an actual proper hero.
Also an honourable mention this year for my grandma Belle for teaching me about grit and determination!
Philippa Perry by Rachael Booth-Clibborn, Founder, Muswell Hill Creatives
I come from an artistic background on my father's side. My great Aunt was artist and writer Nina Hamnett who was known as the Queen of Bloomsbury. My grandfather was an artist, my uncle is an arts publisher and my cousin an art dealer and publisher representing artists including Grayson Perry and Damian Hirst.
A love of art is definitely in my genes but I've stayed on the sidelines as more of a cheerleader. After dabbling a bit after I left school, I only really picked up a paintbrush again last year after being inspired to do so by Philippa Perry on the C4 Art Club show she shares with her husband Grayson. Her positive approach to life and great empathy have inspired me to feel braver about just giving painting another go and even sharing what I've created over the last year. I've been reminded just how good it is for the soul and it has helped put all the worries of the pandemic to one side for periods of time. I'm a bit haphazard when it comes to art & craft and when Philippa said the other night on the show "Oh dear, I've just sewn my skin into my embroidery" I realised we are definitely kindred spirits!
Love in the time of a pandemic.... Love in a cold climate..... we value our friendships and relationships so much right now even when we can't celebrate Valentine's or Galentine's in the ways we might normally. But, we can still show our love by buying a gift. Whether for a loved one or just for a bit of self-love, we've put together some gift ideas with local delivery/pick up options to make life easier especially during this cold snap!
We are very excited to announce we have five brilliant new makers joining Muswell Hill Creatives:
Jeremy Ornstin - Ceramic Justice
After a 35 year career as a criminal lawyer, Muswell Hill based Jeremy was lucky enough to find a new discipline - ceramics - and has found it utterly absorbing. Learning a new skill, a creative process without being answerable to anyone for the first time in half a century, Jeremy sees as a great privilege.
Read more here
Rosalind Freeborn - Papershades
Muswell Hill based Rosalind Freeborn has always been an artist but particularly loved working with paper. Ros launched Papershades as a way to make her art available beyond a work on canvas - on lampshades. Papershades presents a range of designs which are based on Ros's paper collage artwork.
Read more here
JC - Queenie Organics
JC launched Queenie Organics in the Autumn of 2018. Working from his home studio in Turnpike Lane, JC handmakes skincare which is cruelty free, certified organic, registered vegan and certified palm oil free. Queenie Organics has been rated a top ethical skincare brand by Ethical Consumer Magazine which is a tremendous achievement.
Read more here
Former menswear director at Paul Smith, Sue Copeland has been an international fashion designer for over 30 years. After a sudden stroke in 2010 which left Sue with Aphasia, an impairment of language, she focused on her rehabilitation. While recovering, she rediscovered her passion for sewing, leading to a handmade collection of cushions to raise money for the charity. Sue's current projects include handmade throws, baby quilts and wall hangings as well as handmade toys and gifts. Sue is based in Crouch End.
Read more here
Jenny Freebury - Crouch End Candles
Jenny Freebury is a fashion designer who discovered candlemaking as a passion on a workshop she organised for her best friends on her hen weekend. Jenny has since developed Crouch End Candles - with beautifully simple and clean packaging with different waxes, wicks and fragrances being right at the heart of her brand.
Read more here
Christina Clements (founder of Butter Bar Soapery) has made the switch to jewellery making with her new brand Eva Fay Design. Check out her page here.
We're saying a fond farewell but never goodbye to Jo Angell, Jess Albert, Natasha of Rolling with the Posies, Adriana of Yaya Lala, Leonora of Luminous Muse Ceramics and Edit Juhasz Ceramics. We've loved having them as part of the collective. Things change in creative businesses and in people's lives. Jo has made the shift from print and design to painting, Leonora is studying a Masters Degree in ceramics, Edit has moved to South London! Nobody ever completely leaves the Muswell Hill Creatives community and are welcome back at any time.
You will find links to past makers on our Alumni page.
The main thing, always, is to keep supporting and buying directly from all these amazing makers.
To celebrate Indie Day 2020, here are our favourite local independents across Muswell Hill, Crouch End, Hornsey, and Haringey. As a collective we believe it is incredibly important to support local independent retailers, cafes, restaurants, pubs, and cinemas. It is good for the local economy and community wellbeing.
Now, more than ever, independents need your help to survive the Covid crisis. Please do share this blog and share the love.
Tash & Tanya
106A-106B Alexandra Park Road, Muswell Hill, London, N10 2AE
Head here for beautiful, handmade products that are built to last, made by local people and sold at a fair price. Run by Natasha Barton and Tanya Kreisky, the shop made its name as ‘home of the Ally Pally cushion’ for the duos’ collaborative work based around local landmarks. T&T stocks products made by Muswell Hill Creative member Rob of Romor Designs.
Muswell Hillbilly Brewers Taproom
14 Avenue Mews, Muswell Hill, London, N10 3NP
We had a pop up shop in the building which now houses the Muswell Hillbilly Taproom. Also on Avenue Mews, Pete, Martin and team produce bottle conditioned craft beer and cask and kegged real ales in their microbrewery. The beer is great!
85 Fortis Green Road. Muswell Hill, London, N10 3HP
An established shop on Fortis Green housing design led furniture and homewares boutique. Great for products sourced by the owner Sarah, who is very skilled at helping you find the right gift for the right occasion.
108 Alexandra Park Rd, Muswell Hill, London, N10 2AE
We've held two pop ups in the fabulous and welcoming space which is Slipstitch and Rob of Romor Designs has taught regular classes in their lovely workshop space. You may also recognise it as the location for the 'concept store' in the last series of Motherland. The physical shop is still closed for browsing but Rosie and team are open via their website offering in-store collection and can offer craft help via email.
Sunshine Garden Centre
Durnsford Road, Bounds Green, London, N11 2EL
Creativity of the gardening kind. We think this is the best run independent garden centre we know. It did a fantastic service during lockdown and has now launched Click & Collect. Excellent customer service and a huge wealth of knowledge - just ask any member of staff!
346 Muswell Hill Broadway, Muswell Hill, London, N10 1DJ
We had a happy month before Christmas sharing Aleion's downstairs homeware boutique thanks to the lovely owners of Aleion - Alex and Ian. We hope to see them back open soon for great food and gifts. Aleion really is an important part of the Muswell Hill community and we miss them!
102 Weston Park, Crouch End, London, N8 9PP
An experienced seamstress and teacher, Genevieve West has always wanted to pass on her love of sewing and crafting; her opportunity to do so came along when she took over as the owner of Nest in January 2015. Having seen the demand for classes explode, she decided to change the use of the space from a yarn shop to purely a sewing school in 2019. Rob of Romor Designs teaches Shibori and other dyeing & stitching techniques here.
23 Broadway Parade, Crouch End, London, N8 9DE
Award-winning butchers, Morleys are continuing a long tradition. There has been a butchers shop at the same location on Broadway Parade in Crouch End since the end of the 1800s. The butchers comes highly recommended by our leather worker Steph Rubbo.
159A Tottenham Lane, Crouch End, London, N8 9BT
The friendly local cinema will not be open again until September as they want to be sure that their visitors and staff feel safe and confident in returning. Our weaver, Cecilia of By Cecil, will be first in line when they do re-open. In the meantime, they have commissioned local artist Julia Clarke to make an angel sculpture to hang over the door.
Pickled Pepper Books
10 Middle Lane, Crouch End, London, N8 8PL
Pickled Pepper Books offers a fantastic selection of books for all ages and runs a book fairy service. You decide how much you want to spend, leave a note describing special interests and favourite books and they handpick a selection for you. They even hand delivered an order during lockdown. Cecilia is really really looking forward to their theatre opening up again soon.
135 Muswell Hill Broadway, Muswell Hill, London, N10 3RS
Muswell Hill Broadway would not be the same without specialists in tea and coffee and retailers of fine food, W Martyn. The shop opened was opened in 1897 by the current owner's great grandfather. You can now have goods delivered to your door for free, if you live locally.
6 The Broadway, Crouch End, London, N8 9SN
Dunn’s of Crouch End is a family owned bakery, run by Christopher and his wife Christina. Christopher’s great-great-grandfather, Robert Freeman, came down from Brackley, Northamptonshire in 1820 on a hay wagon and started work as a baker in South Grove, Highgate. You may have spotted a cake by Dunn's in the latest series of Killing Eve and in bank commercial.
The All Good Bookshop
35 Turnpike Lane, Wood Green, London, N8 0EA
This is a community-run bookshop and events space selling both new and second hand books. The team behind it missed having a bookshop in Wood Green/Turnpike Lane so they got together and set up the All Good Bookshop cooperative. The shop comes highly recommended by Steph Rubbo of Steph Rubbo Leather Work & Saddlery.
16 Broadway Parade, Crouch End, London, N8 9DE
When discussing this list, Indish the vote was unanimous. The shop has been flying the design flag in Crouch End since 1996. Kasha and Melanie came from a background in publishing to a change of career in retail. Twenty years later the shop still stands proud and packed with the most amazing home-oriented products.
29 Fortis Green Road, Muswell Hill, London, N10 3HP
The award-winning Children's Bookshop is an independent family-owned children's bookshop which first opened in 1974. The team led by Sanchita has a deep commitment to enthusing children - and their carers - with a passion for books that is so important to building the booklovers of the future. Their knowledge of the books they sell never fails to impress!
79 Tottenham Ln, Hornsey, London, N8 9BE
The Harmless Store started its life at the Blue House Yard in Wood Green, before a successful crowdfunder led by its owner Tami, led to a relocation to Hornsey. The store is a vegan, minimal packaging, grocery shop with a goal of helping you lead a more ethical lifestyle.
Sally Bourne Interiors
26 Muswell Hill Broadway, Muswell Hill, London, N10 3RT
A favourite of our floral designer Natasha of Rolling with the Posies, the shop offers over 12,000 colours of paint, with hundreds of colours painted onto large boards, to enable true comparisons. Wallpapers and fabrics are also available along with Sally’s own range of handmade tiles. The huge range of home accessories, ranging from dishcloths of Swedish linen to antique French furniture, makes for destination shopping.
No.1 Muswell Hill, London, N10 3TH
The Stakes dates back to the turn of the century, originally built as a coachouse & stables. The building sat firmly at the foot of the hill, and became a welcome spot for those wishing respite and a friendly welcome. Run by Ben, his wife Lucy, and brother-in-law Marc, community is at the heart of what they do and we have been fortunate to use their wonderful yard for sales and celebrations over the years. They re-open on Independents Day - 4 July.
90-92 Alexandra Park Road, Muswell Hill, London, N10 2AE
Owen’s Food Store opened in November 2010. Local residents Simon & Sarah Owen decided they wanted to open a food store to bring good honest food into the heart of the local community – and to offer an alternative to often laborious supermarket shopping. Having worked as a chef for many years, Simon was able to draw from his inherent knowledge and passion for food to create a local store that provided almost everything any kitchen could need.
13 Fortis Green Road, Muswell Hill, London N10 3HP
Cheeses is small but perfectly formed. Morgan and her team are passionate about quality, well sourced farm house & artisan cheese. They sell the finest quality cheeses online from all over the world. It is the most fun queue to be in at Christmas time!
3-5 Fortis Green Road, Muswell Hill, London, N10 3HP
Our knitwear designer Tracey Lord was a regular at La Dinette before lockdown and is happy to be able to return. The cafe owner Claire says "La Dinette is about trying to recreate (in a very modest way) her childhood memories which are mostly filled with Sunday trips to the local patisserie and market with her dad, long family lunches ending with delicious and beautiful cakes, rainy days at home baking with her sister and making tons of jam with her mum and grandma, and talking (and arguing) about food with her brother."
452 Muswell Hill Broadway, Muswell Hill, London N10 1BS
A colourful place filled with toys, gifts, party supplies, cards & gift wrap. Everything in the shop has been carefully chosen by owner Jennie and team to give you a happy buying experience. You really don't need to turn to the big online retailers when you have a shop like this on your doorstep. If you saw balloons being walked around Muswell Hill during lockdown that was Jennie making deliveries to ensure celebrations were extra special.
Please check websites for COVID closures and any safety measurements in place.
Make yourself a cup of tea and join us for a series of Teatime Talks live on Instagram. Meet our makers to hear what they've been working on during lockdown and get inspiration for gifts and treats for you, your friends and family.
Wednesday 20 May
Muswell Hill Creatives
Rachael Booth-Clibborn, Muswell Hill Creatives founder will introduce the group, talk a bit about what we do and will introduce who is going to be giving teatime talks.
Live on Instagram: @n10creatives
Edit Juhasz Ceramics
Edit will be throwing a ceramic form and will present her gorgeous range of colourful porcelain tableware.
Live on Instagram @editjuhaszceramics
Butter Bar Soapery
Christina will show you her handmade range of soaps and bath products which can be collected/delivered locally.
Live on Instagram @butterbarsoapery
Samantha Sweet Glass
Sam will talk about life as a glassmaker, her past and present work and her glass bead making classes in her East Finchley home studio.
Live on Instagram @samcsweet
Thursday 21 May
Rob will talk about the Boro, Sashiko and Kogin Japanese textiles classes he is teaching online whilst working on a sample piece.
Live on Instagram @romordesigns
Cecilia will be presenting what she is currently working and what is available to buy on her website as well as sharing details of new weaving projects in the pipeline.
Live on Instagram @by_cecil
Steph Rubbo Saddlery & Leatherwork
Steph will be showing you around her studio, recent projects and how she can make bespoke orders.
Live on Instagram @stephrubbosaddlery
Wyckoff Smith Jewellery
Michele will talk about the inspiration behind her jewellery collection and will take you through great gift ideas for lockdown Birthdays and Anniversaries.
Live on Instagram @wyckoffsmith