Featured Makers: Helen Gazard

Here at Etsy Manchester, we want to celebrate the creativity, passion and individuality of our makers and encourage the public to recognise and support genuine, local makers and their diverse businesses.

In Part 2 of our new series of featured makers, we’re focusing on Helen Gazard from Sparrow Road Handmade.

Sparrow Road Handmade

Helen runs Sparrow Road Handmade from her home in Salford, and makes a range of reusable eco-friendly products. Her interest in reusable products began just after her first son was born. Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of waste generated by one baby, she decided to give cloth nappies a go and fell in love with reusable products. With an existing passion for sewing and a varied fabric stash she decided to set up her shop selling reusable baby wipes, and now sells a range including nursing pads, cutlery pouches, kitchen towels and more! The aim of Sparrow Road is to make it easy and fun to all do our bit to look after our planet.

Check out Helen’s Etsy shop

Luxe Christmas Gifts

Baiba Auria of Egoiste Gallery chooses her favourite luxury Christmas gifts to help you really spoil your loved ones!

I am Baiba Auria, and I am a portrait artist and an independent gallery co-owner, where me and my team look after a family of 17 artists practicing all kinds of art forms – from felting and sculpture to drawing and fine art.  We are very active on Etsy alongside our own website and it has brought us many clients who have become regulars.  Through the Etsy Manchester team I have gotten to know many incredibly talented makers and it is my pleasure to curate this years luxury gift list. 

So here goes:

An elegant silk hair tie for your or a loved ones winter wedding. It can be customised too, making it a very precious keepsake. Available from Six Stories.
Complementing the above, you can’t go wrong choosing this delicate and beautifully balanced piece by SaskiasSassyStore.  Beautiful gemstones and silver – great for any age.  Unleash your inner mermaid 🙂
A keepsake should be irreplaceable and personal and this modern nod to Victoriana certainly delivers – real pressed flowers in a glass frame, small enough to display anywhere. Created by Flora and Fauna by Kitty.
These you might want to gift just so you can “share”… Award winning handmade Christmas chocolate selection, just beautifully crafted by Eponine Chocolate.
Ceramics make such a beautiful and useful gift and Nicola Briggs Ceramics have caught my attention – beautifully gentle pastel blues with a contrasting platinum rim this bowl is a stunning achievement. She also makes ceramic art and jewellery.
Onto my specialist subject now – art (mind you, you might say chocolate is also one :)).  House Under The Moon print by Moonlit Press is a fantastic addition to a modern interior, gold and grey are highly complementary colours and the subject is both sweet and beautifully eerie.
Last but not least, a gift for that someone who has EVERYTHING – a Limited Edition from our Egoiste Gallery “Pink Punk” Marilyn by the internationally recognised Pure Evil. His trademark black teardrop has made it across the world.

Hope you enjoyed this selection and have a fabulous Christmas!

Christmas Gifts for the Gals

Let’s take a peek at Doodlesworth’s top picks of Christmas gifts for the girls in your life!

Hello, I’m Helen and my shop is Doodlesworth. I make illustrated cards, prints, badges and tote bags. I like to draw things to make myself laugh, I’m a bit of a geek and I love cats, which is all reflected in my work.

This list is titled Gifts for Gals, but a lot of my choices aren’t exclusively for women; they are just things that I like, and a good excuse to show off some of the brilliant things you can buy from Etsy Manchester members.

CeruleanWitch has a lot of great gifts for any witchy ladies. This Cthulhu Bubble Bath/Shower Gel potion bubble bath is my favourite, as it has been decorated with a deep sea monster. I also love that it’s made from 100 percent natural essential oils, natural colourings, and Natural Organic Castile soap.
Flyttamouse has lots of lovely wooden brooches, pendants and signs. This Fly Agaric Toadstool Wooden Brooch was my favourite. The detail is burned in with a pyrography machine, with hand painted colour.
SparrowRoadHandmade has lots of eco-friendly reusable gifts. The skull pattern is my favourite for these reusable Bamboo Make Up Remover Pads, but they have lots of other great designs to suit all tastes.
Emily Lisbeth Jewellery has lots of elegant silver jewellery to suit all price ranges. I’ve chosen these silver snowflake studs as they are nice and Christmassy.
The Magpie’s Daughter also has lots of unique jewellery with a vintage and antique feel, including these golden hoop drop earrings with deep red gem stones. Her product photos are so lovely too!
Norseman Furniture have a lot of very innovative designs, like this copper pipe wine glass caddy, you can carry a wine (or prosecco!) bottle and two glasses easily at once with one hand, which is handy for anyone like me who struggles with carrying a few things at once! It also looks great on display too.
It’s always good to get a really nice calendar for Xmas, and this A3 one from JivePrints is great for design lovers with their bright colours and bold shapes.
For art lovers LocalHotelParking has lots of unique, quite surreal and often funny hand cut collage art prints, including this ladies meeting called ‘The Announcement’.
Finally, pop over to my shop Doodlesworth for this cat tote bag which could make a good gift for any cat ladies out there!

Honestly, I could carry on much longer, there are so many talented makers out there in Manchester. Next time you are on Etsy, why not search for etsymcr? You won’t be disappointed!

Christmas Gifts – Stocking Stuffers

EtsyMCR teamie Lindy shares some of her favourite Stocking Stuffer ideas!

Hi, I’m Lindy, the potter behind Black Dog Pottery.  I love to play with clay and my studio is in South Manchester.  ‘Tis the season for giving and choosing that perfect gift for those stockings hung with care – I’ve chosen a few of my favourites!

Etsy is the perfect place to find handmade stocking stuffers. These fun and quirky gifts are a few of the things you can find on Etsy.  Our Etsy Manchester crew have some truly amazing pieces.

Vegan is the new black, and a badge to let Nana know you’re off the turkey might be what you’re looking for. £1.50, Doodlesworth
The festive season is a time to have a tipple or three and these funky coasters are the perfect combination of retro kitsch. £10.00, Kitsch Republic
Nicer than what you’ll get in your Christmas cracker- this cute little cloud key ring is sure to brighten your day. £8.00, The Moonlit Press
A different twist on the Christmas satsuma – these orange earrings will surely be a talking point during lunch! £10.00, YellowThreadd
It is candle season and one of my match strikers makes a perfect gift when paired with a candle. These hand-poured vegan candles smell divine – pop one in the stocking and enjoy! The spiced apple candle will surely put you in the festive mood. £14.00, The Wilton Street Craft Co.
This gorgeous necklace will bring of bit of celestial intervention – might just be needed with all the family around! £14.00, SaskiasSassyStore

Christmas Gifts for the Guys

Need help finding the perfect Christmas present for the fellas in your life? Read on for some top gift inspo!

Curated by Christmas enthusiast and concrete homeware maker, Akaibi from PinkVine, here’s 10 awesome gift ideas for the men on your Christmas shopping list…

We’re all doing our best to cut down on single use items, so why not gift this functional and totally badass tote, that will surely never be forgotten!? The high quality surrealist print on this bag is from an original hand cut collage by LocalHotelParking and is also available as a print, if the man in your life would rather keep their art on the walls.
Perfect for the style-conscious bohemian is this grounding and strengthening necklace with texture for days! If your man prefers a little more colour, Bohemian Drifters has you covered with gorgeous natural beaded necklaces in shades of grey, turquoise and even wood.
For that one man on your list who’s out by the side of a lake more than he’s at home, bring some of that passion indoors. This embellished giclée print is from an original Jan Vallance painting and comes ready to display. If you love the style but fishing isn’t the vibe, The Art Boat has plenty of other outdoor scenes and animals to choose from.
Just because it’s Christmas, doesn’t mean you need to run for the staple box-sets from a chain store. These gorgeous soap bars will keep your main man smelling gorgeous, with tropical fruit notes that will wash away any negativity and get him ready to take on the day. Want even more positive vibes? The Crystal Soapery also offer soap bars containing real crystals for an extra keepsake.

Shopping for someone you love to Facetime? Or perhaps someone who is always cooking the latest recipe they found online? This modern yet charming phone stand by Norseman Furniture could be the perfect gift to remedy all those awkward attempts at balancing their handset. Top tip: They also sell one for tablets!
Do you know someone who deserves something truly one of a kind? These seaglass cufflinks look so different in all lights and will catch people’s eyes on every outing but will never be truly replicated. If you’re shopping for someone who’d like something more pared back, check out some of the silver cufflinks in Emily Lisbeth’s store.
Drawing out the beauty in the mundane is this sparse black and white print from Helena Lee Studios. This one is perfect for the man who is proud of where he comes from but won’t be found blaring Oasis out on the daily! If you’re buying for more of a country mouse, check out the range of botanical prints instead.
Perfect for a new freelancer or the guy whose desk is eternally cluttered, this set has a handy tray along with three clips perfect for photos, to-do lists or expenses receipts. If he’s got that covered, check out PinkVine’s coaster sets, perfect for G&Ts, beers and brews.
What’s better than a brand new leather wallet that will age beautifully with you? This eye-catching and clean lined red leather wallet by Blind Leather has a beautifully simple and yet thought out design. You can also choose between yellow and black thread to suit the recipient’s style. Red not his colour? Blind Leather has a great range of shades (and styles) in their shop from pale tans, through to rich greens.
For the ideas man who loves to jot things down, this feltcovered notebook comes with two handmade notebook inserts with varying papers for all kinds of concepts – and comes with a pencil too. If they’re more of a digital guy, why not go for a Jonesy Inc. hand stitched scarf instead?

EtsyMCR Team Summit 2019

Join the EtsyMCR Team for our first ever Team Summit – an afternoon of creative talks and inspiration to boost your business and build your community!

Book Your Ticket Now!

EtsyMCR invites you to indulge in your creative community and enjoy an afternoon of masterclasses, workshops and hints and tips to make your business flourish in time for the festive season.

Be part of more and join in the fun with the interactive workshops, panel talks from local experts and small independent growing businesses and an opportunity to venture inside the creative, busy studios of Islington Mill.

We’ll cover topics such as selling wholesale and what shops want, instagrammable content to gain more engagement and how to get over overwhelm, and top tips to be more productive and motivated.

There’ll also be an opportunity to gain insights and info from Team Captain Emma from Etsy Headquarters on the changes and developments with the site.

We hope you leave with your heads bursting with ideas, your tummy full of treats made from local indies and your hands heavy with goodies.

Speakers confirmed:

The brilliant Katya Willems from Easy Insta Mcr will be sharing her wisdom on all things social media and being social.

Incredible stockists Lizzy from A Curious Collection, Karen from The Warren and Tim from Magma in an insightful panel discussion in what shops look for.

Arrive from 11am to register, pick up your exclusive goodie bag and chat to other EtsyMCR teamies before everything kicks off at 12pm on the dot!

What are you waiting for? Book Your Spot Now!

Not yet an EtsyMCR member? Join the Team here.

Meet the Maker – Cranfields Creations

Congratulations Aaron Cranfield for being our Member of the Month! You’ve been selected because you’re always an enthusiastic, active member on our Etsy Manchester Members Facebook group, and we also love seeing your smiley face at our monthly socials. Thank you for your continued engagement and involvement with our team!

Firstly, please introduce yourself! Where are you from, what are your hobbies? Who is Aaron Cranfield, of Cranfields Creations?!

My name is Aaron. I am 29 and run my little environmentally friendly and retro inspired business, Cranfields Creations, out of my flat in sunny Salford. I am the creator, maker, mover and shaker of my pop-culture cards and prints.

Alongside Etsy, I also work full-time in communications, so I guess you could say I am a part-time illustrator with a full-time passion. Running a small business and working full-time can be a struggle, so I must stay organised and on-top of my game. As an Aries, I have a strong personality and I am always determined to make things succeed.

What is your story so far, as an artist? And where would you like to see your artistic career going in the future?

I’ve always been creative and a maker of things, so when I had the opportunity to go to University and study Fine Art, I jumped at the chance. It was a life changer and the experience really opened my skillset to new and exciting things. Once I graduated, I worked in a few jobs, but never really had an outlet for my creative side, so I started Cranfields Creations to help express myself and get to know other creative people like me. I discovered Etsy Manchester a few months later: everyone has been incredibly supportive. It’s been great to see and help others going through their own Etsy journeys.

Since Cranfields Creations opened in January 2018, my “day job” has taken a significant and positive change… along with my drawing style. I’m lucky that my passion and daily routine are now so intrinsically linked. Over the next few years I would love to see my little business expand so I can move to reduce my work hours or even go self-employed full-time – what a dream!

We see loads of familiar faces (in the form of prints and greetings cards) available to purchase on your Etsy shop. Which famous people or characters have been your favourites to paint, and why?

I am a huge pop-culture fan, even ‘nostalgic’ pop-culture, and love to illustrate my favourite cult icons from it. I find it all so relatable for certain types of moods, relationships or occasions – it’s a reflection of us as humans so fits us all in some way! One fine example is my Ainsley Harriott illustration: his personality is just so resonant and iconic of the 90s that anyone can see its appeal. When I draw and think of my quotes, I try to capture that character in. I am currently working on a Britney Spears ‘circa 2007 meltdown’ design, which I think everyone can relate to!

One of my favourite illustrations is of Marsha P Johnson. She is one of the biggest icons of the gay rights movement and a prominent figure of the 1969 Stonewall riots. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I like to do my bit by paying homage to those who have led the way for the community by illustrating to educate and inspire others.

We get the feeling that you may enjoy watching a movie every now and then (all your incredibly accurate character artworks give that away a little bit!). Is it fair to say you’re a bit of a film buff? And if you had to play a role in a movie, which role would you play and why? 

Now this is a cracking question! Unfortunately, I am one of those people who has a top 50 movie list, so yes, I would classify myself as a film buff! I don’t think I could whittle a role to play to just one, however, a few that come to mind are Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton – Terminator), Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver – Alien) and any of the cast of First Wives Club (Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton). I just admire the strong female spirit these characters possess and their bravery to rise to challenges, plus “You Don’t Own Me” is an absolute banger…

If your artworks could speak…what would they say about you?

They would say I am too much of a perfectionist, and I need to stop worrying about the detail. I used to spend a lot longer on a piece than I currently do, so I am getting better!

And finally, is there anything happening soon (such as markets, events, giveaways, celebrations, new product launches) that you’d love our readers to know about, and to add to their diaries?

I wouldn’t want to give too much away, but I have a new Christmas line coming out soon – full of more of my favourite cult Christmas villains and heroes. Plus, the new Cranfields Creations website will be launching shortly so you’ll be able to experience the full Aaron personality! You can keep up-to-date with me on my social media channels and as a bonus, get a behind the scenes glimpse of my way of working.

Check out Cranfields Creations on Facebook, follow Aaron’s work on Instagram and shop his personalised portraits and pop culture artworks over on Etsy.

Would you like to be our next Member of the Month, and be featured on our website and in our exclusive Team Newsletter? To be in with a chance, all you have to do is become an active EtsyMCR team member, in three easy steps:

1. Join our team on Etsy.

2. Head over to Facebook and join our EtsyMCR Members Group

3. Be ACTIVE! Ask questions, support other team members by answering their questions and joining in with conversations, share news & opportunities, tag @etsymcr on your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts, and come along to our monthly Socials!

Back to School

EtsyMCR teamie Mary Sonja Tudor chooses her fave Back to School, College or Uni goodies to make the new term a bit more fun!

Heya! I’m Mary, the owner, designer, maker and everything else over at Mary’s Jewellery Bakery! I’ve always had a love for cake and cats, but I’ve only started displaying it through my crafts earlier this year. I like to work with resin, polymer clay and dollhouse furniture to create unusual and kawaii jewellery, inspired by the Harajuku fashion.

Among many other things, I also love stationery! When this month’s gift guide’s theme came up, I just had to get involved! Here are my top picks for amazing Back to School gifts for kids, teens, university students and anyone who is stationery crazy!

The most important thing as a student is to stay on track! Keep track of your daily tasks with ByNikomi’s planners – a great way to bee organized! 🙂
Don’t forget to be kind to yourself, though! A great way of combining both, the Need to Do – Nice to Do notepad from TheMoonlitPress allows for an easy way of treating yourself every so often.
Often overlooked and yet so important, a soon-to-be favourite cup is one of the first items you’ll reach for in the morning! Whether it’s filled with coffee or tea, this warm autumn design from BetulSalmanArt is bound to start your day with a hefty dose of beauty. (It’s also perfect for drinking home-made pumpkin spice lattes! *sips*)
For those with a serious sweet tooth, ReconsideredRetro’s hand-drawn notebooks will make a nostalgia-filled gift!
An ideal way to make sure you never lose your pens again, this strappy pen holder from PumpkinAndPeas is perfect for any A5 sized notebook!
“But how will I carry all these amazing goodies?!”, I telepathically hear you say. In one of giflynndesign’s custom hand-painted backpacks, of course! They also make being away from your pets a little easier. 🙂 
And for days when a couple notepads and a pen will suffice? Stand out with LocalHotelParking’s art collage tote bags!
Always carry around a little positivity with personalized pencils from WinniesWorldOfWonder – also a great way to ensure your pencils don’t mysteriously go missing…
Keep your room as cosy and stress-free as possible with an adorable print from MantraAndMoon! 
Or, if your life is all about sugar, surround yourself with not one, not two, but a set of THREE kawaii food prints from the Pastel Goth Princess, SophieMayde! 

Meet the Maker – Gizzys Gifts

Meet the latest winner of Etsy Manchester’s Member of the Month, Rebecca Bibby, aka Gizzys Gifts (and find out who Gizzy is!)

Congratulations Rebecca Bibby for being this month’s Member of the Month! You’ve been selected because we always see you supporting all of our EtsyMCR members on our Etsy Manchester Members Facebook group, and you also regularly attend our monthly socials, so we’d love to thank you for your continued engagement and involvement with our team!

Firstly, please introduce yourself! Where are you from, what are your hobbies? Who IS Gizzys Gifts?! 

My name is Becky and I’m originally from Bristol but I moved to Manchester just over ten years ago. With blue hair… at the minute… I live with our four crazy guinea pigs and fiancé, and love them in that order exactly.

Becky sporting her new blue ‘do

I actually did my degree and masters in Photography; now doing a little bit of that on the side, however mostly using it to photograph the tiny replicas of people’s pets I make instead. Which is great to be honest, as I love photographing and capturing all those little details in the world. I work from home out of our spare room, occasionally escaping into the outside world where I love stepping on crunchy leaves and watching the magpies fly around attacking the neighbours’ satellite dish!

What is the story or inspiration behind your shop name, Gizzys Gifts?

I started off making miniature guinea pigs and Gizmo was one of our first guinea pigs (Quite a naughty, full of character, guinea pig). We call him Gizzy for short and so the name evolved from there really.

Gizmo the Guinea Pig, aka Gizzy

You have a wonderful array of miniature animal ornaments, cute food jewellery, personalised memorial frames, cut paper cards (and much more!) available to purchase on your Etsy shop. Which items are your favourites to make?

I love making custom pieces actually. Getting to create a unique character each time and getting let into people’s worlds. Seeing the many different cute faces of their pets and knowing I’m creating something for someone to treasure and permanently remember their furry family member by. Suppose this is also why I like sending the personalised memorial frames. Packaging them up nicely and adding little touches to make them smile during the tough time after losing their pet.

Each custom piece is created with care and exquisite attention to detail.

We’re amazed at how incredibly lifelike your tiny animal ornaments are! How long does it take you to make one ornament, and do you ever lose your patience trying to perfect all the intricate details?!

It can vary to be honest, from an hour to a few hours for example, depending upon the animal really. And sometimes they need to be put aside for a bit so I can return with fresh eyes. As with everything, things don’t always go right. Sometimes I do lose my patience especially as I’m a little bit of a perfectionist with the details, I believe in getting everything right for a customer. As an animal owner myself, I know I’d want everything to be as perfect as possible so I work as hard as I can to get it as accurate as I can. So this can occasionally lead to elements needing to be “reset” and corrected with a squish.

If the National Department of Miniature Animal Ornaments (NDMAO)* decided tomorrow that makers have to choose just ONE animal to make for the rest of their lives (let’s hope this doesn’t happen!), which animal would you choose, and why? 

Just one?! That’s hard. Erm… officially I’d say guinea pigs, because they have such unique funny characters. Each one’s personality is so different and it shows in their faces. Also who couldn’t love a cute guinea pig, especially with the variety they come in. From mega fluffy crazy hairstyles to totally hairless bar little tufts on their nose. However I’d have to secretly keep making other animals on the side.

These adorable Guinea Pigs are so teeny and so detailed!

*The NDMAO is a fake organisation that we have invented for entertainment purposes of this article. ☺   

If your animal ornaments could speak, what would they say about you?

I would like to think they’d describe me as a lovely person who cares about getting their little details and features perfect, then sends them off to loving homes where they are adopted by caring and friendly people. They’d probably also want to point out how embarrassing I am dancing and singing terribly around the house when no one’s around.

And finally, is there anything happening soon (such as markets, events, giveaways, celebrations, new product launches) that you’d love our readers to know about, and to add to their diaries?

Planning to add new ornament styles later this year, little creatures sat on all fours similar to the dogs I currently do. Coinciding this with some new happy faces, thinking chinchillas, rats, etc. All those unique furries that are missing out on love. Always open to suggestions of any animal people would like to see. So I’d say keep an eye out for those, will probably be a limited number to start with as well as a few custom slots.

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Rebecca. We look forward to seeing more of your adorable miniature animals soon!

Check out Gizzys Gifts on Facebook, Follow Rebecca’s work on Instagram and shop for Rebecca’s adorable mini ornaments over on Etsy.

Would you like to be our next Member of the Month, and be featured on our website and in our exclusive Team Newsletter? To be in with a chance, all you have to do is become an active EtsyMCR team member, in three easy steps:

1. Join our team on Etsy.

2. Head over to Facebook and join our EtsyMCR Members Group.

3. Be ACTIVE! Ask questions, support other team members by answering their questions and joining in with conversations, share news & opportunities, tag @etsymcr on your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts, and come along to our monthly Socials! Our next Social is on Thursday 25th July in Manchester, from 6pm. See you there?

Celebrate Pride Season with EtsyMCR

In celebration of Pride Month, Team Leader Saskia Wrycroft aka SaskiasSassyStore has curated her first Gift Guide, showcasing a few of the many talented makers in our beautifully diverse Etsy Team. EtsyMCR is proud to have many LGBTQ+ Members. We’d like to wish you a very happy Pride!

Rainbow & Co Pride t-shirt
Wear your Pride on your Pocket with this t-shirt from Rainbow & Co.
Celebrate the 50th Anniversary with this artwork of Stonewall Icon Marsha P Johnson by Cranfields Creations.
Choose your own rainbow from this selection of Flag Charms by Mary’s Jewellery Bakery and wear it for Pride – or, just because it’s a Tuesday, and on Tuesdays we wear rainbows.
Stephanie aka Bracken and Moss Design hand-knits these gorgeous tea cosies with the option of an adorable rainbow bee.
You might spot Jon Turner’s robots around the city. Now you can wear your own with this adorable rainbow umbrella enamel pin.
Show your Manchester Pride with this embroidered hoop by Natalie Gaynor Designs.
Look fabulous in these rainbow dangle earrings made by The Lobe Wardrobe!
Enjoy reading this risograph zine featuring a collection of historical love letters collected and illustrated by 2Bmcr.