Made in Hastings

Laura Cartledge reveals how Made in Hastings have been giving houses a homely touch for a decade.

Five creative friends take ‘home-making’ to another level.
“People drink their coffee out of my cups in the morning, they make their pies in my dishes,” says potter Judith Rowe.

Judith

Judith

“I just feel very grateful that I am making things that people want to use and it is the same for all of us.”
This year marks the tenth anniversary of Made In Hastings opening its doors.
The shop acts as a showcase for talented local makers, which includes owners Judith, paper artist Sophie Azimont, knitter Josephine Doolan, painter Claire Fletcher and textile artist Suzannah Harrison.
Having grown up in a ‘pottery village’ in Gloucestershire, Judith then worked in London before buying her house in Hastings.
Unable to find somewhere to sell her work in the town, she split her time between the sea and the city.
“A couple of us knew each other from London but in London this was not an idea,” she explains.
“Then Josephine, completely coincidentally, bought a house in Hastings and I remember saying ‘when you move down, if you fancy opening a shop get in touch’.
“It was a throwaway comment. But that is exactly what happened.
“I can remember, when we were settling in to what would become Made, and we all brought our work together and it just looked amazing,” she recalls.
“We were all working at a similar standard, to a similar aesthetic but different corners of that aesthetic, so it wasn’t samey but it complimented each other.”
Despite the beautiful work launching Made was not a safe bet.
“We weren’t sure if it was going to be a goer,” Judith agrees. “When we opened ten years ago there was only really one nice shop in the old town, apart from the junk shops – we took a risk.
JPET Sept Made in Hastings“Now we feel like the aunts, as we have watched all these shops growing up and it is great,” she smiles. “The more of us there are, the more there are reasons to visit.”
Something else that has changed in the last decade is people’s opinions of craft.
“In the beginning we would often have to have the tedious conversation about why things were the price they are,” explains Judith.
“We would get a lot of tuts and eye rolls and comments of ‘I could make that’. But now people would rather buy something that is a bit more and will last.
“We love encouraging people to buy special things for themselves and a lot of our customers are people buying presents, they come from all over at Christmas especially,” she adds.
“I think what people like about Made is there is a constant flavour, but we are constantly getting lots of unique things in too, it’s a nice balance.”
A monthly stock meeting sees all five ladies, or the ‘made-ns’ as they call themselves, discuss what to sell while each also does a day working in store.
“I love going in on my Fridays,” reveals Judith. “It takes me a couple of hours to work out what is new and quite often I put pieces aside to buy later.”
Being able to divide the load means everyone has time to make, as well as spend time with family.
“We prove the cliché that ‘many hands make light work’,” she beams. “Life happens and at different stages we have all had to step JPET Sept Made in Hastingsback and the others have stepped forward, it’s been a journey.”
With a mutual love of ‘beautiful and useful things’ the artists don’t just create for the home, they take inspiration from it.
“Our homes are very much about where we live, it’s not about showing off,” Judith says simply. “If your home is full of things you love people visiting will love it too.”
This idea is something that is reflected in Judith’s advice for people wanting to add something unique, and possibly handmade, to their own house.
“Don’t worry if things go together or not, if you love them they will go together because they will have your personality and tastes as a thread,” she enthuses, adding it is key to ‘think about what it is like to live with things’.
“Paintings, for instance,” says Judith. “I will see things and I have to ask myself will it have lasting impact or is it just pushing a button in this moment?
“I believe some of us goes in to objects which is why you need beautiful things.”

For information on Made in Hastings, 82 High St, Hastings, visit www.madeinhastings.co.uk.

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