Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tea and Cakes at Crafty Fox

We are delighted to have the fantastic Tea's Knees running our pop-up tea room at The Crafty Fox Christmas Markets on 10th & 11th December. We sat down with Natalie Stevens and Rebecca Goss, the lovely ladies who run The Tea's Knees to find out more....

 Why not start by telling us a bit about your background

"We met each other whilst studying photography at university and have always harboured ideas of opening a tea room.

We are a celebration of the British Tea Time and the nation’s obsession with a good cuppa and all its culinary accompaniments. We offer you a Classic Tea blend grown by the UK's only producer, Tregothnan, and a vast selection of traditional cakes and cupcakes in your favourite past time flavours, not to mention the classic cream tea. All hand made with love, care and creativity using the best quality ingredients Britain has to offer. At The Crafty Fox Christmas Market we shall also be tempting you with some festive Christmassy delights and introducing to our menu the king of savoury tea time treats - the Crumpet.

What do you hope to achieve with The Tea's Knees? 

Honing in on the UK’s insatiable thirst for tea we aim to expand into a modern London tea room to satisfy the growing need for a more sophisticated cup of tea with all the added trimmings of a British menu. With an equal passion for creative learning and engagement we aspire to offer a range of accessible art workshops and activities to accompany your cuppa.  Working with emerging artists and creative practitioners we hope to offer them a key central space to teach whilst providing our customers with a unique and creative environment to engage, socialise and relax.

What made you want to start The Tea's Knees?

We started the Teas Knees through a frustration in the drowning influx of coffee chains and cafes in London - hot, stuffy and dingy with not an ounce of customer service or environment to relax in. Despite Britain consuming over twice as much tea than coffee there are very few places in London that specialise in tea and its ceremony unless you are able to afford the Ritz or the Wolseley. Most traditional tea rooms are confined to the counties and we would like to bring our own modern version to the tea lovers of London.
In July we had the opportunity to put together some ideas and a concept for The Tea’s Knees at Artsmart, an art and design market organised by the University of Arts London. It was so successful it led us on to running a market stall at the Thames Festival and since then we were selected to be part of School for Creative Start ups, a one year programme that equips creatives with the skills needed to start a successful business.

What is your favourite Cake?

Nat - Toffee and Pecan
Bec - Carrot Cake with lots of cream cheese icing
We also love a good cream tea!

There are a lot of independant bakers around at the moment. What makes you different from other cake makers?

We feel it is very important to support and celebrate British farms and independent food suppliers and we have taken care to source the right high quality produce and use as much British ingredients where possible. Our loose leaf tea is grown in Cornwall, the UK’s only producer, our cream and butter is from a dairy farm in Devon and our Jam from Essex. Our intention is not is not to compete with market leading Bakeries such as Hummingbird Bakery but instead to offer an 'experience' alongside our menu, an alternative social venue to the boundless cafe's, Starbucks, Costa's etc that are out there.

 Don't miss The Tea's Knees tearoom on the 1st Floor at The Crafty Fox Market, 10th & 11th December (11am - 5pm).  Dogstar, Brixton

Thursday, November 24, 2011

10th & 11th December - Busy weekend for Brixton

If you are planning a trip to Crafty Fox Market on Saturday 10th or Sunday 11th December, take some time to explore the other things taking place in Brixton. It seems to be a popular weekend filled with interesting things to do - below is a selection of just some of the events taking place:

Crafty Fox Market - 10th & 11th December
The Dogstar, 389 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9
11am - 5pm, free entry

Three floors of handmade heaven with Crafty Fox. Over 40 different designer makers on each day, DJ's, a tea room by the Tea's Knees and a variety of hands-on workshops by Oh Sew Brixton, Seaside Sisters and others. The first 50 through the door on both days will receive a free tote bag from Etsy UK and some foxy tunes from the Crafty Fox DJ's. Get your Christmas shopping all stitched up at Crafty Fox!

The New Vintage - 10th December
Living Bar - 443-445 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9
11am - 6pm, free entry

This new monthly market features designer makers selling beautiful vintage inspired goods. Also featuring a DJ from Club de Fromage in Islington, a retro sweet shop and a recession-beating book swap.

Brixton Makers Market - 10th December
Station Road, Brixton
10am - 4pm, free entry (outdoors)
The Makers Market is part of 'Make it Grow it Sell it' - a sustainble community market with has been running a whole programme of great markets in Brixton over the past few months. There is often live music and other activities taking place as well as lots of lovely handmade items to browse.

Photo: Makerhood stall at Brixton Maker's Market by Laura Ward

Brixton Village Art Trail - Group Exhibition - 10th December
Brixton Village, Atlantic Road /Coldharbour Lane, Brixton
2.30pm - 5.30pm

The trail starts at Lab-G where you will find amazing Italian gelato. From there you can wind your way through the Village checking out the art along the way.  If you haven't yet been to Brixton Village, you should definately stop off on your tour of Brixton. There has been lots written about all the amazing independant businesses which have sprung up over the past couple of years. Our friends from United 80 in Brixton Village will be DJ-ing at Crafty Fox over the weekend.

Forever Loving Vintage presents The Vintage Shop - Sunday 11th December
Living Bar, 443-445 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9
12pm - 5pm, £1 entry

For all you vintage lovers, check out this Vintage fair taking place on the Sunday. There will be over 20 stalls of vintage clothes, jewellery, beauty products and gifts.

Although not in Brixton, it's also worth mentioning a couple of events being run by friends on Saturday 10th December in South London. First up is the We Make London Christmas Fair at the beautiful Battersea Arts Club - a fab venue to showcase over 80 talented designer makers. Also, over at Gigilum in Clapham, you will find The Edgy Crafty Christmas Sale run by Brixton local Mo Bacchus.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Knickers and biscuits with Sarah Kerry

This Christmas, we have lots of new crafters selling their wares at the Crafty Fox Market. Have you checked out the full list of stall-holders yet? 

The very creative and talented Sarah Kerry is new to Crafty Fox and spares some time to tell us about her unique creations.

Tell us a bit about yourself - where are you from, when did you learn to knit/sew etc...
  I have always enjoyed creating things, I remember aged 10 or 11 going round to my friend’s house and her mum taught us to make a rag doll using a pattern, every Sunday afternoon we’d work on our dollies, making dresses for them etc. I still have mine, although it’s missing a leg, so hopefully my sewing has improved since then. When I went to University College Falmouth to study Contemporary Craft, I was initially passionate about all things kiln related, till one day I knitted a test piece on a whim and didn’t really look back – instead of creating a giant glass and ceramic plug, I created a soft knitted one.   

 What inspired you start creating biscuit cushions?
Well I didn’t just look at a biscuit and get inspiration from that! I was working on a design for a giant tea cup you could sit in, with a fair isle willow pattern on it, and I kept drawing biscuits on the designs, until I wanted to make the biscuits more than the tea cup. It is important to my aesthetic to stay true to an image – I think it adds to the surrealism of the object. It was a bit of a painful process to get them just right but it was worth it in the end.

What is your favourite item to make?
I think the most enjoyable projects are also the most difficult. I sometimes take cardigans on commission, they take more than a day of intense work, so I feel quite attached to them when I’m done – same with the biscuits, the custard cream probably brings the most pride but I think the Jam Sandwich Cream is the most fun to make. The felted items (slippers, mitts, booties) tend to be the messiest

Do you have any new products up your sleeve that you would like to tell us about?
Yes please! I’ve gone a bit girly! There are pretty knickers repurposed from satin scarves and cotton fabric, and some cobweb weight lace knit scarves in merino, cashmere and silk.  

Find Sarah at Crafty Fox on Saturday 10th December at The Dogstar, Brixton

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Heart Zeena in Paperchase!

On a lunchtime wander to the Paperchase flagship store on Tottenham Court Road, I was delighted to track down the lovely creations of Crafty Fox regular Zeena Shah.  Zeena tells me that she was sewing and printing like crazy to get this order completed and it's lovely to see the fruits of her labours in such a well known store. Zeena will be back at our Christmas Market in the Dogstar on the Sunday (11th December) along with Clive the birdie, Fred the owl and all her other lovely creations!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Crafty Fox Christmas Market -10th & 11th December, The Dogstar - Brixton

It's going to be the 1st birthday for Crafty Fox - come and help us celebrate! 
Check out the amazing selection of stall-holders here

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Upcycling Crafty Fox Flyers!

Yesterday's news left us feeling heavy in the heart. We were disappointed to learn that our Pop-Up Market at Spitalfields had to be cancelled due to issues with Spitalfields trading liscence.

But what better to cheer us up than a little picture of Jamie, my budding-artist nephew and his latest creation from our left over Night Market flyers! We left a stack of these with Jamie and his cousins over a month ago and he's been putting them to good use ever since. Some of you may remember Jamie from our Easter market when he was our 'artist in residence' charging 20p for a unique portrait. He was very popular with the ladies I seem to recall!