Handprinted started in 2003. I (Shirley) was teaching printing and dyeing techniques in an Adult Ed College in South West London and to make a little extra money I sold items I had printed and dyed at craft fairs. Alongside my more personal pieces, I printed some simple items using customer’s
children’s hand and footprints – the most popular items by far.
One of the original Christmas cards from 2003.
So Handprinted was born. I built a clunky website – it was before the days of Etsy and Not on the High Street. I got a bit of publicity in magazines such
as glossy parenting magazine Junior.
I was teaching part-time, looking after our three small kids and then printing into the early hours. I printed from a small room in our house without a sink. I exposed screens using a lamp in a bucket and washed all my printing materials in the bathroom – trying not to drip ink on the stair carpet! Printing with limited facilities myself has allowed me to understand the difficulties customers experience when they are not working from a fully functioning studio.
Discharge printed footprints cushion.
Handprinted’s naughty and nice T-shirts!
Business was good and busy at Christmas when cards and cushions would be flying out the door, but slower the rest of the year. I was buying printing and dyeing supplies for Handprinted and my students were beginning to buy bits and pieces from me. So the business evolved from a site selling Handprinted items to supplies for artists and craftspeople. Our first online shop went live in 2005 – here it is! I’m sure we must have made a loss selling the batik pot at that price!
So in the last ten years since www.handprinted.co.uk has been around quite a lot has changed. The website has been through three redesigns since the one above – we are liking the new one a lot – we hope you do too. We have moved out of the spare room into a storage unit and then into premises that customers could come and visit in 201. We expanded into larger premises in 2014 with the added benefit of having a studio so we can teach classes and local people can come and use the studio as their own workspace. In 2012 Holly joined me part-time whilst she was studying a Fine Art degree and then came full-time when she graduated in 2014.
So what is next for Handprinted? There are more classes happening in the studio – click here to see.
We are always on the lookout for guest tutors to come and give classes and have Ian Phillips and Laura Boswell coming in 2016 but hope to be adding some more names to that list. We are also out and about more and will be exhibiting at a few shows. The first show of the year will be The West Sussex Quilters Guild Regional Day on March 5th in Chichester, but we will also be at Art in Action in Oxfordshire, Patchings Festival in Nottingham, Quilts UK in Worcester and Thread at the Maltings in Surrey. Keep a eye out to see if we are coming near you it is always lovely to meet our customers.
If you are local Holly and I will also be exhibiting as part of Chichester’s Art Trail in May 2016.
When we are extra busy we can also pull in a couple of extra hands (paws) from our occasionally resident dog Fletcher!