Jane Withers and Michael Hanmer hand make knitted fabrics and products from their Harley Studio on the Welbeck Estate. Autumn is a busy time for them as they take part in a variety of events, including the Wirksworth and Melbourne Festivals in Derbyshire and the Christmas Art & Food Market and Harley Open Studios.
Jane explains why taking part in such events is essential to developing a creative practice.
Engaging with customers and telling the story about our creative ideas and methods is key to gaining feedback about our work, this has been an important aspect of our commercial success.
Over the years we have enjoyed taking part in events where we have exhibited alongside a diverse range of makers. Showing our products recently in an arts trail setting has been a different experience for us. The trail featured art, architecture, ceramics, textiles and jewellery in a variety of venues around the town, ranging from small cottages to shops and businesses. It was a challenge to display our work in this way! Our host at Melbourne was Adam Devey Smith, who runs a design business called The One Off from an old converted building which was once a joinery works. We had a space normally used as a ‘chill out’ area, with four minimalist sofas, perfect for our cushions and accessories.
Our next event in October is MADE LONDON, a different type of venue, Marylebone One – a magnificent converted church, where we are planning to create and build display stands for our products. We’ll be using all of our experience gained from previous exhibitions, although it’s still an exciting challenge to create an interesting display for customers to browse and find our more.
Jane Withers and Michael Hanmer’s studio will be open to visitors during the Christmas Art & Food Market and Harley Open Studios. Participating studios will be open during the Art Market Preview on Friday 28th November 1-4pm, and on Saturday 29th November 10am – 5pm and Sunday 30th November 10am – 4pm.