I know that after the June Brighton Craftaganza there is going to be a dent in my bank account and TheBigForest are going to be partly responsible. I’m a sucker for well-designed soft furnishings and these are full of character.
Please introduce yourself….
I’m Benjamin, Maker in Chief at TheBigForest.
Describe the products you currently make to sell
At TheBigForest we design and make wool felt character artist bears and animals, home, mens’ and womens’ accessories, personalised childrens’ name door hangers, story cushions, greetings cards and lots of other goods to delight and thrill our customers.
Where and when do you design and make your products?
All our goods are made in our hut in TheBigForest. The eagle eyed will of course have spotted that there aren’t many forests (big or small) in Brighton but we managed to find one and our hut has a wood burning stove for the winter, a beautiful view across the sea and pier for the summer and plenty of tea and cake whatever the season. We create all the time and are forever scribbling down ideas for new goods. Our latest creative outlet is TheBigForest blog http://thebigforestuk.wordpress.com and it’s been so good sharing inspiration and trips out around Sussex with our blogging friends, hearing their comments and the excitement of gaining blog followers.
How long have you been selling your wares and how did it begin?
After I completed my training in Textiles I didn’t really want to do fashion and spent time experimenting before I gradually developed TheBigForest. It started off as a hobby around two years ago but I was getting so much positive feedback and interest that it became a full fledged international multi million global bear business around four months ago!
What drew you to the Brighton area, if you are not a ‘native’?
My partner moved to Brighton back in the mists of time and I came here after I finished my training in textiles in 2000, we love it because it is such a buzzy creative city.
Any other crafty disciplines you like to practice?
Other?!! All our energy is focused on TheBigForest, and when we need to relax we head out in our camper van although we often end up making or designing parked up in a forest or overlooking the sea.
What inspires the things you make?
The Festival of Britain, old photographs and illustrations, 50′s and 60′s reworking of Victoriana, forests (of course!), clowns and circuses, Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, the seaside, folk myths and legends, British travel (preferably on the defunct branch lines that criss-crossed England), Market Towns with lots of independent shops, camper vans, country car boot sales in fields, old puppets, toys and dolls houses………….can I stop now please?
I’ll have a cup of tea seeing you’re making one…..
Totally inspiring and wonderful work, can’t wait to see the stall all set up and to take a happy little piece of TheBigForest home!