‘Meet the Seller’: Claire from Yellow Bear Wares

The last ‘Meet the Seller’ before the event itself! Let’s meet Claire who creates fun and playful jewellery and accessories made from vintage knitting needles. A niche product you may argue, but undeniable lovely.

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Please introduce yourself….

Hi, I’m Claire, I design and make jewellery for my Etsy store Yellow Bear Wares. I am new to this world of crafting to sell and so far am really enjoying myself, I’m very excited to be a part of Craftaganza on June 15th amongst such talented designers and makers.

Describe the products you currently make to sell

I use the medium of vintage plastic knitting needles to create items of jewellery; I make rings, bracelets and have just launched a new necklace design.
They are the perfect gift to buy for a knitter or crafter or just someone that appreciates the upcycled and quirky aspect of jewellery made from knitting needles!

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Where and when do you design and make your products?

Often inspiration for my designs will come to me at the most inconvenient times such as whilst I am in the shower, riding my bike or at work (I am a facilitator of sessions for adults who have learning disabilities). So I keep a notebook close by at all times, then I can jot down ideas when I have them. I’m pretty sure my best design ideas so far have come to me in the shower; maybe I need to invest in some waterproof pens and paper!

As for making I work mainly in my kitchen and on my couch, currently this is a very part-time venture so I’m not able to have a studio yet, but I might try to take that step at some point. I’ve worked hard recently to make sure that I have specific areas in my home to keep things because at the beginning everything was scattered throughout my home in a very disorganised manner and taking over in a bigger way than intended!

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How long have you been selling your wares and how did it begin?

I am still relatively new to selling my wares. I started off by making bracelets for myself and as gifts for friends and then last year I made some for my parents stall ‘One Bright Spark’ that they take to markets in the South West of England. Through the process of this I started to realise how much I had missed the ‘hands on’ making part of my life. I began to really enjoy the whole method, from rummaging through boot sales and charity shops to find my needles, the challenge of experimenting and designing my items through to having the final pieces ready to photograph and sell (or to add to my own jewellery box!). My Etsy shop has been open since February this year and this June Craftaganza is my first foray into selling my wares at craft markets.

What drew you to the Brighton area, if you are not a ‘native’?

As a teenager I used to come down here with my friends on holiday, my best friend’s dad lived in Brighton and we would come visit, spending all of our days looking for the ‘alternative’ items we could never find in our home town of Bath. Since then I’ve always wanted to live here and in the second year of my photography degree in London (2004) I realised I wasn’t enjoying living in London and could commute easily from Brighton, so I made that move and I’m still here!

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Any other crafty disciplines you like to practice?

I am a filmmaker and as mentioned have studied photography and enjoyed the analogue processes of both those mediums. I have always been a ‘hands on’ type of person; I like to have something tangible and ‘real’ to experiment with. Perhaps I should try to create a cross over between the crafts and image-based elements of my life, knitting with light or something like that!

Otherwise I do experiment with a variety of materials: I love to use felt, I knit at a very basic level, do a bit of sewing, and I have recently taught myself how to crochet a granny square so who knows where that might take me.

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What inspires the things you make?

I simply adore things made from other things. My parents have always been very conscious about re-using, up-cycling and recycling especially when it came to gardening. In fact from a young age I have always had random things around me used for other purposes: for instance once my shoes were too small or had become worn out they would become plant pots in the garden; my mums worn out tights would become supports for plants to grow up; old pipes my dad came across would become structures for his beloved tomatoes to thrive in, complete with unusable taps attached.

This ethos of trying to get the most use out of something and not wasting the unwanted has stayed with me and I very much appreciate the absurd and unexpected juxtapositions that are created when you take an item out of it’s context and use it for something completely different.

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