Make a Maker Smile

#MakeaMakerSmile Jane Hunter Artist 2016

How to combat the scourge of black friday sales and heavy discounting.

Corporate behemoths vs the little elves. That’s what it boils down to. They have huge marketing budgets and tempt you in with massive discounts to flog you mass produced products. I’m not saying you should never give your hard-earned cash to big businesses. I mean, if I’m in the market for a new flat screen telly and I can get 40% off, then of course I’ll be tempted. (I’m not in that market, my twelve year old TV will, hopefully, make it through Christmas and our annual viewing of Santa Claus: The Movie!)
Evil Corporate Power vs the elves
On the other hand, amongst the mass hysteria, scrums and frantic panic to get as many Christmas pressies as possible with the November wage packet, there’s a quiet army of little elves who will go, largely, un-noticed.
Hard working christmas elves
Artists, designers and makers across the land are creating work and hoping/praying that just enough people will remember them this festive season. These talented folk are unlikely to take advantage of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, not because they couldn’t use a saving on that 'must-have' toy for their kids, but because they, as yet, have no idea whether or not they will be in a financial position to purchase gifts or be forced to make presents again this year.
For authentic artists, discounting our work is not only difficult, but also dangerous. Undervaluing the time and skill that goes into the work can lead to undervaluing yourself. 

Rather than searching for deals and discounts this year, have a look for authenticity, integrity and the value added by the story of how this work came to exist.

Now, this is by no means a pity party. I'm a creative. I was born that way. But I chose to try to make my living in this world by sharing my creativity with others. 'Why don't you get a real job?', I hear some cry. Well, I did that. Been there, done that, got depression. Let's not dwell.

The point is, without independent artists, designers and makers this world would be a pretty boring place, and we'd all have the same stuff.


I love learning about, finding and promoting new artists, designers and makers. But, as they don't have the marketing budget of John Lewis, it can be difficult to discover new, interesting folk.

So, this Christmas, I'll be spreading the love around. 

Share this article with your favourite, small, independent, designer/maker/artist so we can learn just how simple it would be to make a maker smile.

I'll go first:


Name: Jane Hunter

Age: 35

Number of employees: Zero

What do you make: Textile art inspired by vintage maps and physical and human landscapes

Where do we go to buy your work? or visit my studio & art gallery: 117 Main Street, West Kilbride, Ayrshire.

How simple would it be to make you smile this Christmas? If only seven people bought my original work I'd be able to replace my dodgy oven, which has been knackered for two years, so I could get Sam to cook us a decent Christmas dinner this year. (You can grill a lot of things but a Turkey ain't one of them!)


If you are an independent artist/designer/maker who produces lovely, authentic, ethical work, or you know one who you would like to make smile - please put details in the comments below.

Clink the images below to find out more about the Maker's you could make smile this Christmas.

Jane Hunter #MakeaMakerSmile Textile Landscape Art

WeftBlown Handwoven Cowl

Marion Kane Silversmith Tableware

Landscape Painting of Liathach Mountain by Julie Arbuckle - Scottish Artist

Yvonne Taylor Artist Painting

Elsie May and Bertha Pin Cushion

Madam Jewellery Stacking Rings Glasgow

Rose Madder Jewellery Coastlines

Earth and Sky Crafts - Handmade British Wool Blanket

Harris Tweed Christmas Wreath - Scotland 2016 - Kim MacGillivray

Landscape Painting of Glencoe by Artist Aska Marzec

Band of Horses - Fine art Photography - Images by Ceci

Lazy Kate - Hand Dyed Spinning Yarn

Fine Art - Architectural Drawing - PurpleJain

Beth Watson Design - Stratum Geo Silver Jewellery

Hunter Press - Letterpress Cards & Prints - Scotland

Hand Knit Woolen Goods - Angela's Stitches and Such

Letterpress Christmas 2016 Gift Tags - Pine Tree - Sarah and Maude

Modren Harris Tweed Clutch Bag - Sandra Macleod

Sarah Jane Whittaker Contemporary Jewellery UK

Gorgeous Handmade Bags by StripyKat UK

Organic Silver Jewellery Ann Hume Isle of Arran

Hand Pressed Flower Typography C R Pitt Designs

Reza Wood Scotch Whisky Barrel Gifts

Rachel Elliott Glassworks Jet Cut Glass Lion Sculpture



  • Sarah Cowan

    Name: Sarah Cowan

    Age: 36

    Number of employees: Just little old me!

    What do you make: Letterpress printed greeting cards and swing tags (when I’m not doing freelance graphic design projects for my lovely clients!)

    Where do we go to buy your work?

    How simple would it be to make you smile this Christmas? Pretty straightforward – I’d love to sell all my Christmas gift tags. Each tag has thirty-six snowflakes (stars) on it. I only have nine stars in my type tray, so just to print the snowflakes needed four print runs. The final print run – to add ‘Merry Christmas’ – made these both the smallest, and the most time-consuming labours-of-love in my shop!

  • Rachel Elliott aKa FlyingCheeseToastie

    Name: Rachel Elliott aka FlyingCheeseToastie

    Age: 34 3/4

    Number of employees: Just me and the Loop (feline protagonist)

    What do you make: Glass sculpture and jewellery using screen printed enamels.

    Where do we go to buy your work?
    Online through or direct at the local Glasgow shows I’m doing in the run up to Christmas.

    How simple would it be to make you smile this Christmas? Every order makes me smile, whether it’s a greetings card or a commissioned piece of glass art, I’m grateful to you all for your support!

  • Ali Fakourpoor (Reza Wood Designs)

    Age: Too old to say!
    Employees: Zero
    What do you make? A range of gifts and furniture all made from Recycled oak scotch whisky barrels.
    Where do we go to buy your work?

    How simple would it be to make you smile this Christmas? Lots of customers buying lots of things! But if you can’t manage that then like my facebook page or visit us at one of our Christmas events.

  • Claire Pitt

    Name: Claire Pitt

    Age: 35

    Employees: Just me (Not perfected the cloning process yet).

    What do you make: I create monograms, names, letters, number and other designs/shapes, using hand lettering, gilding techniques and pressed flowers, plus other broken and found bits. I am also fascinated with vintage illustrations and maps, so use those to create one off pieces.

    Where do we go to buy your work? or send me an email/message on my various social media platforms. You can even pop into my studio in Runcorn, Cheshire (England), if you are passing. I make a great cup of tea.

    How simple would it be to make you smile this Christmas?
    Buy my wares? Honestly sales would be nice, as I have bills to pay and all that fun stuff. I am lucky enough to have a studio space at a brilliant not for profit studios, being self employed means the money I pay towards studio rent, enables us as a collective to do more in the local community. If the individuals within the studios are doing well, then the whole local community benefits.
    I want to also grow my audience (how yuck does that sound?), so more followers on facebook, instagram, twitter and all those fun places would be grand.

  • Katie Brown (stripykat)

    Age: Just turned 40 eek!

    Number of employees: just ickle ol’ me

    What do you make: Bags and accessories using fabrics I have sourced from around the world. I love colour and texture and buy only small quantities of any fabric so everything is truly unique and each piece has a big dollop of fun thrown in.

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