[Originally posted on HandmadeInKC.com on Sep 21, 2016]
Until recently I had not been creating much of anything physical while I have been here in London. The reasons behind this are mostly that I didn’t have a lot of room, time or tools. Until I began my master dissertation pretty much all my work was digital. At the start my dissertation was going to be a film on how the public interacts with art and then what that looks like on social media. Then I changed it to a craftivism project, I know that lines up so nicely with my last blog post (craft creates changes).
One thing I did learn is that I miss the crap out of Hobby Lobby and Michael's. Not just because they are huge! And they have pretty much everything you could need. It was mostly just that I was missing something familiar while I was struggling with this project. (I’m writing this in a small park by church and a man just walked by grumbling that all the benches are taken.)
While I did miss the familiarity of the stores back home, I learned to something new about London that I love. Firstly, most craft or art stores are called haberdasheries. How freaking adorable and quaint is that! Second they are mostly local independent stores, there are a few chains but they are mostly for art supplies. One is
called Cass Art Supply and if you are in need to paint, paper or other drawing, paint, basic supplies Cass is the place to go.
But the local places will have a speciality, one in Kingston is focused on sewing, it has a few other things, but you walk in a think, dang it’s all fabric, but walk in a take a peek and you will find tucked away in the corners, various other things. These shops are staffed by very helpful people, who if they don’t have what you are looking for they know who might, and where to find them.
When I needed to find a heat transfer pencil for my master dissertation piece, I went to 4 different stores each of whom suggested another place to go and try. Only one place had what I needed but I never would have gone there if it wasn’t for the staff at the other haberdasheries. Which is called so because the origin of the word is in Anglo-Saxon, for small wares. Haberdashers were salesmen that carried small goods mostly for sewing and travelled around to the villages. Now there are haberdasheries all over the UK that are little local shops full of charm and local crafters. And while there is more and sometimes better selection on line or in big stores, which they do have in the UK, I love the feel and atmosphere of the haberdashery.
What do you prefer? Small shop or big store? Do you like a combination of both, or do you get your supplies online? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to check out Handmade in KC on this site or on our facebook page!
Amy, From X37Adventures