At this time of year, it’s oh so easy to just hop on to Amazon and make a quick, generic purchase for friends and loved ones and be done with it. But after a topsy turvy year, it’s not Amazon who are struggling, it’s small businesses run by passionate, creative individuals who take the time to put love and care to create products with meaning, heart and soul.
I’ll honestly admit, that I’ve been guilty of easy Amazon Christmases in the past, but with a little more time, thought and planning I’m committed to making this year a handmade and local year for all my gifts.
Maybe you have a friend who loves hiking, or longs to be in the mountains or has a special memory from the Lake District? Gift them with a present with heart this Christmas, and know that you will also be supporting a dedicated, passionate small business owner at the same time.
Here is a selection of my favourite small creative businesses from the Lake District and Cumbria
1. Feather and Wild
Victoria has been inspired by the moody, unpredictable Lake District fells to create a stunning range of prints and cards.
Sometimes a simple pen sketch is enough to evoke a memory or an emotion, but putting paint to canvas is where my heart is fully able to express the feelings I have. Using my hands in my painting practice, allows me to express the emotion behind the art, creating tactile pieces which through the use of a limited selection of warm toned hues, evoke ethereal atmospheres.
Product range: Prints of Lake District fells, greetings cards, mountain tote bag and Christmas decorations.
Free Delivery on all greetings cards and tote bags
Where to shop: www.featherandwild.co.uk
Where to follow and support @featherandwild
Images by Feather & Wild
2. Go Your Own Way Apparel
Go Your Own Way products are designed and handmade in the Lake District by founder, Rachel Gaw. The Lake District-based brand takes inspiration from its wild heritage, offering unique clothes, accessories, and art for all the family.
Many of the items are limited edition and can be personalised, making them the perfect unique gift for any home, person, or group.
In Rachel’s words: “My inspiration comes from the forests and mountains of the Lake District, as well as my love of outdoor sports. All of the items are designed with adventurers in mind.”
Product range: Map art, porcelain tree ornaments, jewellery and homewares
Last dates for personalised commissions (non – map-related) 1st December 2020 .
Last Postal dates: Standard 1st class Saturday 19th December.
Where to shop: www.gyow.org.uk/
Where to follow and support @go_your_own_way_apparel
Images by Go Your Own Way Apparel
3. Conquer Lake District
Conquer Lake District create hiking patches depicting the Lakeland fells and other small mementos relating to your outdoor adventures. Think a virtual version of an old school souvenir stand.
This Christmas they have lots of hiking patches to gift your adventure buddy alongside their brand new pennants and amazing leather key tags. There are so many options for cool stocking fillers on their website.
Your purchase will also benefit preserving the beautiful landscape, as owner Caroline donates 5% of all profits back to the projects that preserve and protect the Lake District National Park.
Product range: Hiking patches, pennants, leather key tags
Where to shop: www.conquerlakedistrict.co.uk
Where to follow and support @conquerlakedistrict
Images by Conquer the Lake District
4. Jane Ward Artist
Jane is a full time artist who gains inspiration in the Lake District painting in oils, pastels, watercolours, as well as tutoring Lakeland Art Courses including The Online Watercolour course.
Moving to the Lake District and starting ‘Lakeland Art Courses’ sharing my special painting locations around Keswick and Grasmere with students from all over the world. A trip to Italy opened a new chapter, quite by accident discovering Lake Iseo ‘ the secret jewel of the Italian Lakes’ and time spent in the French Alps brought new ideas and inspiration and opened my eyes to a wider palette of colours and painting subjects.
Product range: Prints and Original paintings also gift vouchers for the Online watercolour course
Where to shop: www.janeward.co.uk
Where to follow and support @jane.ward.artist
Images by Jane Ward
5. Lakeland Lights Company
James and Jo Long produce luxury scented soy candles and wax melts from their Cleator Moor workshop in West Cumbria. All of their scents are inspired by their favourite Cumbrian locations, each with its own unique story attached. A husband and wife team, they are extremely proud to produce high-quality gifts and souvenirs that both locals and visitors have taken to their hearts.
Product range: Limited edition festive candles and wax melts are also available including the return of last year’s Christmas Crags scent and the new edition of Festive Fells which has joined the family for 2020.
Free delivery within a ten miles radius of our workshop in Cleator Moor.
Where to shop: www.lakelandlights.co.uk
Where to follow and support @lakelandlightsgo
Images by Lakeland Lights Company
6. Doddick Crafts
Based at the foot of Blencathra in the north of the Lake District, Katie makes pyrography decorations inspired by life in the fells. Most of her work is by commission, capturing favourite summits, lakes, and memories on beautiful slices of sustainably sourced wood.
All of Katie’s products are inspired by real life adventures and personal experiences in the mountains, from Munro-bagging milestones and epic winter days to local fell loops and dreamy lakeside mornings. No two orders are the same!
Product range: Large and small coasters that can also come with a drilled hole for hanging – perfect to bring a slice of the lakes to a coffee table, bedroom or campervan.
I have recently launched some winter-inspired hangings as well as simple snowflake decorations for the festive season! I am happy to accommodate any requests for personalised gifts and can source larger or smaller wood pieces if desired – just drop me a message on Instagram.
Orders placed before December 15th are guaranteed delivery in time for Christmas at no extra charge. Orders placed between the 16th and 20th can be delivered in time with a small fee to cover the cost of tracked delivery.
Where to shop: www.etsy.com/shop/doddickcrafts
Where to follow and support @Doddickcrafts
Images by Doddick Crafts
7. Eleanor Creates
Eleanor began her Etsy shop during lockdown, when she was spending lots of time at home in the Lake District. Having grown up there, she has always felt inspired by nature and loves painting anything from houseplants to Lake District scenery to historic buildings in the area.
This summer I was greatly inspired by the beautiful flora and fauna I saw emerging in the hedgerows around where I live in the Lakes, which led me to design 2 floral temporary tattoo sheets that are available on my Etsy. They’re a great way to experiment with body art without the commitment of a real tattoo, and they would be fantastic as stocking fillers this Christmas, or as a gift for yourself!
I also have just released a small collection of chicken-themed cards, which would be lovely as a Christmas gift set. All the chickens featured are based on real chickens I know (some live with my grandparents!), so I have tried to capture their personalities within my illustrations. With all my products, there is always a story behind them!
Product range: Flora & house plant greetings cards, temporary tattoos, range of chicken greetings cards
Where to shop: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/EleanorMCreates
Where to follow and support @eleanormcreates
Images by Eleanor Creates
8. Han Drawn Designs
Hannah creates a range of products including 15 outdoor inspired Christmas Cards that can be sent directly to you or sent to your recipient.
Alongside the cards, Hannah has also producted Lake District inspired gifts such as ceramic or enamel mugs, coasters, and keyrings (using vegan-friendly faux leather) and uses recyclable materials to package her products. The ideal Christmas gift for any outdoor adventurer!
Hannah also welcomes commission requests for house drawings and can produce personalised designs to make your gift extra special (contact Hannah on firstname.lastname@example.org)
Product range: Christmas cards, ceramic/enamel mugs, coasters and keyrings
Where to shop: https://han-drawn.square.site/
Where to follow and support @handrawn.designs
Images by Han Drawn Designs
9. The Crafty Traveller
Whilst Jen isn’t based in Cumbria, she makes fabulous pieces that are strongly connected to the Lake District which I couldn’t resist adding to the guide!
Jen makes beautiful vintage travel maps, printed onto cotton and hand embroidered to make a truly unique gift. She draws inspiration from a childhood love of the Lake District and her Grandad working on the Swallows and Amazon film.
Product range: Choose from a plain map or one with the Wainwrights listed in height order- perfect for a fell runner or keen Lake District walker. Also a selection of travel-themed Christmas baubles
Last date for personalised items likely to be the 7th December
Where to shop: www.thecraftytraveller.co.uk
Where to follow and support @The_crafty_traveller
Images by The Crafty Traveller
More Cumbrian Small Creative Businesses to support
The Makers Mill, a creative venue based in Keswick have put together a series of handmade gift boxes and craft kits from local maker.
For more info head to The Makers Mill Christmas
Ceramics and Pottery
Alicja creates stoneware using wild clay harvested from the Cumbrian coast @upland_clay
Cath, a Yorkshire lass in Cumbria makes porcelain ceramics @stitchedceramics
Handmade ceramics and tableware in a rustic style from @walterwylderceramics
Hand poured natural soy candles and melts by Kate @bouscandles
Illustrated greeting cards & paper goods designed by Claire @littleposyprintco
Contemporary, functional and decorative textiles pieces including Christmas decorations and garlands from Sarah in West Cumbria @sarahamescreativethreads
Dichroic glass jewellery by Hannah at @mereglassjewellery