Meet the Maker - Hannah Brown

Sunday, November 30, 2014
Hannah Brown creates beautiful pieces of art, using natural and nostalgic ephemera.  All cleverly and carefully boxed in wooden frames.  Making them a perfect Christmas gift for nature lovers.  Hannah has one of her pieces of art featured in the Guardian Christmas Gift guide, so grab one while you can at the Made in Bristol Gift Fair at the Colston Hall, as she will surely sell out! 
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
My name is Hannah Brown and I have my own online shop Hannah Brown Interiors, everything I sell is handmade. I make what I would describe as decorative wall art with a nostalgic approach. I tend to frame objects that both inspire me and aesthetically please me. Whether it be a piece of nature or a piece of history, or you could also say - that I like to trap a piece of nostalgia in a box frame. I strive to make pieces that not only hold meaning to me but will also connect with others for whatever reason. I love hearing from customers - why they are drawn to a certain picture?, what it means to them? For me this is part of the journey. 
How do you prepare yourself & your work in the months running up to the Gift Fair? 
This is the busiest time of year for me. I try to keep calm and relaxed but this can be hard, however it is essential as if I get stressed the work suffers. There is so much to do especially as I am preparing for my website too, new products need to come out, new colour ways etc. Images need to be prepared for my online shop and self promotion for my new work. For the Gift Fair, I need to make many lists and enter realistic goals for each day. Display has to be worked out and decisions as to what I show in limited space. 
Do you have any tips to someone who is just starting out, on selling at Christmas markets? 
The most important things are - believe in your product, present the product how you would like to see it displayed if you were a shopper. Make sure you have nice packaging. Promotion is very important, flyers, labels on your products, website details. Pricing needs to be clear. Offer a discount or a deal like '2 for the price of one' try to collect emails for a mailing list for future products. Invest in a card reader as people are more likely to buy - also make this clear with a sign that you offer this service. Talk to the shoppers about what you do, engage with them and most importantly - smile - its Christmas! 
What special little touch do you offer your customers? 
Wrapping in black tissue paper with sticker and offering a free Christmas card with every purchase. 
What handmade item is high on your Christmas wish list? 
Esther Patterson's 'Orb Modern' from Curiousa & Curiousa 
The above 'wood slice' will be featured in the Guardian Christmas Gift Guide this year
What is your favourite part of Christmas? 
ohhh loads of things, I love it mid morning when we all gather together and have a glass of bubbly and breakfast, I love making the gravy, mulled wine time, opening presents, sitting around feeling full and watching Christmas t.v, eating loads of quality streets and not feeling bad because its Christmas and then I also love it when everyone leaves and its all over. 
Which UK artist/maker’s Facebook or Twitter feed do you find most inspiring and why? 
Neisha Crosland - I love her designs and as I am from a printed textiles background it is nice to keep in the loop. I find her twitter inspiring and informative. Also it does not bombard you but is nicely regular. Its good to have a bit of pattern in your life. 

What is your favourite family Christmas tradition? 
Present opening time! 
Finally, if you could re-design a Christmas decoration, what would it be and why? 
I would like to design a Christmas tree out of a thin delicate bendy tube wire that lights up, you could bend it into different shapes and change its settings to various neon colours.

Thank you Hannah!  Love your idea for the bendy Christmas lights, can we put an order in please!
You can find Hannah's beautiful work on the middle level of the Colston Hall Foyer on next Sunday (7th) December - form an orderly queue!
MaMade in Bristol Gift Fair
Colston Hall 

Saturday 29th November 2014
Sunday 7th December 2014
10am - 4pm

Saturday 13th December 2014 
10am - 3pm

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