Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wandering the World for Handmade and More - Coventry, UK

For my first trip "across the pond" I'm virtually visiting Coventry, UK, the
hometown of BlueForestJewellery, its owner Alison, her "wonderful" husband and their chocolate labrador. Coventry's history reaches back at least a thousand years and there is much quandary about the true origins of the town, its name, it's coat of arms, and even one of its most famous residents - a young woman of high social status and the owner of a sizeable amount of land in the area. Her husband was Leofric, Earl of Mercea, and the young woman with a penchant for riding horses was referred to by many as Countess Godgifu - although you may know her better by her legendary moniker - Lady Godiva! Unfortunately, there is no historical evidence that young Godgifu had ever even used Coventry as a home.

It wasn't until the Bishop moved his see to the town of Coventry, that the town was able to establish itself as a city under a Royal Charter. By the medieval era of the mid 1400's, Coventry had become the fourth largest city in England and effectively the 'capital' of the Midlands. During the War of the Roses, Coventry was considered the seat of government, providing a home to the Royals.

Coventry's once rich architectural beauty suffered dramatically during World War II, and today the city is modern in appearance due to extensive rebuilding after the city was devastated by wartime air raids. The city, while it has never returned to its pre-war stature, does have a couple of claims to fame. It is Britains's most "inland" city since it is further from the coast than any other city in Great Britain. Coventry was also the first "twin" city, adopting a twinning relationship with the Russian city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) during World War II.

Handmade earrings tree charm, wood
and freshwater pearl beads
Some of the more famous Coventrians you may have heard of include Frank Whittle (the inventor of the jet engine), actor Clive Owen, and of course, Alison, of BlueForestJewellery!

BlueForestJewellery's name was inspired by Alison's fascination of the remains of the Forest of Arden here in the middle of England where they love to walk their dog. According to Alison, there are a variety of trees there, including silver birches and firs that, in the proper sunlight, reflect the lovely blue sky and the deep purplish blue of the bluebell carpet in the spring. Sounds enchanting - and I think you'll find Alison's jewellery enchanting as well! While you've seen her creations gracing many of my articles, the one thing I know I can always count on when I visit her shop is seeing some new and spectacularly beautiful. Today is no different!

Whether you enjoy the earthy themes of the tree charm earrings above, or the pastel
Handmade purse charm
purple blue
butterfly flowers
whimsy of the  delightful purse charm to the right, you're going to love all of the nature inspired designs you'll find at Alison's shop. Her philosophy is simple - "Colour rocks!"... and there is definitely a wealth of colours in her shop to rock your world! Whether you're looking for semi- precious gemstones, bright and beautiful glass beads and the most captivating freshwater pearls designs out of Coventry, BlueForestJewellery is definitely a wonderful place to shop for one-of-a-kind handmade gemstone jewellery gifts.

I'd like to thank Alison for suggesting her home town of Coventry for this stop on my Wandering the World for Handmade and More Feature. There's a lot of handcrafted goodness coming out of Coventry, as you're about to see!

JoyOfCreating **offers an awesome assortment of, you guessed it, things she finds joy in creating! Whether its a trinket, a brooch, some lovely little sachets or this adorable hen and chicks set (how perfect is that for Easter?), you'll find something to make you smile and brighten your day in this shop!
Crochet Hen with Little Crochet Chickens
Another shop that you might remember seeing on my blog once or twice in the past is PipDesigns - also from Coventry in the UK, and one of my favorite places to browse for a fantastic assortment of home decor items like this Retro Modern Pillow Cover with those gorgeous black and red flowers. Simply a perfect accent piece for your home!

I think Coventrians may own the market on cuteness or at least be closing in on the top. These next few shops have offerings that bring the idea of cute to a whole new level, at least in my humble opinion! First up is this darling print from parochena entitled Sisters

Sisters - Satin Gloss 8x8 Print

KashmirGlendinning**, also from Coventry, is a relative newcomer to Etsy and offers a small but adorable assortment of hand-stitched felt and fabric accessories like this scrumptious looking  cupcake purse.
Yummy Cupcake Purse

From LaPetitePrince**, another newcomer to Etsy, I've selected this darling handmade charm necklace featuring two peas in a pod - it's aptly titled Peace in a Pod!

Peace in a Pod Necklace

Another shop filled with adorable felted and knitted accessories is woodlandtreats. My personal favorite from this shop is this great little boom box cosy... just too cute!

Boom Box cosy

This last shop I chose on a whim, somewhat because something in the melancholy mood of the work appeals in an odd way, and somewhat to balance out the cheeriness of the rest of these shops! Considering much of what we know nowadays as goth here in the states had its beginning in the UK, I thought it might be interesting to show off this side of UK culture as well. This limted edition giclee print from crowsandcrossbones **is a great example of macabre art!

EHG Skull Mary Giclee Print

There are several other shops on Etsy that call Coventry their home, but I thought these would give you a great sampling of the talent that can be found there! I hope you've enjoyed my first travel across the pond as I wander the world for handmade and more.

If you'd like to see your shop and hometown featured here, please be sure to drop me a note via the "contact me" link at the top of the page. Include a link to your shop(s) as well as the name of your hometown and anything you'd like me to know. If you're the first one to suggest your hometown, you'll be the star of the feature! I'm happy to promote any shop as long as the goods you offer are handmade, vintage, or crafting supplies or services! I'll be posting my upcoming schedule of features on monthly calendars on the "Be Featured" page which can be accessed through the link in the right sidebar.

I'm waiting... tell me about YOUR hometown!


** refers to shops that are undiscovered or underdiscovered and definitely worth a peek!

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