Yes, completely am organised for Christmas for a tranche of people now, with amazing totes designed specifically for FGH by the lovely Matthew Leyman of Bonfirecherry.
This was just one of those chance Twitter encounters. I’d seen a picture of a tote Matthew had done with an icecream sundae design being tweeted by someone else, and retweeted it. Conversation ensued and before long we had agreed to a project to create a design for, and inspired by, the Foodie Gift Hunter.
It’ll be no surprise there’s a food link and the eagle eyed amongst you might spot some subtle FGH branding as well. In case, like me, it’s a long time since you went anywhere near lino cutting, then Matthew outlined each of the stages in bringing my only piece of couture to life.
First up, choosing a design. Matthew had been playing with stamp motifs and Japanese anime/manga, I could only contribute that something food orientated would be good. No surprise for those who know me, scones and jam won out (just needed a cup of tea really to complete it!)
A proper design followed on paper, and then from paper to lino using pencil then marker pen. The paper goes face down on the lino, and you trace the design (pressing hard I guess) to get an impression on the lino.
Now, this would be where I went very wrong: cutting the lino! Or I’d cut out the wrong bit, as you cut out the bits you don’t want to print. This may be why I was never any good at art!
The design took two hours to carve and finish up, and was then all ready to go to printing.
We’d decided to try blue as a starting point for colour. This bit I might have been good at. Though would have still got most of it on me.
The lino goes quickly onto the tote bag, and then pressure is applied over it with a dry roller, making sure the ink goes onto the tote bag. When you think you have applied enough pressure all over the ink the lino is removed, and then there’s that “ta dah” moment of taking it off to reveal the first pass of the design.
Things went in a wonderfully unexpected way then, as Matthew decided to try a second colour on this, so on with the red. It didn’t go in exactly the same place, so you end up with a sort of 3D effect.
And here’s the finished thing, complete with 3D glasses. You can wear them to look even more cool, but the bag will look amazing even without them.
There are some of these very special, limited edition bags available to buy from Matthew’s Etsy shop, priced at £11 plus P&P. Maybe as you think about your Christmas gifting you could think about spending a bigger proportion than last year with independent businesses, and great young designers like Matthew.
Matthew has some other great designs on his site, as prints or totes. Particularly good if you have a photography or vintage camera fan, or cycling enthusiast. But the food ones are still my favourite. With many thanks to Matthew, this has been an amazing thing to be involved in.