It’s been 4 long years since we last published our annual list of the ‘Biggest Craft Trends of the Year’ and a lot has happened in that time. The pandemic gave everyone time to explore their inner-maker and find new ways to occupy the copious hours of stay-at-home time. We even had time to write a blog post about it... oh how times have changed!
The craft cottage industry has seen a huge boost since 2020… lockdowns gave way to an explosion of zoom classes and letterbox sized kits teaching pretty much every craft under the sun. Then when the world opened back up, post-pandemic workshops became a valuable restorative and healing medicine for the mind as we all tried to recover from the trauma and stresses of what had been. Creative making became, for a lot of people, a space in which they could de-stress, socialise with like-minded people and feel safe and calm.
It’s really interesting to notice, as we stand at the start of 2024, that the trend for slow and sustainable vs quick and disposable continues to grow and take its rightful place centre stage. As lovers of sustainability this pleases us no end. You just can’t beat the feel and unique energy of something entirely handmade - even more so if it’s been made locally and crafted from natural materials.
Our 2024 list of crafty trends is the amalgamation of lots of conversations with our wonderfully chatty Where Inspiration Blooms community plus our observations on what courses and classes you have been asking for and buying over the last year or so.
It’s absolutely NOT a list that screams ‘if you want to be on trend then you need to be trying these crafts’ - that’s the very last thing we want to say! The most magical thing about arts and crafts is that there is SO MUCH CHOICE and even if it takes you years there will definitely be some creative practises that are entirely ‘you shaped’ and equally loads that really aren’t. What this is, is a list of what we think is interesting and therefore…we thought you might too!
So… without further ado, and in no particular order here’s what we think will be the big 5 crafty trends for 2024.
Back in 2020 one of the trends in our top 5 was seasonal crafting - having creative projects which dovetailed with the turn of the natural wheel of the year.
For 2024 we think we’ll see that trend go a step further with nature inspired crafting being really huge.
Wreath making from foraged materials moves away from being just something you do annually for Christmas, with Spring and Autumn wreath classes beginning to gain momentum and ideas for front door dressings and swathes popping up more regularly in the media.
The process of drying and pressing flowers, leaves and grasses takes a giant leap away from being something you did as a child (with buttercups and daisies from the family lawn) to being a stunning ethereal art form. There’s oodles of advice to be found online and via social media channels on how to get the very best results, including specifically which flowers and plants to grow.
Then there’s imprinting natural forms and botanicals into ceramics to provide delicate natural textures and patterns. Once glazed these create totally unique pieces that brilliantly capture the ephemeral nature of their short lived subjects in bloom.
Whether it's seaweed pressing, cyanotype, willow weaving, natural fibre making, natural dyeing, spinning, grass weaving, solar dyeing or wood carving… nature’s bounty continues to inspire us as we work our way through trying pretty much every craft we can find (all in the name of work you understand!) and from what we can see it also really captures your imagination too.
Hopefully this trend will also support a more sustainable approach in all of our lives as we return to traditional, more sustainable ways of doing things.
Papercrafts have really grown in popularity over the last couple of years and this year it seems that they’re finally getting the recognition that they deserve. We’re talking about such a wonderfully diverse group of skills. There’s the meditative precision in the art of papercutting, the freedom and exploration of texture and colour through collage, the fun of paper making, and the intricate beauty of paper flower making. There is so much to love with this genre.
If you’re looking for inspiration then we would totally recommend the following paper experts…
images courtesy of Meet The Moon Designs
Meet the Moon Designs - handcrafted papercuts, gifts and illustrations
Stacey is a really great friend of Where Inspiration Blooms teaching fabulous papercutting workshops with us and producing some stunning pieces of intricate hand cut designs.
images courtesy of Graham Lester
Graham Lester - paper sculptures
Graham's work is just pure joy. How he can create such vibrant, bright, amazing pictures out of paper is utterly beyond us!
images courtesy of A Petal Unfolds
A Petal Unfolds - Paper flowers
It is so hard to believe that Susan's work is made from paper as her flowers are so amazingly beautiful... if you have never seen her work you really should take a look, its stunning. She also has a fab book for anyone who wants to try making themselves.
images courtesy of Let's Be Cats
Let's Be Cats - Unusual designs using recycled materials
Liz is the artistic master of recycling paper...pages from old books, music sheets, old maps - we love her work but also her ethos of reusing and recycling to create beauty...plus she's a lovely local lass.
Pottery continues to be a hot topic this year, as it has for the last 5 years.
New ceramics classes are popping up in village halls all over the UK, new studios launching and pottery painting cafes thriving on our high streets. Words like ‘slip’, ‘glazing’ and ‘hand building’ are now common parlance (possibly thanks to The Great Pottery Throwdown) and you can learn to throw a pot on a wheel, hand-build a bowl or craft a sculpted animal with no previous experience at all. Who would have dreamed a few years ago that a British potter (Keith Brymer Jones) could have a sell-out tour of the UK talking about his work and life? Seriously, ceramics has become a huge success story… so if you haven’t yet indulged a secret desire to play with clay then now really is your time!
Here’s a few of our ceramics recommendations...
Firstly have you seen The Great Pottery Throwdown on TV? Avidly following the weekly challenges of the amateur potters has long been something we've enjoyed and is also always hot topic at our pottery classes... we may not have a drying room that everyone can run into but the familiar cry of 'potters you have half an hour remaining' is always met with deep sighs and cries of 'where has the time gone?' towards the end of our classes!
For anyone who is local and already a fan of the Channel 4 show there's a treat in store this February as Keith Brymer Jones will be live talking about 'life, clay and everything' at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury. You can book tickets or find out more here https://www.fane.co.uk/keith-brymer-jones
If you're already a potter then there's a couple of people to check out...
images courtesy of OLD FORGE CREATIONS/JOE THOMPSON
Old Forge Creations - Joe Thompson is a graphic designer turned self-taught ceramicist.
Joe's instagram feed is an absolutely brilliant library of tips, hints and learnings that he really generously shares with his followers... topics like how to price your pottery, how to make your ceramics practice more eco friendly, how to create certain patterns and how to price your work... he literally covers everything. A fabulous resource for anyone looking to take their potter further and a really fab potter with some fun and super standout pieces.
images courtesy of Linda Bloomfield
Linda Bloomfield - A master potter, producing incredible pieces of ceramic art and also beautiful tableware! She's super talented.
Linda has written some terrific books, ones which we use in the Studio all the time. She also runs glazes masterclasses one of which we were lucky enough to host here a couple of years ago. Her glaze recipes are much loved by us, and as an added bonus she went to school in Bucks so has local connections!
No.4 CRAFT FOR CONNECTION
Another thing which we have noticed over the last year is the increase in people coming to workshops in little groups…we rarely have a class these days without a mother & daughter pairing, grandparents and their teens, school mums making time for an uninterrupted catch up without the kids or old friends just wanting to try something new together.
For a lot of our teen-plus-one classes, it’s an opportunity to work on something creative side-by-side, which avoids the need for prolonged periods of eye contact (which for some teens proves tricky). It’s also a chance to be present for a couple of hours, positively encouraging our teens off their devices and into using their hands and minds creatively in real life. With all of our hearts we hope that this trend continues to grow, not least because schools budgets, curriculums and timetables don’t allow for the breadth of arty, crafty experimenting that we know as adults is necessary before you find your ‘thing’.
If one of the benefits of playing with art and craft can be to help people to foster a deeper connection then we say bring it on – the world needs more real relationships and less virtual surely?
Our recommendation for this one is super simple. Grab a loved one, find something you will enjoy learning together and get out there and spend some really good quality time together!
There was a time, not so long ago, that embroidery felt a bit dated but not anymore! There’s been an explosion of brilliant embroidery artists over the last few years, taking this once common staple sewing technique out of its heritage sampler and tablecloth territory and into some super funky modern designs.
Free machine embroidery is literally like the paint brush of the stitching world and some of the large scale pieces of work being created really are incredible, whilst the traditional stitches of old (anyone still got their primary school sampler?) are being used in new innovative ways. If you can still remember how to do your french knots, chain stitches and lazy daisy then you’ve got more than enough to get your started on this incredibly relaxing and super easy to transport around craft… all you need is a teeny hoop, needle and threads in your handbag and you can literally craft anywhere… and for anyone wanting a new and practical application for this one, think embroidered canvas shoes, jeans and pockets!
If you’re seeking a wee bit of inspiration, then look no further than these embroidery experts, who we highly recommend!
images courtesy of Wimperis Embroidery
Wimperis Embroidery - Beautiful botanical embroidery kits and pdf patterns
Niamh is not only a fabulous embroidery artist but her business also offers a super comprehensive library of designs and kits, that are absolutely perfect for beginners and intermediates alike. We love her work.
images courtesy of Nicki Franklin
Nicki Franklin - Delicate floral embroidery kits and supplies
At the end of the day handicrafts, hand making and creativity remain popular and we think that’s absolutely brilliant – not least because our little business depends on it! So.... on behalf of us both we'd like to wish you a creatively inspirational and crafty 2024!
Jules & Caroline xx