Meet the Mollie Makes Handmade Award 2017 winners

Mollie Makes Awards 2017 winners with Cath Dean

We reveal the talented creatives who picked up an award this year.

On Monday, the Mollie Makes gang and over 70 guests donned their sea legs and climbed aboard The Yacht London for a day of craft, creativity and awards. We like to make the day fun, friendly and creative – of course – so we laid on a packed programme of activities that our wonderful shortlisted makers embraced.

“The Handmade Awards are always a highlight of the Mollie calendar, and this year’s event was no exception. Our amazing panel of judges had a tough job choosing winners from our talented shortlist, and it was inspiring to see so many of the UK’s vibrant craft community come together to share ideas,” says Mollie Makes editor Cath Dean.

Mollie Makes Awards 2017 making and chatting

“There were workshops with Tatty Devine, a photowalk with Xanthe Berkeley and speed pitching with Pavilion Books. These plus a great panel discussion with Nikki McWilliams, Ben Treanor, Teri Muncey and Zeena Shah and a closing address by Donna Wilson meant our nominees had plenty of opportunities to learn how to grow their businesses in a supportive, creative environment.”

Mollie Makes Awards photo walk with Xanthe

Mollie Makes Awards 2017 jewellery making with Tatty Devine

Mollie Makes Awards 2017 The Yacht

Mollie Makes Awards, 2017 panel

Mollie Makes Awards, 2017, presenting

This year’s star judging panel was made up of textile designer Donna Wilson, illustrator and screen printer Jane Foster, Fiona Humberstone of The Brand Stylist, Sara Tasker of Me & Orla, Blogtacular founder Kat Molesworth, Patricia van den Akker of The Design Trust, Katy Faulkner of West Elm and Kate Allchin from Pinterest.

A massive thanks again to everybody who took the time to enter the awards. Choosing a shortlist from the buckets of talent (and masses of gorgeous things) was tough, let alone the winners! With prizes including one-to-one mentoring sessions, training days, fair stands, advertising opportunities and more, there was everything to play for.

So, let’s see who our panel of judges picked as this year’s winners…

Best Start-up Business Award Winner: Lucy Tiffney

Mollie Makes Awards 2017 Lucy Tiffney

Lucy says: “It was just lovely to meet and be with so many fellow creatives on a boat on the Thames, in a relaxed atmosphere sharing and supporting each other. Meeting them all was fantastic. If I had to pick a particular highlight, it was chatting with Donna Wilson and Jane Foster – both of whom I respect hugely – and knowing that they liked my work.

“I am so excited about the prizes and how they will impact on my business.”

Fun fact about Lucy: “Scissors have to be my favourite tool. I don’t collect them in a precious way, but I have dozens of pairs scattered in different places. There’s nothing like a new pair of fabric scissors. I’m left-handed, but I find left-handed scissors rubbish!”

Best Established Business Award Winner: Rosa Pietsch

Mollie Makes Awards, 2017, Rosa Pietsch

Rosa says: “I really enjoyed all the activities that had been planned for us – the talks and the panel discussion were very inspiring and full of really useful info. Usually when you’re a designer-maker you don’t get to spend much time in the same room as lots of other people like you unless you’re at a market or similar, so it was great to be able to have proper conversations with other makers without the stress of being at a busy market, selling to customers!

“I’m really looking forward to my mentoring session with Fiona Humberstone – I really struggle to ask for help and advice, and I think this will definitely kick-start me into changing this and seeking out the help I need to grow!”

Fun fact about Rosa: “I’m from quite a creative background, as my dad is an artist and my mum is a textiles and interior designer. Growing up I was pretty much always covered in paint or making a mess so I think I’ve always had the urge to make things!”

Handmade Champion Award Winner: Joanne Hawker (#Marchmeetthemaker)

Mollie Makes Awards 2017 Joanne Hawker

Joanne says: “The photowalk with Xanthe and the workshop with Tatty Devine helped to take the edge off of having to present and stopped me from clock watching too much.

“When it was my turn to present, I was terrified! There were so many more judges than I had expected, which actually took me by surprise. But they were all very smiley and made me feel much more at ease than I thought I would. I’m so glad that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and did it though. The best things lie on the other side of fear, right?”

Fun fact about Joanne: “My creative friends are partly responsible for #Marchmeetthemaker. I had the idea and wasn’t sure if it was a good idea or not. But they gave me the confidence and encouragement to go forward with it and look where it is now! A creative support network with people who just ‘get it’ are so important when you’re running a small business on your own.”

Best Illustrator Award Winner: Jacqueline Colley

Mollie Makes Awards 2017 Jacqueline Colley

Jacqueline says: ” I felt incredulous and ecstatic when I realised I’d won! There was some lovely work in my category so I wasn’t expecting it at all, though you always hope.

The whole prize is going to help me grow my business as it’s given me such a huge boost in my confidence that I am so grateful for!

“I’m so excited about mentoring from Jane Foster – at the judging I already gained some invaluable advice. It will be lovely to chat to her about her career, which has been so varied and exciting, and an opportunity to design an illustration for Mollie Makes is the icing on the cake.

Fun fact about Jacqueline: “I’ve always loved to draw – as a kid I used to copy the characters from my N64 guides into pencil drawings (mainly so that my older brother would think I was cool!)”

Best Workshops Award Winner: Esther Thorpe (Origami Est)

Mollie Makes Awards, 2017, Esther Thorpe

Esther says: “There is something so unique about a yacht filled with talented & enthusiastic designer/makers for a day. Conversations were buzzing with encouragement, collaboration suggestions and lots of laughter! Despite being there for a competition it was such an uplifting experience that didn’t feel in the slightest bit cut-throat or competitive.

“I am so excited about the exposure that winning this prize has already enabled. I’m also thrilled to have the opportunity to meet with Jessica Sims to talk about how to promote and market my workshops.”

Best New Product Award Winner: Donut sewing pattern weights by Oh Sew Quaint (voted for by you!)

Mollie Makes Awards 2017 Danni Oh Sew Quaint

Danni Painter of Oh Sew Quaint says: “To have come out on top among so many votes feels incredible, especially as the voters had a fantastic selection of products  to choose from. The craft community is a wonderful place. I’ve not been part of it for long but I feel so much love and support from the people who are part of it, and to know these are the same people who have voted for my product gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.

“Though even just winning this award is a big prize on its own, it has given me so much hope and inspiration to make Oh Sew Quaint the best it can be.”

Fun fact about Danni: “I have a very sweet tooth, so I love that my doughnut pattern weights reflect that. I also love how colourful they are, and they really do make such a difference when it comes to cutting out patterns – I’ll never go back to pins and scissors.”

Best Established Business, Highly commended: Coco & Wolf

Fun fact about Amy from Coco & Wolf: “I have had a sewing machine since I was 12 and have always had a passion for fashion and creating clothes that I wanted to wear but couldn’t find anywhere to buy. Fast forward a few (ha ha!!) years and while pregnant with my daughter I started making clothes for her that I couldn’t find for sale.”

You can find more pearls of wisdom from the Handmade Awards shortlisted makers in our 13 simple habits to nurture your creativity and 11 things makers credit their success to posts.