We spoke to the man behind stylish print brand Mr Wingate about his exciting new venture, joining forces with Etsy and the Crafty Fox Market to celebrate “men who make”.
Manmade sounds exciting – give us the essential details of what, why, when, where, how and who…
Yes! Manmade is an event that is set to celebrate men who make. I had the idea a while ago when considering a line up of speakers for Crafty Fox Talks, that didn’t go ahead and we kept the idea in the back of our minds. Later on, Sinead from the Crafty Fox mentioned the idea to Etsy and they loved it. Only 10% of Etsy sellers are men, and they saw the opportunity to promote this small group of sellers, and ultimately try and encourage more men to make and sell. Manmade will host a wide selection of male makers and artists, including a bar and DJ’s, and a program of talks and workshops.
Who’s your favourite male crafter?
Tricky question! I really like Mark Hearld’s lino cuts.
What’s the best bit of advice you’d give to young male graduates looking to carve their way in the craft world?
Well, it would be the same advice I’d give the women. You need to be prepared for a lot of hard work and don’t expect to be taking home the biggest pay cheque. People don’t tend to get into a career of making for the money, but rather passion.
Aside from this, I think the most important thing is to be original and come up with something new and different to what’s already available.
What was the first craft piece you ever made?
I couldn’t be sure, I grew up making things so to pin point the first thing would be difficult. But, when I was at art school, I used to print myself T-shirts to wear. I worked in a nightclub and I’d get loads of positive comments on them, that was when I began to realise I could make things that other people would want to buy.
Out of all things you’ve made, which was the hardest to part with?
I don’t think I’ve ever been so precious about anything I’ve made that meant it was difficult to pass on. Generally, I’ve known that if I’ve made something once, I can make it again, and when making things to sell, you get pretty good at running a production line! Having said that, my sketch books are the most precious things I produce, and would never want to part with them.
What music do you listen to while you’re working?
If I need to concentrate, I work in silence. But when I’m in the swing of what I’m doing, I’ll listen to the radio, either 4 or 6, and I’m completely addicted to the Archers.
You run screen printing workshops at Crafty Fox Market – what are the top three most important things you try to teach your students?
1- Not to be precious. Sometimes people come to the workshop, aiming for perfection, even if it’s the first time they’ve tried screen printing. Everyone needs to make a few mistakes when you’re learning.
2- Keep it simple. Occasionally, someone at the workshop creates an incredibly detailed print, but on the whole, first time printers at those workshops get better results from simple designs.
3- Have fun. My screen printing workshops are all about enjoying the process and satisfaction gained through making something.
What craft skills are you interested in learning in the future?
I’m currently trying my hand at lino printing, which is pretty new to me. And I’ve got some ideas to work on in metal.
You’ve expanded into homewares from clothing – what’s next?
I’m heading more towards illustration. I have recently completed a commission for the ZSL London Zoo, where I drew three illustrations for application onto a range of gift products. I’d like to expand on this, and depending on the success of my lino prints, start creating illustrations for the wall.
Manmade will take place in the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane in London on 12th and 13th June 2015. Applications are open until midnight on Thursday 19th March, so if you’re interested in applying there’s still time! You’ll need an Etsy shop to apply, but if you haven’t got one, you can set one up and get 20 free listings using the code MANMADE.
More details on applying here
Chloë Owens & Catherine Cobley