Introducing Artist Julia Ogden

Julia Ogden
What is your background?
My background is in illustration. I studied at Edinburgh College of Art for my Degree and Brighton University for my Masters, both in Illustration. I started to paint after University and for a long time that was my main medium. I now draw in pen/pencil and screen print.
Who and what inspires you? 
I am inspired by nature and the changing seasons. I am lucky enough to live in Hebden Bridge where the countryside is on my doorstep.
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What do you love most about what you do? 
I love the freedom of being able to develop my ideas and really just being lost in painting or drawing. I also teach drawing and painting. I get great joy from seeing people grow in confidence and seeing their beautiful artwork.
Who taught you to draw?
My Dad always encouraged me to draw and I gained a lot of knowledge and inspiration from him . I loved art at school but my teacher was not very supportive. I went to New College in Huddersfield hoping it would be better and it was! After a great experience at New College I did an art foundation at Leeds College of Art. My tutor there was great and it felt a very exciting time; drawing every day-perfect.
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What products do you have?
I produce hand printed cushions, notebooks, greetings cards, bunting and postcards. I also make paintings and drawings.
You do workshops with children, tell us about this? 
I run a Saturday art club from my studio in Hebden Bridge. I teach lots of art techniques including; drawing, mono printing, collage, painting and 3D crafts. It is a drop in session; I just email the parents each week to let them know what is coming up. It is £10 per child and is on at 10.30-12.
I also host craft parties for children’s birthdays. I usually fit the art activity around the child’s interest. Past party themes have included; fairies, Harry Potter, Flowers, Moomins and Minions.
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What is your favourite season? 
I like the changing seasons, so I like something about all of them. Autumn is particularly beautiful though.

Interview with Designer/Maker – Michelle Gemmel

Where did you study?

I did 1 years art foundation at Cumbria college of art and design and then went on to study printed textiles at York St. John university.
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What inspires you?
Animals mainly and everything that I see around me. I love nature and I store scenes in my head ready to design with.
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Have you always wanted to be a designer?
Yes….. It was in my blood to be creative.
What collections are you working on?
Currently working on Autumn/ Winter 15/16 and adding to my existing collections. I am having a lot of fun with the new designs.
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Are you going to develop your designs and in what way?
 My designs are always developing and I am looking at other products that will suit my work. I am also developing a bespoke range.
You design under Michelle Gemmel and your company is called  Memelou? Where did the name come from? 
My family call me Meme and my middle name is louise so the 2 names just fit together. : )
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Have you plans to create other products?
Yes! I want to expand into stationary, wall stickers, children’s books, mugs. Its all very exciting!!
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Tell us what you love about Autumn/Winter?
I love how everything around me is golden and crisp in Autumn. I like wrapping up warm and being cosy inside with the fire on in winter. It makes me happy.
Find Michelle Gemmel’s Prints here on Amelias Barn

Interview with Designer/Maker – Helen Hallows

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What is your background? Where did you study?

I studied at Loughborough College of Art and Design after a Foundation Course at St.Albans College of Art and Design. I enjoyed experimenting across the creative spectrum but I specialised in, and gained my degree in, Woven Textiles. After graduating I worked as a freelance design for a textile agent selling embroidered and appliquéd textiles to the US for home ware and children’s fashion.

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What inspires you? 

I’m inspired by the small things. I love colour and texture in the small details of life, tomatoes growing in my green house, the daily laying of eggs by my chickens, the way light cuts through a line of trees and makes them shimmer and dance.

Who inspires you?

People who are able to live passionately and stand in the truth of who they are. I’m drawn to those who have made their love into a business. Creatively I am inspired by artists such as Elaine Pamphilon and Mark Hearld.

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Describe your creative process?

My work tells stories. I am struck by a narrative, usually when I am in nature and there’s a change of light or a shift from day toward night. There might be shapes that I notice echoed in the landscape and want to capture their relationship. Or I might become aware of the sounds of nature, of birds going about their busy-ness. I connect to those moments, realise how similar we are, these different species who share this planet. I want to tell that story of connection.

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Tell us the moment you said YES this is me  – This is my style? 

There’s an ebb and flow to creativity and sometimes there are ‘YES’ moments where the work comes from a place deep within and I feel like I’m releasing part of me into the world. That has always been there, right from childhood. I drew in a very direct, naive style then, as now. After having my family I started to create work from my soul, rather than the commercial direction of designing for industry, and again found that place of ‘YES’. Sometimes I forget to acknowledge it, I look at what everyone else is doing and think they are better, more talented and have to remind myself of the gift of ‘me’. In my workshops I try to show other people how to see their own unique creativity and honour it.

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What are you working on now?

I’m working on a collection of pieces that are inspired by folk art motifs and the stories that nature tells. I’ve just created a piece called ‘Tree of Life’. It is a celebration of the diversity of life and a reminder that we are all Nature. It’s leading in to a series of work about trees. Trees are homes to so many species and they are also a mirror for us as humans. They breathe in what we breathe out. It’s a symbiotic relationship. We need to celebrate the trees and learn from them. The new work will be exhibited in the new year as part of an exhibition called ‘The Wood from the Trees’ at Ferrers Gallery near Ashby.

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You have recently changed direction, tell us about this process? 

My direction change is more a coming back to centre. My work has always been about a spiritual connection to the environment. I love exhibiting and seeing someone else understand the story of the piece I have created and be able to understand the emotion of the piece. I love that connection to others through creativity. I’ve been developing my workshops to try to develop others connection to their inspirations and how to express themselves. I’ve been validating my experience of my own creativity and expressing the connection of creativity to my soul. Because I am better understanding my creative process, I am enjoying it more and the work is becoming more colourful. It is very much grounded in the seasons, as it has always been but I am finding a solace in working with the seasons and feel more grounded in my life. This extends to enjoying growing my own food and eating seasonally. It is about living and creating holistically.

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Tells us about ‘I am Nature’ that you have recently launched with Happy Press? 

‘I am Nature’ is a spoken word recording. It is a series of readings about my connection to each season. They came into being when I started to use my journal as a place to write about my dreams and aspirations for my work. Through connecting to myself I could see how inspired I am by the small details of nature around me. I feel alive when I am growing my own plants and vegetables. I feel alive when I eat those foods that I have grown. Last winter I struggled with my health and wellbeing. Allowing myself to rest with nature and follow my instincts to hibernate was therapeutic. Coming out of that hibernation into the light was awesome! The recordings are taken from my writings at the time.  The CD marks the shift in my work and my understanding that I am inextricably a part of nature. I hope that others are take comfort from the CD and can connect to nature through their creativity and connect their wellbeing to their soul’s desires.

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What is your favourite season?

Autumn. I love the palette of the season. I like the return to a routine after the freedom of Summer. The melancholy in me likes the tinge of sadness as leaves drop and Winter creeps in. I love the harvest from my garden and celebrating abundance.

You are developing your business and creating other products tell us about this? 

I have been creating with the seasons and the limited edition prints I have published are a reflection of the journey through the year. I have realised this year that to fully express myself I needed to connect to my creativity in different ways. Putting Nature at the heart of what I do has replenished me. Although I am a visual artist, my work has become about all of the senses. It is about what I hear and smell. It is about how I collect ideas and connect to my self. Writing a journal has become an important part of tracking my creative journey. I have created a journal in the hope of inspiring others on their creative journey, seeking a deeper connection to self. This will I hope form part of a range of beautiful sketchbooks and journals. I am currently working on a book that celebrates my connection to landscape which will be published in 2016.

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What workshops have you got coming up? 

My workshop ‘Shine Like the Sun’ takes place in October (in Long Eaton near Nottingham) and is a mixed media workshop that will use the imagery of late Summer to create a piece of artwork that can become a warming reminder of the sun’s energy during the cold Winter. I demonstrate the collage, paint and print techniques that I use in my work and talk about the symbolic elements. There’s a drawing warm up and plenty of inspiration and support so you can create your own unique collage. I am also running a day ‘Grow Your Own Art’ workshop (at Focus Gallery in Nottingham) inspired by the Autumn and the trees and leaves and rich colours of the landscape. Taking inspiration form folk art, I am running a weekend workshop in Hebden Bridge ( hosted by Buttercup Home) to create a fantastic decorated chair. Using symbols from nature and inspiration from the seasons, I will guide attendees through the stages of using paint and collage to create a unique piece of furniture. All workshops are fully supported with materials provided so that you can relax and get the most out of the day (or weekend).

Find Helen Hallows work on the website here:

Interview with Designer/Maker Catherine Edwards for Amelia’s Barn.

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What is your background?

My love for leather work first started with an obsession for footwear, particularly the beautifully made antique shoes in the collection of my local museum. The hundreds of tiny buttons, the detailing and the care put into shaping the curve of the heal.

The only person that I could think about who could teach me the technical process of making shoes was the local clog maker who took me under his wing and encouraged me to pursue my ambition. So after a couple of years at art college, I managed to get a place at prestigious and ancient College, Cordwainers then part of Central and St Martin College, London.

Wanting to learn how to create shoes entirely by hand led me to an apprenticeship in the West End of London. I was very lucky as apprenticeships were very few and far between. For 12 years I worked exclusively for 4 or 5 boot and shoe maker in the West End and Mayfair. A chance conversation led to a residency at the Royal Armoires in Leeds where I spent two years working with the in house leather worker to produce 30 pairs of Jack boots for the household cavalry. While I was there I began to think about producing a collection of leather goods under my own name. I was encouraged when my first show sold out completely. I have worked hard to build on that success becoming more creative with styling and inventive with detail as the collection has grown.


Where did you study?

Hereford College of Art and Design, Cordwainers College, London

What inspires you

The quality of craftsmanship. Traditional leather working skills and the people that have them. The beauty in simplicity.


Describe your creative process?

Saddlery leather, thick, requires hand stitching, have to understand the material strengths to design beautify crafted bags. Once I have established a design I work with the customer to tailor it to their needs. I chose each hide individually looking for a perfect finish and a consistency of colour. I buy from only two or three top end tanneries using only the finest British leather. The leather is all hand cut and punched ready for stitching, buckles and straps are attached, and then the bag is hand stitched. The final process is to wax the whole bag to make it waterproof and to create a lustrous finish.

Who have you collaborated with?

Mark Beabey, Flame Oz, Bedfordshire Basket Makers, Rowanna

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Describe your collection?

The collection as it stands today is all about clean lines, contemporary forms combined with traditional skill. It includes signature pieces, the satchel and the saddle bag. Both have the enlarged buckle detail that I have become recognised for. Each piece is unique because they are handmade, and gain depth of character as they age.

What are your latest shows/events coming forwards?

  • Palm House 20 Sept
  • GMCCF 9 to 11 Oct
  • Made by Hands Cardiff 30 Oct to 1 Nov
  • Hereford Contemporary Craft Fair 13 to 15 Nov
  • Crafts in the pen 20 to 22 Nov
  • Open Studio 4 to 6 Dec


To buy Designer/Maker Catherine Edwards work go to–a4-leather-satchel-by-catherine-edwards-717-p.asp

(c) product images by Ed Chadwick 

(c) profile shot by Craig Shaw from Happy Photography.




Interview with Designer/Maker – Adele Zara Collinson from Felt So Good.

Felt so good specialises in design-led handmade felt products, from items for the home, contemporary and traditional Christmas decorations to bags, purses and accessories.
“The artistry skills of the ladies whom make these gorgeous products are fantastic and the importance of this community based cottage industry to maintain and develop responsible working conditions, be given fair wages and a job in which they are happy is at the heart of felt so good’s ethos”. Adele Zara Collinson

Adele Zara Collinson

What is your background?

From a young age I’ve always had a passion for all things colourful; this lead me to study Design Crafts at university with a view to perusing a career in design. This and having previously spent time living in Asia led to me starting up Felt So Good, a Fairtrade registered craft and design wholesale and retail company specialising in ethically sourced felt goods.

What inspires you?

When I was living in India in Goa, I was lucky enough to experience hands on the thriving Indian textiles and craft industry. There’s such an amazing range of different materials in the most beautiful and vivid colours, ranging from silks to hand painted wood carvings. Travelling further through Asia, I came upon the vibrancy and potential of handmade felt.

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Tell us about your company and your ethical trade?

Since visiting numerous factories throughout Asia, the importance of the environment that people work in became the driving force behind my business. I could not morally know that my team would be working in a poor environment, long hours and all for an unfair wage. Because of this, I very much feel a shared responsibility for the employees of the cottage industries I work with. My focus is to keep up the hard work and grow Felt So Good so that they can continue to be within a safe and happy working environment and can provide for their family the way they want to.

Have you a favourite animal you like to make?

I’m constantly thinking up of new designs to make! I think that my favourites have to be the really quirky cute ones such as our flying pigs. We’ll definitely have more magic in the pipeline soon!

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How have your travels influenced your work?

As I’ve mentioned above, my travels have massively influenced not only my creative design, but also every aspect of the way I run my business. Seeing how much love and care the highly skilled artists in Asia dedicate to their work really set me to pair my creativity with a strong work ethic that I feel greatly reflects that.

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What Artists do you love?

When I was at university, I was lucky enough to spend time in work experience with Peter Layton at London Glassblowing. I absolutely love this technique and spent most of my time at university trying to master it. I also have a great passion for fashion designers, some of my favourites are Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood. However any artists that are skilled in a craft, whether it be wood carving, painting, ceramics etc I have the upmost admiration for.

What do you love about living in the UK?

Having experienced first-hand conditions within some parts of developing countries; I feel very blessed to live in a country with free health care, a national insurance system and where I know that my loved ones and I are not every day at great risk from exploitation or illness. This is one of the reasons I continue to visit my suppliers regularly to ensure that the artists that create my designs are not either.

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Where would you like to travel next?

I’d say somewhere like Morocco where I can spend time exploring all the markets. I’m always on the lookout for fresh ideas, the hustle and bustle and sights and smells would really energise me and I’m sure I’d return with a bucket load of inspiration!

See more of Adele’s Work here




Designer/Makers Coming Soon!!!

Amelias Barn - Designer Makers (26-8-15)

Exciting news!!! We have a wonderful Designer/Maker section COMING SOON!!! to Amelias Barn. We are all very excited here to be working with some talented designers and showcasing their work. To launch with we will have the beautiful soul scapes from Helen Hallows, stylish leatherware from Catherine Edwards and ethically sourced products by Felt so Good.

 “This section will add a whole new dimension to the website, we are looking forward to working with talented Designer/Makers.”  Chris and Mick Harrison

We will keep you updated once the Designer/Maker Section is LIVE!!!


Upcycle Upcycle Upcycle….

Upcycling is the way forward to update your surroundings here at Amelias Barn, we are ready to help provide you with the necessary accessories for your home project.  The term Upcycling  was given to describe ‘making an item better than the original’, or giving it a much needed facelift.

We have lots of knobs in stock to upcycle any of your furniture that needs brightening up. Here are a few examples…



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Take a look at our selection here

To see more go to our website


Amelia’s Barn – The Story

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Chris and Mick Harrison have been in retail for 25 years and explain when they caught the bug and why they have never looked back , even through troubled times.

What is your background?

Chris  – After graduating in psychology I worked in hostels for homeless young women and as a welfare rights adviser. After travelling in the Far East I decided to set up a shop in Manchesters Corn Exchange which I ran with Mick. We had a thriving business until it was destroyed by the Manchester bomb.

Mick – I came from a retail background working from an early age in the family interiors shop in Withington Manchester. I was part of the Manchester music scene in the eighties, playing guitar with Direct works and Big Weird. I also worked for BT as a set installer.

What do you love about your job?

We both love the freedom that comes from being self employed although it is hard work . We work weekends and often into the night . There’s a lot of work goes on behind the scenes. Most of all we love finding new and exciting products that we hope our customers will love too.

What inspires you?

We are inspired from our travels both home and abroad. We love beautiful things and furniture made by skilled craftsmen. Our mirrors and picture frames are made in the UK by a very talented carpenter .

Who are your favourite designers?

Neither of us really have a favourite designer . We like things that are well made , a bit quirky and interesting.

What do you do on your days off?

Chris- I enjoy Pilates which is much harder than it looks and playing the occasional game of golf with friends. Socialising with friends and music.

Mick- I have been riding motorcycles since the age of 16 and am a part time motorcycle instructor which allows me to indulge my passion. I have recently taken up scuba diving and still like to play my guitar. We both enjoy walking in the beautiful countryside surrounding Hebden Bridge with our golden retriever Buddy who features sometimes on our Facebook page.

Tell us about when you first opened your shop in Hebden Bridge?

We used to visit Hebden Bridge a lot prior to opening the shop . Our first trip to Hebden Bridge was to the Trades Club to watch some friends who were performing there. When the shop in the Corn exchange was destroyed we had a seventh month old daughter Amelia to look after so we thought Hebden Bridge would be the perfect place to start anew. We opened the shop in The Barn on the 13th December 1997 , the shop was a success and when the shop next door became available we knocked through and have been here for eighteen years.


Why is Amelias barn different to The Barn?

For years customers have been asking if we have a web site so we have finally taken the
plunge . We get a lot of customers from all over the country so an online presence will be useful to stay in touch and to let customers know of new products and special offers.

The Barn is based at 46 Bridge Gate , Hebden Bridge West Yorkshire HX7 8EX

Hello and Welcome!

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Welcome to our new blog here on Amelia’s Barn. We will be keeping you up to date with the latest news and information on our wonderful products. Pop back Soon and find out more….


Best Wishes!

Amelia xxx