Autumn brings with it a subtle change in the air; blue-skied mornings with a distinct chill that hits us as we walk out of our homes and embrace a new day. Autumn is traditionally the season of abundance, where hedgerows are laden, cottage gardens overflow with prolific produce and fields bear the satisfying stubble of recently harvested grain or hay. Early autumn brings a riot of colour to our flower beds, as purple and blue Michaelmas daisies stand tall amidst gaudy red and orange nasturtiums, deep pink sedum attracts a continuous bevvy of butterflies and late roses add their more gentle scent and colour tones.
Woodland walks are a forager’s joy, with nuts, berries and many other nutritious and delicious finds. It is the season for mushrooms and the variety of colour, texture and shape of these are a constant source of wonder. Orchards are laden with apples, again of infinite colour tones and variety. For those living near the sea, autumn tides and stronger winds add to the seasonal interest and constantly changing seascape. Autumnal walks are a delight for both young and old. For children, our wayside lanes, canal paths and woodlands are a natural playground, with blackberry-stained hands and mouths, and pockets filled with conkers bringing joy to modern-day children just as they have throughout the centuries.
Autumn is also a season of preparation, both in the animal kingdom where we may spy squirrels hiding away their secret stores of nuts or notice winter plumage fluffing up our garden birds. For centuries it has also been a busy time of preparation for our ancestors, too. When supermarkets could not be relied upon for a year-round supply of food, extended families and communities would work together to bring in and store the harvest, ready to keep them through the long winter months. This may sound idyllic now, but it was arduous work as men and boys laboured long hours in the fields and women and girls bottled fruit, made chutneys and jams, salted meat, spun honey and made cold storage clamps for root vegetables alongside all their other work. It is no wonder that the village harvest festivals were such a time of celebration.
While many of these skills are not practised regularly anymore, they are not lost completely and as we are arguably living in an increasingly unstable world, it may be that there is a resurgence in these homesteading skills. Alongside this, there does seem to be a desire to reconnect with the natural seasons and to build up community networks. From city dwellers to those living in the remote Isles of northern Scotland, we can all be a part of this gradual movement towards self-reliance, home and local community.
Also nationwide, autumn is the time we shift our focus from summer outdoor living into our homes, with cosy fireside or candle-lit evenings, mugs of tea and hot crumpets around the kitchen table and the warmth of friendship. And crafters yet again are placed at the vanguard of this shift. Crafters not only have the skills to provide products beautifully handmade in the UK with which to adorn our homes, but we can also provide the community networks to gather in. And, we can teach and inspire others as resourceful and resilient small business owners.
The abundance and variety of autumn has always been an inspiration for the cfreative crafting community. Whether it’s autumn-inspired front door wreaths, bursting either with finds directly from outside such as pine cones, dried fruit, flowers and berries, or with knitted or crocheted leaves, acorns and pumpkins. Using similar materials, mobiles are a beautiful addition not only to a child’s room but to anywhere in a home.
For those of us who work with ceramics, autumn inspires candle lanterns or holders that are rich in colour and texture? These are guaranteed to bring a warm and inviting atmosphere to our lengthening evenings.
It can be fun to add an autumn theme to our home decor, and this can be done by pulling out rugs to sling on the back of chairs, inviting a guest to curl up and enjoy a cosy evening of company and chatter. The colour and texture palette of blankets inspired by nature offer infinite variety and appeal and will bring delight to your customers. Cushions too can be a delightful addition to a living room, bringing accents of the outdoors inside. Children as well as adults will enjoy the rhythm of pulling out a seasonal cushion of two; something to consider when making whatever textiles you work with.
For customers with a smaller budget, fun mushroom or pumpkin-shaped pincushions are a tempting buy, to encourage them in their autumn crafting. And as our focus shifts more to evenings spent indoors, maybe you could put together some craft kits to encourage your customers to learn or practise a crafting skill at home. For complete novices or those who want to refresh their skills, you could think about offering workshops alongside this.
With cooler, darker evenings, a warm bath may be very inviting and what better way to enhance this indulgence than with some handmade soap or beautifully scented bath bombs? Autumn scents and colours lend themselves to these, with rich pumpkin spice and cinnamon to add fragrance and star anise or fallen leaves to decorate. To continue this theme, handmade beeswax candles are a must during our autumnal evenings, enticing in both colour and aroma.
As well as adorning our homes with some autumnal accents, your customers too will need to dress for the cooler weather, and what better way to slip into this than with a few gorgeously coloured and textured seasonal items? Brown acorns, deep red berries, golden leaves, and orange pumpkins can all inspire an infinite variety of fun and elegant earrings. For those with knitting or crocheting businesses, shawls, jumpers and socks in autumnal shades are guaranteed to tempt and inspire.
So, amidst your busy lives, try to find time to get outdoors and be inspired by the stunning autumn landscape, ready to create your beautifully handmade UK products.