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  • knack

"Experimentation, mistakes, breakages and a determination to try again!"

This is a guest post by Charlotte Dearman, founder of Calico Collective.

Hello! I’m Charlotte – founder of Calico Collective. My small business began in 2020 as a way to rediscover my creativity after graduating from a degree in Theatre Design in June 2019 and wanting to find a new creative outlet. I have been lino printing on and off for about 6 years and, during the COVID-19 lockdown, finally found the time to perfect some of my favourite designs. From this, I discovered polymer clay and jesmonite as my new favourite materials to work with!

For me, the joy of working with jesmonite is that every piece is different. Whether you’re working with marbling or terrazzo techniques, or experimenting with abstract shapes and colours, it’s almost impossible to have the same outcome twice. For me, this brings an incredible excitement to the process of designing and making, as it is through this trial and error process that I have created some of my favourite pieces. I believe that designing is a hands-on process; no successful outcome has ever come without experimentation, mistakes, breakages and a determination to try again!

My goal when starting Calico Collective was to create a brand focused around consciously crafted, small batch homeware and jewellery – with the aim of creating something for every budget. Accessibility is incredibly important to me, and so finding a way to create products that can be suitable for any budget felt like a good place to start. Alongside running Calico Collective, I work as a freelance Theatre Facilitator with a specialism in design – where I have found that my passion for showing the importance of the creative arts as a career has influenced my thinking and the ethos behind Calico Collective.

Much of my work takes inspiration from the natural world, which has been the case for as long as I can remember. I love using neutral, earthy tones in my products and often find that I take inspiration from natural and botanical reference images when creating. It makes sense to me that I feel most at ease when surrounded by plants, nature and whilst designing & creating for Calico Collective.

Something I love about running Calico Collective is that no two days are the same. Since opening in February this year, I have developed existing skills, learnt new crafts, met and worked with some incredible people and become part of an ever-growing community of designers and makers who share the same passions as me.

I’m incredibly excited and honoured to have been approached by the team at knack, as I know they share the same ethos as myself about the importance of finding a creative outlet, experimentation and the incredible benefits on both mental and physical health that creativity can have!

Charlotte will be leading knack's November workshop - where she'll be teaching you how to cast with jesmonite using two different techniques - see more and sign up here.

Charlotte is a freelance designer and facilitator based in South Manchester.

You can see more on and stay up to date on Calico Collective's Instagram and buy her work on Etsy.

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