CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Essex Life today CLICK HERE

Crafting the County: 3 Essex craftspeople

PUBLISHED: 11:15 13 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:33 24 March 2017

EXG MAR 17 crafts

EXG MAR 17 crafts

Archant

While it may not be everyone’s impression of the county, the people who know Essex, know that it is a county of entrepreneurs and creative thinkers. We meet three inspirational craftspeople making handmade goods that are proving to be a hit

Maggie Morgan, The BeehiveMaggie Morgan, The Beehive

The Beehive

Maggie Morgan is a talented quilter and owner of The Beehive in Colchester. She has always had an artistic feather in her cap and, like many craftspeople, she has always had an interest in the creative process of making. In her case, her passion is textiles, machine embroidery and quilting.

Her love of quilting began in 2005, while visiting her mum back home in South Africa. ‘We had just walked past a shop selling beautiful fabrics and sewing machines, and their Bernina embroidery machine grabbed my attention because it was sewing out a very large, multi-coloured butterfly,’ Maggie explains.

The fabric shop owner then approached her and invited her to join in with the embroidery group in the workroom at the back of the shop.

EXG MAR 17 craftsEXG MAR 17 crafts

‘Every month this group would sit together and create squares to form into a friendship quilt and they showed me how it worked. I was mesmerised from that exact moment on and the spark that had been flickering in my head roared into life,’ she says. ‘This was a huge turning point for me and when I returned to the UK, I made it my mission to discover everything I could about this seemingly magical process!’

Those who know Maggie will acknowledge it has always been a big ambition of hers to own a quilting shop. In 2015, she turned her dream into reality and The Beehive was born.

Maggie explains: ‘I acquired a quilting shop before, which sadly had to close its doors. But since then, I relocated to a beautiful medieval building in the heart of the Dutch Quarter in Colchester, the Stockwell Arms, which is one of the oldest buildings in the town.

‘The building has a very light and airy feel about it, which makes it perfect for crafting with plenty of natural daylight,’ she adds. ‘The shop itself offers quilting and patchwork suppliers, machine embroiderers and soft furnishings all under one roof. The Beehive reflects the nature of crafters everywhere; all working together around a large table where we hold classes and workshops.’

EXG MAR 17 craftsEXG MAR 17 crafts

Maggie encourages people to attend her open days, where people like her can bring a project to work on, start on something new or just for those who need inspiration or help from others.

‘I have found that crafters are always willing to help each other and learn different ways of achieving the result they desire, which is such a lovely quality,’ she says. ‘It is more important to finish a project with a few imperfections than try to be perfect; after all, there is nothing that a button or motif can’t disguise!’

It is evident that Maggie is passionate about these beautiful crafts and wants to share her passion with the world. ‘I want to keep embroidery and quilting crafts alive. I believe that unless we engage with all ages, including the youngsters, all the knowledge and experience will disappear for the next generation. We also hold classes and workshops, including children’s classes in the school holidays. It is amazing just how adept some of our young crafters are at learning new skills.

EXG MAR 17 craftsEXG MAR 17 crafts

Priest Brothers

Priest Brothers in Chelmsford is a family-run business, producing quality, solid oak and bespoke furniture. Established in 1975 by Ronald Priest, it has been passed down the generations and is now co-owned by his grandson Bradlee and Bradlee’s mother, Jodie.

The company’s ethos, from opening its doors more than 40 years ago, is to manufacture the finest, traditional English reproduction and contemporary furniture.

Bradlee has followed his grandfather’s footsteps in the furniture business to take over as the third generation family member, after his dad Ron, and reveals how this career had always been his ideal job.

EXG MAR 17 craftsEXG MAR 17 crafts

‘I have such a great passion for manufacturing and creating unique items of furniture that show quality and attention to detail,’ Bradlee explains. The family-run manufacturer business offers all types of modern, contemporary and reproduction furniture to cater to a wide-ranging client base in and around Essex. It boasts an extensive range of oak furniture that includes pieces for the dining room and bedroom, including contemporary and rustic items, as well as offering a bespoke service.

‘Bespoke furniture is a massive part of Priest Brothers and it is something I really enjoy working on,’ adds Bradlee. ‘The service is a completely unique process for each individual and the overall personalised piece of furniture then becomes a one of a kind piece in the home. The advantage of bespoke furniture is that it can fit into the smallest, most awkward of spaces in a particular area that would have been a struggle to utilise with generic furniture.

‘However, this service doesn’t just mean you are selecting the design you want. Our designers also consider your particular room dimensions, quirky architectural features and your specific taste, as well as your lifestyle.’

EXG MAR 17 craftsEXG MAR 17 crafts

From start to finish, Priest Brothers’ main focus is customer satisfaction and to ensure you are part of the whole process. ‘The customer is involved in every aspect, including the design and choice of colour, and can even watch while we make the item itself. As we specialise in bespoke, made-to-measure furniture, we are able to provide a unique service that not a lot of high street retailers can offer.’

Bradlee adds: ‘We take a genuine pride in putting our customers first by supplying quality products. Our speciality solid oak furniture is manufactured with European oak of the highest grade and quality. To accommodate customers’ individual needs, the companies resources are geared to offer options of different timbers.

‘The passing of time enhances the natural beauty of timber and its great variation of colour, grain and luster should be appreciated accordingly. Every single piece of wood is unique, just like a fingerprint. If you want perfect colour matching, don’t waste this marvellous resource.’

Constable Bathrooms

Constable Bathrooms was founded in 2012 on the basis of years of experience and vast knowledge in the bathroom industry, aiming to provide the best, high-quality bathroom supplies in the UK.

All the craftspeople behind the handmade, bespoke bathroom business are all high-end, experienced experts in their field, with detailed knowledge about designing and manufacturing products.

Innovation is key for this company, as Mike Eltham from Constable Bathrooms explains.

‘Design and fashion are huge influences on how we create fresh designs and collections,’ says Mike. ‘We have several amazing products in the pipeline for this year, which is very exciting. I believe we’ll certainly be turning heads as we’re combining modern fashion with the distinguished look of the traditional bath.

‘Certainly for myself, ideas come from looking at previous bath collections, looking at the bath and thinking which part works best, and then eventually combining several ideas together. It is a never-ending cycle and ideas do come from almost everywhere. Also, we tend to find that our clients inspire us. When they decide they want something totally different and individual, it pushes us to think outside the box.’

According to Mike, bespoke is the way forward if you want to create and customise your space into something special.

‘If you have the inspiration, we can try and help you turn your vision into a reality. We give our customers a unique involvement in an area that they would not have been able to access before. As most baths are bought off the shelf, this is an opportunity to be involved in the design of a centrepiece of a room that everyone visits, allowing the customers to express their inner wishes, design and ideas. We are talented enough and able to put these ideas together and create something truly unique for you!’

These bathroom specialists like to break down design boundaries and create inventive masterpieces for their clients. ‘I have some particular favourites, including a new double-ended slipper bath, where the backrests are so comfortable and supportive we defy anyone not to be relaxed by the time they decide to pull the plug on their experience. We took the standard double-ended bath and have just made it even better!’

Each Constable Luxury bathtub is 100% hand-crafted to order with the utmost care, ensuring you are provided with the most elegant bespoke bathroom essentials on the market. All or any part, of your bathroom can be supplied, with a variety of high quality options available.

Mike continues: ‘From order to dispatch, we generally allow for six weeks. For instance, if the bath is bespoke, it needs to be shaped and patterned, then approved. Once agreed, then we can get tooling from the clay or foam former and then we create a one off tool. But if the style is to be duplicated, all the work and its costs are shared by all.

‘To make the bath, the isophalic enamel coating is applied, then the multiple layers of our heat-retaining marble mineral formulation is added and allowed to cure, before we add feet fixings. The bath is then polished to the highest level and the feet set is removed so that the bath and its feet can be painted or have the required finish applied. We then carefully wrap the bath, palletise it and then dispatch it to the new owner.

‘We have also trawled through the available chinaware, taps, showers and enclosures to bring together the highest quality products that complement our baths. We always want to go that extra mile.’

Get in Touch

The Beehive

01206 578860

www.beehivecolchester.com

Priest Brothers

01245 450259

priestbrothers.co.uk

Constable Bathrooms

01206 585098

www.constablebathrooms.com/

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Essex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Essex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Essex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Yesterday, 10:31

The life of Ronnie O’Sullivan has been anything but predictable, but the most gifted snooker player of all time seems to be showing signs of settling down. Denise Marshall went to meet him

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Ballroom star and world class judge Gary Edwards has enjoyed an incredible career in dance, claiming 30 dance titles across the globe, followed by a stint as advisor to the Royal family of Brunei. Now a presenter on hit American show Dancing with the Stars, Denise Marshall caught up with the Romford-born star for the inside word on Strictly 2018!

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

As we mark the centenary of the end of world War I, Hannah Salisbury from the Essex Record Office reveals a unique insight into life at war during this bleak time | Words: Hannah Salisbury

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

At the end of summer we asked Essex Life’s readers and followers to send in pictures of your pooches loving life on our county’s beaches - you got back to us in droves and here are the pups that made the cut in our October issue!

Read more
Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Six life-sized aluminium silhouettes of British soldiers have been installed in Epping Forest to commemorate the heroes of World War One

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

To mark the centenary this month since the end of World War I, Stephen Roberts explores the impact the war had on Essex and some of the men that left this county to serve their country

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

Escape to the Chateau star Angel Adoree is currently reaping the benefits of her incredible vision and drive to build an overseas wedding and lifestyle business from scratch with husband Dick Strawbridge. Here she tells Essex Life about series five of the hit Channel 4 show and how a strong Essex work ethic helped her dream so big | Words: Denise Marshall

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Hannah Salisbury from the Essex Record Office tells the story of an exciting project that is taking memories on tour around the county

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

Whether you know him for his madcap antics, his reality TV appearances or his unique voice, Essex boy Joe Pasquale has earned his place as one of the nation’s favourite entertainers. Kate Everett caught up with Joe to hear what’s next in his 30-year showbiz career

Read more
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

With the help of finance expert and writer Philip Beresford, Essex Life reveals the 2018 Essex Life Richest 50

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search