Against the winter landscapes, raw coastlines and shifting light of the Isle of Wight, resides
an enviable community of artisans and contemporary makers.

From bold ceramics and bespoke furniture, to delicate jewellery made from sea glass and silver, this is the perfect place to pick up imaginative handmade gifts that come from the heart and tell a tale.

blog_HANDMADE-ISLE-3

Food and drink …

Take a dash of creativity, a twist of historic magic and a good squeeze of handmade eatables and you’ll find yourself in the delicious Rectory Mansion, Brading. Here you can immerse your senses in an onsite chocolate factory and pick up some of the best handmade consumables that the Isle of Wight has to offer. Winter warming gifts include Tipsy Wight vodka (is it the bottles that are wonky – or you?), Wild Island oils and Isle of Wight Mermaids Gin, flavoured from Island grown hops and hand-picked rock samphire, sourced on the local chalk cliffs of Ventnor Bay.

Furnace and fire …

blog_HANDMADE-ISLE-4If you’re transfixed when watching craftspeople and value the story behind your purchases, a visit to Arreton Barns is a must. Tucked in the heart of the Arreton Valley, this industrial nest of working studios is home to a diverse range of craftsmen and women who are more than happy to chat while they work. This is a great place to buy bespoke ceramic house signs, handmade lamps, rice jewellery and delicate treasures created by skilled glassblowers, Timothy Harris of Isle of Wight Studio Glass and Paul Critchley of Sculptglass. Should you find that glassblowing furnaces fire you up, both sides of the Island are sure to delight … see stunning pieces inspired by local landscapes which are hand blown by the Evans family at Glory Art Glass in Sandown or watch artisans at work over at the The Needles’ Alum Bay Glass shop.

blog_HANDNADE-ISLE-7

Earth and clay …

Nestled within the historic Quay Arts Centre, in what was once a bonded warehouse, you’ll find an elegant boutique that showcases locally made jewellery, ceramics and children’s crafts. An array of greetings cards featuring local artists’ work, felted textiles and delightful ‘grown-up dolls’ share shelf space with ceramics produced at the nearby Jubilee Stores. Creative workshops in pottery, lino pressing, book making and more are held at the Quay Arts Centre, providing an unusual gift idea for crafty people … and the café is good too.

blog_HANDMADE-ISLE-6

Light and glaze …

Bowled over by earthenware and clay? Slip down to Tregear Pottery in Niton, where you will find a beautiful
range of hand-thrown stone pottery inspired by silver and grey Isle of Wight landscapes. Here, you’ll be entering the realm of Turner Prize-winning artist, David Firmstone, who was so enchanted by the “constantly shifting light” of the Island, he set up his home and studio here. You can witness these same shifting lights as you travel west, along the Military Road to Isle of Wight Pearl. Positioned between countryside and rugged coast, this elegant boutique offers a treasure trove of pearl-inspired jewellery and a gorgeous café to sit and gaze out at the dramatic winter skies.

blog_HANDMADE-ISLE-2

Ink and thread …

Drawn in by inks and illustration? Spend a few hours in the ancient harbour towns of Bembridge, Cowes or Yarmouth, where the yacht masts and pretty buildings are almost artwork themselves. Meander down narrow lanes and cobbled streets, where a feast of galleries exhibit handmade and hand-printed scarves, knitted wire sculptures and pieces from quirky artists. Alternatively, head inland and visit Tapnell Farm. What was once the Island’s largest dairy farm has diversified into a cool new restaurant, family park and wonderful gift shop selling textiles, prints, paintings and illustrations from the finest makers. Please note that the life-size hand-painted cows in the garden however, are not for sale!

5 reasons to buy handmade this season:

Handmade is the ultimate buy for savvy shoppers who want to avoid mass-produced products and with so many extra benefits thrown in, it truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Here’s why:

1. You support local artisans, and therefore their local economy and community.

2. You acquire high-quality items that are built to last. Many manufactured items have a shelf life, but artisans want their products to have longevity.

3. Handmade gifts, fashion items and home accessories are generally cool, trendy, unique, and will have friends and family asking: “Where can I get one?”.

4. Handmade helps the environment. A world away from waste-producing factories and never shipped from distant countries using fuel and energy; buying handmade reduces your carbon footprint.

5. What is nicer than to buy a product you love – and get to know the person who made it? Instead of battling the crowds in packed high street stores, buy handmade items at local craft fairs and boutiques and build new friendships as you shop.


Thanks for reading! I hope this article has inspired you give a unique handmade gift this Christmas, and at the same time supporting a talented local artist.

Bethan Christopher

...written by Bethan

Bethan Christopher is an author, artist and speaker who lives on the Isle of Wight. She is the author of Grow Your Own Gorgeousness (featured in Elle Magazine and the Times), the artist behind the Ventnor Botanic Gardens Colouring Book and creator of the Gorgeousness Teen Body Esteem Programme for schools.

Read more of Bethan's posts here...

Low vehicles (LV)

Up to 5.00m long
Up to 2.24m high
Cars, small vans and any other vehicle up to 5m long
high vehicles isle of wight

High vehicles (HV)

Up to 5.00m long
Over 2.24m to 4.2m high
Cars, small vans and any other vehicle up to 5m long
high vehicles isle of wight

Low passenger vehicles (LP)

5.01m to 15m long
Up to 2.24m high
Longer cars, pick-ups built on a car chassis, passenger vehicles with up to 7 seats and specially adapted disabled vehicles, 5.01m to 15m long.
low passenger vehicles isle of wight

High passenger vehicles (HP)

5.01m to 15m long
Over 2.24m to 4.2m high
Longer cars, pick-ups built on a car chassis, passenger vehicles with up to 7 seats and specially adapted disabled vehicles, 5.01m to 15m long.
high passenger vehicles isle of wight high passenger vehicles isle of wight

Low motorhome (LM)

Recreational vehicle 5.01m to 15m long
Up to 2.24m high.
Recreational vehicles built or adapted for sleeping which include fitted seating and kitchen facilities.
low motorhome vehicles isle of wight

High motorhome (HM)

Recreational vehicle 5.01m to 15m long
Up to 4.2m high.
Recreational vehicles built or adapted for sleeping which include fitted seating and kitchen facilities.
high motorhome vehicles isle of wight

Low commercial vehicles (LF)

Commercial vehicle 5.01m to 7m long
Up to 2.24m high
Vans, pick-ups, trucks and other goods vehicles designed to carry heavy loads 5.1m and longer and have not been specifically constructed or adapted for the carriage of passengers.
high passenger vehicles isle of wight

High commercial vehicles (HF)

Commercial vehicle 5.01m to 7m long
Over 2.24m to 4.2m high
Vans, pick-ups, trucks and other goods vehicles designed to carry heavy loads 5.1m and longer and have not been specifically constructed or adapted for the carriage of passengers.
high passenger vehicles isle of wight

Freight rigid (FR)

Freight vehicle 7.01m to 12m long
Up to 4.2m high.
Single chassis freight vehicles designed to carry heavy loads.
low freight vehicles isle of wight

Freight artic (FA)

Freight vehicle over 12m to 19m long
Up to 4.2m high.
Tractor-trailer freight vehicle up to 44 tonne GVWR with a split chassis or separate unit designed to carry heavy loads.
high freight vehicles isle of wight

Minibus (MINI)

Passenger vehicles 5.01m to 8m long
Over 2.24m to 4.2m high
Passenger vehicles with 8-17 seats.
high passenger vehicles isle of wight

Coaches

Because we need to know additional information for coach bookings such as loaded and empty passenger numbers, please visit our Coach page to make your booking
high passenger vehicles isle of wight

Motorcycle/trike/quad (MC)

Vehicles up to 3.5m long.
Motorcycles, Motorcycles with sidecars, three or four wheeled personal powered tricycle, TWIZY or quad bike up to 3.5m long.
low freight vehicles isle of wight

Bicycles and mobility scooters

Mobility Scooters must be battery powered.
Electric bikes must retain the ability to be pedalled by the rider.
Pushbikes, e-bikes and battery powered Mobility scooters travel free of charge when a customer purchases a foot passenger ticket.
No need to book separately.
high freight vehicles isle of wight