Mike Garry was a librarian for 15 years before becoming a poet. His gritty poetry has won the admiration far and wide and his collaboration with New Order in New York's Carnegie Hall in 2014 received five star reviews. Mike's Ode To St. Anthony, a poem dedicated to the Factory Records boss Tony Wilson and put to classical music by the composer Joe Duddell, went to Number 1 in 3 Official UK charts in August 2015. The video features dozens of dozens of Mike's Manchester friends an colleagues, including Steve Coogan, Christopher Eccleston, Shaun Ryder, Mark Radcliffe, Terry Christian, John Cooper Clarke, Philip Glass, Miranda Sawyer and so many more. Oh and Iggy Pop. We have had it on repeat for months at The Good Life Experience HQ and highly recommend a watch, it's spine-tingling stuff.
Mike has worked in thousands of schools and his books have become schemes of work in educational establishments throughout the UK and his poetry is regularly heard on BBC Radio and TV. He has read his poems in Prisons, Young Offenders units, Mental Health Hospitals, Children’s Homes, youth clubs and local pubs. He’s passionate about bringing live poetry to places it wouldn’t normally reach and to people who wouldn’t normally listen to it.
The current shop opened for business a little over six years ago in a building made from Scottish larch. It has subsequently won endless awards including True Taste's Best Farm Shop in Wales two years running and The Countryside Alliance's Butcher Shop of the Year.
The Farm Shop employs over 50 local people and serves thousands of customers each week. The shop is owned by Charlie and Caroline Gladstone who, along with Cerys Matthews and her team, are the creators of The Good Life Experience.
Zest Life is a small organisation based in Wales, specialising in yoga. We believe that yoga and meditation are key components of The Good Life and so we have asked them to curate a full day's yoga, stretching and meditation in their own tent. Beginner, expert, young or old, they'll have something for you. Come on...stretch yourself!
BeerBods founder, Matt, first fell in love with beer at the age of 14 when -at the end of each shift as a pot wash- he was paid his wages with half a pint of beer. Fast-forward 10 years and you would find Matt hosting beer tastings in a shed, a very busy shed. The beginnings of an online beer club and subscription service business idea was now taking root and Matt set up a holding page website with the thought that if 20 people signed up in the first week, the business would work. Over 250 people signed up in the first 24 hours and by Autumn 2013 BeerBods was receiving acclaim from subscribers and press alike, being voted 'one of the 100 most innovative, disruptive and resourceful small businesses' in the UK. Today BeerBods is a team of six people, two dogs, and a loyal and enthusiastic fanbase. The weekly beers are sourced from all over the world and have featured some that are even brewed just for their subscribers. So now they are not only selling beer, their making it too. Simply put it's one bottle of beer and the story behind it, every week for 12, 24 or 48 weeks.
Jeff Towns is one of the world’s leading Dylan Thomas experts. An antiquarian bookdealer by trade, based in the poet’s home-town of Swansea, Jeff was originally known, both locally & globally, as ‘Jeff the Books’.He is now known simply, affectionately and professionally as ‘The Dylan Thomas Guy’.
Dylans Mobile Bookstore is delighted to be bringing Britain's biggest and bestest (and possibly only) Book Bus to The Good Life Experience this year. An old ex-library bus full of books on Welsh life, literature, legend, history and art, Dylans Mobile Bookstore stocks second hand, used, new, old and antiquarian books, plus vinyl, vintage magazines, prints and postcards. There are books on everything - Rock and Roll, Rugby, Feminism, Witchcraft, Wizards....Welsh wizards...RS Thomas, Dylan Thomas, Edward Thomas...any Thomas! Expect poetry readings, bedtime story sessions, acoustic music session, Blind Date Book Club and impromptu happenings.
Prime Minister William Gladstone was many things, but most of all he was a reader. His daily diary entries are brief, but he always made sure to note down the book he finished that day. Gladstone knew the power of a good book, and the happiness that comes from a willingness to learn with an open mind. Gladstone's Library is bringing a pop-up Library and debate space to The Good Life Experience, complete with a range of aromatic teas and the famous Gladstone’s biscuit.
The Idler is a literary and philosophical magazine devoted to its ethos of 'idling'. Founded in 1993 by Tom Hodgkinson and Gavin Pretor-Pinney, the publication's intention is to return dignity to the art of loafing, to make idling into something to aspire towards rather than reject. It combines the aesthetics of 1990s slacker culture and pre-industrial revolution idealism. The title comes from a series of essays by Samuel Johnson, published in 1758–59. 2010 saw the opening of the Idler’s educational offshoot; The Idler Academy of Philosophy, Husbandry and Merriment, offering online and real-world courses in the classical liberal arts and practical skills. Here you can learn about philosophy, astronomy, calligraphy, music, business skills, English grammar, ukuleles, public speaking, singing, drawing, self-defence and other subjects. The Idler are bringing a flavour of what they do in London to The Good Life Experience. Alongside selling books you will be able to drop in for classes inside or -weather permitting- outside their tent. According to Tom, characteristic of the idler's work is that it looks suspiciously like play. Sounds good to us, see you there?
Fantastic artist Jennie Maizels is bringing her Sketchbook Club to The Good Life Experience. Jennie started off her career as a pop-up book illustrator, which has led her mind down a wonderfully colourful track. Fed up with the boring patches she was sewing onto her children’s clothes, Jennie decided to create her own and has developed an enormous range of brilliant and colourful patches. Another of Jennie’s projects is her Sketchbook Club. Over the years Jennie has created some amazing illustrated diaries of the stuff going on in her life -which you can see here on her Instagram account- filled with her wonderful illustrations. Her sketchbooks quickly gained a following, and her fans began to post their own sketchbooks for Jennie to see. Jennie began to host Sketchbook Club in her studio in Winchester and the idea has grown and grown. We are thrilled that Jennie will join us at The Good Life Experience on Maker’s Row to help inspire you to start your own sketchbook.
Illustrator and painter David Setter AKA DoodlePlanet classes himself as a compulsive scribbler; drawing is his most natural form of communication both personally and professionally. He sees it as a therapy, addiction, hobby and lifestyle. David is always wondering what /who he’ll draw next, what kind of journey that will take him on and the doors it may open. He will be back at The Good Life Experience this year with an exciting collaborative work of art, giving festival goers the chance to get creative and join in.
Caught by the River was born on a bankside seven years ago. Although initially an idle conversation between friends, it soon grew into an online forum for all things outdoors – angling, bird watching, walking, drinking, listening & living. In the years since the first post, Caught by the River has featured contributions from writers, artists, musicians and like-minded thinkers such as Bill Drummond, Robert Macfarlane, Chris Yates, Bobby Gillespie, Melissa Harrison, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Chris Watson, Amy Liptrot, Richard Benson, Charles Rangeley-Wilson and Emma Warren among many, many others. Many of these pieces are collected in the anthologies Words on Water and On Nature (published by Caught by The River) and in the site’s semi-regular fanzine, An Antidote to Indifference. We are thrilled to welcome Caught by The River for the first time to The Good Life Experience this year.
'Caught By The River are not only friends of ours at Pedlars, but unquestionably the best curators of books and ideas about nature and the environment in Britain, as well as being really nice guys and guaranteeing anyone that joins them a lot of fun' - Charlie Gladstone, Co-Founder of The Good Life Experience.
See the full line-up from Caught by The River here.
Jim Parkyn has over 16 years experience working as a model maker in the world of stop motion and film,television and theatre. With this background in animation, and with the help of his wife Lea, Jim has been inspired to combine the world of theatre and animation and build ' The Scene machine'. A combination of puppet Theatre, animation and Phantasmagoria, this unique contraption will make for a unique interactive experience. Jim and his animation technicians will feed the machine to create a Plasti-Scene before your very eyes and you can be part of it! Make a mini effigy of yourself or let your imagination go wild and make what ever takes your fancy. Give your Masterpiece to one of the technicians who will then feed it in to the machine and it will be added to the evolving scene that captures the magic of The Good Life Experience. From blank canvas to finished film you can take part and even appear in this unusual experience. We can't wait to take part!
Axe & Paddle Bushcraft was founded by Steven Say who practices and teaches traditional green woodworking crafts and bushcraft skills through outdoor courses. Having worked as a jeweler for many years, Stephen drastically changed direction in 2005 to pursue his love of The Great Outdoors and became a gardener and tree surgeon, eventually founding Axe & Paddle Bushcraft in early 2012. He has been practicing and teaching traditional crafts as a hobby for as long as he can remember, so beginning Axe & Paddle was a natural progression. Stephen is passionate about passing on these skills to as many people as possible, and at The Good Life he and his team will be teaching three workshops; flint and steel fire lighting, bow drill fire lighting and natural fibre cord making. And there will be bow making too. We hope you will join the adventure!
Alex Pole has been working as a blacksmith -his life and passion- for the past 23 years, and creates beautiful bespoke ironwork commissions under 'Alex Pole Ironwork' alongside his new kitchenware range 'Forge Kitchen'. Alex will be running demonstrations every few hours during the course of the festival. Expect to see a great deal of fire, hot steel and sparks flying at the fully functioning forge set-up with Alex showing you how to get hands-on with this most ancient of traditional crafts and proving its provenance and rightful place in modern society.
Margaret Markland worked in the fashion industry for many years, first as a pattern cutter for a couture design house then as a seamstress. She also had clothes shops and worked on tailoring alterations. Now Margaret's main interests are weaving and crochet. She loves all the new types of yarns available especially the hand spun variety, and she is a member of the spinners and weavers guild here in North Wales.
Golden Bear Belts founder Louise Middleton trained in Ceramics at Camberwell School of Art and worked in the fashion industry for over 15 years. She set up Golden Bear Belts in 2009 and sells her collections at Liberty, London and worldwide boutiques. Louise also runs leather crafting workshops and we are thrilled that she will be returning to The Good Life Experience in 2017 with her hugely popular workshops. At the festival Louise will teach the basics of leather crafting and a range of surface decoration methods; how to emboss, stamp, scribe, cut, hand paint and gild. She will run belt workshops for adults, and for children there will be classes to make leather eye patches,wristbands for superheroes and pouches for foraging in the woods.
Having struggled to find inspiring guides for fantastic running routes around the country, wild runners Jen and Sim Benson wrote 'Wild Running', the first UK guidebook for those who love to run and who dream of exploring Britain's spectacular mountains, forests and coastal trails and the ultimate guide for those looking to break free from the gym and the streets. This year the couple were named Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champions and have another book coming soon. We look forward to welcoming them back to the festival to lead a 5km run on both the Saturday and Sunday with post-run Q+As. Here's what one festival runner had to say last year:
Based in Derbyshire, Alison and Peter Massey have 17 years of experience offering practical workshops to both adults and children in the arts of mosaics and metal pressing and we are excited that they will be joining us in September to teach their crafts. Festival goers will be able to take home new skills, imaginative ideas and their own hand crafted works of art.
In 2003 journalist Nancy Durham and her husband, the Oxford Philosopher of Science Bill, planted a field of lavender on their farm in mid Wales, the first to do so in Wales on a field scale. They have since expanded their operations becoming the only distillers of lavender oil in Wales. Like a wine, their rich red earth at an altitude of 1100 feet, produces a lavender oil unique to their land.
Helen Gittins is a potter, living and working in the Clwydian hills with her wood-fired kiln. Helen and her team of three are bringing three kilns to The Good Life Experience to teach festival goers all about the raku firing technique, a spectacular and dramatic way of firing that produces amazing colours, from metallic coppers and golds to blue and white crackles. The team will have a whole lot of hand thrown pots at the ready that participants can glaze themselves, and some of the workshops will take place after dark, which is quite something to see.
Pablo Spaull is one of the UK's leading bean to bar chocolate makers. He has been producing award winning artisan chocolate bars since 2013 which have gained Forever Cacao, his company, a loyal following.
Pablo believes there is no better combination than meditation and chocolate to achieve double relaxation and at the festival he will provide you with techiques to help you find calm and inner peace, using chocolate as your meditation object.Those who have experienced this often state that they have never really tasted chocolate properly before. Pablo's course is about bringing awareness to your eating and enjoying Chocolate mindfully, and we encourage all ages to give it a try.
Damian Clisby's passion for cooking and the freshest ingredients started from a young age, inspired by his grandfather, a butcher at Smithfields. He spent his summers on his grandfather’s farm in Cork, where together they would smoke freshly caught salmon. Damian went on to gain his trade in some of the best kitchens in London; he's been head chef at Petersham Nurseries since 2014 and he previously was head chef at HIX Soho and executive chef at Cotswold House. Damian is a keen forager and we are thrilled to welcome him to The Good Life Experience this year for a demonstration of pit cooking.
Andrew Berry is a multidisciplinary artist and designer based in Liverpool. His recent focus has been to provide consultation and art direction to clients working within the music and creative industries. Nick Booton is a designer and illustrator who runs his own studio Bruï. He works primarily within the music and fashion industries. Andrew and Nick operate out of the same studio space in Liverpool, having built the space with screen print facilities as a way to experiment and provide a print service to clients. They operate as separate entities but often team up for screen printing workshops and exhibitions. At The Good Life Experience Andrew and Nick will team up to provide one-to-one screen printing workshops throughout the weekend. The workshops will give you a chance to learn everything about the art of screen printing and have a go at printing your own Good Life Experience festival print.
Ant Oram is passionate about cycling. He is a graphic designer who has been designing for the last 20 years for a broad range of clients from MTV, Nintendo and howies to name but a few. His love of the outdoors and cycling lead to him setting up Anthony Oram Prints and Auxiliary Outside Projects both of which will be returning to The Good Life Experience in September along with his latest project, Break Fluid, a top quality, easy to brew coffee which is perfect for a life lived in The Great Outdoors.
[Photo by Andrew Denham @ndrwdnhm]
The King of the Notting Hill Carnival, Norman Jay, has been confirmed as our first guest for The Good Life Experience 2017! Norman Jay MBE is unquestionably one of the most respected and popular DJs in the world today. Co-founder of the legendary Good Times Sound System and London dance music station KISS FM, Jay fostered the ‘Rare Groove’ scene pushing the boundaries of the UK’s emerging club culture. Awarded an MBE for services to deejaying and music, he recently compiled his most eclectic compilation to date, ‘Good Times Skank & Boogie’, and he continues to convert generations of clubbers to the cause, championing new sounds, yet never forgetting his musical roots.
Former Children's Laureate and author of the classic picture book 'We’re Going on a Bear Hunt' Michael Rosen is one of the best-known figures in the children's book world, renowned for his work as a poet, performer, broadcaster and scriptwriter. As an author and by selecting other writers’ works for anthologies he has been involved with over 140 books. Michael lectures and teaches in universities on children’s literature, reading and writing. He is a familiar voice to BBC listeners and is currently presenting Word of Mouth, the magazine programme that looks at the English language and the way we use it. He visits schools with his one-man show to enthuse children with his passion for books and poetry. He was one of the first poets to make visits to schools throughout the UK and has also visited schools throughout the world.
Standing out from the crowd, the power trio EZZA transforms and takes Tuareg music off the usual path, blending modern rock sounds, African pulse, rhythmic trances and relentless groove. EZZA is desert blues-rock, three-piece dynamic and soul-stirring melodies,and rebellion-fuelled rhythms, producing a more contemporary sound than ever before associated with Saharan music. Led by Omar Adam Goumour, EZZA take a rightful place in the desert-rock pantheon, a neat, propulsive outfit supplying a depth of groove that’s impressive for just a three-piece. Omar is a charismatic leader, his warm, soulful vocals accompanied by some beautifully liquid guitar lines. All the necessary component parts are there; impeccable desert sounds to stir your soul.
Once described by the NME as a ‘lost genius and among the most gifted songwriters of his generation’, Michael Head is unquestionably a Liverpool legend. An effortless and deeply soulful songwriter, he formed his first band, The Pale Fountains, with his younger brother John in the early 1980s. After releasing two — at the time misunderstood —albums for Virgin, he formed his second band, Shack, in 1986, and despite various mishaps and episodes of bad luck, they managed to release five critically acclaimed albums including Waterpistol in 1995 and HMS Fable for London Records in 1999. In 1997 he released what is arguably his most acclaimed and accomplished album to date, The Magical World Of The Strands, under the name of Michael Head & The Strands. Since 2013 he has been writing and recording under the name of Michael Head & The Red Elastic band. He has so far released a couple of EPs, with an album planned in the summer of 2017 on Violette Records.
Veteran British songwriter and guitar sage Michael Chapman ranks among the innovative midcentury English guitarists who transposed the atmosphere and syntax of the blues to a British context through reinvention and deconstruction, rather than imitation. His music is suffused with the crooked logic, unfulfilled longing, and existential danger of dreams, shaded with his own wry sensibility of Northern darkness. Like a peaty whiskey, the smoky gravitas of his playing and singing has grown more trenchant and entrenched with age. His emergence in 1967 as a self-taught jazz freak, recovering art-school student, and part-time photography teacher on the Cornish folk circuit preceded a series of classic late 1960s and ’70s albums for Harvest, Deram, and Decca. (But whatever you do, don’t call him a folkie; he feels more kinship with the improvisatory outer orbits of jazz, blues, and the avant-garde.)
Born out of a compulsion to make infectious, melody-driven music from a treasure trove of secret sounds, Pictish Trail’s spectral songs are filtered through a sun-warped pop lens, where heart-pumping guitar shriek-outs collide with sampled gurgles, and fractured lyrics figure-skate over sine-waves of glacial synth. Something of a sonic hermit, he spent large parts of the past few years tucked away in his caravan on the Hebridean isle of Eigg, feverishly working on Future Echoes: 2016’s follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2014 double album Secret Soundz Vol. 1&2.
Rozi Plain has been making music since her brother taught her a few chords on the guitar aged 13. Raised in Winchester, she spent a few years studying art and painting boats in Bristol, where she began collaborating with long-term collaborators Kate Stables (This Is The Kit) and Rachael Dadd, among many others on a thriving local scene. Her most recent album - Friend, released on Lost Map Records in May 2015, is a spellbinding reaffirmation of the now London-based singer-songwriter as one of the most unique and original voices in UK alt-folk, and features contributions from Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor and members of Francois & The Atlas Mountains among many others.
Amber Arcades is the moniker of Dutch-born musician Annelotte de Graaf. De Graaf first started writing songs in 2010 while temporarily living in Philadelphia. Back in the Netherlands she put out a first EP in 2012 containing soft-voiced, melancholic folk ballads. Wanting to develop her sound and mature from the safe bedroom folk environment, she got in touch with producer Ben Greenberg (Beach Fossils, The Men, Destruction Unit) to produce a collection of songs she had written over the years. In May 2015, de Graaf flew out to New York to record the songs, backed by a band containing Kevin Morby, as well as members of Real Estate and Quilt. The result is Fading Lines, a record that is as dreamy and esoteric as it is gripping, presenting slightly off, floating pop melodies over a mixture of kraut-inspired drums, cutting guitars and fuzzed-out organs.
Jeb Loy Nichols was born in America, raised in Missouri, spent time in New York, Spain and London, and now lives in Wales. In 1981 he found himself living in a squat with Adrian Sherwood, Ari Up (from the Slits), and Neneh Cherry. He formed Fellow Travellers, a country dub band, and recorded four CDs. Critic Robert Christagau called them “The children of Merle, Marley and Marx.” In 1996 he recorded the first of eleven solo records. Rolling Stone Magazine has called him “The high priest of country cool.” His latest record, Country Hustle, was named “The Right Now Sound For A New Millennium” by The Nashville Scene.
Flamingods are a five-piece, multi-instrumental band formed in Bahrain in 2009. The band was founded by Kamal Rasool and now consists of Rasool, Sam Rowe, Charles Prest, Karthik Poduval and Craig Doporto. Based in both the UK and Bahrain, the band has carried out operations online as much as in person. The group puts a focus on exploration and experimentation, often taking influence from different cultures around the world by use of an extensive collection of instruments from as far as Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia, Turkey, Japan and Tanzania.
The winsome melancholic embers of Girl Ray began amongst the scattered brown brick rows of North London. They have been writing demos since their mid-teens about wanting to skateboard, how much they hate Mick Jagger and the school dinner ladies. Their debut album Earl Grey will be released by Moshi Moshi Records in June 2017.
The Orielles - sisters Esme and Sid Hand-Halford and friend Henry Wade - formed after meeting at a house party, with the sisters only learning how to play their instruments after getting the band together. Keen advocates of DIY methods and following riot grrrl bands and California groups, The Orielles put their own stamp on that lo-fi sound. Receiving strong praise from NME, Steve Lamacq and Amazing Radio’s Shell Zenner, a strong following in Leeds, Manchester and their hometown of Halifax has grown into country-wide interest.
The place is Airdrie. The year is 1983. Memorial Device, the best band that never existed, are about to change everyone’s lives forever. This Is Memorial Device, the debut novel by David Keenan, is a love letter to the small towns of Lanarkshire in the west of Scotland in the late 1970s and early 80s as they were temporarily transformed by the endless possibilities that came out of the freefall from punk rock. Written in a series of hallucinatory first-person eye-witness accounts that capture the prosaic madness of the time and place, heady with the magic of youth recalled, with moments of delirious psychedelic modernism, laugh out loud bathos and tender poignancy, David Keenan’s debut novel conjures a cast of misfits, artists, drop-outs, small town visionaries and musicians in a time where anything seemed possible - a moment where art and the demands it made were as serious as your life. This is Scotland. This is Memorial Device. David Keenan is also the author of England's Hidden Reverse: A Secret History of the Esoteric Underground, and is a senior critic at The Wire.
Will Burns is poet-in-residence for Caught by the River. A regular reader of his work at festivals across the country, his marvellous debut pamphlet, published through the prestigious Faber New Poets scheme in 2014, was hailed for its ‘quiet intelligence and subtle ways of seeing’, for a voice that is ‘rough but still tender, solitary, ruminating’. His equally brilliant second pamphlet was published by Clutag in 2016.
Martha Sprackland’s debut pamphlet, Glass As Broken Glass, was published in January 2017 with Rack Press. Martha was twice a winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award and received an Eric Gregory Award in 2014. Previously founder-editor of Cake magazine and assistant poetry editor for Faber, she is currently an idle larkabout (finishing a first collection) and, with Will Burns, is poet-in-residence for Caught by the River.
The School of Noise runs workshops for all ages encouraging the exploration of noise, sound and music. At The Good Life Experience, the team will run drop-in workshops throughout the weekend for children and families to explore a variety of instruments, scientific experiments and noise making and sculpting machines. The aim is to provide creative and imaginative activities using sound in accessible and fun ways. Count us in.
Famous for her inimitable wit and sound advice, journalist and author India Knight writes both a weekly comment column in The Sunday Times and a weekly beauty column in The Sunday Times Style section. She is the author of four novels and four non-fiction books, and her most recent book 'The Goodness of Dogs' -a personal and practical guide to happy dog ownership- is one that's particularly close to our hearts.
Jonathan Shackleton is the cousin of the Irish Kildare born Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. As a lecturer and guide, Jonathan has accompanied 40 groups on trips to the Antarctic in the past 18 years as historian, guide, photographer and Zodiac driver. At The Good Life Experience he will talk about 'Penguins -partly- Polar Literature and Antarctica'.
In 2003 Lois Pryce left her job at the BBC in London to ride twenty-thousand miles from Alaska to the tip of South America on a small dirt bike. Her book about this trip, Lois on the Loose, has been published throughout the world. In 2006 she set off again, this time to ride the length of Africa, taking in the Sahara, the Congo and Angola, which resulted in her book, Red Tape & White Knuckles. In 2013/14, intrigued by the negative image of Iran and its stormy relationship with her homeland, she made two solo motorcycle tours of the Islamic Republic, discovering the complicated reality of this misunderstood but ultimately fascinating and hospitable country. This is the subject of her latest book, Revolutionary Ride.
From a life of 'doing' in the world of advertising to a life of 'being' as a yoga and mindfulness teacher, Michael Townsend now works on the integration of both. His business, Stillworks, coaches individuals, teams and organisations on Mindful Productivity, Mindfulness and Yoga. He is also co-creator of the iPhone app, Breathe Sync, that brings your breathing into sync with your heart to reduce stress and improve focus. He believes the world needs to calm down and we would all get a lot more done if we did. His first book Do Breathe: Calm your mind. Find focus. Get stuff done. is published by The Do Book Company and we look forward to Michael's talk at The Good Life Experience, which will incorporate -of course- breathing exercises.
Sue Flood is an award-winning wildlife photographer, author and filmmaker. She has travelled to the Arctic and Antarctic over 40 times: camping at -40°C, working on Russian icebreakers, living with Inuit hunters on the floe edge, diving with leopard seals. At the festival Sue will recount some of her adventures which have taken her to all seven continents, from the Arctic to the Antarctic and in between, above and below the waves.
The With Love Project started as a idea to find and document a small number of people who produce things with a passion and purpose. Asking one single question along the way... "Why do you do what you do?” Photographer Rob Evans and brand designer/art director Chris Roberts set out to meet 5 people and produce a small book of the people they met. Nearly 40 makers, producers and manufacturers later they managed to finish the book, they've also created a film and documented all their visits on their website. They are constantly searching for new stories, new people who truly love what they do to document and work with. Don't miss Chris and Rob's talk The Importance of Side Projects at The Good Life Experience.
Gail Bryson is a textile, graphic and product designer. She specialises in simple and graphic prints that complement a wide range of home styles. Trained at Edinburgh College of Art, she developed her design skills at The Conran Shop and The Nest before subsequently becoming co-founder and creative director of Bryson Loxley. Amongst her clients there are John Lewis and Jamie Oliver. She has also collaborated individually with Pedlars and Future and Found on a wide range of projects over the years. Gail is a firm believer that good design will always last the test of time. Her products are designed to last both in design and manufacture, and are hand-printed and hand-sewn in London. Ultimately, her aim is to create things that can passed down through the generations, like the collection of linen she has inherited from her own family. Colour also plays a big part in Gail’s work. Combinations are dreamed up from photographs taken on her travels and provide inspiration back in her studio. In 2017 Gail will join Makers' Row offering screen printing workshops at The Good Life Experience.
Earl of East is a lifestyle brand with a focus on fine fragranced, artisanal apothecary products. Paul and Niko began their journey in 2014 and launched their candle line in Summer of 2015, they now have over 60 stockists worldwide, and have collaborated with companies such as Whistles, Pinterest and Hoxton Hotel. Their range of hand-poured, small batch candles is produced in their East London candle making factory. Paul and Niko create unique scents using bespoke blends of the finest botanical fragrance and essential oils and use eco soy wax, which ensures a clean burn and an excellent scent throw and natural cotton wicks. If you love candles as much as Earl of East London does, you are in luck. At The Good Life Experience you will have the chance to join Paul and Niko in one of their candle making workshops.
Mike and Nia of Rural Kind are designers and makers of simple, functional, and durable carry goods. Their story began with a desire to create objects by hand, using simple techniques and traditional materials, to be closer to the objects in their everyday life. To return to a more sustainable time when quality and craftsmanship were valued over the mass produced and poorly constructed. To know the person who creates the everyday object, and the care and time that is involved in that process. Rural Kind is Mike and Nia's expression of these ideas and a step towards a simpler, more sustainable way of living; producing goods that are well made, thoughtfully designed, and that are built to last. Their goods are designed and made in a small workshop in rural Wales, and at the core of their designs is a love of simple clean lines, considered detailing, and (above all else), functionality. When not designing and making, they can be found exploring the wild hills and valleys of Wales with dogs in tow, or otherwise (mostly) reading, eating vegetables, and stargazing.
Michael May never wanted to be a knife maker. After leaving music college he ended up working in cutlery factory, as was the family tradition. After working in various departments he ended up in the pen and pocket workshop where he remained for three years before leaving to study history at university. Two degrees later he was back making knives. Under Keith Moorby, Michael learned how to make knives to the highest standard, and it was then he realised that this was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Over the years, more and more people would ask Michael to make a knife for them as they were impressed at the high level of craftsmanship. He found a workshop at the historic Portland Works, where Harry Brearley developed stainless steel for the use of cutlery over 100 years ago. When it was time for respected knife maker and well know Sheffield character Trevor Ablett retired, Michael bought all his tools, continuing his work and following his traditional patterns that Sheffield is famous for. Each knife Michael makes is crafted to the highest standard, and can quite literally be made with his blood, sweat, and tears. Since learning his trade, Michael feels a responsibility to continue with the skills and crafts that made Sheffield famous.
By day Clare and Jenny work as Conservators, and in their spare time they like to explore the more creative side of what they do. Clare has a background in bookbinding, and Jenny is a printmaker- and they have collaborated for The Good Life Experience. They will be bringing their own hand printed papers for people to use in the bindings they teach in their workshops on Makers' Row.
Dove Street Pottery tableware is made by David Worsley. He makes wheel-thrown, functional ware; simple and utilitarian forms, with elegant, clean lines. The glazes are a strong, natural, dark palette. He uses a white stoneware clay, wanting the pots to be approachable and suited to everyday use, for the kitchen as much as the dining room. The intention is to marry beauty and elegance to function. The pots have a quiet, timelessness that enhances the daily ritual of eating. The forms and colours allow them to sit in a modern or traditional setting. David studied sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London. His workshop is based in Shipley, West Yorkshire.
Being married to a professional calligrapher Tom Gyr has always been amazed by the skill, dedication and the resulting beauty that came from the hours she put in. After seeing her use the same tired old plastic nib holder he decided it was time she had a tool that she would love using everyday and that would inspire her to keep creating. His aim is to make pens that you will feel proud of using everyday, with every detail considered, lovingly crafted from materials that will last several lifetimes. Every nib holder is made by Tom on a 1950's Myford engineering metal lathe.
Calligrapher Gemma Milly has been in the design industry for 12 years and started her own business designing wedding stationery 5 years ago. Her vision was simple, to put the soul back into the design process and create paper goods that say more than words ever could about the magic of two people being joined together. For Gemma it’s all about the little details and expressing what your wedding day is all about.
You may have come across Cambrian Mountains Wool in our Market Place in 2016 with their wonderful Welsh wool. This year we are thrilled that the team will be back, this time on Makers' Row, showcasing both the wool and the makers, offering hands on workshops such as wet felt making and botanical printing onto wool fabric.
Vic Phillips is one half of SingleMaltTeapot along with fiance Samantha Wheeler. During their pursuit of their own take on The Good Life Vic can generally be found with an axe or knife in hand and wood chippings gathering at his feet. Working with sections of wood that would otherwise find themselves as scrap he designs and carves spoons, knives and other items for the home that combine traditional techniques with contemporary styling. Guided by the slopes and curves of the grain he looks to continue the narrative of something that has grown over potentially hundreds of years that may otherwise have reached it’s final chapter. At the festival we look forward to Vic's spoon carving workshops where he will teach several different cutting techniques, giving you the chance to take away your own hand hewn cooking spoon.
Justine Aldersey-Williams is the designer, maker and owner of The Wild Dyery, a textile design and training company specialising in natural fabric dyeing. Justine ethically sources cloth by hand at her studio in Hoylake, Wirral, using traditional resist techniques including shibori, block printing and screen printing. She then dyes her textiles using flowers, bark, roots and leaves, imbuing the fabric with resonant colour and an ethical provenance. Join Justine for some wild dying at the festival where she will be offering indigo shibori and foraged flora eco-printing workshops.
Andrew Ziminiski trained as a cathedral stonemason and conservator and works as part of a continuing cultural tradition that stretches back into the prehistory of the English West Country. His business Minerva is based in Frome and, with his business partner Andrew, for the past 25 years he has worked to repair ancient churches, stone bridges and monuments around the counties of Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset, and his book 'Journeyman' is soon to be published.
An exciting addition to Makers' Row is expert map illustrator Karl Whitely. With the help of festival goers, Karl will create a map of the festival over the weekend, and copies will be available to take home as the perfect memento of a cracking weekend.
Gem Mordle is a seaside dwelling potter living in Dorset and Home Thrown Studio is a stone's throw from the sea at The Factory Studios in Boscombe. Gem's inspiration comes from her love for the sea, and coastal living. Her ceramic style is irregular and simple, drawing on organic shapes and textures. At The Good Life Experience Gem will offer workshops for both adults and children, making hand pinched bowls and fantasy clay mini beasts. We look forward to sharing Gem's love of mud in 2017!
Inspired by the blues, four years ago Brian Dodd went back to basics and began making his own guitars out of anything he could get his hands on that would resonate or vibrate, from wooden crates to skateboards to axe handles. Fast forward to today and Brian's hobbie has become a successful cottage industry. Brian is part of a huge community of craftspeople making these guitars which which hark back to the Cigar box guitars of Depression Era America, and he will be building guitars over the course of the weekend at The Good Life Experience.
All the Fun of the Fair. Think high end haberdashery, homespun homewares, and a craft cupboard of delights. A curated sweetie shop of cheery, crafty and charming items. Well known for quirky knitted items from tea cosies to cacti. Knitted pumpkins may be found at the festival.. Crafting experts ATFOTF are bringing their crafty cheer to The Good Life Experience with arm knitting workshop. Just turn up with your arms at the ready and learn this fun, alternative way of knitting. It's fast and fun, and participants will be knitting welly warmers and scarfs in no time. Queen of pompoms ATFOTF's Buzz Stokes will also run sessions on how to make pompoms from teeny to gigantic. Gadgets, gizmos, books, gifts and supplies to make all things crafty will be available on their festival stall, as will be wool..
Deborah Colella -AKA The Dog Nanny- runs a Canine Circus School. What on earth is that you may ask? It's an attempt to engage people -both children and adults- in training their dogs, to make it enjoyable, entertaining and easy. It's an excuse for adults, children and dogs alike to dress up and put on a super entertaining show.
Deborah will run two 30-40 minute training sessions on the Saturday and Sunday of The Good Life Experience, which will be followed by a small show each afternoon for everyone.
Sara Tasker is a photographer and writer living in the Yorkshire hills. A lifelong lover of photography, she switched to using her iPhone & Instagram to document her daily life whilst pregnant with her first child. Within six months, she’d attracted over 40k followers, and now works full time combining her love of styling, words and photography to create for a range of blogs, brands and publications. She records her experiences & adventures on her blog, Me & Orla, as well as her daily Instagram shares. At The Good Life Experience Sara will give a talk on 'Visual Storytelling Through Phone Photography'.
George Cowie and Tom Huntingford are co-founders of documentary production company Superfolk Films and they've made a short film about a bus. Set in the beautiful Brecon Beacons "Dial-A-Ride" follows a community transport service for a group of elderly passengers - World War II veteran George still has nightmares about the Dunkirk landings, flirtatious pub landlady Rosie sets pulses racing, and engineer Brian shares the surprising conversations he has with his dead wife. This is a heartwarming, funny documentary about the joys, challenges and quirks of growing old, and you can see the trailer here. The film will screen throughout the festival in a converted 12-seater bus - all aboard!