As we write this, news of the lifting of lockdown restrictions in time for the run up to Christmas is filtering through and the Elmslie Team is doing a heartfelt happy dance. As an independent business, we’re in the same boat as so many others this year and are thrilled that we will be able to welcome people back to Elmslie House in the coming weeks.

The ever-popular Blue Magpie Contemporary Craft Fair will now be taking place in December – on 11th, 12thand 13th. Having taken the decision to postpone the fair from November, we are very excited to be able to now go ahead. All the planning has been worth it! The Elmslie team are huge supporters of independent makers and artists and we would love as many people as possible to visit the fair and support the 30 or so makers who will be joining us.

The Elmslie Team are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to the house.

This year has been a strange one for everyone. There have been moments of joy, sorrow and reflection. There have been many tough days but with a bit of luck we’re coming out the other side – stronger, more compassionate and hopefully a little bit wiser. What’s been heartening to watch is the lengths that people will go to help others – from keyworkers and fundraisers to people looking out for family and friends. 

The creative world has been incredibly supportive of its makers, artists and independents too. We’ve seen the #artistsupportpledge; campaigns to save icons of design, such as Charleston; online makers’ markets and other virtual fairs.

It goes without saying that lockdown has been particularly hard on small businesses, creatives and those makers who are largely self-employed and who have fallen between the cracks of government support. With so many fairs and other events cancelled, makers and artists have not been able to reach as many people as they perhaps did during *normal* times. 

The Just a Card campaign is much loved among independent makers, artists and businesses throughout the land and today sees the start of the fourth Just a Card Indie Week. Just a Card (@justacard) is a grassroots campaign on a mission to encourage people to buy from artists, makers, independent shops and small businesses by emphasising that every sale, even just a card, is vital to their prosperity and survival. Indie Week encourages people to support, value and buy from independent businesses during the crucial Christmas retail period, which is more important than ever this challenging year. It’s also an antidote to the fast-purchase culture of Black Friday, and welcomes everyone to celebrate their own businesses as well as those they value, to showcase their communities and to tell their own stories both on and offline. 

Now, more than ever, is the time to buy local; buy from independent makers and artists and support those whose passion is handmade. To further support artists and makers during this difficult time, the Elmslie Team has put together a Christmas Gift Guide, showcasing the work of the many artists and makers who are part of the Blue Magpie family. Take a look here.

So, go on, what are you waiting for? Go online and support independents…and we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the Blue Magpie Contemporary Craft Fair in a few weeks’ time. For more details, visit the Blue Magpie website.