Here’s a treat to help us look forward to the coming winter months: Emma Mitchell, known for her breathtaking Instagram account as Silverpebble2, is publishing a book called Making Winter: A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months. Is there anything that makes a crafter’s heart beat faster than wintertime coziness?
Her book launches on the 5th of October and we’re having a special event to celebrate. We caught up with Emma to ask her a bit about her background and inspiration.
Emma lives with two daughters, two guinea pigs, and a rescue lurcher in a tiny village on the edge of the Cambridgeshire Fens. It’s surrounded by chalk, grasslands, woodlands and wetlands; rich in wildlife.
She began a craft blog in 2008, just before the birth of her second daughter. She was inspired by the blogs of fellow quilters, print-makers and yarn crafters, that revealed an online world of creativity. She found the craft blogging community very supportive as she began making her silver jewellery, which gave her the confidence to open an online shop.
This coincided with a change of lifestyle; her demanding job as an intellectual property consultant in the tech sector was incompatible with taking care of her eldest daughter, who was unwell. She used craft and making to relax after long stressful days in the office and found it helpful in fending off anxiety, stress and depression.
With a background in zoology and molecular cell biology, she found joy in photographing and recording the seasonal changes in her garden and nearby countryside. These were echoed in her jewellery designs and shared on her blog.
Emma wanted to share these beneficial effects of craft and nature and was inspired to write Making Winter. The aim of the book is to help those who struggle during the colder months, to use making, nature walks and simple recipes to help boost their mood.
We asked Emma a few questions about her silverpebble2 instagram account:
How did you get started?
I began to use Instagram as a record of my making and nature finds, about two years ago. I’ve adored Keble Martin’s botanical watercolours since I was very small. I love making line drawings of nature finds with a fountain pen and could stand in the Sedgwick Museum in Cambridge and lose all track of time by simply looking at the copperplate specimen labels (never mind the fossils themselves). I began to make photographs inspired by these things in May/June 2015 and hoped there might be a small audience for them.
Indeed, there is a large audience for them; Emma has an Instagram following of almost 100K, very active readers.
How do you go about styling your Instagram posts?
That’s a question that isn’t so easy to answer. Once the idea for a photograph arrives in my head I let it brew for a while, like tealeaves in a pot. Often the picture will be based around nature finds so I will go and gather leaves, seedheads and sometimes common wildflowers from the wood or waysides. I’ll lay them out and see if there is an ombre element to my finds, then I’ll sit down and begin to draw them or create labels for them like those in a herbarium or museum. Next I find the right spot near a window, so that the light is soft. I may have to shoot it several times to get alignments or the light just right.
How many do you post a in week?
I try to post on Instagram every other day but my images often take an hour or two (or more) to make so sometimes it’s not possible. The illustrations I make for Instagram relax me enormously – they’re like yoga for the brain. I firmly believe that making and looking at gentle gradations of natural colour triggers a positive response in the brain. My Instagram images may be time consuming but making them is soothing and cheering.
To celebrate Emma’s book, she will be taking over the Loop Instagram account next week (September 27th-October 4th)!
Making Winter Book Launch
Making Winter launches on Thursday October 5th. We’re thrilled to announce that we will be having a truly special evening with Emma Mitchell the night before!
There will be many lovely things going on in the spirit of Emma and her passion for making, cooking and creating.
Date: Wednesday October 4th
Location: Loop, London
15 Camden Passage, Islington, London N1 8EA England.
Closest tube is Angel (Northern Line)
020 7288 1160
This is a ticketed event, as numbers are limited. Tickets are limited to 30 guests. The price of a ticket is £5 and this is redeemable towards a signed copy of Emma’s book.
Please note, we will be closing the shop as normal at 6pm and then re-opening only to those with a ticket (and Emma’s family of course!) at 6:30pm. The shop will be open for those attending in case you are so inspired you would like to get ‘stuck in’ right away!
In addition to Emma’s lovely treats (thank you Emma!) we will be providing drinks including Hawthorn Gin. Emma has casks of Hawthorn syrup in the making right now in preparation for the evening!
If you are not able to secure a ticket, have no fear – Emma will be signing lots of books for us and we will still have loads of signed copies of Making Winter both in our London and online shop. Preorder if you want a signed copy.
If you would like to secure a ticket please follow the link here.
Emma will be decorating Loop’s window too, so if you can’t get to the book launch, try and pop by the shop in the days around the launch and afterwards to see how she has worked her magic at the London shop.
And one last treat for you! We will be giving away one signed copy of Making Winter to a lucky winner. Please either follow us on Instagram and also post a pic of your own or repost our image on your IG account using the hashtag #MakingWinteratLoop and/or leave a comment below.