It is not surprising that a landscape of such astounding natural beauty has inspired so many poets, writers and artists for centuries, from Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter to Romney and John Ruskin. Today, South Lakeland is home to a vibrant cluster of world-class creative individuals, collectives and businesses with strong links to its cultural attractions. Contemporary artists, writers, musicians, craft-makers, designers, photographers and film-makers thrive alongside a rapidly expanding new media sector, producing work for festivals, exhibitions and commissions both locally and internationally. Art and craft by leading craft-makers can be seen in retail outlets, galleries and studios throughout the year.
Networking is a key feature of the creative industries with collectives such as Green Door Artists working closely together on art trails, community projects and exhibitions. The Factory is a project to develop a creative hub in Kendal, converting a former carpet factory into studios, galleries and artists’ work space.
Beatrix Potter is not only famous for her ‘little books’ but also for her work on the conservation of the Herdwick sheep. This iconic feature of the South Lakeland landscape has now inspired the innovative, high-quality home and giftware brand ‘Herdy’. Based on good design and strong ethics, The Herdy Company uses local businesses whenever possible in its manufacturing process and gives a percentage of its profits to help protect upland farming.
The use of natural and local products is fundamental to the work of designers and makers in the area. Abbeyhorn crafts quality, attractively designed and functional goods from natural horn. Jo Vincent is an established glass designer and maker of architectural glass and interior accessories, providing unique glass art solutions for commercial and private spaces. Lakeland Fells Furniture creates individually crafted furniture, blending traditional craftsmanship and contemporary materials and techniques.
A resurgence in the popularity of clothes and accessories made from natural wool is inspiring new local designers such as Oubas Knitwear, with its range of scarves in colours reflecting the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Ele Horsley specialises in vintage-inspired fashion design with a unique cut for a new generation. She offers a uniquely personal experience to anyone in search of the perfect wedding dress and small collections of limited edition pieces.
South Lakeland is home to some of the most creative and innovative interior designers in the UK. Interactive Wallpaper designs innovative wallpaper, fabrics and wall sticker decorations for businesses, public spaces, hotels and homes, undertaking bespoke commissions for clients including the BBC and the NHS. Sarah Jane Nielsen has worldwide experience in creating interiors for residential and commercial spaces and Fidget Design is famous for atmospheric designs making full use of lighting, colour and texture. Both companies have worked on prestigious projects with top brands.
Key points in summary:
- Stunning location and thriving artistic community provide constant sources of inspiration
- Unique enterprises generated by originality and innovation
- Strong collectives and business networking
- Large customer base amongst high-quality hospitality businesses and 18 million visitors to South Lakeland each year
- High density of local marketing and design companies to promote products
- Multiple opportunities to showcase products in galleries and retail outlets and during festivals and exhibitions throughout the year