• Katey Korzenietz

Handmade Christmas gifts for the home – for the love of letters

I promised a while ago that I would share with you amazing local makers (local being Devon, England) that make unique and interesting products that would make fantastic Christmas gifts. Rather than just promote products that I think rock, I thought I’d make it more interesting by finding out more about the makers themselves. You know, stuff like what inspires them, why they make what they do, where they live, what style(s) they love as well as info about their products and where to buy them.

So, here today is my interview with Wendy Harrison, the founder of a fab typography oriented company called Letterfest. Don’t know what Letterfest is? Then keep reading…

So tell me Wendy, how did Letterfest come about? When did it start and what is it all about?

Letterfest was set up 4 years ago when my husband I moved to North Devon from London to get away from the 12 hour days and commuting. We live by the coast in a lovely village called Instow. One day I had the idea of engraving pebbles with names and the rest is history! We make personalised home decor products and gifts. Our range includes: art prints, house illustrations, engraved pebbles and slates, chunky cardboard letters and kindle covers to name a few.

Have you always made things? What did you do before Letterfest was born?

Before Letterfest I worked as a senior designer for Rimmel, The Body Shop and most recently Topshop. I worked on really exciting projects there for instore graphics, bags, packaging, a lot of sponsorship like Fashion Week and music events.

What is it about typography that you love so much?

As a graphic designer I love different fonts, typefaces and vintage letterpress. I designed my own fonts for many of the Letterfest products. I took photographs of lovely house number signs in New Zealand one holiday and these are used in one of our customised date art prints. I’m always on the lookout for inspiration.

How can type work within people’s home?

Personalising products with names and messages is a great way to incorporate type into your home. It can be a fun message spelled out on pebbles or your initials made out of modern chunky cardboard. See our product range if you need more convincing!

What inspires you to create each new product / range?

The natural landscape here in Devon has inspired a lot of our products. Our pebble products in particular and slate gifts. I can be inspired by shops signs or house numbers like I just mentioned. Often an idea will just come to me whilst I’m walking our dog Travis on the beach and I give it a go.

Can you give me your top Letterfest product for the home at Christmas, for a gift and for yourself? Where can you buy Letterfest products?

You can buy Letterfest products direct from our website www.Letterfest.com. This Christmas we are loving our Paint Your Own Christmas trees made from FSC cardboard. They are great for children to decorate or they just look good left au natural as a modern twist on a Christmas tree. Our art prints make lovely Christmas presents, personalised with a message to a loved one to make them really special and our pebbles always go down well as gifts throughout the year. I especially love the pebbles because I love the contrast between the rough natural stone and the delicate lines of the type. Each one is unique.

Home Restyler actively promotes local makers and small businesses. I can imagine you are passionate about this too, could you give me your thoughts on why you think this is important and how you champion it?

Devon is a small market and local designer / makers should support one another. We help local makers sell their products and we are really proud that all our products are made here.

Where do you live and what does your home say about you?

Our house is also Letterfest HQ! We had a lovely new office built next to our house a year or so ago. What does our house say about us? Well my husband and I like to pick up bits and pieces from antique shops and have a great collection of art prints which is always growing. I guess you would say our style is eclectic? Its proximity to the beach is fantastic for our lifestyle. We have a very energetic labradoodle who needs walking a lot and also loves swimming! In the summer we kayak and have a boat so we use the water a lot.

Last but not least, how will you be styling your home this Christmas?

Our tree is already up! Pink and purple is the colour scheme with red fairy lights. Trust me it works!

Using local artists and craftsmen in North Devon, Letterfest is a growing company whose products are aimed at anyone who loves good contemporary design. Their products range from personalised art prints and hand-drawn illustrations to 100% cotton Kindle covers and giant cardboard Christmas trees and many things in between. All cardboard products are made using FSC (The Forest Stewardship Council) approved pulp, so for every tree that is cut down, another is planted.

So what do you think? I love it. Doesn’t life hanging out with Travis the dog and making beautiful things with love sounds idyllic?! And what’s more, I was so excited when I found out that it’s all made in and around Instow, because that’s where I spent most of my childhood summers hanging out on the beach *smile*


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