Throughout our digital Wartime Christmas event we’re showcasing a range of fantastic local businesses, to show our support and encourage our followers to #shoplocal!
In today’s blog we’re getting to know Emily, the founder of Wood Cottage Craft, who creates wooden garden structures and decorations using surplus wood from the coppiced woodland that her & her husband manage!
Tell us about yourself! When did you start crafting?
Hey, I’m Emily Mills, owner of Wood Cottage Craft.
I have a love for colour, illustration and nature, especially mushrooms and toadstool. My inner child comes to life when I’m working with my hands!
I’m as interested in the process as I am in the finished product. This has led me to explore working with clay, felt, paper and of course wood, which I’ll often use together in projects like toadstool houses.
In my late teens I would draw and colour for hours. Life inevitably got in the way though. I met my husband and we had five children. My creativity took a back seat and I didn’t pick up a paintbrush for another twenty years.
What got you into it?
My husband, Mike and I already ran the family business, managing sustainable coppice. Mike is a 5th generation Coppicer, making fencing, fence posts and Saw Mill products.
I felt there was potential to diversify, offering smaller craft and filling the need in me to create again. Mike suggested I make some wooden plant labels, so I did and it’s grown over the last 4 years. We featured in Kent Life magazine, we attend various markets and are a supplier to the National Trust.
What inspires you?
Our cottage and wood yard are literally in the woods down a little track, so inspiration surrounds me.
I like to take off with the dog and walk, deep into the areas of woodland that no one knows and lose myself, immersed in the sounds, smells, colours. Cold misty mornings, first light, fresh Spring colour, are beautiful tones and hues that make me want to get paint on paper (or wood).
What’s your favourite thing to create for Christmas?
Christmas is my favourite time of year. Creativity notches up a gear in the few months running up to December. A flurry of activity whirls through the Mills household and the kids have to live round the chaos of wood slices and paint.
The hand painted decorations are one of my favourite products to make, as I have freedom to make whatever I want, and I get to see what people like or don’t so I can gauge it for the following year.
What are some of your most popular items?
Our reindeer are always really popular. We sell a mummy size and a baby size. It sounds a little strange, but they genuinely all have their own characters and each one comes with a red ribbon and jingle bell.
Our wooden snowmen are very cute too. Customers usually end up buying two so they don’t get lonely!
We had to ask you some Christmassy ones too! Do you have any must-do Christmas traditions?
On Christmas Eve we have a family meal around 2pm. Later we attend the family service at our local village church. It’s such a lovely, festive atmosphere and really gets us into the spirit of Christmas.
Then it’s home to watch a film, usually National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and crack open a tub of Quality Street.
And finally, what’s your favourite thing to eat at Christmas?
Favourite food? That’s a tough question. I enjoy good food with the family, it doesn’t matter what it is as long as we’re together.
Especially after a very tough year.