A very Jelly Christmas

Homemade gifts are like homemade food for me. There is nothing like them for the quality, authenticity, care and thought that has gone in to making them. Please don’t get me wrong, all presents are gratefully received! But there is a greater emotional transaction around the giving and receiving of something handmade. If you aren’t a maker yourself but wish to give a handmade gift this Christmas, then you might just want to put Jelly on your shopping list!

What is Jelly?

Jelly is an energetic Reading charity championing the creative arts – with studio space for artists which has a gallery, runs workshops that includes knit nights, life drawing, writing as well as art clubs and arty parties for children. There is even room in Jelly’s cavernous and creative new location for innovative art installations.

Jelly’s home town

Reading is probably best known for its IT industry, University and Festival. A little less acknowledged fact is that it is also a town full of creatives. From builders to artists, journalists, set builders, garden designers, furniture designers, musicians, special effects painters, art directors and stylists… Not to mention all the property developers … !

Suzanne Stallard

Fine Art trained, Suzanne Stallard and her award-winning team of co directors, have created a vibrant creative hub for the community. During the week Suzanne is an artist and maker at Jelly and at the weekends, she is a tutor and Knit Doctor at YAK, Brighton.

Embroidery workshops

I love this embroidery workshop project by Kate Powell  using the artist Frida Kahlo as inspiration. (This season’s AW17 Flowers collection at Gucci is also favouring it as a form of embellishment.)

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Frida Kahlo embroidery workshop by Kate Powell at Jelly. Photo: Charis White

Workshops and arty parties for children

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Delightful papier mache creepy crawly. Photo: Charis White
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Recycling materials at Jelly workshops. Photo: Charis White
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Adorable display of work from workshops at Jelly. Photo: Charis White

The Engine Room

The Engine Room shares space at Jelly and is a haven for an art and mental health project built by a collective.

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Art from The Engine Room at Jelly. Photo: Charis White
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Art from The Engine Room at Jelly. Photo: Charis White

Nigel Bish’s studio space

This is Nigel’s inspirational studio space and workshop at Jelly where he works as a metalsmith. His jewellery is for sale in the gallery shop.

Nigel Bish's inspiration wall at Jelly. Charis White interiors blog

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Nigel Bish’s studio space at Jelly. Photo: Charis White

Caroline Fletcher’s art installation at Jelly

Caroline’s installation is mesmerising. Caroline who graduated in Fine Art from Reading University in 2008 is building up this room set bit by bit with found objects and purchases from charity shops – layering the room rather like a magpie’s nest. There is something very cosy about Caroline’s styling but it does provoke unsettling questions of our obsession of with ‘stuff’ and what makes a home …

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Caroline Fletcher’s installation at Jelly. Photo: Charis White
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Gallery wall of charity shop finds in Caroline Fletcher’s installation at Jelly. Photo: Charis White

Jelly’s gallery: Christmas handmade gifts for sale

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Christmas decorations, prints, jewellery, vases, ceramics, cards, scarves, Christmas gifts for sale in Jelly’s Gallery. Photo: Charis White.
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Christmas decorations for sale at Jelly. Photo: Charis White
Reading dish at Jelly for Charis White interiors blog Christmas Gift Guide
Julie Simmonds‘ ‘Reading’ ceramic dish (doing for Reading what Timorous Beasties have done for Glasgow with their toile fabric!), £50. Photo: Charis White
Scarves at Jelly by Emma Bradbury: Charis White stylist interiors blog Christmas Gift Guide
Scarves by knitwear designer Emma Bradbury, also on IG at @muttiandtochter £70 – £100, Jelly. Photo: Charis White.
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Christmas decoration, Sam Knight, £4, Jelly. Photo: Charis White
Kate Powell at Jelly's handprinted Christmas decoration: Charis White stylist interiors blog Christmas Gift Guide
Christmas decoration, £5, Kate Powell, Jelly. Photo: Charis White
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Emma Bradbury’s vases with hand dyed decorative knitted covers are like paintings. Photo: Charis White,

Handpainted business cards

I love the fact that even one of the artist’s business cards are handpainted, turning each one into a work of art.

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Isobello Design’s handpainted business cards, Jelly. Photo: Charis White

Jelly at The Palace

In June, the team at Jelly was awarded a very well deserved Queen’s Award for Volunteering Service.

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The Jelly team with their Queen’s Award for Volunteering Service.

Here is Suzanne with her husband Simon Hall and their 20 year old twins Alabama and Louis who went to The Palace to collect the award.

Halls at The Palace
Suzanne Stallard with her husband Simon Hall and their twins Alabama and Louis at Buckingham Palace.

Give someone the gift of Jelly this Christmas

Jelly is a charitable organisation and needs funds and volunteers to keep it going. Why not give someone the gift of Jelly this Christmas?

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Alabama Hall and Suzanne Stallard.

It’s good to be in the know

Thank you so much for reading! If you have enjoyed this and would like to receive email alerts for future posts then just press the large blue ‘Follow’ button either at the beginning or end of a post. With very many thanks, Charis x

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Jelly’s Make Reading bag in my home office. Photo: Charis White

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