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Make it at Market filmed at Stoneywell

Presenter Dom Chinea stands in a tent surrounded by crafted items, with Stoneywell's Leicestershire garden blooming in the background
Repair Shop's Dom Chinea hosts the new BBC series Make it at Market, filmed at Stoneywell | © BBC/Flabbergast TV Ltd

A new BBC series airs in January 2023, which brings the art of crafting to Stoneywell’s Arts and Crafts home. With the garden at Stoneywell as the backdrop, and expert help from Dom Chinea and other mentors, talented craftspeople produce and sell their wares in Make it at Market.

What is Make it at Market about?

In this new craft programme for the BBC, aspiring amateur makers see if they have the skills to make profitable businesses from their home hobby.

The series follows blacksmiths and glassblowers, weavers and woodworkers as they team up with an expert mentor, who provides practical making tips and sound advice on how to make a successful business from their craftwork.

The challenges

The craftspeople face three challenges:

  • High Volume, to see if they can produce saleable items quicky and at low cost.
  • High End, testing whether their makes will sell in the high-end market.
  • Favourite Piece, their opportunity to show what they really love about the craft.

Then it’s time for the makers to head out to start selling and turn their passion into a full-time business.

On set for Make it at Market

The production company were hooked on Stoneywell from their first recce. Several of the existing spaces at Stoneywell could be used as a workable space for the crafters, including the workshop where Donald Gimson used to indulge his woodworking hobby.

Elsewhere, specially constructed sets were used. The set designers took inspiration from the garden and cottage when dressing them. The crafters then moved in with their equipment and set to making.

It was a privilege to work with such an array of gifted and ambitious craftspeople. What was particularly fulfilling was seeing in real-time, how the unique and varied skills on offer were nurtured and shaped throughout their stay at Stoneywell, allowing the makers to turn their talents into viable business opportunities. It’s the perfect programme to get anyone’s creative juices flowing!

A quote by Dom Chinea Presenter and craftsman
A blacksmith raises a hammer over a glowing piece of metal on an anvil, as part of Make it at Market, filmed at Stoneywell, Leicestershire
A blacksmith at work in the BBC's Make it at Market, filmed at Stoneywell, Leicestershire | © BBC/Flabbergast TV Ltd

Stoneywell – the perfect location for craft and creativity

Stoneywell, a country residence for Leicester industrialist Sydney Gimson, was designed by his brother Ernest Gimson – now considered to be one of the key architects and designers of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Stoneywell exemplifies some of the main principles of this design style: created organically, with integrity, individualism, and skill, celebrating natural materials, which were mostly harvested from the surrounding landscape.

The furniture within is a superb collection of Arts and Crafts pieces. Many were made specifically for Stoneywell when it was completed for Sydney or brought by Donald Gimson, who made Stoneywell his permanent family home from 1953 until it entered our care in 2012.

The garden at Stoneywell

The cottage and its collection are rare survivors of Arts and Crafts design, but the garden is very different.

As the cottage was purposefully 'borne' from the Charnwood rocky outcrop, the surrounding grounds were left relatively untamed until the 1950s when the garden was developed more formally.

Rhododendrons, azaleas and camelias proved well-suited to Stoneywell's acidic soils, which in time resulted in a rhododendron collection of over 150 named varieties.

Spring blooms star on-screen

Late spring is the peak time for blooms at Stoneywell. Make it at Market was filmed in April and May, when the garden is a kaleidoscope of colour.

The rich palette of the rhododendrons contrast with the bluebells that carpet the meadows, lawns and woodland floor. With the chorus of garden and woodland birds it makes for a tranquil place, for thought and reflection and to get the creative juices flowing.

A stone cottage is framed by magnolia branches with pink flowers and green leaves, at Stoneywell, Leicestershire
Spring blooms surround the cottage at Stoneywell, Leicestershire | © Susan Guy

The view from Stoneywell

Jennie Lloyd, Site Manager at Stoneywell, explains how delighted the team were that Stoneywell was chosen as the location for Make it at Market:

‘The cottage and garden really is a hidden gem in the depths of the Leicestershire countryside,’ Jennie says. ‘It’s a special place and a rare survivor, so it was a privilege to welcome the experts and crafters and share the wonders of Stoneywell with them and now, a wider audience.’

Jennie also reflects on how the garden and cottage made for a stunning backdrop to the fascinating making captured in the programme:

Nothing inspires design more than the organic world around us. We hope the crafters were inspired by the Stoneywell gardens as they undertook the challenges posed during the series.

A quote by Jennie LloydNational Trust Site Manager, Stoneywell

Supporting special places

As well as showing off beautiful locations, filming directly benefits the places in our care that star in the production. The income from location fees goes straight back into conservation work to care for historic houses and landscapes, so that we’ll all be able to see them both on screen and in real life for years to come.

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