Thursday, 30 April 2015

Meet Handpicked Books...

We all love a good book. And whether it's a crime thriller, classic novel, local history, cookery, vintage reprint, craft (or almost any other genre) that you enjoy, Handpicked Books are sure to have something on their shelves in Bird's Yard that will catch your eye. Here we catch up with Evelyn Risner, the owner of Handpicked Books, to ask her about her choices and selling in Bird's Yard. 

Handpicked Books Sheffield

What was your inspiration to start Handpicked Books?

I was in a gallery on the south coast about 5 years ago and saw a beautiful series of art books. I got to thinking that there was nothing like this available in Sheffield, which was a shame. So, I bought some to sell myself...they were some of first books I ever sold. 

Why did you decide to sell your choice of books in Bird's Yard?

Selling with Bird's Yard appealed to me as it's an independent shop and it's a great way to support other small businesses while keeping Sheffield city centre interesting. As well as selling books at fairs, I wanted a permanent base to sell from and being right in the heart of the city it's perfect for getting a selection of unusual books to a wide audience.

Handpicked Books at Bird's Yard Sheffield
A selection of books in Bird's Yard handpicked by Evelyn

How do you choose the books that end up on your shelves?

I choose books often for their illustrations, for example Shakespeare's Illustrated Verse. They bring to life the writing and also make beautiful additions to your bookshelves at home. It's also interesting to find books by local publishers, such as Remote and Undisturbed: A Brief History of the Sheffield General Cemetery.

Sheffield Books in Bird's Yard
A selection of some of the local interest books selected by Handpicked Books

Whose work and items do you like in Bird's Yard?

There are many items I like in the shop. Some of my favourites are the jewellery, in particular the vintage brooches from Galabeer and the Dog. Also, the fused glass and semi precious stone jewellery of Claudia Latini.

Jewellery in Bird's Yard Sheffield
Some of the jewellery from Galabeer & the Dog and Claudia Latini that Evelyn admires

What's next from Handpicked Books?

Continuing to find more interesting titles to share with Bird's Yard's customers. And then there's the Persephone Book Group that I'm organising that takes place quarterly in the shop. The first evening was in March with the next one on 4th June where we'll be discussing is High Wages by Dorothy Whipple. 

You can find the books Evelyn selects on the book shelves in Bird's Yard.

If you'd like to come along to the book group please email Evelyn ( to book a free place. 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Our Latest Nesters...

We’re always on the lookout for new designers here at Bird’s Yard. We love to bring our customers lots of different and unique pieces as well as supporting small, independent makers, artists and designers.  And we’ve had lots of people join us in the last couple of weeks – here’s a little round up…

Dave Draws
Hand illustrated ceramics based in Manchester.

Hannah Lord
Silver and glass jewellery; glass homewares handmade in Sheffield.

Becky Bygone
Handmade illustrated and button cards and tote bags from Lancashire.

Ayse Balko Studio
Local photographs of a variety of places around Sheffield.

Knotted Designs
Modern macramé plant hangers handmade in Scotland.

Aloha Vintage
Vintage and vintage style clothes and accessories based in Sheffield.

Daniels Bros.
Handmade wooden items made from reclaimed wood around Sheffield. 

Wooden penguins from the Daniels Bros. We have them in lots of guises in the shop

Find all of these latest arrivals in our two shops on Chapel Walk - Bird's Yard at no.44 and Birds & Beards at no.50

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Ways To Use: Drawer Knobs

We love drawer knobs (as you can probably tell if you've been in the shop and seen how many we have!). They're great for adding some interest or updating a piece of furniture quickly and easily. But they're useful in other decorative ways around the house too. Here are some we found to give you inspiration...

Sass and Belle drawer knobs in Bird's Yard
Just a small selection of the drawer knobs we have in Bird's Yard

Some alternative uses for drawer knobs...

Uses for drawer knobs

Drawer knob alternative uses

1. Attach to a crate or pieces of wood to create a jewellery organiser. Great for hanging necklaces to stop them getting tangled. We found this one at Stephanie Dee Blog

2. Use a larger drawer knob instead of a curtain tie back. We found this idea at Apartment Therapy

3. Screw drawer knobs into walls to hang light weight pictures from. We found this idea at Pottery Barn

4. Use them on the lids of jars to make fancy handles. We found this idea at Deco Art Blog

5. Attach a range of drawer knobs to peg board to create a coat and accessories rack for a hallway. We found this idea on Pinterest

6. Add them to the end of a curtain rod for a decorative touch. We found this one at In My Own Style

Saturday, 18 April 2015

New from Finding Foreverness... customised rings

Finding Foreverness have brought lots of new rings into Bird's Yard recently, including a made to order range. Handmade in Sheffield, the sterling silver rings come in a range of finishes, settings and stones.

Finding Foreverness rings in Bird's Yard Sheffield

Featuring the Orbital Lab design, the rings can be ordered in your size as well as choosing from these options:

Choice of stones:

  • green peridot
  • purple amethyst
  • red garnet
  • blue topaz 
  • orange citrine

Choice of finishes:

  • polished
  • oxidised/black
  • matte/brushed
  • hammered and oxidised

Choice of settings:

  • tube
  • prong

Orbital Lab ring with purple amethyst, hammered and oxidised finish, prong setting.

Finding Forevereness were inspired by space and time for creating their Orbital Lab design:
 "Themed around transformation, this collection explores the powers of space and time.  Maybe the twin circles set in motion transcend time and disappear. Maybe it reappears on another finger somewhere!? Or maybe its quite content simply being stylishly stationed."

Citrine stone in an oxidised/black finish with prong setting with a topaz in the polished finish with prong setting.

The rings cost £60, can be ordered in Bird's Yard and are ready to collect in 1-7 days.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Meet Vagrant Art...

Vagrant Art's work is exclusive to Bird's Yard in Sheffield. The brand is based in Scunthorpe where owner Kevin Pearson hand-makes a range of jewellery and other pieces using repurposed materials. Here we find out a little about why he brought his work to our shop...

Vagrant Art coin jewellery

What inspires your work?

My work is driven by a passion for questioning what we define as waste with much of my inspiration coming from early morning skip raids. Most of my pieces in Bird's Yard are made from scrap coins and I love to imagine where they might have been, whose hands they might have passed through and what they might have bought. I sometimes create imaginary journeys about what the coins might have seen in their lifetimes. 

Vagrant Art, Bird's Yard Sheffield
Some of Vagrant Art's pieces in Bird's Yard

Why do you sell your work at Bird's Yard?

I usually trade at music festivals and artist markets, but Bird's Yard is something a bit special; a collective of makers where the place buzzes with energy and creativity and I always leave with a head full of new ideas that keeps me awake. 

Kevin of Vagrant Art working on his repurposed pieces

Which other designers' work do you admire in Bird's Yard?

I particularly like the other repurposing work, whether it's bits of musical instruments (Melodies Jewellery and Character Shop), old maps (Pink Flamingo and Life's Big Canvas) or bits of wire, there are some great imaginations at work. 

How does interacting with customers in the shop help your work?

The customers are a great bunch too and I owe them credit for several new ideas. I'm currently working on plectrums from old pennies, the prototype is out gigging at the moment and they should be in the shop in the coming weeks.

Coin plectrums by Vagrant Art
Old penny plectrums which will be coming to Bird's Yard soon.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

New to Bird's Yard: modern macrame from Knotted Designs

With 1970s fashions and homewares making a comeback this season, we're excited to be welcoming Knotted Designs to Bird's Yard with their handmade modern macrame plant hangers.

The hangers use traditional macrame designs but use cotton stretch yarn in fresh white or bright colours to give them a modern feel too. They're ideal for hanging plants (real or artificial if you're not so green fingered) to brighten up your home, conservatory or garden.

Modern macrame by Knotted Designs
Modern macrame hangers made by Knotted Designs and available in Bird's Yard

And they're not just for trailing plants either. Here are some inspirations we found...

Uses for macrame hangers

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Birds and Beards makeover

Our sister shop Birds and Beards is just down Chapel Walk from Bird's Yard and is filled with a range of independently designed clothing and vintage pieces.  It's had a mini makeover this week...with more to come too.

Here's a little taste...

Birds and Beards Sheffield

Birds and Beards clothes shop Sheffield

Birds and Beards clothes shop Sheffield

Visit Birds and Beards at no.50 Chapel Walk, Sheffield

Friday, 10 April 2015

New to Bird's Yard: Karoline Made This

The latest designer to join Bird's Yard is Karoline Made This, the work of the wonderful illustrator Karoline Rerrie. In the shop, she has a selection of greeting cards, prints, postcards and tote bags featuring her colourful illustrations which she turns into screen prints to decorate her items.

Karoline Rerrie cards
Karoline Made This cards in Bird's Yard

"I don't like traditional sentiments so always try and come up with more original ideas for traditional occasions." Karoline

The original greetings on Karoline's cards make them suitable for lots of different occasions, with some lending themselves to ones in particular. The 'Home Sweet Home' card above would be great for a new home greeting and this 'Cute As a Button' design is perfect for a new baby (and it comes in pink, blue and green so suitable for any new arrival!)

Karoline Rerrie illustration

If you love the images too much to give away on a card, there are also prints available which are ready to frame to adorn your walls. As well as the Cute As a Button design above (perfect for a nursery), we also have these two below.

Karoline Rerrie prints
Karoline Made This prints in Bird's Yard

As well as Karoline's work, this postcard book also features various other female illustrators' drawings all on a Marine theme. Karoline's sent some of these along to the shop too so you can be spoilt for choice when looking for a little art!

You can find out more about Karoline's work over on her blog.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Meet Shadow Crafts...

Handmade in Sheffield, Shadow Crafts' simple and stylish accessories are always popular with our customers. With a repertoire including leather jewellery, bags and the ancient skill of tatting, Sarah Marshall's work provides style, colour and texture for a multitude of tastes. Here we find out a little more about her influences and why she loves selling with Bird's Yard....

Leather jewellery made in Sheffield by Shadow Crafts
Some of Shadow Crafts' leather jewellery available in Bird's Yard


What inspired your jewellery and accessories?

Being inspired by a love of natural materials and fabrics, I make many items such as leather jewellery, purses and bracelets. The unique character and texture of each hide means no two pieces are the same. I am constantly finding new ideas for products as leather is such a versatile medium. I learnt my trade from my father who has been a leather worker for years making accessories for his passion; archery. I remember, from growing up, the lovely smell of leather from his work room. 

I also make jewellery from pure natural threads using an old technique called tatting. I have always loved to knit and crochet and tatting is a very similar craft to learn. I love the delicate designs it creates.

Why did you choose to sell your work in Bird's Yard?

I came across Bird's Yard when I was looking for new job and maybe a way to turn my making into a business. At that time I was just crafting for fun, selling a few items here and there. I approached Michelle (the owner) at Bird's Yard and started selling my items in a small display box. 

The reasonable rates were the deciding factor for me as other shops with a similar set up were only renting out larger areas which seemed too much of a gamble for me starting out. I have since moved on from the small box and now have two shelves and I am selling a wider variety of items. I have Michelle, and a lot of the other designers, to thank for much of my success as they have given me invaluable tips, feedback and advice that has enabled me to progress and improve my display and items.

Tatted jewellery by Shadow Crafts
Tatted jewellery handmade in Sheffield by Shadow Crafts

How has selling in Bird's Yard helped you?

Working in the shop has helped me gain an insight into customers' views and opinions which is helpful when planning future product ideas. For example I am working on some new items that customers and other designers have suggested. I have been working on larger, more demanding projects like leather tote bags, handbags and journals. 

Shadow Crafts leather accessories in Bird's Yard
Leather accessories handmade by Shadow Crafts


Whose work do you admire most in the shop?

There are lots of great designers in Bird's Yard. I love the semi precious stone jewellery from You Earth Ash, the fused glass jewellery from Claudia Latini and the silver jewellery from Shapeshifter Designs. 

You Earth Ash jewellery - one of Sarah's favourites in Bird's Yard

You can find a range of Sarah's designs in Bird's Yard as well as being able to enquire about custom pieces.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Bird's Yard - Your Home Magazine

We were very excited when Your Home magazine asked if we'd like to be their 'Hidden Gem' shop of the month, but we had to keep it quiet....until now! We feature in the May issue which is out now.