Bernie Rowen-Ross tells us a present you make is so much better than one you buy. So give the gift of love this Christmas with handmade or artisan gifts.


Can you believe it’s winter already? For many of us, Christmas shopping or gift making is in full swing. The joy of handmade is, it has a well thought out history, and real people are engaged with the process. 

I have a lovely friend who walks and either knits or spins while she is walking. She often receives gifts from the sheep as she walks, in the form of fleece! You know, the stuff you sometimes see on barbed wire or the hills near the sheep farms? This amazing woman spins that up and then knits socks, jerseys, hats, you name it. I don’t think her family would ever get cold!

Then there are weavers; they work out how much fibre is needed to warp a loom – it’s quite a bit of maths and measuring! They warp the loom and then weave. If they have developed a pattern, it’s woven into the warp and the weft – such a remarkable skill to create great art and beautiful cloth. And the potter, who forms the clay into everyday objects, needs to knead the clay, making sure it’s workable, then use their skill in making pots. Have you tried? It looks so easy, but it is a practised skill – which becomes the mug in your hand. I think handmade mugs are so wonderful to drink out of. Or, if they don’t work on the wheel, the clay is still formed into beautiful shapes, pleasing to the eye or depicting nature. 

A very good friend is a woodcarver. He carves with dedication revealing his love of nature, forming many beautiful, useful objects, from wooden necklaces, spoons, tables, and nostipinnes (a tool to wind yarn). The love and time it takes can never be costed out in monetary value.

I have something a friend made that I use daily. Once an old-fashioned hay box, it’s a cooking box made from fabric and filled with insulation such as wadding. I bring rice to a boil and then pop it in the cooking box, saving time and fuel, and it never burns! For me, that is a treat! It ticks all the boxes, fuel-saving and attractive. I don’t have to check the stove every few moments! I also use it for cooking rolled oats porridge. When the porridge has reached temperature, pop it in the insulated cooking box, and the following morning reheat it and start your day! What a fantastic gift. Candles are also created to light up your life, whether plain, perfumed, beeswax.

Why am I telling you this? Because it’s gift-giving time, let’s give handmade gifts, support a crafts-person, and keep it local! Have a warm, loving festive season! 

Bernie Rowen-Ross is an Ayurvedic Counsellor and Psychotherapist, she consults via Zoom
t: 01620 844 321 |