9 awesome artisans to see at Herts County Show

Ben and Kate Marston at their gin distillery shop in Wilstone near Tring 

Ben and Kate Marston at their gin distillery shop in Wilstone near Tring - Credit: Matthew Bishop Photography

Brimming with talent and passion, we highlight nine of the best artisans in the county, all of whom you can meet at the Hertfordshire County Show in Redbourn on May 28-29. 

Puddingstone Distillery
Kate and Ben Marston, have come a long way since founding Herts' first small batch gin distillery next to Wilstone Reservoir near Tring in 2016. Their original Campfire Gin has won multiple awards and the couple, pictured, have collaborated with several dear-to-their-heart Herts businesses and organisations to create special editions featuring locally-sourced ingredients such as honey, elderflower and even Christmas pudding. Finest quality gins that celebrate our county. 

Herts Sadler Lucy Ellis handcrafts each of her pieces 

Sadler Lucy Ellis handcrafts each of her pieces - Credit: Lucy Ellis Leatherwork

Lucy Ellis Leatherwork
Using traditional saddlery skills in her Herts workshop, Lucy Ellis creates award-winning, gorgeous, bespoke, handstitched leather goods. From belts and accessories to dog collars and equestrian items, the leather used is all traceable and tanned using plant matter, not chemicals. These are one-off pieces, made to last by a master saddler. Lucy also loves to do repairs 'to save an item... and give it a new lease of life'. 

Handmade by Lisa 
'Pure soy wax with pure essential oils and nothing else,' says Welwyn's Lisa Belt of her scented candles. All hand mixed, poured and from a renewable source, her bestsellers are English Pear and Freesia, Rock Salt and Driftwood, and Parisienne Spring. She also offers diffusers, bath body wash and lotions. 'Essential oils are known for their healing, restorative, calming and uplifting qualities,' says Lisa. Great for mind and body. 

Black Bridge Distillery  
Launched by Ash McCallum and Stacey Lindley at the county show back in 2018, Black Bridge Distillery creates ‘exciting spirits and liqueurs’ in a converted barn on the Luton Hoo country estate near Harpenden. Specialising in small batch gins, vodkas and ‘moonshines’, we recommend the gin trio of bestselling Classic Dry Gin, Blue Admiral (which changes colour when mixed) and Rhubarb and Lime. Delicious. 

Rough Stuff Truly Rustic range 

Rough Stuff Truly Rustic range - Credit: Rough Stuff

Rough Stuff Oak
Working with HMP The Mount in Bovingdon, Rough Stuff Oak offers beautiful, characterful chopping boards, made by inmates. The social enterprise 'brings new pride, skills and job discipline,' says founder Matt Cannon, as well as earning the inmates and the prison income. The project has now been expanded to ex-offenders, who make our favourites, the Truly Rustic range, pictured. There's big stuff too, including benches, tables and trolleys.

Heartwood Glass
Creating contemporary glass artworks, Heartwood Glass is a family business that has been growing since 2015. Husband and wife Alex and Gavin hand cut coloured glass before firing at their Sandridge workshop. Their creations include framed artworks, decorations and jewellery. 'We do a lot of experimenting and this allows you to view a range of glass art ranging from functional to artistic pieces,' says Alex.

Old Vodka's Premium Triple Filtered Vodka

Old Vodka's Premium Triple Filtered Vodka - Credit: Old Vodka

Old Vodka
Using a 200-year-old Georgian family recipe, Merab Salamashvili creates his award-winning vodka on Church Farm in Ardeley near Stevenage. With 14 flavours to try, all based on the Great Taste winning Old Vodka Pure, they are made in small batches, using 'local, natural ingredients' and triple filtered over charcoal. Merab also now creates New Gin, which has won Great Taste gold. 

Great British Sausage Company
A regular at festivals (including his own - Todd in the Hole at Todd's Green), farmer's markets and shows, David Nye trained as a chef before launching The Great British Sausage Company. The Churchill is a Great Taste winning pork, pepper and parsley banger or try Pork & Jalapeño, Full English or Hertfordshire Venison & Port. David and his team will be serving them hot to enjoy at the show as well as chilled packs in the Hertfordshire Food and Farmers area. 

Startin Designs
Begun as a passion project in lockdown, Toni Startin's handmade cotton bunting and wreaths are a lovely, reusable decoration for birthdays, anniversaries (anyone hosting a Platinum Jubilee party?) and other celebrations. Using beautiful fabrics, and offering bespoke designs, the family business based in Leverstock Green, draws on a British classic and gives it a contemporary twist.