Today I'm excited to add some new products to the shop! My Contoured Coasters collection have been a few months in the making; since starting this small business I've realised just how long it takes to get a product to market. It's easy enough to have an idea but then there's designing, sourcing materials, prototyping, sourcing packaging, photographing the finished products, creating shop listings, updating the website, creating a newsletter etc. But after receiving the packaging from China yesterday (Tip: Alibaba is an awesome tool for small businesses!) I can finally/hopefully sell some!
The Contoured Coasters collection started as twelve designs from The Lake District: an incredibly beautiful area in the UK that's just over an hour's drive from where I live.
I launched the coasters at a local food fair about a month ago and after a lovely reception I decided to expand the range before putting them online. The collection now includes sets of The National Three Peaks, The Yorkshire Three Peaks, six hills in The Peak District and one hill local to where I live (Pendle Hill) in the hope I can make my friends buy some coasters ;)
What's on them
The coasters are highly accurate to a scale of 1:25000 and show 50m contours, popular summits, bodies of water such as lakes, tarns and reservoirs, place names, and the Snowdon coaster also features the Snowdon Mountain Railway.
How they're made
After digitally illustrating a particular area of a map, the coasters are laser etched and cut from oak veneered plywood and blue tinted transparent acrylic is cut to fit in, without the need for glue, to represent bodies of water. I seal the coasters with Danish oil to prevent staining and stick bright orange felt on the underside to stop scratches on any surfaces.
Here's a little look at the different designs...
The Lake District
From top to bottom and left to right: High Street, Grasmere, Old Man of Coniston, Ambleside, Great Gable, Bowness-on-Windermere, Helvellyn, Skiddaw, Blencathra, Keswick, Scafell Pike & the Langdale Pikes...
The National Three Peaks
Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike & Snowdon along with a coaster illustrating where the peaks are located in the UK...
The Yorkshire Three Peaks
Whernside, Pen-y-ghent & Ingleborough as well as a coaster depicting where the peaks are located in the Yorkshire Dales National Park...
The Peak District
From top to bottom and left to right: Kinder Scout, Win Hill, Black Hill, Mam Tor, Bleaklow & Shining Tor...
The coasters didn't feel quite complete without a coaster holder, so I got to work on creating one. It's made from the same materials as the coasters and has the of Alp & Ash logo and website etched onto the base...
Who are they for
These would make an awesome gift for anybody that loves fell-walking and hiking, or even climbing and cycling, in the areas depicted. Tourists and residents of the areas illustrated would most likely love a set too! And as for the Three Peaks sets, they'd make a great gift for anybody that has completed the challenge. If you'd like to purchase a set for whatever reason just head to the shop.
Now I just have to get the word out! I'm also going to work on a way of displaying these etched oak maps on the wall. If you have any suggestions as to an area of the UK you'd like to see on my coasters or know of any good walking/countryside blogs I should prepare my best sales pitch for, I'd love to hear from you! Thanks!