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John Ditchfield being visited by Nokia's Claire and Carrie
John Ditchfield being visited by Nokia's Claire and Carrie
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BEING named the best of British is no bad thing.

And being named the best of British on a series of national television adverts could be seen as a wonderful thing.

Just ask master glass blower John Ditchfield, of Glasform in Singleton, who has been named just that, thanks to a series of adverts for the Nokia E7 smartphone.

His work was selected as one of the unique and eccentric crafts and delicacies the UK has to offer in the adverts, which see Scottish friends Carrie and Claire collect quirky and wonderful items on their way from the Highlands down to London’s famous Brick Lane Market.

Dubbed the Made in the Shade girls, they used their new piece of technological wizardry to plan a road trip through the UK to various small retailers.

While the adverts were obviously designed to spread word about the latest phone, they’ve also managed to highlight the works of smaller producers, artists and manufacturers across the UK, and reignited the local produce debate.

Small versus big. David versus Goliath. Individuality versus mass production.

And it’s obvious that while the large chain stores have their place, there’s still a real passion for individuality out there.

Mr Ditchfield said: “They came down here for a reccy first of all. They were looking for smaller items and wanted the best of British. They thought what we did was amazing and perfect for their film.

“They loved what they saw and said it was a wonderful place.

“I’m very proud to be called the best of British. It’s an honour.”

“When they came to visit, I worked as normal and they just filmed.

“It wasn’t just a visit from the two girls though – they came on a double-decker bus with their cameras and people as well.”

The series of adverts sees the enthusiastic duo collecting items and food to sell on their arrival at the London Market in the E7 borough – see what they did there?

Mr Ditchfield added: “In the end, they opened a pop-up shop in London for two days to showcase all of the interesting products they got along the way.

“We don’t mass-produce things – we’re not big enough to do that.

“But we have recently made 300 lamp shades for one of the oldest theatres in the country in Leeds.

“Our speciality is decorating glass with colour.

“People bring in their wallpaper and carpet colours and ask us to try to match it in a piece.

“We don’t use machines.

“We make our items using old newspapers, tweezers and scissors. It makes it individual.

“It’s nice to be producing something that’s not mass-produced, really.”

The week-long tour by the Scottish duo took in the length and breadth of the UK and culminated in a two-day sale at the market last weekend which was apparently met with huge enthusiasm.

Needless to say, the goods on sale sold out in no time.

John Nichols, head of marketing for Nokia UK, said the idea behind the adverts was to recognise Britain’s individuality.

He added: “We want to celebrate the diversity and eccentric talent of Britain.

“The UK’s full of amazing people and their stories; we’re delighted to be giving them the opportunity to showcase their talents.

“One of the destinations where experts Carrie and Claire were filmed was at Glasform, which is one of the leading British glass-blower shops.

“Specialising in producing bespoke antiques of the future as well as architectural glasswork, the shop will feature in the upcoming Nokia ad, which airs on national TV from May 23.”

Glass blowing has recently been featured in BBC 2’s Britain’s Next Big thing, showcasing the difficulties faced by a traditional glass blower.

It’s by no means an exact science, which means every piece is unique – but can involve a lot of failures on the way.

However, the reaction of shop owners to the pieces proves that a little individuality can go a long way.

Details of the trip and subsequent sale can be seen at www.facebook.com/nokia.uk.