Doing my bit……

My business is based in Taunton, county town of Somerset.  It is a fairly large town with a sprawling shopping area that has evolved rather than been designed with any identifiable centre, and, as with most towns now, has a fair amount of empty, ugly, dated buildings no longer fit for the large shops that we used to find in our towns.

The council developers are planning to build a new development on one of the carparks to introduce yet more shops, restaurants and coffee outlets, whilst seemingly ignoring the infrastructure that we have already available.  I think this is the wrong way to improve our town.  The existing aeas will just become more dilapaded, and the small independants that give character to the town will not be able to afford rents in brand new developments, meaning that we will have yet more chain coffee shops, restaurants and cheap/mid-range chain stores that Taunton is already awash with.  I think the council should support new enterprise and value the small independants and the life, character and people they bring into our towm.  My letter to the local Somerset County Gazette;

http://www.somersetcountygazette.co.uk/letters_and_comment/14486083.LETTER__Taunton_needs_to_remember_independent_traders_during_redevelopment/

 

 

Sneaky peek…

Having spent the last two months flat-out on some new designs I was excited to deliver them to the photographer David Leyland today and get them photographed….. unfortunately my IT Dept (boyfriend) is away at music school for the week and so cannot update the site for me, although he does just about trust me to write a blog… anyway some pics here.  I have been experimenting with different materials and some treasured old blocks and some new, still awaiting a new design currently in the safe hands of Owen Morse-Brown blockmaker.

Tangerine

Thorns

Lemonie

Violet

Upping The Game with Bridget Bailey

Well, after a year of focusing on building renovations I felt my mind had been somewhat off the ball as far a millinery was concerned so I booked myself in for a Millinery Masterclass with the superbly talented Bridget Bailey of Bailey Tomlin Hats (Baileytomlin.com).  Bridget is known for her finely crafted pieces and excellent eye for colour; lilybumblebeeBB

She made this ‘Lily and Bumblebee’!

 

Bridget was a very patient teacher and showed me many techniques.  Visiting her studio was like being in mine, it was affirming to see someone else use fabrics and dyes in the way I do.  I never get to meet other milliners or see how they work as there are so few of us around.

Bridget has had a long career in millinery and now does alot of teaching as well as bespoke commissions.  I love the detailed way in which she approaches things but am trying to balance that with keeping a showroom well stocked and, providing a bespoke service that is not exorbitantly expensive, but I have been indulging in taking a whole day on one flower because it is just so satisfying!

Below are some pictures below of our day, Bridget, and my efforts in the last week buzzing off the new learning.  Learning is great, never get complacent!

bbt bbt4 bbt3 bbt5 green-buton greenbuton2

Almost a year later……

Overdue for a catchup here but it’s been exceptionally busy.  The new shop looks amazing thanks to some hard work by the builders and decorators and the building has been completely re-pointed so hopefully no more leaks, and a sturdy structure for many more years… oh, and a bit of ‘controversial’ yellow paint!

shopfront-jan2016

That’s it for scaffolding for a while!  The shop inside;

shopfloor

Now I’m done with choosing light-fittings and carpets it’s a relief to start a new season off with just millinery on my mind.  I’m keeping some of my classic pieces but also busy designing some new friends using a less structured approach.  I’m bored with stiffened sinamay so am using unstiffened pinok pok, ruching, elastic and draping to see what effects I can achieve… hoping for diaphonous elegance with a modern touch.  ‘Vintage’ and ‘Retro’ are two of the most overused words now and whilst it is not difficult to recreate some of the old classic looks, I find it is fairly acheivable and have encouraged some customers to scour the charity shops and have a go themselves.  I am looking for something more modern, and at least as flattering.  I just hope no-one else brings me in a picture of Audrey Hepburn and asks me to re-create the hat……. lets be more adventurous!  Photos soon when I am happy with the new pieces!

The move! 20/21 Bath Place….

Yep, been very quiet recently as have been busy concentrating on moving my business from one side of Taunton to the other.  After having leased business premises for the last twelve years the option to actually acquire a premises came up about six months ago.  It has been a fairly evenly balanced decision between head and heart…, but…… I have always loved Bath Place. most of the buildings are characterful, and listed, and mostly inhabited by small, sometimes quirky, independents.  The nature of the alleyway and buildings pretty much preclude them being desirable by any of the major highstreet retailers  Hurrah!20-Bath-Place-frontage

This is my new place from the front, it spans the alleyway at the bottom of Bath Place!  Already home to Jacquelines Hair Design and SRW Barbershop I will be making my shop in the downstairs to the left of the front door, and also have three beautiful light studios to let out upstairs.  The building has been a long-term commercial property and it shows; it is in serious need of some major modernisation..  I am lucky to have John who has already spruced up the woodwork and hallway and is currently on the outside window frames (weather permitting).  I also have Mark who has started on the downstairs which is to be my shop… daunted? Me, well a little but also very excited…

MC-shop-day-1.1 MC-shop-day1.2 MC-shop-day1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hoping to be in soon, I have been acquiring some quirky furnishings to do it justice!  I do have a scratch workshop and showroom upstairs so am still taking/making up orders.

Plaque