Don't you just love it when you stumble upon handmade goods and their designers?
It happened to me this morning.
I'd headed out purposefully to visit a plumbers merchants to replace the rubber seal on the bath pop up waste that has been leaking water at a rate of knots. (A posh chrome plug thingy that pops up and down to keep in or release water). I can tell you're impressed at my specialist knowledge, non?
At 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning I had the undivided attention of the dyed in the wool owner who searched high and low in his ancient 1950's shop for a replacement rubber ring, peering into numerous drawers, boxes and bins; all to no avail.
However, we did put the world to rights and concluded that you basically can't go wrong with a bog-standard plug for 65p.
He didn't hold out much hope of me finding my posh one either. Apparently, it's an Italian make and they change designs on a whim, possibly in a lunchtime or whilst they're having their much needed siesta. *sighs*
Having had the no-go on the plug situation, I decided take a trip out to the only art shop within 30 miles and re-purchase specialist invisible tape to attach my fine art prints onto mount boards. Re-purchase, because the last lot I bought three weeks ago I 'hid' in a safe place so no-one in the house would be tempted to use it for other less important, purposes. It's clearly back-fired because I can't remember where the 'safe place' is, despite turning the house and the shed upside down at 7 a.m.
There was a craft market in the town in full swing and I'm a sucker for handmade, so enjoyed perusing the stalls.
Jo from https://www.facebook.com/uniquelyyoursbyj hand paints a variety of wooden goods including crafted boxes using the lush Farrow & Ball paints.
FYI - As a youngster, my grandfather was part of the start up sales team for F & B when the fledgling Dorset-based company was just a twinkle in the eye of John Farrow and Richard Ball so I feel a certain loyalty towards it. They were initially suppliers of paint to the Admiralty, the War Office and the Colonial Office and I like to imagine that my grandfather had an employee's discount and therefore painted his whole house in what may have been Battleship Grey, or Frigate Blue or perhaps Tea Platation Green.
Beautifully displayed on Jo's stall was an array of boxes, hearts, mirrors, frames and plaques and I opted for three gorgeous boxes in Pavilion Grey and Blue Ground.
Each one painted inside and out, finished with a hand-painted stencil in a contrasting colour and removable, wooden dividers.
Now you know me, I got talking to Jo and by the end of our chat we exchanged business cards with a promise to arrange a meet up at some point in the future.
Coincidentally, her neighbouring stall was run by Diane McClatchie of 'Danuta Bags' and Diane lives in the same street as Jo. What a small world.
I was completely taken by a capacious 'Craft Bag' that Diane had designed and made. It could quite easily be used as a knitting bag, to store magazines, toys or even used as a 'tidy bag' in a sitting room. It's fully lined, padded and has little individual pockets sewn into the inside in the contrasting, floral fabric.
I discovered she has a long standing connection with the textile/interior design industry, having trained in Fashion and worked for clients such as Colefax and Fowler and G.P. and J. Baker. Each bag is unique - she never makes the same bag twice and she makes everything from scratch including designing and making her own patterns.
The attention to detail and standard of work is outstanding and her fashion background is clearly reflected in her eye for colour and fabric combinations.
MY bag (I bought it of course...what did you expect?) is made from two complementary linen fabrics by Jane Churchill and I LOVE it.
Diane can be reached via email - email@example.com
After chatting to Diane, I tentatively suggested that we three meet up at some point in the future perhaps for lunch to brainstorm and get together as three creatives.
I have to say I'm very much looking forward to arranging a meet-up and hopefully, in the interim, I will find the elusive rubber seal for my pop-up plug...