Latest news blog
RE-OPEN! June 18 2020, 0 Comments
The future of retail, TOAST CEO is interviewed June 06 2020, 0 Comments
Forbes business magazine interviews the CEO of Welsh slow fashion brand Toast.
Click the image to read about her hopefulness for the future of fashion after Lockdown. And scroll further down the page watch the video of St Leonards founder K talk about her concerns and reflections on reopening the real store on the 18th of June by tuning into her IGTV channel.
Click onto the image below to watch K's reflections on what's next for her and indie retail...
BOLAN ALONG! June 01 2020, 0 Comments
BRAND NEW FOR JUNE 2020 - Sometimes a Global Reset is just what the doctor ordered in terms of "allowing" yourself time to rest, recharge and THINK. It's been wonderful to be more playful with my leather at the studio and create this new piece! Read on to find out all about the new design that launched today!
ST LEONARDS welcomes the new BOLAN bag into the fold. Conceived during Lockdown and born out of a desire to have a bag that is bold, creative, head-turning and FUN! The Bolan gives a nod to the 70s in style, colour and texture - pops of contrasting colour, metallic flashes and smouldering good looks - what any 1970's band would wish for!
Sometimes it's just got to be about having a bag that makes no sense - oversized - crazy colours and frankly bonkers! - a bag that will give you plenty of joy every time you use it.
Made from 4 different leathers and a technical rip-top nylon lining.
The main body is a smooth grain taupe Italian cow hide with a semi-sheen finish. on top of this is the buttery soft tumbled metallic pewter leather as per the #54 Slouchy Satchel and internally is an eye-popping digital red camo printed sheep hide. The last type of leather is the Italian scarlet bridle leather that's used for the strap. This will be embossed with either ST LEONARDS or ST LEONARDS - ENGLAND depending on my whim that day.
Dimensions: 54cm wide at opening x 45cm tall in the centre.
Straps: 2.5cm wide with an approx 69-70cm drop from shoulder to top of bag - it's designed to be worn on the shoulder.
MADE at the ST LEONARDS STUDIO STORE.
HEAD over to the link now to order yours now!
What's all the fuss about...ZIPS March 26 2020, 0 Comments
I'd refund customers rather than substitute a zipper.
That's how good they are.
You know, there's nothing more frustrating than a zipper that doesn't flow easily. If it stutters, sticks, scrapes, it's like having a very abrupt speed bump or gate shut in your face. It jerks you out of what you were doing.
The whole point of St Leonards Accessories is that they look fantastic, and work beautifully, so much so, that you forget they're there.
Quietly, beautifully, getting on with their job.
St Leonards bags are not showy, but people tell me they are absolutely the best bag they have EVER had.
And that makes me happy.
That was my intention for the business.
Keep enjoying those Swiss zippers.
St Leonards Established 2010.
A CHANGING WORLD March 22 2020, 0 Comments
As the world goes into global hibernation, we have to change how we shop for food, walk and take exercise and shop. I've been worried about how I will keep my business going, but keeping the store open feels increasingly risky to my health. I need to keep going to the store to make products at the back of the shop - I'm still getting some bag orders which is fantastic! - but I have been getting all the store products photographed and writing the copy to go online.
I've got a lot of the new YMC ( You Must Create ) menswear online, as well as the Danish sunglasses and Great Plains womenswear too.
More products will be added this week.
It takes time, but I'll get there.
I hope you'll continue to support my business so I can reopen at the end of the year. It was great to have so many turn up to the store on Saturday.
Making Quality. March 05 2020, 0 Comments
I sometimes feel like a broken record talking about how great St Leonards products are, but sometimes, seeing is believing.
Here's a snippet of video showing some of the making process of the #70 Tote.
Every pattern piece is laid onto the saddlery leather and rotated for the best fit, nicest grain positions and also for the least wastage. St Leonards is extremely conscious about waste and prides itself of utilising every possible piece of leather, if it can't be used for bags, then it gets used for making smaller items like key fobs or cardholder wallets, and then the very last bits get used by the students on the leather crafting workshops to practice with.
Click on the photo to go straight to order the Number 70 tote.
SPRING IS ROUND THE CORNER March 05 2020, 0 Comments
CHRISTMAS ORDERING DEADLINE December 01 2019, 0 Comments
Just a quick update to remind you that the ordering deadline is Midnight 8th December to guarantee your chosen St Leonards product gets made in time for Christmas delivery.
If you place your order AFTER this date - we may still be able to meet the deadline, but we will need to update you and let you know, order-by-order.
As an alternative you can order gift vouchers instead which can be emailed directly to the recipient or printed out and placed inside a card.
NEW STITCHING workshops November 05 2019, 0 Comments
SHARING KNOWLEDGE - new intensive workshop day September 26 2019, 0 Comments
BRAND IMMERSION PLAN DAY
-Well, it's been a really long time since the last posting - APRIL! A lot's been happening, and much of it's been an internal dialogue about how I want the business to adapt. It's also been about getting used to my new home life and caring for a poorly dog too.
Anyway - in the reassessment of my own online business - its branding, and how ST LEONARDS is going to keep going and keep being RELEVANT to how I feel now ( and that's very different to how I felt when it launched in 2010 ) I realised that over the last 20+ years of my working life, I've picked up an awful lot of knowledge and that these nuggets and insights might be useful to you too!
So, I've created an exciting new event that's taking place on Sunday 20th October ( so hopefully people will have the time off to attend ) and it's about building the foundations of your brand. Often we have an idea of what the business is about, it probably started with the logo and then "Whoosh!" you forgot those foundation beliefs in the hustle and bustle of making it "work." We can lose sight of what the core values and aims are. This message can get diluted between you, the product and the customer, to the point that it's fractured and no longer aligned! This can leave you feeling frustrated perhaps that you're attracting the wrong customers, or that you don't even connect to your own product any more.
So, if you'd like to know more, head over to the ST LEONARDS MODERN GOODS business page EVENT and/or tickets can be purchased through the link there on through this link I'm adding at the bottom.
There's just x 6 places on this one and x 2 of them have a saving of £10 if you commit before 1st October - so sign up fast!
I really hope you'll join me for what's sure to be an insightful day! Please share with anyone you know that might find this intensive session vital for their business' growth. See you soon! K x
CHANGES TO THE WEBSITE April 18 2019, 0 Comments
Just a quick message to let you know that I've decided to have a big Spring clean of the products that are available online- sometimes it's good to just have a change!
If there's a style you liked but can't see anymore- do get in touch via the pop up contact form or by emailing on email@example.com and I can discuss your requirements.
I'm going to be planning some fresh product in the coming year,
Until then, keep enjoying the website - there's still plenty to choose from!
LISBON on my mind March 19 2019, 0 Comments
LOVE IS..... February 06 2019, 0 Comments
Love between people can come and go, but when you fall in love with a St Leonards bags you fall hard!
The beautiful luxury leathers, the gorgeous proportions and the handcrafted skills it takes to make them, what's not to love, right?
As a thankyou for subscribing to the mailing list - some of you have remained with us since 2010! - we'd LOVE you to have a discount code this Valentine's Day - Treat yourself to 15% off - use it online, at the checkout on any leather item and it's valid until midnight February 28th.
Voucher code: ADORINGFAN
BURTON BAG - CHRISTMAS OFFER December 18 2018, 0 Comments
It's that time of year when you're looking for presents for others - but it's also sometimes the only time we get for ourselves to see things that WE like! It's so tempting to buy lots of stuff, but the Burton Bag will give you pleasure for many years to come...
So, we thought we'd offer you the chance to own a beautiful Burton Bag in time for Christmas at a very special Christmas price!
Please use the discount code: BURTONTREAT at the checkout to have a rather wonderful £50 off! And you'll still get the gorgeous gift wrapping service and free P&P within the UK.
Offer ends on midnight : December 30th.Please let friend know that have been hankering after one too!
ONLINE ORDERING DEADLINE - We're not stock-pilers like Marks & Spencer! November 19 2018, 0 Comments
We're not like Mark & Spencer with a massive warehouse full of stock and 24hr distribution logistics - every bag is cut by hand and each component is ordered in from somewhere else in the UK.
All these elements including the incredible Italian cowhide come together with care and attention so we need plenty of time to make something special.
That's why each year we give you a cut off date for ordering online.
So, to GUARANTEE your item will be made and posted in time for Christmas, you need to place your online order by midnight December 5th*
*Any items placed after this time may very well arrive in time - we will certainly do our best, but it won't be guaranteed.
You're invited! - 3rd Winter evening shopping event October 28 2018, 0 Comments
COMBINATIONS - Work by Hermione Allsopp October 11 2018, 0 Comments
Solaris owned and run by Alex (which is a gallery/fine art printers on the same street as me) has a constantly revolving show of work and its latest show called Space Invaders has piqued my interest. It's a group show combining the work of 5 artists across assorted media and is sure to engage a new audience. The work of Hermione Allsopp particularly caught my eye so I headed over to her personal website.
I particularly like the sculptural pieces which combine the delicate domestic household objects like pastel coloured plates and bowls or sherbet-coloured pleated lampshades which are set into a mixture of gravel and foam - the hardness of these brutal building materials having something quite soft perishable and delicate peeping through is really interesting!
Graduating in 2012 from Canterbury School of Fine Art Hermione has been constantly developing and showing her work both in the UK and internationally. She often playfully mixes collected domestic objects with harder elements like wooden interior objects, concrete and foam.
Here are some images of her work which I took from her site - Here's the link to her website
Blocked and stacked cubes with playful colourful shiny dinners plates and bowls. Part domesticity, part Hifi Speakers in shape- these colourful sculptures look like they can be re-stacked and blocked up into different pleasing shapes.
The Victorian wood turned legs remind you of the home and how they'd perhaps sit in a domestic environment.
The delicate almost lingerie-like frills of the lampshade peeping out of the solid ball form create a very exotic sea urchin-esque quality.
Mattresses cut up and folded into bookish objects, colour graded and stored in a wooden bookcase.There's something incredibly pleasing about the soft padded sections squeezed and archived into the hard shelves.
This makes me think of an exploding Victorian crinoline. Oozing out of itself and spilling Sea Anenome-like; overflowing and overpowering the delicate chair legs below. It feels strange to see a mattress, normally so solid and flat, seemingly flowing and curling so daintily. A hundred pocketed petticoats on display!
If you'd like to see the group show head over to Solaris at 76 Norman Road, St Leonards on Sea, TN38 0EJ. They are open Tuesday to Saturday.
The show Space Invaders is on until 27th October.
A great escape! - A week of restoration in Agadir June 19 2018, 1 Comment
At Last! she cried - a HOLIDAY!
After 6 years, I finally felt able to step away from the business - I could take some proper time off, get cover for the shop and had the money to do it without fretting too much!
I wanted somewhere sandy and warm to go in May and needed a short flight because I only had a week - so Morocco or Lanzarote were high on my list... but I couldn't face the hurly-burly of Marrakech and I've been to Lanzarote 3 times, and fancied a change. So, I did some research on Agadir - the seaside sandy laid back Moroccan resort where people are chilled, and the hotels are low level buildings and right on the white sand waterfront.
I chose the Riu Tikida Palace Hotel which was a wonderful 5 star all-modern beauty! It's SO refreshing to stay somewhere that feels like you've stepped into a Conde Nast shoot - instead of an 80's bedspread nightmare - As it was my first time going all-inclusive I was a liiiiiitle bit wary - ( truth be told I was a bit snobby about the idea of it - I thought I was going to feel herded and restricted and what's with the wristbands?!) but it couldn't have been further from the truth - the dazzling arrays of meal choices morning, noon and night were terrific - the staff were friendly and the beautiful pool was filled with seawater. There was a glorious spa and a super white beach too. But more important than any of this was the patisserie. I wept daily over these exquisite pastries with joy. On the last night I was introduced to Chef Mahmoud for "un pot de la confiture du figue" to go with their amazing cheese platter, because the waiter's confusion and consternation (But Madame, the fig jam is ONLY for the Petit Dejeuner) had turned me into a mistrusted guest -and as I clasped his hand tenderly, and in appalling schoolgirl French (with a soupcon of South London accent) told him that his baking, poaching and patisserie gave me new meaning to my life, he patted my shoulder, tapped his nose and sagely summoned a junior to attend to my "grand fromage issue, vite, vite!"
Oh, the pineapple fresh creme patisserie tarts! The buttery crumbly almond tarts! The mille feuille! Sigh...
The modern shady terrace to rest, read and recoup after lunch.
The wonderful array of loose teas and beauty potions at the Municipal Souk.
For God! King! Country! Arabic motto on the site where the original city once stood before it was ravaged by a tragic earthquake in the 1960s. The current King of Morocco has had this new esplanade and marina built in the last 2 years to encourage more tourism but also as part of their bid for hosting the World Cup in 2026...Sadly for them, they didn't win, but I'm selfishly quite happy about it, because it means this resort will stay a little more low-key for longer. But of course, now I've told YOU LOT about it...it'll be booked up in advance for years!
The gorgeous fresh sardines, salads and roasted vegetable for lunch, happy feet at the spa, the Moorish buildings and garden landscaping, and modern stylish interiors.
So, if you're looking for somewhere warm and restful to recharge, I thoroughly recommend Agadir! Oh and for those in search of a blissful escape -Tui Holidays were offering the best deals for this hotel.
Tag me into your holiday snaps if you go! @stleonardsmoderngoods
I'd love to see them, K x
7 REASONS TO BUY FROM ST LEONARDS February 09 2018, 0 Comments
People often ask me "What's so special about St Leonards bags?" and after cringing I try to explain that it's just up to the individual to decide which designers and brands they like best from a purely emotional level - (it's like asking someone why they've chosen to buy a Yorkshire Terrier over a Weimarana) They both have 4 legs and bark - it's just a question of personal preference and character, I then decided to write down 7 key points about why I think St Leonards accessories are special. To find out what they are, click HERE.
VISION BOARD WORKSHOP Sunday 4th February 2018 January 06 2018, 0 Comments
WHAT ARE VISION BOARDS?
No crystal balls required - just an open mind and a decent pair of scissors will do it! Vision boards are similar to mood boards, except their purpose is to inspire you into creating dreams that will come true rather than an inspirational interior design scheme. As you're both client AND creative director, YOU get to choose how your board will look - will it be full of long-haul travel destinations, the ideal greenhouse for your verdant back garden, or will you focus on a new hobby that could become your dream job?
The idea is that you cut out images that appeal to you and add key words and phrases to hit the message home. And then when you've fine tuned the arrangement, you stick it down and you hang it up! - somewhere where you'll see it daily, and let the magic do its thing. Many therapists, writers and visionaries all agree that by expressing your hopes and dreams visually, they're far more likely to happen, and I've got personal experience of its success. 2 years before I opened my store, I had been sitting at my desk in front of a pin board with images of my ideal studio space, aspirational store fronts and modern retail interiors. I had pictures of the type of clothes I'd like to sell, books and branding I liked, alongside a classic Max Mara coat that I've always wanted too. I knew I wanted to open a store, but had no idea HOW ! It seemed as impossible as winning the lottery. But amazingly, just a year later, a friend told me in confidence about a shop that was becoming available, a week later I was sat opposite the landlords convincing them I'd be a great tenant and then, I had about 3 weeks to find the 3 month's rent for the deposit. Without any savings I had to think big and fast! I began pitching to all my friends, family and online customers about crowdfunding and before anything was even confirmed or the lease signed I'd secured some amazing brands like Superga and Taschen who'd agreed to sell me their products on the basis of my pin board vision! - remember this was without the store even having opened and NO money in the bank! It's now 2018 and I've been trading at the store for 14 months and although the learning curve is steep, business is growing steadily.
( So I'll keep you posted when I can buy myself that Max Mara coat! )
SETTING THE TONE FOR THE DAY
To add power to this relaxing yet highly productive creative experience, I've invited my yoga teacher Ruth Birch to set the workshop on a positive note. There's no need to get nervous, imagining hairy-toed sandals, with incense burners and dream-catchers, Ruth is going to use the same friendly and encouraging style as she exudes in her weekly yoga classes at the Kino Teatr to lead us in a seated meditation to help fine tune our minds and hearts into a positive frame of mind so we can set our intentions for the next few months and years to come!
(Click this link for Weald Power Yoga to find out more)
WHAT'S INCLUDED AND WHAT DOES IT COST?
The session will start at 11am and finish at 4pm and during this time you'll be offered some welcome refreshments and have a guided meditation. You'll then be given a few guidelines on how to make the most of the workshop and be shown a few examples of vision boards. There will be plenty of magazines to pull images from, as well as the mounting boards, assorted paper, glue, and letter printing tools to help the creative process flow. We'll then take a well-earned break at 1pm where you can go out and get lunch at one of the many nearby seaside cafes and restaurants, get to know more about your fellow attendees, or simply take a walk on the beach to take stock of the beautiful visions you've been creating. The workshop will then continue between 2pm and 4pm and will be closed with a brief "show and tell" session to share your future intentions with the group.
There are just 6 places available for this workshop and each place costs £25.
If you'd like to reserve your place please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with "VISION WORKSHOP FEBRUARY" in the Subject Heading
Ruth and I look forward to seeing you in February!
POTTERY POP UP AT ST LEONARDS MODERN GOODS October 17 2017, 1 Comment
Scott Garrett pottery " Garrettware" lands slam dunk in the middle of the store for Winter.
Arriving 1st November and staying until Christmas, it's your chance to grab a joyful piece of pottery perfection that's highly collectable.
Come along to the real store ST LEONARDS MODERN GOODS to see Scott's creative handiwork and fall in love with some exclusive pieces made for the store too.
If you'd like to make it an evening affair - pop along to the Private View on Friday 10th November between 7:30 and 9:30pm for some drinks nibbles and the chance to meet the maker.
I look forward to seeing you!
MARGATE DAY TRIP August 23 2017, 0 Comments
So, the reason I'm sharing all this with you is so that you ask yourself this:
WHEN DID YOU LAST GO OUT FOR THE DAY AND SEE SOMETHING NEW? WHEN DID YOU LAST STRAY FROM YOUR REGULAR ROUTINE AND DO SOMETHING THAT MAKES NO SENSE?
Grab a car, or get the train and go and break the mold. Take a day off midweek and go see something different. Right in the middle of my father getting his cancer diagnosis and then him being rushed to hospital and when everything we thought we knew was turning upside down, I made an impromptu trip to Margate. I was restless at work, unable to rest at home and unable to sleep so a new town was a welcome diversion. I'd not visited since I was about 10. It was a great day out and one which became 2 quite by accident. Having mooched about the seafront, jealous of their sandy beach eaten great pizza, peeked inside the Turner gallery and then driven out to the Walpole Bay Tidal Pool, to marvel at its majestic simplicity, we stopped for a cream tea at the 1920s throwback The Walpole Bay Hotel, and as I was dreading heading home and facing the reality of my father's illness, we booked in for the night. No change of clothes or toothbrush! What a weirdly wonderful and perplexing joy! Every fibre of my body curdled at the dizzying array of clutter and late 20th century antiquities, and yet, there was such a wonderful warmth about the hotel, a feeling that Miss Marple would exit the lift in the foyer straight after breakfast, all was forgiven. It's a favourite haunt of Tracy Emin and I can see why. Swathes of Axminster carpet, large measures of booze and a sea view from every room, it's no wonder she returns every year.
The majestic tidal pool at Walpole Bay, Margate
Terrace in front of the Turner Contemporary Gallery
Go giddying around on the giant teacups ride at Dreamland Margate
A cream tea at 4pm turned into an overnight stay at The Walpole Bay Hotel.I spent way too much time worrying about whether I "ought" to stay overnight, the money, the distance etc etc, but then an overwhelming desire to do something out of the ordinary, because life's just too short, came into sharp focus and the decision was made. Toothbrush be damned.
TAKE A TRIP. MAKE A PLAN. DON'T WAIT. LIFE IS SHORT.
HOW TO DO: Instagram for Business WORKSHOP September 18th August 15 2017, 0 Comments
It's been a while, lots has been happening outside of the business and sadly not very much of it any good at all, but it's time to get cracking with planning in some new events hosted at the shop.
I've created the first one called HOW TO DO: Instagram for Business to take place on Monday 18th September from 7:30pm to 9:30pm.
Over the years friends and customers have asked me for tips on building their Instagram following and although I am by no means an Insta-Moghul, I have learnt a lot along the way and thought I'd create a workshop next month to chime in with that back-to-school vibe and a sense of fresh learning to be done.
The aim is to give you an insight into how this powerful little app works and how you can build your audience, gain more engagement to spread the word about what you're doing and get your business SEEN. Whether you're a lover of all things PINK, a fanatical hobby maker, or potentially the next BIG THING in hair clips, come along and pick up some tips so you'll know your #hashtag from your #pricetag!
Spaces are limited to just 6 spaces and refreshments are included.
Cost of workshop: £15
Ways to book:
You can pop into the store and pay by cash or card to reserve your place at:
ST LEONARDS MODERN GOODS - 70 Norman Rd, St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex TN38 0EJ or pay directly into my bank and let me know by emailing me at: email@example.com using the Subject heading: HOW TO DO: INSTAGRAM FOR BUSINESS.
Payment details: LLOYDS - Account name ST LEONARDS Account: 87770268 Sort: 77-63-09
I look forward to seeing you on the 18th and if it's not for you, please forward and share with others who might enjoy it! You can also share the EVENT PAGE on Facebook.
NEW STOCK ONLINE? - NO SWEAT! June 12 2017, 0 Comments
Sometimes when you go from Spring into Summer you can get brilliantly bright sunny days but there's still a nip in the air and the wind can feel quite chilly, so jersey sweatshirts can be your wardrobe heroes!
Designed for men and women these unisex organic cotton sweatshirts and T shirts are made by a British company whose production takes place in India. What's wonderful about the brand is that their factory is wind and solar powered for sustainability, and the organic cotton is collected and pun by workers on fair wages.
Right from the moment the real store opened, these items have been a core part of the store so it seems only natural to offer them via the website too.
I hope you enjoy these products online as much as we all do down here on the coast!
To see the full collection now available online please click HERE or head to the MODERN GOODS menu on the Home Page.
ARTISTIC ERUPTIONS - APRIL - PRIVATE VIEW March 23 2017, 0 Comments
St Leonards Modern Goods will become a gallery space in April. The work will be an exciting combination of sculptures called "HOME" by art activist Beccy McCray and the "Glitch Series - Tai Chi Flower structures" by painter Marie-Louise Miller. Both artists are bold and confident with colour and create striking shapes in their chosen mediums.
The Private View is taking place on Thursday 13th April between 7 and 9pm. It would be great to see you there, or indeed during normal shop opening hours Tues to Sat at ST LEONARDS MODERN GOODS - 70 Norman Rd, St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex TN38 0EJ. Both artist's work will be on show for 3 weeks until the end of April.
Home by Beccy McCray
‘Home’ was a site-specific installation originally commissioned and inspired by local St Leonards art space 6 The Green’s past and present.
A celebration of the building’s previous elderly residents and a comment on the evolution of the space, these psychedelic, man-sized termite mounds explore what we mean by ‘home’.
6 The Green is in the process of being renovated by the current residents, who are transforming the space into a modern home. The building's previous incarnation was a care home for the elderly; and its original use a holiday home for well-off Victorians. Like humans and our man-made homes, termites live in societies too, and the termites’ mounds also usually outlive the original colonies. Often other colonies occupy a mound after the death of the original builders. And so the ever-evolving cycle continues. Far from a bleak interpretation of what it means to be ‘old’, ‘Home’ is a joyful celebration of the previous elderly residents as mythical beings, magical treasure troves of colourful stories and countless birthdays. Taken into the context of the natural world, these alien totems remind us of mystical fungus or cacti, alive and hinting at other worlds. Is it the end of the party – or is it just the beginning?
About the artist
St Leonards artist Beccy McCray explores playful, socially engaged art and design using a diverse approach that includes intervention, installation, participation, print, paint or whatever media necessary to create imaginative acts of resistance and more human moments in the world. Seeking to break down boundaries between art, activism and everyday life, Beccy ultimately aims to spread joy and inspire positive change at grass-roots level, using creativity to raise awareness of environmental issues and the social ideals that go hand in hand with sustainable and happy lives.
St Leonards resident and painter Marie-Louise Miller will also be showing her latest work on the walls of the shop.
“The secret life of flowers / Tai Chi of flowers” is the working title of a recent series of “Glitch” paintings of the unnoticed communication of nature. The imagined conversations of flowers thrust together in a vase, almost audible like WIFI; a constant digital hum. She paints the communication of the flowers as they take sustenance from the water in the vase, she watches carefully as she paints them, they turn to the light, they wilt and she imagines that she can see them reaching out to understand their new environment. The flowers in the vase are the centre of this universe which she explores. Marie-Louise paints the two paintings in tandem. One focuses on the external beauty and chatter of the flowers whilst the other is a response to the structural connection of the flowers in relation to each other and space. The colour conversation is the digital primary triad, cyan, magenta and yellow.
About the artist
Artist and Designer Marie-Louise Miller has always been obsessed with drawing. After completing her Foundation Diploma at St Martin’s School of Art & Design in 1991 a place on the Fashion Promotion & Illustration course at Epsom School of Art & Design offered Marie-Louise the opportunity to extend her drawing practice and her interest in the human form and psyche. Later in 1996, she attended The Roehampton Institute to study Public Art and shifted her focus to human spaces rather than human bodies.
After fifteen years creating bespoke designs for the world’s premier interiors Marie-Louise returned to full time fine-art studio practice and now works from her studio The Old Chemist, which she shares with her cinematic husband Mauricio Vincenzi and which is fast becoming a must visit creative space in the quirky seaside town of St Leonard’s on Sea. The Old Chemist is home to Endwell Productions and hosts Super8, cinematic, drawing; fashion and performance pop ups, happenings and workshops.
Marie-Louise was raised in South London and deepest rural France. She leads a Drawing Research group from The Old Chemist and lectures in Colour Theory and Fashion.
In 2015 she launched WEAR ART the digital extension of her fine art practice in ready to wear form.
The paintings are made using acrylic paints and will be available for sale at the store ST LEONARDS MODERN GOODS. Contact "K" for more information on firstname.lastname@example.org
VALENTINE'S DAY February 05 2017, 0 Comments
This year I've created a special Valentine's day menu heading on the home page so you can navigate your way easily to find that lovely gift for him or her. The items have been specially selected because they're the ideal small gift for him or her or in the case of the 1 day Workshops it's the chance for you to something creative together!
And don't forget, there's a free and beautifully gift wrapped P&P service with every purchase in the UK that's over £65!
Shop now for my best picks by clicking HERE.
YOU DESERVE BETTER! January Offer January 01 2017, 0 Comments
NEW SHOP, NEW YEAR! December 31 2016, 0 Comments
I write this on the eve of 2017.
The fireworks are ricocheting across the promenade; arcing into the sky, blossoming and erupting over our roof. 2016 has been beset by contrasts - the disappointment and uncertainty of Brexit, the rise of Donald Trump and the growing numbers of refugees seeking kindness and a new home. It's also been a devastating year of deaths - the entertainers and taste makers who formed and informed our creative souls.I dread to think that even as I write this ( it's 23:52 on 31st December 2016 ) we could lose another musical or showbiz icon.
On a much more positive note, it's been the year that so many customers and friends put their hands in their pockets and invested in ME. I can't tell you how amazing it felt to have you put your faith in me and help me make my dreams come true and get my first shop off the ground - a truly humbling experience - I still pinch myself when I unlock the doors each day.
2017 will be a fresh new year for my shop - it's been an amazing 5 months and the space really feels like home. It's my studio, atelier for bag making and retail space for men and women of all ages.
I look forward to adding fresh product and welcoming new customers to St Leonards Modern Goods soon.
I also want to thankyou all for continuing to support St Leonards online! After all, without you, the shop couldn't have been conceived.
So it's with my very best wishes I give you a special discount code to say thankyou - please type " IMKINDOFABIGDEAL " to get 20% off orders over £150. (Offer ends midnight 31st January 2017)
OPEN: ST LEONARDS MODERN GOODS October 23 2016, 1 Comment
THE SHOP August 03 2016, 0 Comments
So, you did it! We did it! I'm doing it!
Thanks to over 40 people who pledged funds towards my campaign firstly through my own website and then via the Kickstarter portal, I have just opened my very own shop! For the first phase I got enough money together to secure the 3 month deposit on my shop's lease (£2200) and then there was about £300 spare which I set aside to go towards my foirst month's rent and a bit more which I used to buy some leather to make stock.
Next came Kickstarter and that was quite an eye-opener despite being a global platform, it is predominantly used, seen and interacted by U.S citizens, so the reach was entirely down to my social media sharing and friends of friends spreading the word - I think if I had to raise money again, I'd just do it through my own website -That way I don't have to reach the target or jeopardise the lot, and I can also extend the deadline if necessary. Luckily for me, one of my aunts came to the rescue at the 11th hour to make up the shortfall so I didn't miss out on the £1800 that had been raised within the 20 days of the campaign.That's how I hit the target of £3000!
I then met up with the landlord and we signed the documents - I've got a 3 year lease with a break clause at 12 months "just in case"
I then set myself the goal of 2 weeks to turn the unit around - the interior was already beautiful with white delicatessen tiles on one wall and the matt black on the other. I then ordered some contemporary bookshelves and a central table to create a display area and began ordering the stock I'd been researching for the previous months!
The studio has now moved out of the house and into the back section of the shop where there's a beautiful sea vew and it feels so good to be there. I opened on Monday 1st August and was over the moon to have so many visitors and terrific sales on the first day! Here's hoping there will be many more to come.
I'm having a launch party on Saturday 6th August for friends family and crowdfunding investors in the business, and I'll do my best to share some photos of the event on a later post or newsletter.
I look forward to seeing you at the shop soon:
ST LEONARDS MODERN GOODS
70 NORMAN ROAD
ST LEONARDS ON SEA
EAST SUSSEX TN38 0EJ
LAST DAY FOR KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN! July 19 2016, 0 Comments
So, there's just a few hours left until the deadline closes for my Shopstarter campaign - I'm already a fantastic 111% funded! but every extra pledge counts towards getting my shop looking fantastic!
Whether you have £5 or £5000 to pledge please go to my campaign now http://kck.st/29eSKvK and support a new store on the Sussex coast!
SAMPLE SALE - BATTLE, EAST SUSSEX Sat 16th July July 10 2016, 0 Comments
Just a quick reminder that I will be mixing with the great and the good designers,makers and retailers at The Great Big Sale this Saturday 16th July from 10am til 2pm.
Other designers include, wallpaper designer Louise Brody, Pearl & Queenie jewellery designers, men's outfitters Dapper M, fashion clothing Who's Wearing What, Rekh & Datta, vintage fabrics, Vintage designer clothing by Rachel MacCarron and lots more!
A percentage of all sales will go towards the Sara Lee Trust so come along, do some super local shopping and support a good cause!
Venue: Battle Memorial Halls, High Street, Battle, East Sussex
SHOP STARTER on KICKSTARTER June 30 2016, 0 Comments
Some of you may already have been party to my social media waterfall over the last 3 weeks raising funds, so apologies if it feels like I'm becoming obsessed - but I'm now entering the 2nd phase of my crowd-funding campaign to raise money for my new shop adventure!
It all started with a secret squirrel whisper that told me the most desirable shop unit on the street was coming up for grabs and my ears PRICKED.
In my 5th year of my business, I've decided I need to switch things up a bit and I feel that opening a REAL store where people can come in and touch and feel my leathergoods, is the way to go, and with an ever-challenging, competitive field on the internet in terms of marketing, I feel like I'm harder to find compared to those brands with £100k marketing budgets.
With my seaside town on the UP and having more out of town visitors mooching through the streets I feel it's the perfect time to open up.
So now I need your help - I'm trying to raise £3000 to purchase the furniture and fittings for my store and in exchange for your pledges to give me your hard-earned cash, you can choose from some lovely rewards!
Click HERE or on the graphic above to watch the film and find out more. 19 Day to go!
NUMBER #3 - MEETING A FINE ARTIST - OSKA LAPPIN June 29 2016, 1 Comment
I'm excited to share with you my 3rd interview focussing in on creatives living in my seaside town, St Leonards on Sea, and this time the person "sitting" for me is Oska Lappin: a force of nature, and in my mind she's a heady mix of Grace Kelly's easy charm and elegance with a wicked wit, creative funny bone and an expressive painter's brush that slips between recounting a Hogarthian Den and a Disney dystopia. She deftly melds woodcuts, oil painting, etching, ceramics and drawing into energetic, often bawdy and thought-provoking pieces. She was also recently seen plunging into no less than 108 Solstice Day yogic Sun Salutations on the recently reopened Pier. Oh, and she RUNS.
Take a moment to grab a coffee and read my interview with Oska below:
1. How long have you lived on the coast and why do you like it?
I spent my ‘Formative’ years on the beaches of Maine in New England, then went to Art school in Philadelphia and bought a one way ticket to London fell in love and had my daughter shortly after…. During a month of sizzling weather in Hoxton circa 97’ I asked my husband if there were any beaches we could take a short train ride to besides Brighton as I felt it was more urban than I wanted so we caught the train to Hastings! It was August, azure sea, music on the beach the water was warm, so we swam, ate fish and chips, drank yummy cold beer, I was like a fish in water and cried on the hot train back to the city. One year later we sold our flat and raised our wonderful daughter by the coast. The only problem living somewhere you love and makes you happy, is the time passes so quickly; I’ve lived here 17 years!
2. Briefly describe the route you took from student to where you are now in your professional life. / How did you start your professional practice?
I declared myself an artist at 15, dropped out of art school in Philly, moved to London and started painting and sculpting, eventually went back to study printmaking at Brighton and got my M.A from Camberwell a few years ago…. I’ve always been a practicing artist, sometimes its tough as a narrative based expressionist,my work comes out of what influences me and what I encounter. I love living in St Leonards where the dichotomy is so varied and rich with characters, but this doesn't always make for commercial success…. luckily I don’t do what I do to get rich…
OSKA ADDING PENCIL AND CRAYON TO HER LATEST PIECES
3. Do you have a typical day, and what's it like?I’m a long distance runner so I wake up early knock the run out of the way, walk my dog to my studio and punch in my metaphorical time card…. I work solid until sometimes my hand is frozen into a drawing claw and I look at the time in shock and horror as it can sometimes say half four and I haven’t stopped for that cup of tea I was about to make 5 hours ago! I work until 7pm or so walk the dog home make dinner hit the couch cream-crackered with a drink and whack on the telly. I need to watch a lot of movies for my work.
PEONIES BLOUSE FROTHILY ON THE TABLE SET FOR TEA BY THE WINDOW -
EVERY SURFACE, INCLUDING THE HOT WATER SYSTEM BECOMES A GALLERY SPACE
OSKA BUILDS HER CLAY ONTO PRE EXISTING ANIMALS AND THEN TELLS HER STORY WITH CERAMIC FIGURINES AND HER SIGNATURE WOODEN BLOCKED PAINTINGS
4. What inspires you?
Music is essential to my work as I work within the narrative.I like songs that have a little story… Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Nick Cave are probably my core 3-5 minute lyric heroes…
SOME OF THE NEW WORK SHOWING THE ANTICS OF POODLE LADY
5. Are you working on a particular project or scheme right now? Please describe it and if you're having a show/exhibition/work deadline
I've just finished my work for a local show at the Rye Art Gallery with Gary Goodman….the new series I’ve made for this show is called ‘Supergirls on Holiday’ and includes titles like ‘Super Swede ability; to make everything a bit Bergman’ and ‘My own Personal Superhero ability; To Touch Faith’
OSKA WORKING ON HER LATEST PIECE SHE HAS SEVERAL DIFFERENT AREAS FOR WORK WITHIN HER TOP FLOOR STUDIO - THE UPRIGHT BOARDS SHOWN HERE, A DESK WITH OVERFLOWING TUBS OF ENTICING COLLAGE MATERIALS AND ASSORTED SURFACES TO WORK ON HER WOODCUTS AND CLAY
6. What's the best thing about being self-employed?
Making my own day up is the best thing about being self-employed if it’s lunchtime and a warm day I can grab my bikini and hit the beach….
THE NARRATIVE STYLE OF OSKA'S WORK OOZES A HEADY COMBINATION OF BAWDY AND COMIC, HER BRUSHSTROKES AND MARK-MAKING BOLD, SELF-ASSURED AND CONFIDENT.I SOMETIMES LOOK AT THEM AS IF THEY HAD BEEN CREATED 400 YEARS AGO - THEY SEEM BOTH ARCHAIC AND THOROUGHLY MODERN AT THE SAME MOMENT.
7. Do you already own a St Leonards product, if so, describe what is it and why it suits your lifestyle - and if you don't own a piece yet, choose a piece from the collection and say why it would be your dream bag!
OK. I have to say as a slightly disorganised artist I’ve always had trouble finding stuff in my bags (I usually arrive at my front door searching for keys in a massive freak out) but now I have my ‘Lucky’ utilitarian super stylish dreambag (The Van der Rohe in Cinder black) .It's worn across the body and goes over the shoulder. It's very simple, easy to use in a black soft leather with a chunky fringe tassel. My life has changed for the better. The cool thing about the bag is it looks bohemian and professional at the same time…I love taking it abroad its one compartment design fits all my documents inside with lipsticks, keys, and all-purpose junk, and my husband loves it too aesthetically and practically because now he doesn't get blamed for losing the stuff that’s already in my bag…
THE VAN DER ROHE AT HOME IN THE STUDIO WITH MAJOR FERGUSSON ON GUARD
THE MOUNTAIN OF OIL PAINTS MID-WAY THROUGH A PROJECT
8. How can we see your work?
My show opens in Rye Gallery, Rye, East Sussex on the 18th June and runs until the 17th July so please make a day of it and get over there.
And I will also be doing a car art boot art fair outside the Jerwood Gallery, Hastings organised by the Bricklane Crew on The Stade,Saturday the 16th of July 12-4 at the Stade…. it’s going to be awesome!
If you'd like to arrange to view Oska's work at her studio or find out where else she's exhibiting in the future, please contact the artist directly on: email@example.com
MEET THE BRITISH DESIGNER - ANNA WINSTON - LA LA ROOKH THE WORKSHOP June 04 2016, 1 Comment
As the second part of my series in showcasing some of the amazing local talent living and working in the Hastings area, I interviewed sewing expert Anna Winston who runs a seafront business called the La La Rookh Workshop.
K: How long have you lived on the coast and why do you like it?
Anna: I’ve lived in Hastings and St Leonards for 20 years… but when I was a teenager I used to hang out at the weekend with friends who lived down here … I feel like I’ve grown up here. I’m from Sydney originally but after a brief spell in London while studying Fashion I craved more space and a different kind of community.… My lifestyle in Hastings I think is the closest thing I’ll get to being back in Australia.
K: Briefly describe the route you took from student to where you are now in your professional
Anna: The route to my current job has been unconventional.. I had my first child at quite a young age so I’ve had to always juggle study or career choices around family commitments, financially I’ve had to turn my hand to anything just to get the bills paid… I’ve always fallen back on my ‘trade’ I guess.I don’t remember not sewing … My mother taught me. When I moved to this country as a teen I always had some kind of job… At about 15 I fell into making costumes for a local theatre which happened to be The Ellen Terry Theatre, a National Trust property and costume museum, (Ellen Terry was famous for playing Lady Macbeth in a dress made with beetle wings….) I worked there on and off until I was ready for University, I gained a huge grounding in fashion history and construction…I learnt on the job. It was a priceless education.. I was obsessed with costume. I studied fashion.and pattern cutting at Ravensbourse, I then studied Fine Art (Painting).at Brighton University I worked in a primary school teaching and caring for Autistic children … I worked in pubs and restaurants… And I made costume whenever I could., But having a family and being unable to network or work the long hours needed on sets and away from home, I decided the only way to get an ‘in’ was to specialise in something so I decided to become expert in making reproduction vintage swimwear. I created a bespoke brand called La La Rookh and the rest of my career has been about maintaining my skills as a maker … I opened a studio because at the time I was living in small rented flats and I needed a work space that was less transient… its difficult to take yourself seriously if you are constantly having to put your work gear away at the end of the day to serve dinner on the kitchen table. The La La Rookh Workshop was born. It was initially a means to an end, but quickly became the best thing I’ve ever done. I started teaching adults to sew (drawing on my experience in schools) and swiftly that grew into the studio I maintain today…. Classes for all ages in most aspects of clothing construction… and when I’m not teaching I still do costume work for film and theatre, small production runs and sample making.
K: Do you have a typical day, and what's it like?
Anna: Well it largely depends on the freelance work I’ve taken on and who I’m working for … if there is a tight deadline, I think about little else other than meeting it.. sometimes I have several production runs on at once. I have gotten to know my quiet times of year… both with class intake and with freelance work so I have created a program around those times. I find I’m taking on less freelance work now though, because while I have a young family I need more stability time wise and financially … so classes have become my main source of income… and I’m enjoying that freedom. I work with the Home School Network .. so I teach children most days of the week including after school clubs. .. I have regular adult classes too. And on the days I have off, I develop my clothing / dressmaking pattern brand (which is my new business project I have on going to keep me very, very busy)
This photo is from Anna's own website
K: What inspires you?
Anna: My family is my motivation… But in the studio, music keeps me focused, The album on repeat right now is Black Mountain’s ‘IV’ heavy psych rock to help me bomb through mountains of stitching… but I’m also listening to a lot of folk music at the moment, I’m learning the Irish fiddle ..it’s a different kind of brain exercise, it allows me to switch off work thoughts completely.
K:. Are you working on a particular project or scheme right now?
Anna: I’m working on a dressmaking pattern brand to complement the teaching work I do in the studio.Teaching home sewers for the last 6 years has inspired me to create a pattern brand that the sewer can aspire too, clothing that is modern and relevant to peoples busy lifestyles, elegant and above all, flattering.
K: What's the best thing about being self-employed?
Anna: The variety of my working life, you learn your limits .. but are constantly forced to push them. I’ve learnt I’m a work addict when I’m working for myself, I find it difficult to switch off… because I enjoy what I do. My work hours fit around my family commitments and if I have to take a day off for kiddy illness or sports day for example, I never feel guilty – and so I enjoy my family more.
K: Do you already own a St Leonards product, if so, describe what is it and why it suits your lifestyle
Anna: I have a Totely Canvas Satchel in red… It’s gorgeous. I know if I roll out of bed in the morning and haven’t had a chance to put together a nice outfit for the day because the school run has been hell, if I’m wearing my bag I still feel chic. I’m also coveting the Shire Bucket Tote -my daily carry quota has graduated to mammoth levels, so I’m needing something massive! I need to ditch the ‘supermarket jute bag chic’ pronto!
K: Anna, it's been a joy finding out about how your business works and that you're still enjoying using your British made Totely Satchel too! How can people get hold of you to enrol on your sewing classes or get bespoke clothing / costumes made?
Anna: Anyone can get in touch via my website which is: www.lalarookhworkshop.com
or they can email me using: firstname.lastname@example.org or by mobile on:07545757592
THE EDITed - ERICA DAVIES and her British made leather bag May 22 2016, 0 Comments
It's such a refreshing change when you find a REAL woman who gives you a fresh and totally wearable slant on modern fashion, and none's more stylish in an easy-wearing way than fashion writer Erica Davies and her daily blog "The Edited"
Erica has previously worked as a fashion journalist for The Sun, The Mirror and Look magazine and combines her role as a commercial stylist with Boden, M&S and Jigsaw and her own writing. Her own personal take on a fashion magazine takes the form of The Edited which is a visual feast about her personally curated fashion, home and beauty picks. I think that fact that she's a working mother with a highly attuned and refined sense of personal style makes her outfit choices so desireable and is the reason she's got such a huge following on her blog and on Instagram too.
Her style very much suits the St Leonards ethos of fun and effortless chic and the way she puts things together makes the perfect mix of colour and texture across a broad price bracket too.So I was thrilled when Erica agreed to take one of my British made leather bags out for a spin.
Here's the photo that went on to be published, It's showing off the stylish two-tone quality of the Robart leather handbag, currently available on my website right now.
I love the way she's combined the rich blue and berry combination of my Italian cowhide bag with the swishing inky fur textures and a skinny trouser. It's a blue and black look that's grown up and joyful for a day out in town or a meeting with friends.
If you like these looks, then why not subscribe to her blog today and ensure you keep getting your weekly fix of stylish and exciting fashion.
All photographs taken by Erica Davies -The Edited Blog
COLOUR CONVERSATIONS - PAINTINGS BY ARTIST MARIE-LOUISE MILLER April 11 2016, 0 Comments
My neighbourhood, St Leonards on Sea, is a hive of creative folk - designing, creating, making - we've all been lured here by a desire to see deeper vistas, wider horizons and a sense of "creative possibilities."
People love the mix of community and villagey caring community that comes with a small town.The poignancy of a wintry seaside town is also a lure.The beautiful sadness of off-season arcades and awe inspiring sunsets can be a powerful motivation for artists to move here and none more so than my artist friend Marie-Louise Miller.
Having studied art foundation at St Martin's London and then a Fashion Promotion and Illustration course at Epsom School of Art she then spent many years designing bespoke lighting and interiors for a luxury London based design studio but has now returned to her true love; drawing and painting.
When Marie-Louise first began painting full time she shared a model and studio with another artist and although the work began, as this does with a series of life drawings, exploiting the shapes, voids and emotions of that model in a highly experimental mark-making way, her latest body of work now feels very different. It's as if that move to her own space and the fermentation that a few more years of working alone has given her, has resulted in a fresh and evolving style. Her new pieces refract distort and shard her figures with a mixture of highly energetic poses; they cleverly meld a very bold palette with an almost frosted opacity and a completely new, more muted overlay. When I look closely it feels like I'm a voyeur spying on fractured elements of a figure. I peer through chinks of dappled light and vertical blinds. Then, as you step back to survey the whole, you see with fresh clarity the bold colours and human form resonating through.
I guess it's the essence of a being an "Impressionist artist" - she creates a fresh viewpoint, texture and whole for something which we think we all know and understand. Marie-Louise makes us see the body in a fresh way. Certain hues, which she painstakingly blends, can be traced back to a particular time in her childhood - the dusty dry heat of a teenage summer in France with family for instance -she records this by mixing a particular colour that will forever be linked to a coconut-scented sun tan oil and a cloudless blue sky.
Marie Louise's new Tai Chi practice has also been finding its way into her work - her daily energy levels, and the ebb and flow of her mind and body while she works, and her reaction to the light and shade as our seasons change, affects how she makes her marks and even the rapidity of the brushstrokes.It gives her poise and concentration to put in the hours of intensive colour mixing and working.
Above is a shot of a corner of the studio with a cluster of well worn cushions, a place to rest and ponder her day's work, with each fabric linking back to a past nostalgic reminisence.
Here's what the artist feels about her own work:
...and taken from text by Sarah J Lloyd:
She paints like a poet, without thinking, all the thinking has gone into the preparation for attending to the now with everything she has. The boundaries have been imagined, space is cleared and made ready, and then she simply pays attention to what is present, immanent, arriving. She is in essence a martial artist of paint and psyche, except essences are a contested philosophical area.
Miller's paintings are about the domain of aliveness and intensity itself. Her spacious intelligent responsiveness gathers up everything in it's path, and leaves a trail of perceptions, notes, sonic, emotional, gestural and chromatic traces or equivalences for the contexts and moments she's encountered. She has an incredible capacity to submerge her awareness almost entirely when she is working, as if disappearing into her investigations. Her paintings then are an honest outcome of this intense process, they mirror her voyage and are made of her meditations, responses and reveries. "
LOOK WITH FRESH EYES AT THE CARING WORK OF SEEABILITY March 10 2016, 0 Comments
Late last year a lovely lady called Barbara Weeden got in touch to tell me about the charity she works for called SeeAbility
Did you know that people with learning difficulties and or disabilities are over 20 times more likely to have a serious sight problem than any other section of society? Eye problems often go undiagnosed for a number of reasons - sometimes families are so engrossed in trying to resolve their child's physical and mental difficulties and fire-fighting various episodes that having an eye test is the last thing on their to-do lists. This can mean that young children have astigmatisms, lazy eyes and all sorts of more serious eye conditions to do with their eye health which go undiagnosed and they can then become young adults where their inability to do simple tasks like hold a cup or pay attention to someone talking to them becomes part of their long list of "disability symptoms" rather than having that issue attributed to them having poor eyesight. In some cases, people lose the sight in one eye because they never had an eye test during their entire childhood. They become partially blind for a reason that was entirely preventable.
I was astounded when I heard that so many young people don't have eye check-ups because High Street opticians just aren't geared up to testing the eyesight of disabled people and don't have the specialist training to cope with unpredictable behaviour or the location has poor accessability. See Ability provides an amazing service in sending especially trained opticians out to those that need it - whether it's to a care home so the person feels more relaxed and safe, or to do simple but highly effective eye tests in a number of creative ways so the right perscription and diagnosis can be given. Getting someone with special needs the right pair of glasses can really make a dramatic change to the quality of their lives and can improve their mobility and balance, ability to connect and engage better with other people as well as easing headaches and other ailments associated with eye strain.
It's an understated to say that having good eyesight in order to be able to enjoy life to the full and intereact with others is crucial - eyes are IMPORTANT, right? But for me - my eyes are also my business - seeing texture and colour, making my designs, having healthy working eyes are crucial to my creative passion and livelihood, so when I found out I needed to wear glasses for the first time at the age of 44 it made a big impression on me - suddenly, perfect eyesight couldn't be taken for granted - my food was blurred when I brought it to my face - threading my sewing machine couldn't be done in poor light or without glasses now, and having to learn when I need the spectacle "crutch" was a new skill to learn - so this year, when I also found out that the pressure behind my eyes was also a bit high and with glaucoma running in the family, it felt even more relevant to support this amazing charity.
Barbara explained that she was asking Sussex based businesses to donate prizes for their special dinner dance and auction and would I be interested? After seeing this engaging You Tube FILM showing the many caring and highly creative ways in which the opticians can assess and diagnose sight problems for those that need it most, I was more than happy to help.
I decided to donate one of my leather bag making workshops as a prize because I felt that it symbolised everything that I love to do - it's all about sharing a skill, looking, learning and SEEING what can be made from leather and having a long-lasting experience of making something tangible. Plus, who wouldn't want to go home with a wonderful leather handbag? The original intention was that it would be autioned off on the night, but in the end, it became part of their "gift tree" and a guest bought it for one of the SeeAbility staff members who really loves doing handicrafts and who really deserved it! So I'm thrilled to show you a photoograph of Miriam below who is proudly holding up her workshop voucher and I can't wait to meet her when she books in her session soon!
The SeeAbility Spectacular event was held on the 27th February at One Great George Street, Westminster and I am thrilled to say that it was a huge success.The Sparkling Gift Trees were particularly popular and contributed over £4,000 to the total sum raised of nearly £90,000 for the Children in Focus campaign. St Leonards was thrilled to be some small part of that fundraising exercise in 2016. Why not offer your services as a volunteer or how about becoming a gift donator at one of their future events?
If you'd like to learn more about SeeAbility, and the work they do, as well as the residential homes they provide, around the South East please click on this link
Congratulations to everyone involved!
BUILDING NEW DREAMS FOR GREEK FASHION February 01 2016, 0 Comments
Zeus + Dione: fashion’s modern Greek classics
Photograph: Yiorgos Kaplanidis for the Observer
Read this inspiring story about how two women resurrected a dying fashion industry in Greece and watched it rise phoenix-like into a sought after luxury fashion house.
BYE BYE BOWIE January 19 2016, 0 Comments
The world has spent the day in a quiet and saddened way, mourning the loss of David Bowie, the man whose creative genius spanned nearly 5 decades.I have worked whilst listening to Radio 6 plotting his life against musical notes - each one more poignant than the last.
I grew up dancing and nodding to Ashes to Ashes, Low, ALadIn Sane,Fame, and Let's Dance, whilst my mother ironed and we watched, jaws-dropping at his mesmerising videos on television. Later I was lucky enough to attend the Royal Premier of the film "Labyrinth" which was created for the BFI to raise money to appoint my father to build them their wondrous Imax Cinema at the then derelict Bull Ring in London's Waterloo.I walked the red carpet as a young teen, clutching my programme, praying I'd bump into him on the way to my seat.
I later spent 8 hours queuing with friends at Wembley's gates to see him in his Glass Spider Tour and as we ran across the pitch to get the best position, we laughed and screamed at how incredible it felt to be part of his musical adventure. We returned to school hoarse and unable to take part in the daily register for 3 days.
I fell out of step with his experimentation with drum & bass and Tin Machine but never failed to enjoy his ever-changing stage personas and avant guard fashions. He was a huge part of my creative influences as a teenager, bulldozering into my life as a designer.
I had never questioned his sexuality his use of makeup and outlandish costumes - it was just that he was an artist, choosing to go his own way, on his own terms.He was unafraid of the shock or ridicule it caused and rather revelled in creating a stir. I feel now, as a designer working for myself, that it's so important to be creatively TRUE to yourself - not yield to "celebrity" and other sheep-like "trends" - if you do, you might as well be employed by a High Street retailer, feeding the masses with what's safe and sanistised- the whole point of me starting my own brand from scratch is to strike out alone and hope that others will start follow and endorse what I do. So 2016 is the year I do more and more designing for ME - I might make some strange decisions or eyebrow raising colour combinations, but it will be a truth that fits into my St Leonards soundtrack - " The challenging 5th Album " (winks) And funnily enough, as I type this up now, I'm staring at a mood board I created this Summer with black and white photos of Joan Jett, Bowie and Robert Maplethorpe - there's a slash of metallic leather, patents and a slice of neon orange too...Feels like it might be the right time to be a Rebel Rebel after all.
Bowie, you will indeed be missed and never forgotten x
CHRISTMAS DELIVERY AND ORDERING November 23 2015, 0 Comments
GIFT VOUCHERS November 16 2015, 0 Comments
This is just a short blog posting to let you know that I have created gift vouchers for those of you who'd like to give a St Leonards product without the fear of choosing the wrong thing!
Vouchers are now available in £10, £50, £100 and £150 denominations and there's even one especially designed for the 1 day Workshops too!
Search for GIFT VOUCHERS or go to the HOME & GIFT section to find out more.
UP-COMING FAIRS & SAMPLE SALES NOVEMBER & DECEMBER October 26 2015, 0 Comments
SAT NOVEMBER 7TH SAMPLE SALE at a local studio in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex 40A Norman Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex
SAT NOVEMBER 28TH- BRIGHTON LAINES FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE CRAFT FAIR Ship Street, BN1 1AF Brighton East Sussex
SAT DECEMBER 5TH - BATTLE MEMORIAL HALL - 81 High Street, Battle TN33 0AQ , East Sussex.
SAMPLE SALE - SATURDAY 7TH NOVEMBER October 19 2015, 0 Comments
BUY BRITISH DAY - SATURDAY 3RD OCTOBER October 02 2015, 0 Comments
UPCOMING FAIRS AND SALES - November & December September 26 2015, 0 Comments
As Autumn creeps upon us St Leonards is taking part in a few fairs so it's the ideal opportunity to look and feel ST LEONARDS luxury leather products in the flesh!
I'll update this blog and facebook nearer the time but for now, put these dates in your diary:
SAT NOVEMBER 7TH SAMPLE SALE at a local studio in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex 40A Norman Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex
SAT NOVEMBER 31ST - BRIGHTON LAINES FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE CRAFT FAIR Ship Street, BN1 1AF Brighton East Sussex
SAT DECEMBER 5TH - BATTLE MEMORIAL HALL - in Battle, 81 High Street, Battle TN33 0AQ , East Sussex.
Keep your eye out for more details over the coming month - see you there!
COASTAL CURRENTS - OPEN STUDIOS 2015 - IT'S ON NOW! September 04 2015, 0 Comments
This is a little reminder for those of you who want to feel, touch and smell the gorgeous leather used at Seaside HQ, that Open Studios starts now.
Opening it's doors on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th September - St Leonards welcomes everyone into its home studio as well as showing the exciting professional photographic work of Tim Stallion, Alma Haser, Nick Ballon and Julian Anderson and the enchanted whimsical paintings of Kev Beaney. (You can click on some of the magery to find out more about the artists)
Doors open at 11am and we are open until 6pm.
Buy a piece of contemporary art, a beautifully handcrafted handbag or even a St Leonards Colouring Book! - yes you read it right - I've created 8 pages of colouring joy showcasing the tools, emblems and foods that I love while toiling here at work.
Tim Stallion - Hastings Photographer
A BREATH OF FRESH AIR - a week away from the studio August 17 2015, 0 Comments
My very wise uncle reminded me last year that just because I was self-employed it didn't mean I didn't have to watch "the boss" - He said I needed to make sure I was a good employer to myself, and ensure that I took the same time off to rest and recuperate that any full time employee would legally be entitled to. Which in the UK means 4 week's holiday annually.Yes, 4 weeks!
For those of you running your own businesses , you'll know that it can be notoriously hard to set aside regular chunks of time off -the old mantra " if you're not working you're not earning" rings loudly in your ears and often within the creative industries, we're somehow programmed to believe that because we're doing something we love, we're practically on holiday all year round and don't need a formal holiday!
So I set my email "Out of Office" reply and planned a day out in East Sussex. We're so lucky where we live - we are sandwiched between gorgeous coastline, idyllic chocoloate box cottages with picture postcard village greens, impressive stately homes and National Trust treasures.
Here I am relaxing in the privately owned Pashley Manor Gardens which is opened to the public during the Summer months- owned by Mr and Mrs James Sellick they live all year round in their Grade I listed timber-framed house, dating from 1550 which was then later enlarged in 1720. They opened their gardens to the public in 1992, having brought them to their present splendour with the assistance of the eminent landscape architect the late Anthony du Gard Pasley and their team of gardeners.
It has a very relaxed feel and a mix of large ponds and dense woodland as well as vibrant floral borders closer to the house.It's not a very large expanse so you can easily walk it in an hour. But what was almost more alluring was their inviting open air swimming pool (no bathing allowed) and their amazing lunch menu cooked fresh every day by 3 cooks with a dessert selection to put all the National Trust cafes to shame!!!
I decided that I'd experiment and try to do some sketching and dug out my ancient watercolour set and attempted to fire up my more artistic side - it was fun! It was so wonderful to be out of the house and office - because home is work and vice versa I find my mind is alwaya whirring about things I haven't done/need to do/should be doing - but out in the fresh air with a like-minded friend, we could really forget our duties and get stuck into the beautiful landscape.
Here I am lounging amongst the flower beds
During my week off I played crazy golf with friends and dabbled in watercolour painting
Finding a shady spot to draw the large pond and weeping willows
My sketches, a bed of artichcokes, my friend Lisa enjoying Pashley's incredible lunch, the view of the pond (sketch and reality)
Taking time out to do something completely different to your normal working week needn't be a massive extravagant holiday but it really rejuvenates your soul and gives you much-needed energy to get cracking with work again.
To find out more about Pashley click HERE
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