Friday, 18 February 2011

Shopkeeper of the Week - Ghost

This week we're taking a peek into the world of Ghost Furniture. Di Overton's Northumberland workshop and online boutique has been described as a 'flea market gone mad' and we'd add that it was possibly one of the first businesses entirely dedicated to upcylcing!

Di has a wonderful and unique style that has fans around the world. Think baroque, think concrete tassels, think chairs dressed up in antique clothes and you're getting there!

Here we take five with Di to chat about what inspires her. There's also currently a 50% sale on selected items in her shop!

How would you describe your work?

Bringing quality furniture back from the dead and making it hauntingly beautiful. Taking vintage finds and turning them into new and beautiful items with a touch of 21st century eco-chic.

Who/what are your biggest influences?

My biggest influence is what is around me at any one time. The world is full of inspiration. Being inspired by others can stop you creating your own individual style. I do share what inspires me on the Ghost Furniture website, we have a page showing some of our designs and what influenced me to create them. I did this with the intention of showing people how to be inspired.

Where is your favourite spring/summer place to visit for inspiration?

I live in the Northumberland National Park so all I have to do is look out of my window or take a walk up the lane and I can be influenced. In Spring/Summer it is a delight. Little lambs in the meadows full of wild flowers makes it the perfect place for inspiration.

What is your favourite item from your current collection?

It always seems to be the one I am working on at the moment but if I had to look at the collection as it stands now it would have to be the Marie Antoinette Chair.

Do you have any new items/collections about to be launched?

I am about to launch the Spring Collection which is influenced by decadence. 1930s satins, rich dark golds, blacks, dark greys and pops of vivid colours.

What do you enjoy most about being one of the shops in The Secret Arcade?

It's the closest I can get to having a shop in a Paris Arcade which has always appealed to me. Also it is perfect to be surrounded by other designers I admire.

You can visit Ghost Furntiure as shop No. 4 in the Homewares Passage.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Shopkeeper Of The Week - Tulip & Nettle

Tulip and Nettle are that rare thing; a successful children's wear business that manages to retain a strong sense of craft and quality within their collections whilst keeping it affordable and made in the UK.

Tulip and Nettle's children's clothes evoke a strong sense of pre-war nostalgia, of brambling in the lanes, hay making, scone eating and rock pooling. Based in rural Northumberland in a converted stable block they produce clothes for children with a few special pieces for their parents by 'properly paid adults'.

We took a few moments out with Amynta from Tulip and Nettle to ask her a few questions about the shop.

How would you describe your collections?

Tulip and Nettle sell clothes for children and a few special pieces for their parents. Everything we make is produced here in the North East of England as opposed to remote foreign factories, the clothes are made FOR children, not BY children!

Who or what are your biggest influences?

Tulip and Nettle clothes take their inspiration from diverse influences. I like to play with an image of say, Swallows and Amazons & an idea of an outdoor carefree childhood mood, but then apply the values that I appreciate in my own clothes so we look at the way Marni or Comme twist a seam here, turn a hem there. We hope that the clothes reflect eternal values but are utterly modern in interpretation. Hence Edwardian nursery meets polar fleece, a prim little frock gets styled over jeans or a lace trimmed antique mood petty gets presented as a dress in its own right. Sources have ranged from photographs of the Blitz, Singer Sargent pictures, royals as infants and Commando War Library!

Where is your favourite spring/summer place to visit for inspiration?

Everyone says this but the V&A is a constant. It is also important to see what's happening in mainstream fashion [Dover Street Market for example], but the location that probably has the biggest influence, is the Northumbrian countryside which surrounds the studio.

What is your favourite item from your current collection?

This summer we are really excited by the hand knit sweaters which are a relatively new project for us. The summer ones are knitted from a marvelous silky feeling yarn in bamboo viscose. It has an amazing drape. We have a crack team of grannies knitting away all over Northumberland. The jumpers have that gorgeous hand made quality with just that teeny hint of wonkiness that you want from an artisan product!

Do you have any new items/collections about to be launched?
The Spring collection is going up on line this month and the Summer additions will appear in late March.

What do you enjoy most about being one of the shops in The Secret Arcade?

What is so lovely about being in the Secret Arcade is the context that it brings to the range. It is a compliment to appear alongside such beautifully considered and special shops.

Visit Tulip & Nettle in the
within The Secret Arcade

Monday, 7 February 2011

St Valentine's Day - the start of Spring and a promise of love!

Traditionally, Spring begins on St Valentine's Day (February 14th), the day on which birds were thought to chose their mate (in parts of Sussex Valentine's Day was called 'the Birds' Wedding Day' - cute!) So love is in the air and there is a myriad of ways of expressing your feelings to your beloved - one of which is to give a token that will say something special and act as a timeless keepsake. So out with the obvious suspects and in with the uniqueness of the handmade gifts that abound the shops in The Secret Arcade. We have rounded up some examples of wonderment that any self respecting lovebird would be enchanted to give or receive .........

Romantic Settings

Set the mood with a pretty romantic lamp with sprigs of spring cherry blossom by Hannah Nunn or a delicate red heart crafted from Baltic Birch Ply. Both available from Radiance Lighting.

Make a Lasting Impression

An original print is a great gift at anytime , but one that is given as a love token is hard to beat. A visit to A Little Bit Of Art in the Books, Prints and Art passagway at The Secret Arcade is an absolute must where you will find a whole range of appropriate keepsakes .

Print available from A Little Bit of Art

Create a Love Nest

Design a whole new room using wallpaper to create an irresistible love nest! This Ibis Taupe & Magenta wallpaper by Turner Pocock is very elegant and romantic, with a repeat design of floating birds – perfect for a creating a romantic setting!

Wallpaper available from Turner Pocock at The Secret Arcade

Say it with Roses

The St Valentine's day favourite is of course flowers - from the romance of red roses to the giddiness of heady perfumes. A visit to the Beauty and Fragrance passage at The Secret Arcade is a must. Here you will be spoilt for choice with a dizzy array of all things roses from Simply Roses - beautiful hand-tied rose bouquets to handmade rose inspired toiletries and fragrant candles.

Bespoke Perfumes

What could be better than creating a totally unique perfume? Only one thing - to spend a romantic weekend in the glorious Cotswolds making it yourself and with the one you love! Visit Essentially-me to discover more......

A Secret Liaison

The Gourmet Soap Selection Box from The Littlecote Soap Co will go a long way in preparing for your evening of passion! Indulge your loved one with this gorgeous selection of handmade soaps filled with the aromas of summer fields! A full range of fragrant goodies can be found in their shop at The Secret Arcade.