Love it: Future Vintage finalists

Our ten finalists for the 'Future Vintage' customising competition have been chosen! Can't wait to see them at our fashion show at Live it Vintage on Saturday 4th August!

Love it
Sammy xxx

Love it: Sunshine!

You may have noticed I've been a little quiet this last week, I've been working hard..... On my tan! By Wednesday I will be back behind the counter at Sew Crafty, working on final preparations for 'Live it Vintage' so I thought I would take the opportunity to post a couple of my instagrams (@samanthaclaridge) of the views I have been enjoying this week.
Loving my tan!
Sammy xxx

Live it: Sew Crafty and the Torch

Well it is a Historic day for any town in the UK when the Olympic torch makes its way through. On the 10th of July at 11.15 am it was Maidenheads turn. As many of you already know I am hugely proud of the town I call my home and yesterday Maidonian's didn't disappoint, coming out in force to watch the torch jog down our High Street!

My little store was lucky enough to be on the route so we had an amazing view! We were able to open up as usual and just take in the atmosphere as people started to arrive.

There was a lovely old chap took up his position at 8.45am so he knew he would have the best view, within easy reach of refreshment at 'The Bear'... I don't blame him!
 By 10.30am our end of the street had started to bustle with BBC news crews and excited children waiting for the once in a lifetime view of the Olympic torch running past our noses, in true British spite of the weather!
I took my space next to my Dad, Miss Anna one of our Groves Sales reps and friend of the shop Russel, so I could get a good Photo of the torch as it passed our shop.

 I couldn't resist a cheeky pic of Maidenhead's finest keeping the crowds in order... Hot fuzz!

Some of the locals even taking to the rooftops to get a view as the streets became packed with residents and visitors of all ages. With a cheer that rippled down the street the police escort arrived, waving to the crowds, anyone would have thought we were there for them :)

The music from the sponsor's vehicles hit us well before they did, with cheerleaders getting us in the mood for the torches arrival from Samsung's blue bus, and Coca Cola handing out free drinks, from their party bus.

Although we were all hoping that the LloydsTSB bus signalled free money as the Cola bus had offered us with drink, alas it was not to be, but they did have some fancy acrobats, and a super cool retro vehicle!

As our neighbours lent further out of their windows to get a better view I knew the main event was on its way, and then with a loud roar from the crowds the golden torch appeared, held aloft by our sections torch bearer Bob Block, MD. 

He looked right in to my lens and gave me a beaming smile as he jogged past! He looked so excited to be greeted by so many people, I think the smile on his face will be lasting for quite some time!

The torch was carried by Bob Block age 69.
As the 2011-12 American Academy of Pediatrics president, Robert Block, MD, has capitalised on his extensive leadership in children's health and well-being to make a difference in health care policy development. He is also an award-winning teacher in general pediatrics and manages a thriving paediatric clinic for more than 12,000 children. Having presented more than 2,000 community and professional talks, Dr. Block believes that delivering the best health care has only limited value unless all children have equal access. His incredible commitment to children's health over the past four decades inspired Coca-Cola to recognise him for the Olympic Torch Relay.

 As you can see I managed to get my little shop in the back of the shot too!
 This is definatly one for the Sew Crafty scrapbook.

Living it in Gold! It's the new black, don't you know!

Sammy xxx

Who's Who: Kirsty Whitlock

This week we managed to catch up with Kirsty Whitlock, who has just won the Embroiderers’ Guild scholarship for 2012 and is from H' home town.  I saw her work in the local paper when visiting the folks and decided that you lovely people should know a bit about her!  

Artist Bio
Kirsty Whitlock graduated in Design Crafts at De Montfort University in 2009, gaining a First Class Honours. Here she established the use of materials and techniques she continues to use in her own practice today, as a Designer/Maker in Mixed Media Textiles.

She is currently based in Hampshire, where she continues to practice and develop an exciting new body of work.

Kirsty aims to push the boundaries of embroidery through the use of materials and application, eager to break the preconception of textiles. She wants to brace the future with works that surprise and inspire.

How did you start with Textile art? 
My degree is where I established the use of embroidery and the materials I continue to use in my practice today. During my final year at university I spent a lot of time exploring paper as a material; combining this with machine stitch I became extremely excited how embroidery had the power to transform a material or surface. I was immediately attracted to the tactile qualities and process of machine embroidery, using this as a drawing tool and a technique for mark making. 

Where do you work?
Working from my home studio I am working to commissions, exhibitions and retail fairs. Nether less I still work part time as a front of house assistant at my local theatre to support my practice.

Your current collection includes 'finishing off' discarded items with textiles, how did this start? 
During my degree I was particularly eager to challenge the preconceptions of embroidery as a ‘limited conservative craft’, so I became interested and curious in sewing on materials and exploring subject matters that were not normally associated with embroidery. I love to re use materials if I can sew on it I will usually work with it!

What are some of your other collections like?
Other collections of my work comment on issues of the economical climate and are corporate culture; I have also recently launched an Interior accessories collection too! Transforming the surface qualities of paper into cloth.

Kirsty, you recently won the Embroiderers’ Guild scholarship, so what are doing with it?
I am currently working on my proposed project titled ‘A stitch in Time (2011).’ The aims for my time on the scholarship are to investigate the relationship between textiles and graphic elements such as typography and ephemera. I want to explore the partnership of digital technology and handcraft, integrating both processes reflecting on the process of change and how digital technology impacts on our society and daily lives.

I am currently exploring the potential of communicating ideas through stitch, print and digital technologies. I intend to explore how textiles can be concerned with and comment on contemporary issues and affairs focusing on last year’s London Riots.

As part of the scholarship I have been invited to display my work on the Guild’s stand at the Knitting and Stitching shows in London and Harrogate at the end of the year. I will be displaying my proposed work at the Guild’s AGM in April 2013.

What does the future have in store for your textile art? 
A personal ambition of mine would be too be involved with a site specific project or commission. In the future I would love to have the opportunity to collaborate with other makers, architects and graphic designers.

Where would you love to see your work hung?
As of yet I have only had to the opportunity of exhibiting my work in a gallery setting so would love to view my work in a open space, It would be great to see my work in a new perspective. The Tate Modern is a dream of mine though!

Kirsty’s work is currently exhibiting at:

Magnificent Stitches
The Embroiderers' Guild Celebrates Embroidery
28 April - 16 June at Guildford House Gallery, Guildford

Magnificent Stitches is a celebration of embroidery, the Embroiderers, Guild, and of course its members. The local Guildford Branch will be featured with a display marking its pearl anniversary - 30 years as an Embroiderers' Guild branch.

And some Forthcoming Exhibitions:

2nd Aug - 27th Oct 2012 at Unit Twelve Gallery, Stafford.

Found: vb. to bring into being; to discover by chance; to come upon by searching; to perceive.
Work from Jennifer Collier, Judith Brown, Lucy Elsie Harvey, Alys Power, Kirsty Whitlock, Iain Perry, Naomi Greaves, Lucy Harding and Tracie Murchison.

The Knitting and Stitching Shows 2012
Alexander Palace, London 11-14th October 2012
and Harrogate International Centre 22-25 November 2012

Well established as THE textile event of the year, The Knitting and Stitching Show is a feast for the eyes to anyone interested in textiles! If you are passionate about stitching, knitting, quilting, crafts or any other form of textiles you're in the right place!

I think we will definitely go and check out her work when we go to the Knitting and Stitching show in October and I love the idea that items can be finished with material.  I am a little obsessed with materials, so I don’t know how Kirsty chooses!

Live it

Love it: First week Jitters

As I told you last week I started at The Lightbox, Woking, Surrey on Wednesday. I was really nervous to start with as when you start a new job you always have that 'Will they realise that I'm not as good they thought' moment.

But this week was all about going in at the deep-end as one of the local College's had their final show in the museum's galleries and so I thought I would show you what they had done. The students are between 16-18 and so some will be going off to uni to carry on the work and others will be going to do other things - which really could be a shame for some.

They pretty much sorted themselves out with where they were putting the work and so I didn't really have to do much. But I did manage to fill up my diary with all the workshops I am going to be working on throughout the summer from 'Bubble fun' through to storytelling and drawing.

The work really was amazing and I can only wish that I could paint like these kids now, let alone when I was younger.

I can tell I am going to be very inspired here in my new role, Bring it on!

Love it

Live it: New Beginnings

I said last week that I would tell you more about my decision to leave London. 

I have lived in London for over 4 years now and although I only came from the Reading area originally, it was always a place I wanted to live as it could open opportunities for me to work in the creative/museums area that I trained in with a Design degree and a Curating Masters behind me.  I came to London after I had already been working in outdoor events for the past 3 years near Basingstoke. I  was working on hot air balloon Festivals, music, Transport and fireworks events,  alongside working on some education and Theatre work, you gotta love a portfolio career. Whilst in London I worked for the same company for over 3 years and throughout that time I worked on my own amazing events such as the Boat Race (you know, that famous Oxford vs. Cambridge one), Polo, Japanese Cultural events and arts events to name but just a few.  I had a great time, working with some great communities and sheltering from the rain/ extreme sun from time to time.  But, in time my role became much more administrative and less events orientated, which for me, just wasn't what I loved about it.

So, I started looking for another job and after some soul searching and a-lot of moaning on a Monday mornings to all who would listen, I took the brave/crazy step and quit my job.  It wasn't making me happy, in fact it had got so bad, I just didn't even have the energy to be creative any more. 

Since I quit in September I have interned with the Make Lounge in Islington, London; worked at Kings Place Music Foundation on various roles and stints to assist them when looking for new staff and found out much more about the Kings Cross area of London.  I Volunteered at many museums in London to learn more about education and re-learn some skills. I have started on my TEFL course and still tackling that one; Led some craft workshops with Sammy down at the Craft Coop shop in Maidenhead and last but no means least learnt so much more about me and what I want to do in my life.  It revitalised my love for museums and the arts and made me realise that, museums is really where I see myself.

I filled in so many applications I cannot even tell you, lets just say that even when I am qualified for the role, apparently sometimes that just isn't enough.  One thing that strikes me as odd, is that when you have exactly what they are looking for you don't get an interview and other times when you are not as qualified, they take a chance!  It did start to get me down and there were some moments where I doubted my experience and knowledge and so my confidence definitely took a few knocks along the way, but eventually  I got just what I was looking for.

Tomorrow, I start at The Lightbox in Woking and this is where the leaving London part comes in!  I will be commuting for a bit as my current housemate's need to find someone else, just as lovely to replace me. but after that I will be moving closer to my new job.

I will be Learning Officer for the museum and so running sessions, devising new education plans and all manner of other things that need to be done.  I will be part of a small education team there, but one of the great things about being in a small team is that you can really get stuck in.  I know my first job will be to assist the local College with their final show set-up which opens on Wednesday, which is great.  I hope they give me an electric drill!  he, he.

I will be leaving busy London for a life in Woking (when I find a place to live of course).  But with and HG Wells centre (due to War of the Worlds being based in nearby Horsell Common)  and a huge shopping centre to explore, I am sure it will just feel the same as Shepherds Bush after a while.  It's going to be different, but what an adventure, and as they say you gotta keep moving forward and if that means leaving the big smoke then so be it.  Maybe it will be the best thing that has ever happened to me, or maybe its just a bit different for a few years.  Who knows what could come next!

I will update you in a few weeks to how it is going, after all, I might even encourage a few of you to come see the museum!

Live it