Artisans are impelled to make things, they get restless if they do not create something. They have an idea and then a burning desire to turn that idea into a material thing. Artisans like to work with raw materials and by hand, turn these often plain, everyday items into creative, unique, pieces of art.
One morning, having stumbled upon an article describing what an Artisan does - their passion to create, their desire to hunt out and collect the unusual and their constant flood of ideas for making - I realised that in many ways the words bouncing off the page were describing ‘me’. For ages I’d been thinking about ways to put together a little shop - to sell the many things I’d been making but also to share the wonderful things I’d collected at quirky antique fairs and various places I’d discovered through my love of venturing ‘off the beaten track’. My challenge was how to gather all these various ‘things’ and collate them into some form of organised collection.
An Artisan is often multi-faceted and can not be hemned in to one single field. They are often writers, musicians, artsts, actors, surgeons, interior designers, inventors and architects. Eversince I can remember I’ve loved creating things. As a child my Christmas presents to my family were always homemade delights that I was incredibly excited to hand over to the lucky receiver. I found immense joy in thinking of something, working out how best to create it and then spending hours putting each carefully thought-out detail together and of course perfecting it. (I’m not sure how much my elder sister Sarah really appreciated her carefully designed wooden spoon, beautifully wrapped and presented in the old shoe box I’d found or whether Nikki, my second eldest sister, was delighted with her 15th birthday cake which I had meticulously decorated with a portrait of her face! I do know my parents appreciated all the little things I put together and sent to them when I was in my early 20’s and working on the other side of the world...at least they said they did.)
This passion to create is still with me today...constantly. From the age of 4 I danced, by 12 I was doing over 20 classes a week and loved every minute. My father had insisted that all 4 of us (his daughters) should learn to play at least 3 musical instruments and so I screached on my violin, tinkled on our piano and enjoyed strumming on my guitar. I was also a keen actress, lapping up the opportunity for roles in the school play and chuffed to have been invited to be part of the local youth drama company. Later in life, having secured the degree at Uni insisted upon once again by my rather Victorian but hugely lovable father, I went on to dance professionally and even enjoyed minor roles in TV and film before moving into the world of fitness. Alongside being a Personal Trainer in London in the 1990’s I created my own dance/fitness class called MTV Moves. Back in the day this was a cool combination of Street/Jazz and Hip Hop with your more basic ‘Grapevines’ thrown in. I now like to think I was well ahead of the game...Zumba certainly wasn’t on the scene, and not for years to come!!
When I married I left London and joined my husband who was in the early stages of building up his wedding venue business - The Tythe Barn in Launton - a 14th Century barn on his families working farm. Here, together we continue to run the business, thriving on it’s sense of history and immensely devoted to what we do. A few years in I also realised I’d been given another window of opportunity to express my creative side.
Today’s Bride loves the beauty of the personal, the unique and something ouzing the handmade touch! So they should, it’s their day and all about the couple and their story. This can be expressed in so many ways for a wedding...through their stationery, their choice of favours, their table decorations or in beautifully personalised gifts to the Mother of the Bride, Best Man or little Bridesmaids. I love having this excuse to create to offer our couples bespoke, one off pieces that they can treasure.
And so we’re back to how to collate all these weird and wonderful things for my shop? An Artisan is imaginative, expressive, spontaneous, generous, loving and a little bit scatty but loves to find and create beautiful things, often by hand, which can be functional or just decorative. THE ARTISAN HOUSE is borne. Somehow, with the help of my three wonderful sisters, I have managed to separate this fantastic mis-matched group of things into ‘Collections’. The Artisan House is full of these beautiful products - be they handmade, carefully picked out by hand or sourced from skilled local craftsmen or artisans on the other side of the world.
The Artisan House brings all these pieces under one roof and although I love working with raw materials such as wood, copper and stone and adore the muted tones and textures these materials present, I hope that you will feel that these fabulous things make your world a more colourful place.
Now open that door and get browsing. I’m back off to my shed. Enjoy!