Well, what a week!
The first time we have done such a long event and we feel it was a great success, on many levels. People called in, & bought things! Decisions, consolidation, inspiration, development, ideas, plans, growth and changes. Miles of notes made, things to remember next time, things to do differently, and things that we want to do in the future. We had lots of lovely feedback from our visitors during the week and we were delighted to welcome so many local friends & supporters. We also made many new friends, passers-by and tourists from near & far, France, Germany, the USA and Sweden, who were thrilled to see something a little different and to enjoy a complimentary cup of tea or coffee, from the Tayvallich Inn’s new range, whilst they browsed. We hope we'll see some of them again.
We all introduced new products this week, Gill has had some cards printed with images of her paintings which are extremely attractive & were very popular. Kate tested the waters with some hand painted tea towels and cushion covers which were received well and will be added to her developing homewares range, and Kirsty brought along her new glass drinks stirrers which simply flew out of the door to the point where she couldn’t keep up with demand! All the items were greeted positively and commented on constructively which was tremendous, and very helpful.
It is easy as a solo artist designer/maker to develop tunnel vision, to become blinkered. You are focused so closely on your work, it’s not always possible to see where else you can take something, or simply whether it works or not. It is one of the joys of working with like-minded imaginative women, we can talk about our work, discuss ideas, take on board suggestions and changes, to be to be inspired by each other’s creativity creatively, in a positive way, and even plan some joint projects. We all have different skills and strengths to bring to the table, and this Summer House week has helped us to recognise these. It has been a pleasure to work together so closely and we’re looking forward to exciting, inspiring, creative times soon.
There is a slight change in the Homestyle line up, as Highland Homewares are going to fly solo, we wish them every success for their future activities. And the Tayvallich Inn will be more a venue than participant at other events and we are looking forward to working with them on some other projects that are in the pipeline.
With these kinds of co-operatives there is always the honeymoon period then the shakedown and settling in, deciding what works and what doesn’t work for each business. Being part of such an arrangement is the ability to be fluid, to allow and accept change, to be reactive and proactive, to allow each party the flexibility to do what's right for them and to support and encourage each other in our ventures and adventures! So, Kirsty, Gill & Kate are taking ‘Homestyle Argyll’ onwards and upwards.
August will be a busy time in our studios as we will all be preparing for the Artmap Argyll open studios weekends on the 24th to the 27th of August, and the 1st and 2nd of September. Kate is also taking part in the ‘Argyll Fest’, a showcase event being held in Glasgow at the Briggait in Merchant City, organised by CHArts, on Sunday the 19th August, and Gill will be at the Best of the West Fest in Inveraray in September.
In September we will start to focus on Christmas. It feels terribly early to be thinking about it, but with our other commitments, commissions and activities, it also feels right to designate a starting point, and to get organised.
We will bring you more news as it happens!
Kirsty, Gill & Kate xx
But, just in case you can't, here is a wee taste of what it looks like!
We're looking forward to our next event:
We're renting the cottage we used for the Christmas Collective weekend for a whole week this time. If ther weather's good then there will be tea and coffee in the garden and if not then sit in front of the fire and dry out!
Was a hot one! A very HOT one!
We put up the marquee in 30c heat & sun, under a cloudless blue sky. Exhausting, but we were grateful that it wasn't raining and there were no midges. Then we unloaded the trailer and put out our wares.
Our new flyers and banner have arrived!
I ordered them through Vistaprint and have to say we are delighted with them. I hadn’t shopped via Vistaprint for a long time then needed flyers for the Handmade Fair at a very ‘reasonable’ price. They were exactly what I wanted and arrived a day before I expected them. So I tried them again for this order as I know their banner prices are good. Again, delivery arrived earlier than expected, two days earlier this time, and everything is as good as I hoped it would be.
Here we all are showing off the new banner getting a bit windswept at the edge of Tayvallich Bay outside the Tayvalich Inn.
(This wasn’t a sponsored post by the way! Just passing on my experience. I need to get a banner or two and some leaflets for Artmap Argyll, our area Open Studios event and I will definitely get them from Vistaprint. I wonder if Needlesmiths needs another banner …….)
More again soon
With love from the
Admin Pixie (Kate)
Next up is the Scottish Game Fair at Scone Palace. In exactly two weeks time we will be packing up our wares (& a large marquee) and heading east to Perth. You will find us on Stand P32 Pheasant Row next to the Main Ring.
Having just come in from a wet dog walk, the first rain we’ve seen for four or five weeks, whilst the plants in the garden will be welcoming it, we will be hoping that it doesn’t hang around for long, as it is prone to do in Argyll. As I type, I have just remembered that, at home I have lines of, what had been, almost dry washing! Ah well, another rinse won’t do it any harm.
Kirsty & I have, just about, recovered from our adventures at the Kirsty Allsopp Handmade Fair in Warwickshire. Sales were perhaps not quite as good as we’d hoped, but we had a very jolly time, met some lovely people, and caught up with our respective English relatives & friends.
In our individual studios we have been beavering away. As our thoughts are turning to the Scottish Game Fair.
We will have Gill’s original art & beautiful, seasonal floristry found at Love Dove Cottage.
Animal heads, doorstops & cushions, colourful, quirky items stitched by Catherine from Highland Homewares.
Sparkling fused art glass expertly made by Kirsty of A Touch of Glass Studio
Hand painted & stitched cards and unique lampshades by Kate of Needlesmiths
Gift vouchers for delicious food at Tayvallich Inn from Kathryn
Our prices range from just £4.50 for a hand painted card through the £20’s to £50’s for art & art glass into the £100’s for a large quirky stuffed patchwork deer head or lampshade!
More examples of our work can be found on our own websites & social media pages:
Don't forget we will be at P23 Pheasant Row next to the Main Ring
Do come & say hello, we are running a Prize Draw to win a hamper of Homestyle Argyll homewares worth over £100 simply by signing up to our – not terribly frequent - newsletters!
Our grateful thanks to the Multiple Sclerosis Centre in Lochgilphead for lending us the marquee for the weekend.
Looking forward to seeing you there!
Our first event of the year and Easter weekend dawn bright and blue and sunny, and bloomin' cold! However, & most importantly, it was dry (& despite 'yellow warnings' for snow, there wasn't any).
We set up Catherine's bright purple gazebo on the green in front of the Tayvallich Inn. Difficult to miss us!
Although each of us has a very different style, and we make very different products, when we style it all together it does look good, even if we say so ourselves!
Highland Homewares and Needlesmiths debuted a couple of new additions to their ranges, doorstops & cards respectively.
Our next event is at Scone Palace for the Scottsh Game & Wildlife Fair in Perthshire
So that's how it all began.
We enjoyed working together so much that we decided we couldn't wait until Christmas 2018 to do it again! So we're planning to hold events and to visit fairs throughout this year, as a collective enterprise. First up is a proper planning meeting, so long as the snow doesn't scupper the plans! There are already some dates in place, where one or other of us are already booked to attend events and some tentative dates and venues pencilled in.
Exciting (& busy!) times ahead!
Our last Christmas Collective event was for two night at the Marmalade Deli in Lochgilphead. Everett & Jenn Jaime had kindly invited us all to be part of their late night opening Christmas shopping event.
Where for two nights only, some of the 'meat products' were stuffed and not for human consumption! Lampshades and glass tealights jostled for position over the cheese counter.
Cushions piled up atop the fridge, and a display of seasonal branches decorated the front windows adorned with glass decorations.
Catherine's colourful stuffed animal heads popped all over the shop and looked beautifully rustic alongside Gill's countryside wreaths.
We had a lovely time chatting to all the customers who might have come in for a packet of spices, but then left with a tea cosy too!
This was the last event for the 'Christmas Collective' until next year when we hope to do it all over again as we've had so much fun working together.
Where we took over the restaurant area for the evening!
Planned for just Thursday evening, but we stayed for Friday night too -
Due To Popular Demand!
Arriving on a cold but sunny afternoon during the evening it started to snow. Visitors to the pub commented on just how Christmassy it all felt, especially as everyone was welcomed with a glass of warming mulled wine.
Local artists, Susan Berry and Caroline Plummer, also had work on display.
Shoppers nipped in to see what was on offer between courses from the bar area, and Kathryn shared samples of the planned Christmas menu as canapes to go with the mulled wine ~ the sticky toffee Christmas pudding was divine!