I spent yesterday morning doing a full spring cleaning of the Studio shop area. Since Christmas it had been looking a little neglected - We have been so busy with Stockist's orders that we hadn't paid enough attention to it, but now that the snows have gone (fingers crossed) and York is starting to get busy again it was important to make the area look fab! We now have special areas for all our new designs and have done a big display for Valentine's Day. It must have worked because 'Heart' cards and brooches were practically walking out of the door by the afternoon. It just goes to show what you can accomplished with a bit of time, some thought and a 'Cath Kidston' flowery duster...
However, one of our shoppers told me in a shocked voice that 'Cath Kidston' dusters were not actually to be used! It did make me wonder what on earth you were supposed to do with it, if not to use it for actual dusting?? answers on the back of a postcard to; No 1 Barleycorn Yard... In any case it was part of my Christmas Present (along were some matching flowery rubber gloves) from my ol' Uni friend Jo and I am sure that she would be glad to know that I had used it... in fact given how untidy I was at University she would probably be 'amazed' that I knew how to use it but that as they used to say on 'Tales of the River Bank' is another story...
The exciting news this week is that we have received new orders from The Globe Theatre (Specially commissioned Bookmarks and Handbag Mirrors). Kelmscott Manor -Home of the William Morris (again specially commissioned Bookmarks and Handbag Mirrors) and have sent upon request similar samples to Dove Cottage - William Wordsworth. We also need to work on samples for Scottish National Trust in reference to Robert Burns and some vintage fabric brooches (1930s & 1940s) for the NPG. So definitely no rest for the wicked at Sumptuosity Towers! I really do love to do the historical/literary work because it means that I get the opportunity to use both my university education and a lot of my more specialised fabric stash; for example a bag of scraps of Indigo-resist Dyed cotton by Morris and Co, or my nineteenth century patchwork scraps. I am always telling John that these purchases will come in useful and so they do....eventually!
One of the things that is fun about working at Sumptuosity Towers is of course the lovely Sophie and Alanna - the Sumptuosity Fairies! And a key part of this is what we have now got to come to call 'The Sophie Question', when during any given time of the day Sophie will go a little quiet (as she is obviously thinking) and then come out with a 'random' question. An example that leaps to my mind this week is "Do young women still become Nuns?", Followed by "How does one become a Nun" and "How do Nuns earn a living?"... These questions always come completely out of the blue and leave you often reeling for an answer - I can only imagine the questions she must have asked her parents as a child, probably followed by the inevitable "why?" Needless to say I first discerned that she didn't actually want to become a nun herself before suggesting that she google it. I will try to make a note of some of the even more random questions that we get during the week so that you get more of a flavour.
This all reminds me of one of my favourite episodes of BlackAdder, where Edmund BlackAdder is helping Baldrick to fill in a form... 'Any sign of insanity in the family?', mmm he says, "I shall cross out the 'In' part. And so 'Any sign of Sanity at Sumptuosity Towers?'...absolutely not!
1: Using my 'Cath Kidston' flowery duster to Spring clean the Studio shop and finding out that I am not supposed to actually use it.
2: Seeing a family of Long-Tailed Tits in a tree in a courtyard on our morning walk to the Studio.
3: Finding a copy of Bee Wilson's book 'The Hive' at Minster Gate Bookshop to add to my Bee collection of Books.
Bye for Now,
Love Ruth x