- Ali Lawrence
It's been a while but I'm back at the desk after a few minor incidents. Emsworth certainly comes alive in the summer with visitors and busy waterways. The yachts, paddle boards and kayaks made the shore very exciting - I even saw a puppy on a board and couldn't believe my eyes! Some dogs prefer not to get wet! The neat bamboo picnic ware we sell has gone down well, so much better than nasty plastic.
The store has been busy busy busy so I am getting to know lots of great customers and people who pop in to chat to Mama Loz. Some people like to pop in as she is always changing the things she sells. This month there is new wood and tin ornaments that are made in the Philippines by three family owned businesses. In some cases, second generation family members. The materials are mainly tin and indigenous wood known locally as Dap Dap; a soft pine like wood. The wood is offcut stock from the local construction industry. The goods they export has meant they have been able to offer work beyond family members to many members of their village. Some of the production is outsourced which has allowed married women and mothers to be able to work from home whilst fulfilling family responsibilities. The volume of work has in turn meant parents can fund better and longer education for their children. Loads of pesky sea birds and boats out of sniffing reach now!
The store also is showing art from local people which is very interesting to me from floor level. Max Wilding, who paints in the style of Alfred Wallis, has been giving Mama L some of his paintings to hang but they don't stay very long.
Not all of the new art is painting, there are some amazing crafted Cornish Harbour models made entirely from the rubbish left on the Solent shores. Good things happening from bad actions? These little scenes are made in such detail that I need Mama L to pick me up to look.
Another artist has joined us and she is painting some terrific abstracts. They just pop with style and colour and are really different. Moluku is the name of her company and she designs amazing butterfly and beetle prints which are on great cotton and canvas shoppers. Mama L is delighted to find so much talent in Emsworth.
I didn't realise our store is in Hampshire but our house is in West Sussex but both in Emsworth and a ten minute walk between? It makes it a bit confusing for me but I'm a dog with little brain. You can tell that by the vet's bills Mama L had after I ate a cashmere sweater recently. All better now though and raring to go to work every day.
I'm glad the saucy plates with 'Tart' and 'Cupcake' written on are back and I suspect the Yvonne Ellen brand is here to stay. Lovely design but a bit whacky!. I like the Sophie Allport mugs and jugs a lot. I know Mama L has a stash of goods ready for Christmas but it's staying put until at least December. We've got lots of lovely autumn days to come and there are masses of cuddly, warm throws and blankets ready to go. I also really, really want to lie on the faux fur cushions that look very comfy. I love the cards from East End Prints but this is my favourite of all time ever ....
But why am I talking about Christmas? We've got so much to do before then. The Emsworth Arts Trail in September should be fun but I suspect I won't get to go. It's a dog's life sometimes. There are bank holidays and a lot more walks to take so I'll keep looking on the bright side.
I'll leave you with my most recent picture after the cashmere jumper episode but I'll be writing again soon about the exciting new goods arriving in the store - I can't wait to have a sniff of all the packaging that arrives and is then recycled properly, not just chewed up by me!