Words of appreciation on an autumn evening in Wales

Having launched our on-line shop – we are getting messages of appreciation and enthusiasm from far and wide.Spellings are being corrected as predicted in my last missive – but what is food for the soul – are the words of encouragement and excitement about what we do – from friends and complete strangers.And yet are they strangers?We have a link – the clothes that we make are worn by people who appreciate our art enough to part with hard earned cash in order to be part of the creativity – they put life into these inanimate objects and the garments create a bond between the creator and the wearer.A bit like a fish – without water it cannot live and the water has no life unless it has something living in it.

This one to one communication has, in the past, been a very rare occurrence for us.We used to meet so few people – having the cold wall of the shops between us and the ladies who choose to wear our work.For example a while ago we had a special order from a shop – we created the outfit according to the wishes of the customer, the information conveyed to us through a third – no a fourth – party.I was so thrilled with the result that I dressed the mannequin up in the outfit and the girls went into the studio to have a look and marvel at the product of our combined work.The order was despatched – did we get a reaction from the shop – no just: ‘the customer has collected her special order’.Is it vain of me to want a few words of appreciation?Yes I suppose it is, but you can lose confidence if you do not get a reaction, even a second hand comment warms the heart.

There have been some very special store buyers who conveyed the passion and enthusiasm that they felt when the new order arrived at the store, and we would even get the names of celebrities who had been into the store and bought the clothes – but these were rare.Mostly a buyer might go to the exhibition, crash around amongst our precious gems – comment that they ‘might be able to move one or two pieces’ – leave everything in disarray – go away and then after two months prevaricating cancel the order because we did not fit into a recognisable category – we were not bling, red carpet, celebrity cloned nor did we make things out of nettles and banana leaves.

One such buyer was so offensive that I refused to sell to her.Was that arrogant on my part – no not really – if a buyer did not like the collection, but had been told by her seniors that she should buy it – she would make damned sure that it did not sell in order to justify her opposition.When someone like that is rude about the clothes and offensive about our lovely model – that is a very strong indication that she does not relate to what we do and therefore would not convey any enthusiasm to the shop floor staff – who are, in fact, the most important link in the chain.

So you see getting these lovely e-mails from people expressing enthusiasm for what we do is so encouraging and a real bonus for us – from other artists who otherwise we would know nothing about, such as a water colour artist in San Francisco – Ruth Koch – such talent – beautiful real plants painted with love and understanding about light and colour.Another artist living in Turkey – WOW – how did he find us?

There is a picture on Ruth’s site that could have been painted in our garden.

www.ruthkoch.com

Now I need to go outside and absorb some colour combinations – the autumn is a gold mine of colour with sometimes a hidden surprise.One time I remember driving up a leaf strewn lane – at the side of the road was an abandoned drink can – brilliant electric blue in amongst the copper and gold of the discarded beech leaves.My first reaction was – what a colour – then b*****s for throwing rubbish out of a car.My eyes and brain are tuned first to colour – then to the environment.The interests are very close, but the colour wins every time.I wanted to pick up the can and start a collection of squidged drink containers (brightly coloured ones of course) – I thought perhaps a piece of conceptual art entitled: ‘Road Kill’!Well these conceptual artists seem to get better attention than those who have strived to achieve real craftsmanship to express their art.

Blue foil fish in rippling tide.

Yes – I saw the blue colour first – the complained about the litter after I had taken the photograph!

Now I can express words of appreciation to those who have taken the trouble to express the pleasure that they have experienced when wearing our clothes – and shared with us the little anecdotes to tell us of their understanding and love of colour and the sensual quality of the fabrics out of which we create the body and home textiles.  That is you – Sandra who wanted to wear your husband’s vitamin D tablet on a cigar band because of its glorious vivid green colour!  Beauty does not necessarily have to be valuable – it can be as transient as a rainbow or drifting sand on the beach.

A rainbow seen from our house by the seaside – nature magic

Lost – a golden shoe

The lighter side of a log

Fish-eye

Transient art – a fish drawn with seaweed, laurel leaves, driftwood and a tennis ball held together with drifted sand.

And finally how nature can inspire

Maureen’s cabbage

Explanation: a cabbage leaf found in my cousin’s garden – the soft velvety colours of a beautiful skin found in a cabbage leaf!  Roses are not the only plants that transform into a new beauty as they age.

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