#nofrillsfriday sharing the love: Oxford-style!

Our first real bricks-and-mortar stockist, The Old Fire Station Shop, wrote a lovely intro to us and our work!  It's very exciting, and as we're only just into our second year trading, it feels like a fab step in the right direction.  Even better than that, we're featured alongside two other great makers (Vaux St. - incredible minimalist beautifulness, and Muck and Brass resin and flowers!  Want!) that we'd never heard of, and are now following on all the relevant channels!

SO - if you're in Oxford or the area, and you wanna see some of our pieces in the flesh, or you're a big handmade supporter, we reckon you should get your skates on and go have a mooch at the shop!

#nofrillsfriday - why do we make and create, why do we consume?

Forgive me, I don't really like people.

En masse that is, it makes 80% of us our worst selves.

When gorgeous, lovely, naive and optimistic dreamers ask:

"Why can't we all just get along?"

I can tell them why, It's called commuting.

When people revert to a base survivalist instinct during that peak of human mass activity and lose all sense of respect and manners, how can we expect them to be kinder at the big stuff? Especially when the small stuff seems like a mountain. Having said this when another fellow commuter holds the stead fast sincere, politeness and manners I adhere to, they restore my hope that my most cynical instincts aren't true. 

So, between my bin stealing neighbours and my ill mannered commuting cohort I felt pretty grumpy this morning. 

That was until I took the time during my morning e-mail check to randomly read an article in Forge Art Magazine

Like a lot of the best magazines its a free digital mag. I've been to NYC many times as my oldest BFF lives there and also publishes a free digital mag, Clutter Magazine, a perfect read for your designer vinyl fix and DIY toy/art makers. However I had never been to a little shop in Brooklyn called Desert Island. Its now on my 'to visit' list next time out. 

Image courtesy of Forge Art Mag

Image courtesy of Forge Art Mag

A feature on Desert Island's owner Gabe Fowler resonated deeply this morning. We are both long time comic and zine buyers. We are collectors/hoarders of physical shiny things. I only download music if its free or comes with a vinyl record I've bought. I want the physicality of liner notes and the ritual of choosing and opening a case/sleeve. 

The article writer, Matthew James-Wilson makes an astute observation that I know to be true about my experience of browsing and buying from comic book shops:

"I believe what the store truly specialises in is exposing people to the work that is waiting to leave an impact on them and giving them the confidence and platform to continue making art themselves" - Matthew James-Wilson

As makers ourselves and enablers of others creativity we rely upon the physical exploration of materials and how creating connects to our own personal experience and identity. Just as a book can leave a mark, jewellery can act as armour and an expression of who you are.

My favourite comic is a ltd, hand bound, sketch cover version of Jeffrey Brown's 'A.I.E.O.U' - he's a pretty big deal now after transitioning from writing and drawing about relationship anecdotes for indie publishers to observations on parenthood in the Star Wars universe stocked in your local supermarket. There is a reverence to handling and opening this precious book and the honesty and sincerity of those relationship moments that are universal hits home in their rawness. Just thinking about the first time I opened that book, upon its arrival gives me slight goosebumps and a sense of awe at that little book.

The article inevitably explores the impact the internet has on the demand for print media. I don't buy digital comics, even though I know I don't live in a house big enough for all of my stuff.  Do we lose something if we only gorge on culture and art through a screen? How does the filter and distance that provide impact upon our experience with those images and words?

"I guess if I have a fear as someone who's basically getting older it's that a younger generation will be totally fine with coldness of the internet, and to me its all alienating about culture. I don't want culture to be cold. I want culture to be warm. I want it to be about human interaction." - Gabe Fowler

The tactile nature of opening a book, breaking a spine, handling your jewellery and putting it around your neck. Your decision to invest in these things and undertake the ritual of these acts creates a connection that each creative maker hopes for.  Makers create firstly for themselves and then hope it can only find meaning and an aesthetic interest to strangers across the world. 

Seeing you wear our jewellery and your feedback makes me feel a little less alone, a lot more purposeful, and a little bit like a sea of change could happen on that morning commute to make it a little less frustrating and a bit kinder.