Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Pop-up Pleasures

The Starch Green Kindness Jug first seen at Nothing But Navy
One of the trends that I most enjoy at the moment is the rash of pop-up shops that showcase the creative and ingenious talents of marvellous people. They represent the passing pleasures brought to the public by people with a story to tell, a living to make and the need to spend more time making than selling.

Pop-up shops have many forms and a long tradition. The 'definition' is really the ability to arrive at a venue, create an environment that presents a story to your audience, primarily to sell something, and then disappears again. The tangible presence can exist from a couple of hours to a few weeks. The long tail (and long nose - if you count the stuff before the 'happening') of PR, tweets, websites, blogs and, even, gossip, can keep it alive much longer. Rooted in the traditional 'flash mob' retailing of the street market, pop-up shops have a wealth of experience to tap into. And they add immensely to the vibrancy of what may be an otherwise sagging High Street.

Nothing But Navy have curated two pop-ups so far. Initially in Stroud for a month, Gem Waggett's concept came together in fine style for a month before Christmas, using Twitter, @NothingButNavy, in exemplary style, and tweeting her 'product of the day' daily. The clarity of her vision, 'nothing but navy', gives a sense of purpose and coherency to the shop, and tapped straight into her own personal narrative. Very compelling. Very stylish. Navy is one of the most sophisticated of colours and, of course, was much favoured by the fashion designer Jean Muir, to the exclusion of every other colour. The second manifestation was within the delightful Luna and Curious in Shoreditch. A tiny exhibition space transformed into a cool, shrine-like worship of the sea-worthy colour. We were inspired to create our own navy products for her, our Lobster Again mug and now the Kindness Jug. Look out for more Nothing But Navy pop-ups soon.
Emily Sutton, St Jude's at Tinsmith's
Tinsmith's in Ledbury curate regular pop-up exhibitions integrated into their exquisite shop, the epitome of modern British style. Just finished is the St Jude's at Tinsmiths with lovely prints by Angie Lewin, Mark Hearld, Christopher Brown, Emily Sutton and Ed KluzSt Jude's themselves are masters of the pop-up exhibition and will be re-visiting London soon at the Coningsby Gallery with Angie Lewin, Mark Hearld and Emily Sutton from 24th May to 2nd June, 2012.
One of my favourite executions of the pop-up genre at the moment is Reginald Spleen and his Travelling Snuff bar. As he says,"A Suitcase Stuffed With Sneezes!"
'There sleeps Titania', Jonathan Mercer, wood engraving
We have been invited to join Wood at Golden Valley in a pop-up at the Hay Festival this year. From 31st May to 10th June, 2012, in the rather wonky looking but charming Castle Cottage, our wares will be ready and waiting for locals and festival goers alike to see, feel and generally get close to. Many of Jonathan's limited edition wood engravings have literary connections and will be available to buy, as well as large silkscreen prints, stationery and ceramics. Do come and visit us for the fleeting time we are there.
Castle Cottage, Hay-on-Wye