Laura Gray is Selvedge's Features Editor. Here, Laura interviews her friend Samantha Allan, co-founder of The Shop Floor Project, about her plans for Christmas. Samantha was a contributor to our gift guide in Selvedge Issue 91 and is looking forward to spending time pausing and resetting.
I have to admit, I do love Christmas time. There’s nothing I like more than buying our tree and starting the process of decorating the house, baking, long walks in the frosty fells. But, more than that, it is a time when our business starts to slow down after the rush, and I sense a period of hibernation approaching. I take a little more time to do things just for the fun of doing them. So I will make handmade Christmas crackers, which do take time but are so much more fun around the table when the contents have been selected for that person; instead of jokes I will include questions about favourite films, music and books, pop in a brightly coloured spool of silk thread, a miniature Lego figure, or a gold-foil-wrapped marron glacé!
This time of year always prompts a new craft project, and in this deep winter I will be making a set of our Hand Puppet Kits. Inspired by the puppets the artist Paul Klee made in the 1920s, in which he used materials from his own household: beef bones and electrical outlets, bristle brushes, leftover bits of fur and nutshells and costumes sewn from fragments of old family clothes. Like Klee’s characters, what’s fun about our Puppet Kits is that they can be embellished with all sorts of things; old buttons, embroidery, patchwork scraps - I’ve just heard from one customer who is busy adding a quilted texture to the body of the Breton Clown!
I also love going to our allotment over Christmas. No one is there, it’s clear and cold. I plan the crops for the following year, harvest some frosted kale perhaps. Next year I am dedicating an area to plants that I’ll use to dye fabrics, so they’ll be some days by the fire, reading up on plants for this project.
The Shop Floor Project was founded in 2006 by Denise Allan and Samantha (mother and daughter) with the aim to design, develop and source collections of the highest craftsmanship from makers and traditional manufactures, predominately based within the UK and Europe.
For more information visit theshopfloorproject.com.