The shop was mainly going to focus on all things wool-related - knitting classes/workshops, the selling of wool, sheepskins, rugs, throws, that sort of thing - but she had decided to expand it to also stock examples of items made by local craftspeople. I plucked up the courage to wave my hand from the back of the classroom and suggest that if she was looking for unique handcrafted jewellery, I would be able to provide some, plus I'm pretty local (I live about 3o mins drive from Midhurst). Jewellers, however, are ten-a-penny, common-as-muck, can't-move-for-'em-round-our-way and so I was fully expecting to be told that she'd already got someone in mind, thanks all the same. But no, the gods were smiling on me and Carolyn said she'd like to see some of my work. I also suggested she might be interested in seeing examples of my mother's decoupaged items as they're always tremendously popular at all the craft fairs we do. So a few weeks ago it was decided that Carolyn would pop along to my mum's house in Haslemere and we would get our stuff out (as it were!).
Rather excitingly, Carolyn agreed to take both my jewellery and mum's decoupaged pots and bits and pieces, and that we should bring them along on 6 May (the shop's due to open on 16 May). So that's where we went this morning.
I'm not terribly familiar with Midhurst as it's a place I've only ever driven through on the way to Chichester but I've always thought it terribly pretty and quaint, with its castle ruins and black and white buildings.
The shop is located at 8 West Street and is called 'Black Sheep' (as in "...have you any wool?"). The street is quite picturesque with an old pub opposite and beamed buildings down the end.
The shop is double-fronted with double doors in the middle so I imagine will be very light and airy once the blinds are up (it's obviously all closed to public view at the moment). It's spacious and modern inside with wooden floors, stylish shelving and spot lighting. The shelves on the left as you go in are going to be full of gorgeously coloured and textured balls of wool, and there are some fabby ceramics sitting on the top (you can click on all the pictures to make them bigger).
Rolled up on the floor currently (until they find their 'proper' home) are some salivatingly desirable thick woollen wallhangings/rugs which, unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of but there were two already hanging on the back wall so you can see just how yummy they are. I was particularly taken with the blue and orange one, so took a closeup.
Carolyn also took delivery today of some very nice (I'm running out of superlatives here...) turned wooden items and chunky organic lamp bases made from local reclaimed wood but, sadly, I have no pictures of those either.
I took along a selection of necklaces made from unusual semi-precious stones (such as Dalmatian Jasper, Muscovite, Dendrite Agate, etc.) and pearls, together with dangle and stud earrings and bracelets made from beautiful dichroic glass, and the picture below shows Mum and Carolyn (on the right) unpacking our stock.
And this is the view from the back of the shop looking towards the street:
I have to admire Carolyn's fortitude in opening a shop during the current financial meltdown when so many other shops are closing down but maybe that will be to her advantage somehow. There's no doubt that, from what I've seen so far, the shop will be very classy indeed and selling some seriously desirable stuff, plus she's providing a valuable service in supporting local craftspeople by giving them an outlet; in some cases, mine for instance, this is the first outlet I've had and I'm unreasonably excited by it!
I really do wish her all the very best and not just because my jewellery's in there - I don't know if she's going to have a website that will offer mail order, but even if she does, I recommend you all pop along for a visit, especially if you're in the south coast area, take advantage of Midhurst's (almost unique) free car parking and BUY EVERYTHING SHE HAS!!!