Hi all, firstly I want to apologise for being a very bad blogger and not posting for a couple of weeks (busy work schedule and the addition of a very beautiful but very mischievous puppy to our household are to blame!) and secondly and more importantly I want to introduce you to a fabulous North Eastern based business that I stumbled across recently called Threadbear.
Threadbear is the brainchild of the lovely Helen Robson and encompasses a lot of things that I personally hold dear to my heart.... afternoon tea, vintage crockery, greetings cards and pretty jewellery... What more could a girl want from one website! Helens love of recycling and nostalgia are fused into really, lovely unique handmade gifts and cards.
My absolute favourites are the cake stands made from vintage crockery and handpainted and illustrated by Helen herself. I cant wait to add one of the below beauties to my flourishing and expanding mismatched 'afternoon tea' crockery set.
I caught up with the lovely Helen to find out a bit more about the business and her love of nostalgia and childhood memories. I happily discovered we seem to be like minded people and like to live by the same motto too....
1) What inspired you to start up threadbear?
Threadbear started as a nostaligic Children's book for my final year at Uni, I studied Fashion Marketing at Northumbria. Childhood memories and nostalgia has always been a subject that is close to my heart. I feel we live in such a throw-away society now, so Threadbear the book was about trying to re-educate Children, and make them realise that old toys still have a lot of life left in them, and they have been on more of an "adventure" if you like. I asked around family and friends to borrow some really old well-loved Teddy bears and came up with a great selection, some of which were my own. I then photographed the teddies in different situations like baking cakes, having afternoon tea, and going for a walk by the river. These images are now used on my greetings cards and have had a great response. I also make cake stands out of vintage crockery and glass ware, and then illustrate on to them, as well as canvases decorated with old buttons, badges and postage stamps so the recycling theme continues. It's great to think you are bringing a pre-loved item back to life, and giving it a purpose again.
2) Describe the 'ethos' of threadbear in 3 words?
3) Do you make everything yourself?
I do make everything myself, apart from the cards which get sent to the printers. I make cake stands, canvases and jewellery, which are mostly created from recycled materials. I love rumaging through charity shops to find one-off unique pieces...One person's trash is another persons treasure as they say! It's amazing what you can find, and create something really different from it like the cake stands some of which have pretty sherry glasses in between rather than the traditional rods.
4) Do you have a favourite piece?
It's hard to say, because I do still love the Teddy bear cards, as they always make people smile, and it's funny how they will pick a certain one because it reminds them of a certain friend! But I love making the illustrated cake stands. It re-vamps and old piece of crockery and gives it a totally different look and purpose. I also do commissions for people who want something special as a gift. For example I can make one as a Wedding present and put the couples new "Mr & Mrs" Name and date of the Wedding on the stand. At least you know they won't end up with 2 the same!
5) Who's personal style inspires you?
I have always loved the style of Audrey Hepburn. I love the 1950's "New Look" - It is so classic and never seems to go out of style. More recently however, I would have to say Alexa Chung. She always seems to look effortlessly cool.
6) Do you have a 'must visit' store/shop?
My Generation in Barnard Castle, Co Durham. It is one of my stockists and such a unique and quirky little shop. It is a mixture between handcrafted, vintage and retro. Suzanne who owns the shop is very supportive to new designers which is really great. The shop sells all sorts of vintage items from lovely tea sets to beautiful old dressing tables, as well as handcrafted homeware, gifts and clothing. Perfect.
7) What blogs/magazines do you follow/read if any?
I love Ideal Home magazine to keep up with interior trends, but sadly I never seem to have to time to follow any blogs.
8) Where do you see Threadbear in the future?
I would love to own my own shop one day - or even better a chain of stores! I think Threadbear is a versitile brand because it appeals to both children and adults of all ages. I would like it to continue as a homeware brand, and maybe even see the teddy bear images develop in to children's bedding and other interior products for their bedrooms. Another option is that I am able to get the book published. I would love that, but it takes a lot of time and research. Fingers crossed I will get there in the end!
For more information and to grab yourself a lovely bit of nostalgia visit the website http://www.lovethreadbear.bigcartel.com/
Modern Milly xx