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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Our Christmas makers' pop-up has opened in the Sail Loft and we're loving the festive vibes that it's bringing to the NaviStitch Shop

What's it all about?

We have around 30 local artists and makers who have brought their work to our creative space so that you can shop local, support independents and get your Christmas list whittled down in style!

When is it on?

Between now and Christmas Eve we're open every day (yes, even Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays), from 10am until 5pm. Every Thursday in December we'll be open for late night shopping until 8pm. After Christmas, from 28th December to 31st December, we'll be open from 10am until 4pm.

Who can we meet?

You can meet almost all of the makers that have their wonderful work in our pop-up shop, as they are taking it in turns to be in attendance and introduce you to their work and that of their fellow artists and makers. So, without further ado, here's an introduction to artist and makers that you can meet over the next couple of weeks:

Pamela Hatswell will be looking after our pop-up Christmas shop all day on Friday this week - her knitted work has both incredible form and fantastic function. If you'd like to chat to her, she'll be with us from 10am to 5pm

Karen Turnbull joins us on Saturday 26th November for the whole day. Beginning her making career as a rock wrapper with Zen Rocks, Karen has added to her range with leather craft, including repairs and restorations - great Christmas gift ideas from this maker and she'll help you with her own, and other makers wares.

Rachel Richards will be in the NaviStitch Sail Loft on Sunday for the whole day. Describing her self as a 'sailing Mummy', Rachel crafts items from rope - from table mats to coaster, and from dog collars to curtain tiebacks. If you're local and enjoy tying a nautical knot, come down and meet Rachel - she'd love to chat to you.

Sandy Pison of Little Deer Designs will be manning our pop-up On Monday morning, 28th November from 10am to 1:30pm - her beautiful flame worked glass designs are fabulous little gifts. In the afternoon, from 1:30pm until 5pm we'll have Sue Cook who is displaying her crystal pendants and textiles.

On Tuesday 29th November we'll have Frances Lilley with us once again - she's also been with us this morning chatting to some of our customers about her nautical, bespoke tote bags.

In the afternoon, silver jewellery maker Sue Barrowclough of Silver B joins us and can chat to you as you as you shop from our fabulous artists and makers.

On Wednesday 30th we've got two different artists joining us in the Sail Loft for our 'meet the maker' sessions. In the morning we've got the artist and maker of these fabulous knitted gnomes, Kay Lucas, and in the afternoon, you can meet Hannah Took - incredibly talented collage artist and illustrator.

And then it's December!

And now the Christmas shopping can begin in earnest - we're open until 8pm on 1st December and every other Thursday in the month. On 1st December, me and Mr Navistitch will be in the shop and the Sail Loft and it would be great to meet as many of you as we can.

We're delighted that Michelle Lippert of Manik Organic is joining us as one of the makers in our Christmas pop-up shop. Her range of candles are here in our Sail Loft and they are pure aromatherapy: no fragrance, no synthetic oils, no chemicals. They're all vegan friendly and are made using pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils that offer a sensorial therapy for the mind & spirit. Michelle will be joining us on Friday 2nd December from 10am to 1:30pm.

We've got an amazing potter for you to meet: Jo Jones is manning our Christmas pop-up shop and would love to chat throwing, hand building, glazing and decoration with you, as well as helping if you need anything whilst you browse through our incredible assortment of Christmas gift possibilities . Meet Jo from 10am to 1:30pm on both Saturday and Sunday the 3rd and 4th of December.

Fenella Miller is with us all day on Monday 5th December and she'd love to talk to you about her fused glass creations. She'll also be helping out in our Christmas pop-up shop all day so call in any time between 10am and 5pm and meet her.

Madeleine Tapp has exhibited with us, and she's put on workshops in our Sail Loft this year - it's been a pleasure working with her. Madeleine is manning our makers' event from 10am to 1:30pm on Tuesday 6th December and you'll have the chance to chat to her about her work as well as to shop from the best selection of makers!

Artist and maker Kay Lucas is here in the morning of Wednesday 7th December, with jeweller Sue Barrowclough in the afternoon. On Thursday 8th December you'll have another opportunity to meet Michelle Lippert of Manik Organic.

In Other NaviStitch News

I've been busy working on commissions, frantically fulfilling orders and generally helping our artists and makers to settle in to our Sail Loft. Here are a few commissions that I've worked on recently:

There's still time to order a commission for Christmas, although I'm unable to do a custom design now. Choose from one of my existing designs (take a look at my greeting cards for ideas), and then talk to me about the chart / area that you'd like your bespoke piece to be stitched onto and we can take it from there. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3!

If you're unable to make it to Manningtree, there are other places that you'll find my nautical stitched art this festive season:

In Maldon, I recently delivered 15 new pictures and a selection of cards to their event. Having seen some of the other work that features in the shop I think it's going to be a fantastic exhibition! Get on over and take a look if you can.

The Alma in Harwich, and the Lord Nelson in Ipswich both display pieces of my work for sale - obviously both places serve fantastic food and drinks so that's always a massive bonus!

I'm also going to be selling my greeting cards and art in Fenwick in Colchester for a week starting on 5th December. I'm really looking forward to returning to Fenwick - it's a great opportunity to bring my work to a new audience.

And finally...

Don't forget that on 17th December from 5pm to 8pm Manningtree High Street will be transformed into a Festive Fiesta - a Winter Light parade through the town from lots of children and parents who have been busy making costumes and honing their drumming skills; there will be live music, lots of stalls and food and drinks galore. Many of the High Street shops will also be open and there's promise of an incredible illuminated band. As is traditional in Manningtree, we're also taking part in the 'Window Wonderland' - a live advent calendar event with 24 local shops transformed with multi-coloured illuminated seasonal images... we love our community - it's going to be a great Christmas!

We have some great exhibitions in the planning stages for next year. We are looking forward to welcoming back some previous exhibitors and looking forward to seeing some new exhibitors too.

If you're an artist or maker and want to host an exhibition or pop-up event in our Sail Loft, we have two rooms and lots of display equipment; you can man the exhibition yourself, or we can do that for you.

We're really keen to encourage first-time exhibitors and students to get involved and, if you'd like to be a part of a collaborative / joint exhibition, we can put you in touch with other artists too. Take a look at the way it works here and get in touch if you'd like to chat about other ideas that you have for our creative space.

Until next time, I wish you calm waters and plain sailing


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