It's our birthday and the NaviStitch shop is a whole year old!
In some ways it feels like yesterday when we opened our doors for that very first time; in other ways it feels like a lifetime ago! We're really looking forward to the year ahead with our Christmas pop-up to come and a preview beginning next Wednesday but, for now, let's reflect a little on what we've achieved in a year:
In our Sail Loft...
We've hosted 18 exhibitions:
We've hosted 17 workshops:
We've created regular pop-ups to support lots of artists and makers:
In the Navistitch Shop
I've loved working on some fabulous commissions - it's always lovely to hear people's stories and create lasting memories for their friends and family. I've created pieces for birthdays, for anniversaries, for leaving gifts and for all kinds of other celebrations and I've enjoyed bringing every single piece to life:
We've seen lots of changes to the High Street, and all of them have contributed to Manningtree becoming a vibrant, diverse, creative and incredible town. Developments over the last year have included:
The Stour Store
Pru Green's Studio 42
B House Gallery
Most recently - The Tree: a local shop unit taken over by Manningtree District Business Chamber (MDBC) with plans to license out to small traders and local makers.
We've been involved in events ands supported causes:
the regular Manningtree Vintage and Collectables Market
the Manningtree Mermaids campaign for a cleaner Stour
Manningtree Earth Festival, and lots more
Most of all, we've loved meeting so many of you amazing people. We may be the smallest town in England but we sure do pack lots in!
So what's next?
Some dates for your diary:
Until Saturday, 12th November, we're bringing you our last exhibition of the year: from photographer Tazzy Bro: 'It's on Your Doorstep'. All work is of the local area - if you're part of our community, all of the shots will make you see your area in a fantastic new light. Tazzy is joining us in the shop on Saturday so it's a great chance to chat to him about his work and about wedding, pet, commercial or any other kind of photoshoot too.
From 23rd November we'll be holding our Christmas Pop-up Shop and will be open every day from then until Christmas Eve. We're then also opening from 28th December to New Year's Eve too (well, you may want to spend your Christmas money!)
We're delighted that we'll be hosting around 30 local artists and makers to bring you the best festive shopping experience around. From Wednesday 16th we're beginning a preview week - some of our amazing creatives will be bringing their work in as a taster of what's to come.
On 17th December from 5pm to 8pm Manningtree High Street will be transformed into a Festive Fiesta - a 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.
To celebrate our birthday, every customer that physically visits the NaviStitch shop and makes a purchase this week will be entered into a free draw to win a £75 credit for a NaviStitch Artwork. This can either be a framed piece from the wall or towards a commission. We will draw the winner at 4pm on Saturday.
Until next time, I wish you calm waters and plain sailing