Concrete Wardrobe field trip.

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Today, us jewellery girls had a little field trip to Edinburgh to visit the Concrete Wardrobe retail shop.

The wonderful Sheila Roussel drove the five of us down to my little hometown (it was strange going home but not actually going home) and we wandered down Broughton Street to Concrete Wardrobe.

For those of you unfamiliar with Edinburgh (i urge you to become familiar… it’s awesome!), Broughton Street is slightly off the main patch of shops in the Old Town, but still central and Concrete Wardrobe is situated in a beautiful parade of quirky little shops and cafes, that compliment it’s style rather well.

Rocking up to the shop around 11:30 we could hardly miss the bold black and white signage. I like a shop that stands out from the crowd and beckons you in.

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So so true. Remember this.

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And in we went…

… and inspire we were.

Walking around the shop was a fabulous shopping experience. As we entered we were warmly greeted by the woman behind the counter and after a little chat telling her what we were doing, we discovered she was Catherine Aitken and she showed us her gorgeous tweed bags. That’s one thing that i think really makes Concrete Wardrobe stand out (other than the bold signage!), the fact that all the staff are designer/makers themselves. It adds a knowledge base to the shop and a welcoming feel for patrons to discover, not only fantastic works but information about them as well.

Now enjoy a virtual wander around Concrete Wardrobe:

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Loved these little guys… kinda wish i had bought one… might need to go back and pick myself up one!… it is my birthday soon… *hint* *hint*… i liked the purple one…

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Like this kind of display, a nice piece of furniture converted into a stylish wardrobe display.

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These are also a great way to display all the lovely prints.

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Really liked these text covered mannequins, a great use of display!

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Every shop needs a robot.

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Tempted to also go back and buy this tiger brooch….

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Sexy wallpaper.

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Bye bye Concrete Wardrobe.

After visiting the shop i’m excited to interview James tomorrow!

Stay tuned!

 

p.s. all photos were taken at Concrete Wardrobe

Go visit them at

Concrete Wardrobe
50A Broughton Street
Edinburgh
EH1 3SA

or virtually at www.concretewardrobe.com

 

Chloe out.

Concrete Wardrobe preliminary visit!

I was home over the weekend and deciding to have a wee scout around Concrete Wardrobe before our planned visit later next week.

It was a flying visit, but the little shop was beautiful and i’m excited to go back and look closer at all the lovely bits and pieces in the shop.

Here are a few iPad (so a little bit low quality!) photos to keep you satisfied before my pretty photos next week:

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And here is an adorable picture of my cat because… well because it’s adorable!

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Chloe out.

I’m having a cracking time!

My idea for Valentine’s jewellery (so far!):

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So eggs and valentines?!

Chloe, what are you doing?!

Well, i got thinking about packaging that is also part of the jewellery that is a little bit different from the norm. Something to symbolize a relationship. Something that was neither overtly valentine nor anti-valentine and just captured part of the need for humans to love each other and show that love in the form of a token.

So…… eggs?…. okay, wait a minute! Listen to my logic.

The relationship of two people is encompassed by the use of natural eggshells. A thin, feeble layer shelters the token inside. Once the shell is thrown away the physical memory inside remains.

See, eggs on Valentine’s Day all makes sense!

Now on to some real smashing fun!

As well as the eggs containing my love tokens, i want there to be more drama involved when the egg cracks. So, i’ve been testing out materials that will burst from the egg and stain the wearer. In relationships there are many bursts of emotions hidden within the cracks, so why not express this with blood exploding from the heart… or red paint exploding from my eggshell?

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Chloe out.

Concrete Wardrobe

As i mentioned in my previous post (Group Enterprise Research Project) i was just starting to delve into the personal research stage of the project, so this post is all about what i’ve learned about Concrete Wardrobe.

 

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Concrete Wardrobe is the creation of James Donald and Fiona Mcintosh and the enterprise was established in 2000. Concrete Wardrobe is not only a retail shop, specializing in “Scottish design-led craft” but it also actively promotes the designers and makers who create “high quality crafts” and provides a nurturing environment for such artists. Although they emphasize the Scottish makers, Concrete Wardrobe also selects designer/makers of a similar nature internationally.

All of the members of staff at Concrete Wardrobe are designer/makers themselves and therefore there is a knowledgeable environment created within the business. Being able to tell the customer everything they could ever want to know about the product and the artist that produced it, gives Concrete Wardrobe an edge and a beautiful step up in the market of retail.

Concrete Wardrobe is also a facilitator when it comes to helping designer/makers gain commissions. With their personal approach, clients have the opportunity to really achieve what the want as Concrete Wardrobe works closely as a consultancy between artist and client.

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The physical shop is located on the edge of Edinburgh’s Old Town, in the quirky retail area of Broughton Street. But it’s spread is wider than just Edinburgh, through social networking sites (listed at the bottom of this post) and the Concrete Wardrobe website the company has an international reach.

The products aim to be a little piece of affordable art, something a little bit different and unique. They are all handcrafted and/or designed by contemporary designer/makers, most of whom are local Scottish artists and the beautiful work reflects care and creativity.

Here are a few little images of the works sold in Concrete Wardrobe, to give a snapshot of the kind of work the company supports.

Catherine Aitken

Claire McVinnie

Emily Hogarth

Lara Scobie

Myer Halliday

Paola McClure

PickOne

Stuart Brown Photography

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A unique feature of Concrete Wardrobe is their Maker of the Month. A dedicated spotlight is given to one designer/maker each month and their work is featured as an exhibition and advertised as such.

 

 

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James Donald is a weaver based in Edinburgh, and a graduate from DJCAD. He is also the founder of his own weaving company Pick One, where he designs, makes and sells his own creative products. His ethics in both his pursuits are similar, as he strives for the best in Scottish, local materials and high quality crafts and designs. James is primarily inspire by the Scottish landscape and seascape, as well as his rich Scottish heritage. His studio is based in Leith’s Coburg House.

 

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Fiona Mcintosh is a printed textiles artist based in Edinburgh, and a graduate from The Scottish College of Textiles. She is also the founder of her own textiles based company Tessuti, where she designs, makes and sells her own creative products. Fiona’s primary influences are the 1950’s and 1960’s, especially aspects within the home.

 

 

Concrete Wardrobe on:

Facebook       Twitter       Pinterest        Blog

Concrete Wardrobe, 50A Broughton Street Edinburgh, EH13SA

0131 – 558 7130

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Now, with research done, i need to sit down and ponder over this information and figure out exactly what else i want to know about the enterprise…. a night of question writing awaits!!! Teapot at the ready!

Chloe out.

Group Enterprise Research Project

As part of my Design and the Market module i’ve been grouped with all the lovely jewellers and we are setting out to research a business. Our task is to “identify an appropriate enterprise to research and produce a 20 minute presentation about that business.”

So, Step 1: Identify an appropriate enterprise

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Our meeting discussing this step identified that we didn’t want to go so big that it would be hard to pick out any story behind the business or even discover who was running said business (for example somewhere like Hobbycraft or White Stuff) but we didn’t want to go too small or to a business that was so new that it would be hard to come up with a full 20minutes of research to speak about (like a singular jewellery designer). However, we did want it to be art/craft/design based, and hopefully within easy to reach distance away from us.

Our serious considerations were businesses like: Black Box Boutique in Edinburgh, Anthropologie, and Saint H.

After a weekend of meditation and further research (and SNOW!) we came back to discuss our thoughts. We had kinda of decided we were going for Saint H… until Sheila threw Concrete Wardrobe out onto the table and we fell in love with this idea.

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Step 2: Research

So, next step… FIRST CONTACT! Sheila, already knowing James (one of the founders of Concrete Wardrobe) a little contacted him via the wonderful world of facebook and he has agreed to let us interview him :) Woohoo! We are in the process of fine-tuning the little details of times and dates and whatnots… but for now i will distract myself with personal research into Concrete Wardrobe and see what wonders i can find!

Stay tuned for my next post all about Concrete Wardrobe!

Chloe out.

Love Tokens

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Following on from my Valentine’s research i’ve fallen in love with the world of Love Tokens, and naturally decided to blog all about them and share the love! + i reckon they are going to be the main source of inspiration for this project!

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So, what is a Love Token?

The Love Token is a coin that has been smoothed flat on one or both sides and then hand engraved.  Engravings are most commonly initials of the giver.  Names and dates were also popular and perhaps most special and scarcer were sayings and pictures. Some love tokens were embellished even further with stones, enamel, added raised metal, or cutout designs within the coin. These coins were made as keepsakes and mementos from the giver to the recipient.  The giver, important date, place, or event was intended to be remembered through the love token; a commissioned testimony and executed one of a kind special engraving. The manufacture and practice of giving Love Tokens seems to have originated in Great Britain in the early 1800’s, and then migrated to the United States in the mid- to late-1800’s.

Traditionally there were two basic requirements for a love token:

  • First: The engraving must be on a legitimate coin (i.e. coin of the realm).
  • Second: The engraving must be done by hand.

 

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Who gave and received Love Tokens?

Although it is traditionally believed that these coins were given by a beau to a girl, they extended far beyond those traditional boundaries.  They were also given by every imaginable family member as well as friends.  A craze had sweep the country and school girls were begging and pleading for love tokens.  Probably because the love token bracelet was the most popular form of love token jewelry and it took about eight to make a bracelet.

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What do you do with them?

Keep them in your pocket, your wallet, or a safe place and caress them with your fingers when you need to feel close to someone. Or string them on chains, brooch pins, cufflinks, earrings, rings, etc. and wear them as jewellery. The more you loved you are the more bling you can show off!

I guess it was an early version of today’s popular charm bracelets.

I like the idea that it starts with one special one… and then the collection can grow between loved ones when special things happen in life. The amount of love tokens you have for different occasions and celebrations grows as the relationship does.

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Symbolism within the coins.

Coin love tokens too share a symbolism.  Hearts still mean love and other symbols were added as well.  There was a blue bird for happiness.   Some birds were even shown carrying a letter or love note, much like a homing pigeon finding its way home.  Flowers could mean luck (clover), love (roses and others), and enduring affection (forget-me-not).  An image of a horseshoe too bestows luck on the bearer.  Clasped hands symbolized a union and potentially a marriage. Many images had meanings while others were purely decorative.  Landscapes were widely popular.  Although decorative, some could have marked a day spent in the country.  Those landscapes with lighthouses could have also had double meaning as a person there to safeguard like the lighthouse protects ships.  An image of a church in the landscape could have signaled marriage.  The answers are held secret in the engravings, lost to today’s onlookers.

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I’ve never heard of these before, are you making this up?

No, sadly the traditional Love Token is in decline and there is no unified way of expressing love like this… other than the obvious banality of cheap chocolates and cheaper stuffed bears, along with the dead flowers being exchanged. Little tokens like this fall under the radar until a movement tries to revive them… will i be that movement? Probably not, but i’d like to try because the Love Token is a beautiful thing and i would like it to at least come back into my world.

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Do they have to be coins?

No. Coins have become on of the most commonly used source of Love Tokens but there are many other denominations.

Through the centuries, lovers have chosen a variety of different mediums to express their love or affection for someone special in their lives. Some of the more popular “tokens of love” were carved wooden spoons, thimbles, pin cushions, and rings. During the Victorian period the ever popular valentine card was introduced. This period also marked the peak of popularity for using engraved coins as love tokens. There was once a period of time when anything other than functional utilitarian tools were deemed inappropriate to give a young woman.  Thimbles and pin cushions were acceptable gifts.  Young men wanting to show their affection might then try to acquire the most ornate decorative thimble they could to present to their beloved.  Some had pretty floral patterns, others were embellished with enamel or jewels, and many were made of precious metals like silver or even gold. In the sixteen hundreds, young men in Wales would carve a wooden kitchen spoon for the young lady they were interested in or courting.  Some were made so large and elaborate that they were not even utilitarian anymore and became wall decorations.  Symbols were carved in these spoons to show feelings of love. And these are just some examples of the Love Token around the world.

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I like the idea that a Love Token could essentially be anything. It just has to mean something between the lovers or friends or family or whoever feels the love..

So how do i capture that intimacy without knowing the lovers/relationships that i’m making my jewellery for? Well my loves that is the hard part. I have a small idea already, but that idea is formed around the mechanism in which the love token is received and not the token itself (stay tuned for that excitement… trust me it is exciting!)… but my research and current energies are going into how to develop the token.

Stay tuned……..

Chloe out!

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