Words Amicia de Moubray, Sarah Langton-Lockton, Posy Gentles Photographs Lisa Valder and various
Wild Bread (FL 20 January 2017) Until a few years ago, the rather large and unappealing building in The Mall was a motorcycle showroom with a workshop and garage at the rear. Then it was empty until last year when the showroom was refurbished, renamed Branching Out, and a group of antique dealers set up shop. This year, in early spring, the back part of the building, with its entrance round the corner in Nelson Street, will become the home of James Thorn’s expanding Wild Bread sourdough bakehouse.
‘It will be a commercial space,’ says James, ‘with a little bit of character to it’. Downstairs will be the bakehouse and shop, separated for fire safety purposes by a partition wall with fireproof vision panels. Customers will be able to watch the bakers at work while they have a coffee. Behind the existing heavy metal shutter at the entrance, a new glazed shop front is being installed to flood the space with natural light.
The shop will initially be open five days a week, from Tuesdays to Saturdays, since they already bake bread for those days, and maybe Sundays in due course. James is thinking of doing pizzas in the evening for people to collect, and stocking some food made by others. Baking classes will be up and running again and there are other plans in gestation, such as a grain-growing project with a local farmer (a flour mill will be bought for the bakehouse).
Faversham Open Gardens and the Garden Market Day (FL 23 June 2017) will take place this year on Sunday 30 June 2019.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel (FL 7 September 2016) The Catholic church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Tanner Street is facing a huge roof repair bill of more than £200,000, and while the Carmelite order has given financial support, more money needs to be raised. Faversham Life readers will know its beautiful Ardizzone altarpiece, and there will now be an opportunity to learn more about this remarkable work on 24 February when Alan Powers, author of the recent book, Edward Ardizzone: Artist and Illustrator, is giving a talk on the painting and its significance. Tickets are £10 and can be be bought at the Fleur de Lis in Preston Street, and also at Top Hats and Tales (FL 21 September 2018), the bookshop at 110 West Street. The talk starts at 2pm and a glass of wine and canapes are included in the price.
The Doddington butcher SW Doughty (FL 10 November 2016) is celebrating its centenary this year. In a laudable bid to reduce its use of plastics, it has introduced a new cotton shopping bag which is usefully strong when lugging home a 7kg gammon.
After we wrote about the natural health centre and shop Apotheca Health (FL 13 November 2016) at 14 West Street, herbalist Milena Moore expanded into the spacious but, at the time, slightly dilapidated premises next door. Milena put in a kitchen area and a WC. Beautiful old floor boards came from France. Milena’s husband, who imports antiques from France, and her mother who lives in Burgundy, helped source vintage furniture and other artefacts.
While the conversion work was underway, Milena decided to keep and renovate the existing building. The former shop has become a studio with underfloor heating, ideal for yoga and pilates. In total there are five treatment rooms and Apotheca has expanded its team of therapists and health practitioners. As winter bites, one of the shop’s bestselling remedies is the immune tonic containing echinacea, elderberries and wild garlic and concentrates of blackcurrants and rosehips.
Following our Faversham Life article about the potter Lucy Rutter (FL 16 June 2017), she was invited to join Frank (FL 23 February 2018), the shop and gallery in Whitstable that now regularly stocks her work and where she exhibited as part of the Whitstable Biennale Satellite Show, along with artist and photographer Lesley Davies-Evans. Among others around the country, the fiendishly fashionable Hauser and Wirth in Somerset is now stocking her work, as well as Yorkshire Sculpture Park which is renowned for its ceramics.
This summer, Lucy worked in a master class with Roelof Uys, the lead potter at the Leach Pottery in St Ives and experienced working in Bernard Leach’s old studio. Most recently, Lucy has produced work for the Turner Contemporary to complement its Patrick Heron exhibition.
Edibleculture (FL 6 July 2018) At the moment they’re planting orchards – 800 trees this winter. On 1 March, Chris Williams and Dave Ware, founders of Edibleculture, the nursery and garden centre with a difference that they have set up in the former horticultural unit of The Abbey School, will reopen to the public and launch their sustainability strategy. One initiative is the Posipot, a point-of-sale pot, invented by Dave, who holds the copyright. Posipots are made from folded cardboard secured by a wooden coffee stirrer, which also does duty as the plant label. The pots are wholly biodegradable and will break down within a few days. When customers buy a plant it will be removed from its growing pot (plastic pots will still be used sustainably) and put in a Posipot with mycorrhizal fungi in the bottom.
There will also be terracotta pots for sale and curved-side bags, the gardening equivalent of supermarket bags for life. Customers will be able to buy a 50-litre plastic sack of a good-quality, peat-free, organic compost for £6.50, return the empty sack and get a bag-for-life refill for £5. Plant food, lawn seed and birdseed will also be sold loose in brown paper bags or customers can bring their own containers. This year Edibleculture will offer a bigger range of plants, all slow grown. Deliveries will be made in an electric van.
Francesca Baur of Fable and Base (FL 12 November 2016) has been working on the Kent Cloth project which is continuing through 2019. She describes the project as: ‘A journey of natural cloth which explores the Garden of England through natural colour and local fibres.’ Francesca will develop a series of textile works based on seasons, exploring the landscape of Kent based in four locations culminating in an exhibition at The Rochester Art Gallery on 4 October 2019 to 4 January 2020.
Workshops will take place throughout the period and include natural dyeing workshops with Fergus the Forager using foraged materials such as seaweed, berries, mushrooms and flowers, and seasonal walks and natural dye print workshops with Francesca.
As part of the project Francesca will be sowing the seeds for a new dye garden at The Pines Calyx and distributing flax seed packets to raise awareness of local fibres. You can follow @kent_cloth on social media #kentflax and sign up to the Newsletter www.kentcloth.co.uk.
2019 will see the launch of a new collection of organic designs from The School of Upholstery (FL 3 March 2017) which is now offering weekend classes and three-day classes with textile design and printmaking expanding. This Sunday 13 January 2019, the School’s creator Alex Law, will be appearing on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch television programme to talk about craft upholstery and promote his book, The Upholsterer’s Step-by-Step Guide, which is currently being reprinted. He says: ‘I will be taking along samples of work and hopefully teaching the two main presenters how to do a stitch or two.’
To celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage, sound-sculptor and musical inventor, Henry Dagg (FL 11 November 2016) composed a piece of music entitled DerbyshOramiCoda in association with the composer Laura Rossi’s Carpe Vitam. The works were premiered at The Stoller Hall in Manchester in November 2018. DerbyshOramiCoda is intended as a tribute to the electronic music and sound effects pioneers of the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop, Daphne Oram and Delia Derbyshire. Henry’s piece overlapped for a couple of minutes with Rossi’s Carpe Vitam and then continued alone. To perform the work, Henry set up a miniature radiophonic workshop on stage, dusting off old equipment, using old tape machines and even found a replica of Delia Derbyshire’s famous green industrial lampshade which she was fond of using for its sound effects. He recorded Laura Rossi’s voice and recording, looping and overlapping created a choir. There was an improvised central section. Film and live visuals were created by Romana Bellinger and Mike Eden of The Hot Tin (5 October 2018). Faversham Life is rather hoping we might see a performance of DerbyshOramiCoda in Faversham.
Henry’s musical gates and railings for Rochester Independent College were formally inaugurated on 16 September 2018 with 11 members of the City of Rochester Symphony Orchestra wearing silent disco system headphones playing Henry’s piece, wittily entitled Pigs with Altitude, on the Aerochords which form the uprights of these beautiful gates.