In a world where rampant competition and the relentless pursuit of profit seem to predominate, we like to think that we do things a little more gently. A.S Apothecary is a venture with collaboration and sharing at its heart. We don’t have investors or commercially borrowed capital because we are fiercely independent and we want to do business on our own terms, in our own way.
Part of this is to encourage our talented friends by making our beautiful little shop available for events, workshops and as a showcase for their work. To that end, a soon as we decided to open a shop we commissioned Charlie Palmer and Tom Wunsch to make our Apothecary drawers and desk plus all our little display boxes and card holders. We knew that they worked in copper and oak and that every part of the process from the commissioning through to the final pieces would be a pleasure…and it was. Virtually every person who comes in comments on how gorgeous these pieces are and I think our copper patinated surface has been photographed more than our products.
To make use of every part of the shop we decided to have a rotation of artists who could hang or display work for sale. We asked Jo Walker to make us the most gorgeous little vases using our flowers as an inspiration, Keith Pettit has made delicate wood engravings of our six key plants and Julia White produced a series of paintings from flora and fauna at the farm having attended our Seed to Scent course. It is an absolute pleasure to come into the shop each morning and see their work.
We collaborated on a tote bag with Grace Gordon and Fern Middleton. Grace whose bags are absolutely sublime agreed to help us make a canvas and leather bag of exceptional quality whilst Fern, a textile designer and perfumer, screen printed our Clary Sage onto each bag. The finished tote is hard wearing, practical and a joy to use. I can’t count how many hours we spent discussing the merits of various zips, tags and fastenings but as with everything we do, the finish was all important. In this image based blog post you can see some of the makers and artists we work with.
We have held workshops on perfume, soap, millinery, terrarium making, photography and natural weaving, drawing on the skills of local makers. We also had a wonderful evening of discussion with Louisa Thomsen-Brits enjoyed by a great group of women. We are currently planning the next series of workshops and courses.
Now, we have thrown the shop open to artists during ARTWAVE. Charlie Palmer has produced some mini versions of furniture that he can make as full size with patination and copper at the core of each – they are utterly tactile.
Jenny Arran joins us with paintings on wood that evoke place and memory, Marion Brandis who makes all of our candle holders is showing her ceramic cats and porcelain pestles and mortars, Nicky Bryant has a selection of finely coiled, hand built pots, Abby Mosseri has a case of her jewellery that is strong, beautifully made and replete with vivid gemstones. We are so happy to welcome them and their incredible talent into the shop. Check out our Artwave 2017 page for a full list of artists and visiting times or go to the ARTWAVE website for more information on this superb arts festival.
Working in Lewes, amongst such a creative, inspirational community allows us to grow ourselves, it throws up unexpected opportunities and interesting collaborations. I love the idea that our little shop is both for our benefit but also to showcase the work of like minded people. We are incredibly fortunate that the good folk of Lewes see the value of investing in good quality skincare, arts and crafts – it allows us and also our friends to prosper.