The Queens Platinum Jubilee coincides with my 20 Year celebration of the Palmer Studio. Whereas we don't expect marching bands and flying squadrons, we will pop a bottle of Champagne and congratulate us and our customers for enduring this long. Through tough financial times, through floods, cold winters and hot summers, we prevailed, survived even the corona pandemic with the help of Peter our landlord, and my wonderful friends and staff - and a few volunteers.
It used to upset me when some offhand remark was made as to the effect…”ahh, but it’s not a real Business"
And yes, I get it, seen through the perspective of a capitalist endeavour it must seem lacking, but that is because it’s the wrong lens with which to look at it. It is actually much more than “just a business”. It is a place where heart counts more than coin, where a meaningful conversation is valued higher than a credit card transaction…not that we don't value these either, we do! But we are aware how much we all gain through encounters with people who share their stories, which are often prompted by something they see in the shop…a doll…some fabric…and artwork, and their memories start unfolding, leaving something of value behind. And if it happens that someone comes into the shop and after a chat, they leave a bit more lifted up then we feel encouraged again that our little shop has a purpose beyond the economical…and sometimes People also buy something.
All of us who work here make things for the shop and great skill and time is invested in these textile works …it is therefore very gratifying when a product is seen for what it is and as much appreciated as our conversations.
All said and done, our shop is a winner. I call it “ours”, as I am merely the person paying the rent. I could not have carried on this long, through all the highs and lows without having the steadfast team of my “Palmer Road Girls“ behind me. Lella and Sandi were part of the original core group from early on, joined later by Caite and recently Zoe, as well as my knitter friends, Jeannie and Mary and many other wonderful crafters and makers over the course of twenty years. Not to mention the extraordinary groups of needlewomen who found their way into my workshops, many of whom became close friends.
When I first opened it 20 years ago, I had enough money saved to pay the rent for one year even if I sold nothing …and I thought I am going to try it. In the early years I could only be there a few hours each day, which hardly seem to matter, as the street was deserted mostly anyway. I thought of it mainly as my studio and not really as a shop…it was just a bonus, that I could also sell something from there. But because it had a beautiful shopfront people often knocked on my door and said “When are you open?” Sonja made a lovely poster, announcing my “Flexible Hours” that had me sitting on a flying carpet with threads and tape measure flying in the wind behind me as traversed the sky with some needlework in my hand…and somewhere underneath it announced the hours I would be there in any given week.
For many years I used to sell amongst other things my Lebkuchen in the shop and mothers and grandmothers used come frequently to buy Gingerbread men for their little ones and so I have seen many children of the village growing up over the years, seen them move on to various craft projects for which they needed felt or wool or whatever else we had, and in the process, we got to know them …and later we often would hear what had become of them and where the world has called them to. It has been my great privilege to watch them from the side-line…from behind the cookie jar.
The shop is home to a wonderful selection of crafts from local makers, and many have become friends over the years. All of us who work there agree it is a place of wellbeing, a meeting place of likeminded spirits a place of nurture, creativity and friendship. It seems to attract the nicest people.
After 20 years, we are still here. A bit older, a bit wiser…with more wrinkles and grey hair…cell phones full of photos of our Grandchildren…knitting and drinking coffee when we meet. We support each other…adding meaningful layers to our lives. That is what makes the Studio a success.
We thank all our valued customers for their continued support over the years and hope to do so for a while longer.
Warmly, Gina and the team