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    Hallo lovelies,

    It’s nearly May already!

    Such a lovely month for a holiday I always think. It feels fresh, not too warm and still the opportunity to be wearing hats and scarves. Which will always be my favourite attire. But if you haven’t got it together to book that little trip you’ve been dreaming about, I hope you’ll be joining me and Team Mustard at our Afternoon Tea Event Sunday 15th May.

    For me May is all about the different yellows. There are still daffodils in the supermarkets although the woods are full of bluebells, and I do so love a cut flower. The ranunculus are splendid at this time of year too and I always keep mine until way past their best. After all their blazing colours I can’t bear to throw them away. And every time I think I must have had the last, I find another bunch of yellow tulips to display in my old silver-glass vase. And whenever I can, I feel I must have a sprig of yellow freesia for by my bed, so if I wake up in the night wondering where I am (it’s a thing!) I am calmed by their peppery scent: my Grandad’s favourite. The yellow calla lily I’m keeping inside as long as I can. And when it goes outside I think I’ll do a big display of fat lemons instead.

    Yellow has been my favourite colour for as long as I can remember. I’ve always found it a constant comfort when everything changes so fast. Like the yellow wool blanket I have wrapped around me on the sofa as I type, it make me feel safe. I know there are so many awful things going on in the world today. So much horror, sadness and shortage I can do nothing about. I just sit here and work hard to make myself feel strong and positive, so I can make more Mustard...

    So yes it’s nearly May already, and I feel I’ve hardly done a thing. It’s like I’ve spent the year so far trying to make space for whatever’s coming next. Grieving the changes and trying to find the energy to plan something special. When perhaps I could spend more time accepting and appreciating what I have already. Feels like I’m always playing catch up.

    I was planning to have an Open Studio Event in May to coincide with Brighton Festival. But when it came to it I didn’t have the heart. After all the ups and downs of last year, I really feel like having this one to myself. No big shows but instead little online events and nurturing our new little Club. Keeping things small, manageable, inclusive. And if you are around this May and fancy a bit of sunshine, Mustard style, we have a few things to share with you.

    Tuesday 3rd May we will be opening up the memberships again for Little Mustard Club. If you’d like a delightful little box of goodies, a monthly newsletter, smashing competition prizes, giveaways and updates from Brown Dog Studio, then this could be the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one.

    During May I will be doing an online Pet Portraits Day, where I will draw your pet with Mr M with the aim of raising £1000 for Macmillan Cancer Research. I’ll be offering 10 spaces at £100 each, available first to our Little Mustard Club members, who will also have the opportunity to nominate a friend for a chance to receive one of two Mustard Pet Portraits completely free. The Pet Portraits will be part of our Afternoon Tea Zoom Event 12-4pm BST Sunday 15th May, where I’ll be drawing live 12-3pm and then there’ll be an hour free for random fun and games (you supply the tea and cake). And if you’d like to make a painting yourself for our Zoom Gallery on 15th May (hold it up to show us all) then please get creating your splendid masterpiece on the theme of Afternoon Tea and win a prize! All details of how to join and where in my next Newsletter, early May. I’m still working out the details!

    I do have a date however for the launch of my new exhibition at www.samtoftoriginals.co.uk There’ll be 15 small paintings, 12 drawings and 7 bronze sculptures on display in my virtual gallery come 18th May. I’m aiming to make a few more ceramics too but they may go separately or later in May as we totally crashed the website last year when we tried selling it altogether and there were so many disappointed faces. So I am not promising anything except 27 brand new framed pieces all completed in the last couple of months, some of which will be featured on social media during May but none will be for sale until 18th May. Exact details in my next letter early May. I’m hoping it will all come clear in the next couple of weeks. And I’m trusting We’ll know where we’re going when we get there. It’s the title of the new exhibition and my most ambitious bronze sculpture to date.

    Wishing you all the shades of yellow you could wish for. Or any colour you like actually. Why don’t you go out a buy yourself a nice little bunch of flowers?

    Big love,

    Sam Toft
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