• A Seasonal Greeting from Me to You

    It’s nearly Christmas again. These are strange times and sometimes it can be hard. I am always glad to hear when my work brings a smile (or a few tears when they are needed). We are all coping in our own ways, being as brave and hopeful as we can. One thing is certain: we are all in this together. And my main reflection on another strange year is how kind people can be. The people who really matter. You know the ones.

    I am sorry this is not as bubbly a missive as is my custom. Like many other families, ours has had a sad bereavement.

    Nan has closed Mustard Shop online until the New Year.

    Mustard Hampers have sent their last packages for 2021.

    And during December we have our final pop up at Little Mustard Shop Brighton.

    The little shop at 33 Clifton Hill has been a sandwich shop, a butcher's, a stationers, a general store, and a dream come true for me: my very own little gift shop. But in January we are handing the shop back to our lovely landlord. I have joyful memories of setting it up with friends. Renovating the frontage, putting in a new tiled step, painting it in luscious shades of dark green and old gold, choosing antique brass handles for the door, fitting the lovely little window shelves, watching the signwriter work his magic. We have so enjoyed our time there. For a while I’ll have a little hole in my heart where the shop used to be, but thank to all who managed to pay us a visit, and to the wonderful staff…. I wonder who (or what) will move in next?

    My work continues to sell well all over the globe. It’s such a strange and wonderful position to be in as you might imagine. As a younger person I often felt I was odd and had trouble fitting in. But as I grew I toughened up (a bit!) and created an imaginary painted world where I felt safe. That this communicates itself to so many people around the world is a constant surprise and delights me still. And if there are any budding dreamers out there I’ll say, don’t give up. It took many many years for me to become an overnight success.

    There are copies of my new limited edition book Keep On Keeping On and 2022 calendars available by mail order at City Books Hove.

    Bronze figures and ceramic Doris dogs are still being sent out from Panter and Hall London. There are lots of limited edition prints at the publishers CollierDobson; greetings cards from Art Press (we have free e-cards); posters mugs canvas prints calendars and stationery at Art Group. But nothing further from us direct this year. There are no more original pictures or drawings available anywhere until I get back to work sometime in the new year. I think it will be a slow one. I may have a little online show at samtoftoriginals late Spring but no plans.

    Whatever challenges the new year brings, I know I will be strong enough to take them. At first it will be a time for drawing in and consolidating. There will doubtless be crazy new projects but for now I’m doing nothing more than walking, drawing and putting things in order. It’s a time for reflection and appreciating what has gone before.

    Nan Mustard is doing well and wrapping parcels for the new year. And although her online shop is closed you can send condolences for the loss of Grandpa Ray to mustardshop@aol.com

    I’ll leave you with this little film (Facebook | YouTube) made by my partner’s son Gabriel Alborough. A talented young film student and mature beyond his years I think. Just before filming I was crying on his shoulder at the entrance to the gallery. And then, from the emotional tatters he managed to come up with something as special as this.

    Big hugs all round. Tomorrow is a new day after all.

    Sam Toft