APRIL 2021 SHOW FROM WWW.SAMTOFTORIGINALS.CO.UK APRIL SHOW FROM www.samtoftoriginals.co.uk and a new beginning for LITTLE MUSTARD SHOP BRIGHTON...

Journal

  • A New Show!

    Picture - Wherever Life Takes You

    Hallo friends!

    Thanks so much for reading my emails

    Maybe you’ve just joined us? Maybe you’re one of my old favourites? Or perhaps you have no idea why you’re receiving this at all?   But I’m grateful that you’re here and I’m sending out a big warm Mustard WELCOME to one and all. 

    As has become customary I have a little story to tell you, but please scroll forward to the details about my forthcoming show if it gets a bit silly. I’ll be in touch again in a week or so with details of the competition, giveaways and prizes.

    Once, many years ago, I was very interested in making a marionette and was lucky enough to attend a course with the BRILLIANT John Roberts. I took inspiration from a young storyteller I’d seen taking part in a show a few months before. Tall and delightfully gangly with a shock of bright ginger hair and small glasses, he looked rather like a teenage Mr Mustard. So I drew his slim white figure from my mind’s eye, and carved out his calves and thighs, feet, hips, arms and head with a wickedly sharp Chinese chisel. It was a miraculous tool. So smooth and easy to use. It cut through the wood like butter. Carving his face was like preparing Brussels Sprouts at Christmas. It was just THAT easy. It sent shivers down my spine every second it was in my hand. One moment’s daydream and there would be a spare finger on the floor I felt sure of it. The very thought gave me nightmares. I was determined to get over myself but the chisel, once wrapped carefully in many sheets of oiled rags, remained unvisited. And the half-finished puppet rests to this day in an old tin box on a shelf at my studio. Complete with all his accoutrements and my extravagant plans. The marionette was to be the star of his own show. The show was to be called Simon Smith and He’s Dancing Bare.

    A while later I found myself again at the very excellent Jane Bombane’s in Kemptown at another event, and I ran into the young storyteller once more. Without thinking ( and that was my mistake ) I approached him, excited to meet him properly. He was a story teller and I had a unique story personal to him. He would love it. What could possibly go wrong? 

    It soon became obvious he did not recall ever having seen me before. But I continued regardless.  For I am the Queen, nay the Tsarina, of the awkward situation. 

    I will leave you to guess the details of the conversation we had. Less a conversation more of a stuttering monologue, as I dug myself deeper and deeper into a slippery hole with every phrase I uttered. Seeing the surprise, embarrassment then growing horror on this stranger’s face did nothing to slow me down as I bulldozed my way into the foundations of indecency. 

    And why do I find myself telling you this story when I can hardly bear to think of it myself without cringing massively? It’s because of the COVID. 

    We’ve all had such a terrible scare. It’s made me value my life in all its detail all the more. And to realize that THESE are the days. They are not times to be scared of, embarrassed about, secretive with. This is the very stuff of life and it is to be celebrated, treasured and laughed about. 

    And I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. In a way I was only sharing ideas with my muse. And perhaps there was no skillful way explain to a total stranger how he’d inspired me to carve him naked out of wood with nothing to cover his modesty but the smallest smattering of an old fluorescent-orange feather boa.

    Possibly I can never visit Bombane’s again. Probably I gave a shy young man the fright of his life. Definitely I felt ridiculous, foolish and awkward. Thankfully it was a dark basement, no one else heard me, and I have never seen him again. And no one else knows, except for you. 

    But THESE  are the days… No matter how gut wrenchingly embarrassing, difficult or outofyourcomfortzone something may feel, may I urge you to go ahead and do it? Perhaps not something as ridiculous as I did, but don’t we all need to seize the day? 

    And that brings me neatly to the news of my April Show
     

    These Are The Days  

    17-30 April 2021
    In the window at Little Mustard Shop 33 Clifton Hill Brighton, and online at www.samtoftoriginals.co.uk

    Sunday 18th April  virtual show around on Youtube and my Facebook page

    Friday 23rd April 6pm BST sales go live at samtoftoriginals.co.uk

    Saturday 24th April Afternoon Tea on Zoom (Register here)

    • 1-3pm drawings of your pet live (win your space in our competition – details soon)
    • 3-4pm break for cake (bring your own)
    • 4- 5pm Charity Auction, Q and A, Prizes

    Thursday 29th April Breakdown and collection by appointment with Graham 

    If you cannot collect we can send out to UK ONLY.

    For international sales please sign up on the email list at panterandhall.com for my September show in London.

    I will leave you for now with a simple soup recipe and an entreaty to tell no-one about the contents of this email, which may well self destruct in three minutes,

    3….2….1….

    Sam Toft x

    Recipe Time:

    • Slowly fry a whole head of chopped celery and an onion in olive oil then add 2 cloves of crushed garlic. Next a few cubed root vegetables (a couple carrots, a potato, and half a turnip ?) and simmer with a stock cube, lots of water. 
    • A few chilli flakes and a generous shake of white pepper
    • A handful of small pasta when the veg is tender and a bunch each of fresh parsley and basil chopped
    • Salt to taste
    • It’s simple and yummy
    • A Portuguese man in his takeaway café told me it was his mother’s recipe. Tastes of home.
  • What have I got to say?

    What have I got to say?
    Well, I popped into a Turkish Barber on impulse last week. I noticed they were open as I was passing with my weekly shop in the wheelie trolley, and so I walked in. In general, I’m a bit scared of new hairdressers, but I suddenly felt an urgent need for a post lockdown tidy up. I sat in the unfamiliar chair with the proffered disposable mask and tried to look at ease. My barber had kind eyes and alarming eyebrows that were made all the more prominent by his huge white mask. The eyebrows were hairless and looked as if they’d been coloured- in with a thick stick of charcoal. Far too high on his head. And immovable. I couldn’t take my eyes off them.
  • You’ve got to admit, it’s getting better

    It’s been a strange old year in Mustard Land but I definitely see a light at the end of the tunnel. In fact it’s not been a bad old tunnel. I was very lucky with an early diagnosis of an aggressive cancer. And now I am getting better. I thank you for your hundreds of messages wishing me well. I am reading about 20 a week and have enough to see me into the new year! You ARE a lovely lot... I very much appreciate all your thoughts and prayers and I am sad to read about all of you out there who are going through terrible times. I feel so fortunate. My treatment was nowhere near as bad as I’d imagined. I got a big rest, a bit of a shakeup and a chance to put together a more ideal life. Sure there were some sadnesses. I had to close my little Brighton shop. I needed to shut down the service in my Phone Box Galleries. I’m hardly spending any time at the studio. I’m not planning any big shows for next year. But I AM considering doing an art course. I’d like to learn about sculpture and oil painting, printing and animation. There will doubtless be lots of plans afoot but until the end of the year I’ll be keeping it cosy.
  • Times they are a-changin...

    The good news is that I am doing well. I have been blessed with a strong body and it has taken the treatment better than I could have hoped. It was a small but aggressive tumour, caught early so that it had travelled to just one lymph node. Beginning in March with an operation, then 3 months of chemotherapy followed by a month of daily radiotherapy, I am now finished with treatment and on the road to health. My hair begins to return and is currently almost a centimetre long and a fetching shade of violet. I feel tired and emotional but very lucky. I am going to try to keep myself quiet for the rest of the year with a bit of work in the studio and no shows planned for next year.