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

  • May Open Studio: 2 Shows Daily

    Dear Mustard Lovers old and new,

    I hope this email finds you as well as can be expected (or perhaps even weller?).

    My exciting news is that I will very soon be performing a puppet show. Exciting and very scary as this is a totally new venture for me.

    I went on a course with Isobel Smith www.gravyboatpuppets.co.uk to learn how to make these rod puppets, and now have two! (Mr and Mrs Mustard). Then I did another course with Robert Race www.robertrace.co.uk and made some moving wooden toys ( a Doris Dog and a few others) and a bit of scenery. And with all these lovely characters moving in their three dimensions for the first time I felt moved to put on a Show. But it's not as easy as all that. In fact it's not easy at all.

    I've been practising an awful lot. Some days it seems that all I do is walk the dogs, make my dinner and practise with my puppets. Not a bad life though, really...

    The show has gone through many incarnations... and THANKS to the generous friends who have sat through it all and given me invaluable feed back, as my 2 dogs (Moses and Stanley Philpot) are supportive but not particularly helpful it has to be said.

    And now what I'm left with is a simple piece, 15 minutes long, that looks as though it took me 5 minutes to put together. And not particularly well at that. The wriggly puppets seem to have minds of their own, and the props sometimes collapse which really is not part of the show. But I'm hoping that the charm of the puppets, my strenuous efforts to keep it together, and the fact that it's only a short piece will carry us through. O, but I'm so nervous though. So wish me luck, or if you're near enough, do come along and have a smile. There's free popcorn.

    The show will be performed twice a day for two weekends:

    12.30 and 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays 21st, 22nd and 28th, 29th Perhaps there may be a short film?

    And I haven't just been playing with my toys and nothing else, although sometimes it feels a bit like that...I have painted 8 new small square original paintings ( still at the framers as I write, so as hot off the press as they come). There are new button badges (that will soon find their way onto the website), new card ranges (occasions by Art Press), new limited edition prints (published and distributed by Collier Dobson)... And all will be there at the Open Studio. Along with the Puppet Show... Or did I mention that already?

    We also have beautiful, leather handbags made by a very talented new company Ginger and Brown. They really are special. And once they get into the shops the prices will double of course, so if you want that very special handmade handbag of your dreams I recommend a good peruse of the limited stock here at the Open Studio. We also have bespoke corsets and Eco friendly leather accessories by the very talented Harriet Rich www.oakappledesigns.etsy.com

    And, my own favourite (as I have 2 of his lamps and  a very special garden fountain) Chris Cain's recycled metal lamps and birdbaths. Some really do have to be seen to be believed. And hopefully a few cards and sketches by Jerwood Prize Winning Artist Cadi Froehlich www.cadifroehlich.co.uk Cadi's work is brave, bold and sensitive: an upcoming superstar, she really is a one to watch! Really really.

    O dear.

    I must confess I have just damaged one of Mr Mustard's legs (he has a very high pain threshold so don't panic) and am having to apply some emergency surgery... Hopefully it'll be alright on the night? So wish me luck Mustard Lovers, but don't invite me to break-a-leg (*a quaint British expression for all you overseas fans).

    All the very best to you,

    Sam Toft x

  • Let it Snow

    It's a-snowing here in Brighton along the Prom. Mr Mustard loves it! The Dear Lady Wife has decided that nothing but the Thursday night Bingo is getting her out there in it, and Doris dog is reserving her judgment until she sees how many extra biscuits those big, hard luck, shivery, doggy eyes get her.

    But rather than go on about our beautiful weather, I will just remind you of our two Open Studio days coming up soon on 11th and 12th December. I know it's a funny climate, financial- and snow-wise, and I really don't know how many of you to expect, but we will be opening our doors 12-6pm each day at Brown Dog Studio, 12 Chapel Mews, Hove BN3 1AR nonetheless.

    We will put the heating on, get the fairy lights twinkling, hand round the mince pies and get some mulled wine on the go. There'll be the usual Lucky Dip, Hot Popcorn machine and Candy Grabber to keep the littluns busy if it's a Family Outing, and I may even get the sherry out for Grandma.

    There will be lots new to see:

    • I have a small stock of 2011 calendars (3 varieties!) otherwise available through Lulu.com
    • Lovely tiny wee sketches in mounts, and larger sketches in frames from £65-£250
    • Nine brand new original pieces, including a set of small, square, sepia toned sweeties, inspired by old photographs, and beautifully framed (priced from £750-£1950 before the VAT increase!)
    • A small stock of Stories from along the Prom (otherwise available from blurb.com) which is a delightful little book that dare I say it, would make a perfect gift
    • Christmas cards ... 19 designs but limited stock!
    • Limited edition prints, silk screen prints, Artist Proofs, signed posters
    • A bargain box of older work and end of lines
    • Mugs, bags, badges, Mrs. Mustard's handknits and jewellery
    • All these lovely items available to studio visitors only, and to make you feel extra special we will give you a 10% discount if you say "Doris sent me" when you pay. Marvellous.
    I also see that Nan Mustard has had some new Christmas cards done, so look online at the Mustardshop to check those out!

     

    And finally (hoping I have the time to finish them ) I will have 2 puppets for you to see when you visit... Mr and Mrs Guess Who...

    Hoping to see some of you very soon. And don't forget, "Doris sent you"!

  • Good news is always nice

    Hello Mustard lovers!

    Hope this mail finds you well?

    After a tough few months I feel things have started to go my way again, AND this is one of my favourite times of the year. I love our British weather and the changes it wreaks. There's a touch of excitement every time the sun comes out, and I feel blessed for every dog walk I can take without getting absolutely soaked. The crisp, clear days are a real blessing. And if you'd like to exchange opinions on the weather then please contact me via our Facebook group!

    I know a lot of you have been concerned about the break in supply of small prints and the like, so the Good News is: normal service is henceforth resumed! Mustard Shop is up and running again (with a couple of new ranges) ... And we have a few surprises up our sleevies to be revealed in the months to come! So thanks for your patience at what has been a pretty stressful time. Not that I have been trapped down a mine for weeks thank goodness, but it's all relative isn't it Uncle Alistair?I would also like to flag up our Open Studio Days in Brighton this year: 11th and 12th December 12-6 pm, so perhaps you can book your Travel Lodge Experience and give us a visit? There will be some delightfully exclusive goodies, including a few small original works, framed pencil sketches, handmade Xmas cards as well as a large selection of Christmas cards I've been able to get my hands on.

    There'll be special limited edition copies of Along the Prom, my first book (or bring yours along to be signed?) Also I have been making some tiny little drawings on the back of envelopes which will make gorgeous special gifts, and a full set of limited edition prints including artist proofs of sold out editions.

    Open Studio Days are a whole lot of work, a whole lot of fun, and tend to be very busy, but if any of the special stock remains unsold after the weekend, we will post it up on the website, otherwise it's first come first served!

    More soon I hope... But thanks for reading. I really do appreciate each and every one of you, and I mean that most sincerely, folks.

    Very best regardings as ever,

    Sam Toft

  • Then suddenly a calendar appeared...

    Do any of you remember Mr Benn? It was one of my favourite shows when I was small, and now instead of the 'shopkeeper' it is a Mustard Calendar that has conveniently materialized in our midsts...

    So this is just a short info-mail to let you know where to find it, should you be interested to have a browse. I had so many disappointed emails when I omitted to get round to having a 2010 calendar last year, that I hope with the vision of this one, I will be at least partly forgiven?

    It's a 'print on demand' one available only from lulu.com for £13 (lucky for some) and will someone let me know what it looks like as I don't even have a copy yet. It runs from April 2010 through March 2011 which I thought would be marvellously convenient. You can get it here: http://bit.ly/cwbqT3

    I am working on all kinds of new things at the moment, but more of that later... For now, just let me announce that the winner of the competition to win a signed original sketch is............Joseduardo de la Garza!!!!

    Congratulations to him on his inspired entry (number 31 on our facebook discussions page) and many, many thanks to all who took part. As I said, if I had nothing else to do for the next 7 weeks I would be sending sketches to all of you, but hey.

    I hope you like the calendar.

    I am LOVING the little daffs that are just starting to come out in my Brighton garden right now...Do you reckon that Spring is actually on her way?

    All the very best to you all,

    Sam Toft