NEW PAINTINGS 9th OCTOBER at www.samtoftoriginals.co.uk A NEW COLLECTION OF ORIGINAL PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS at WWW.SAMTOFTORIGINALS.CO.UK Friday 9th October 6pm

Journal

  • Season's Greetings

    Dear Mustard Lovers,

    I was going to send you all a Christmas card and a Tunnocks, but I never got round to it. Will you forgive me and accept a seasonal message and a dotty video on my Facebook page instead?

    I hope you've had a good year. So many sad bad things are happening in the world but I try to focus on the good things, things I can do something about and things I can create and make happen. I've had my ups and downs but I know I'm one of the lucky ones and I hope you feel lucky too. Just the fact we are communicating via the whiz bang interweb is to me a total miracle. I always wonder what my old Nan would make of it all.

    It's been a busy year with many changes. And I always find that change is strange even though it's inevitable.

    The biggest change was losing my dear Moses dog just before his 16th birthday. He was my first dog. A legend. And good as gold if you don't count him peeing up the backs of some smartly dressed Japanese tourists sitting on the beach. Enthusiastically humping a nervous stranger at his first Christmas party. Chasing pigeons down the street with his lead attached to the leg of a table full of cake and coffee. Rolling in fox poo just before a long bus ride home... Dear Moses. He was the best old dog too. In fact I could hardly remember him as a young dog until I met little Betty.

    Young Betty. A two year old Black and Tan German Shepherd. She is both graceful and terribly clumsy. She loves walking through my artful displays of flowers and greenery in the fire grate. She's sweet, silly, cuddly. Playful like a kitten. And she loves my bereaved Stanley Philpot. They snuggle on the same bed, and they fight like brother and sister, Betty on her back kicking her legs in the air with his ear in her mouth, and Stan getting all disgruntled and cross then launching back in for more. And if Moses hadn't died I wouldn't have my Betty, so I thank him for that as well as all those happy years he gave me. Betty also chews like a demon. Big strong teeth and an appetite for bones and chewies like I've never known. She gets through those indestructible toys in an afternoon, almost like it's her solemn duty. It's costing me a fortune. But don't we just love it?

    And earlier in the year we had that wonderful exhibition at Panter and Hall in Pall Mall, and so many of you made the journey to Big London. Our lovely bubbly Private View and our fun Grand Day Out with all the crazy dressing up, the quiz, the happy families game, the raffle. All the We Came We Looked We Liked the View merchandise and the new self published little book. Thanks for all your enthusiasm and support. It really keeps me going in those dark moments of self doubt. Can I say, I truly appreciate you all, without sounding schmalzy?

    Later in the year I came to Abingdon and Norwich where you queued in the cold and rain and I signed and drew and dedicated for 7 hours straight then back home on the bus. We made a new card range for Art Press, Larry n Pidge, a new calendar with Art Group and new mugs too. We launched a stocking and hamper business. And then we decided to open a little shop and renovate some old telephone boxes to be the smallest exhibition spaces in the world. I made two new bronzes, and I did a few pictures as well. I get all cross with myself if I don't keep up with making the pictures.

    But oh how I love my little shop.

    If you follow us on Instagram @littlemustardshop and @dogandbonegallery you will see us step by wobbly step, struggling with a motley looking sandwich shop and those derelict old phone boxes. And talking of steps... have you seen the concrete mess the builders left? My little shop is a work in progress.

    And the loveliest news is that Nan Mustard and I will be at the little shop together 12-6pm on 23rd and 12-4 on 24th December so please pop in and say Hi. We may even give you a Tunnocks ! We still have stockings, calendars, cushions, mugs, writing sets, badges and tapestry kits as well as plenty of last minute picture gifts and two Tofties itching to wrap them for you. And then we will be closed until January 11th

    And last but not least, thanks SO MUCH for all the hand knits. So generous you are dear Mustardistas. Nearly £200 you have raised for Sussex Pet Rescue.

    Lots of thanks, lots of love and a big hug from Team Mustard. All the very best for the Season and this lovely old year before we ring in the new.

    I hope you'll enjoy our Christmassy video on my Facebook page and keep yourselves safe until next we meet,

    Big love,

    Sam Toft

  • Little Mustard Shop #2

    Dear dear Mustardistas

    I know I sent an encyclopedia-like tome only a week or so ago, and I know we all hate being spammed, so this one will be brief as I can... Not too brief then, thinks you...

    I just want to explain some things about the Little Mustard Shop. It’s not ready yet but we are working HARD!! Doesn’t everything take three times as long and cost four times as much as you first thought? Why IS that???

    This week we are having the step tiled, making stock, pricing things and getting all organized with staff. Hopefully getting a Christmas tree and fairy lights. I am so excited, and it will be just wonderful, I know it. But I have had so many emails. So many good wishes and so many promises to visit. So much support, encouragement and love. For which I am extremely grateful.

    BUT... I must say I am getting a little anxious about the Opening. Don’t get me wrong, after all the hard work and money spent, I am VERY grateful for your enthusiasm. But I don’t want too many of you to be disappointed. I don’t want to let anyone down. So I am choosing to be very open and honest with you all in the hope that forewarned is forearmed.

    It’s only little. Ten people would be crowded. Twenty and no one could move. Five or six could browse happily. That kind of little.

    I have the lease for 18 months. We will be open Thursday - Sunday 12-6pm until 22nd December.  Me and Nan may open the final weekend together, closing early Christmas Eve but no promises there. Check for updates on Facebook.com/samtoftartist or our Instagram account @littlemustardshop nearer the time for details.

    The little shop and the phone box galleries are opening in conjunction with Brighton Christmas Open House trail, so there is lots to see for the next 3 weekend in Brighton...please check things out here.

    The stock of exclusive items will be shared out between the first 4 weeks’ opening so that whenever you visit there will be an equal chance to get stockings, badges, humbug gifts, sketch pads, writing sets etc. Stock will be updated daily (as it is so little in the shop).  Once the exclusive stock has sold each week, it will be refilled for the next, so the only rush is to get here when we open at 12, I guess. Not for a particular date.

    There is not EVERYTHING at the shop. Just small things. For the full stock please visit Mustard Shop at www.samtoft.co.uk I think maybe it is confusing, but the Mustard Shop online at www.samtoft.co.uk is located in Cornwall with lots of stock and mailorder, run by Nan. The Little Mustard Shop in Brighton has limited stock, is run by Cadi, and there is no mail order.

    Stockings: I believe my sister has almost sold out at mustardgoodies@samtoft.co.uk. As a separate enterprise I will have 10 stockings each Saturday and each Sunday for sale at the shop which I am making myself. That’s 80 total. I’d make more but they take ages and I have other ideas too. Wait and see!

    Hampers: I think there are 2 left at mustardgoodies@samtoft.co.uk ...250 pounds each... fully customisable and supplied by my lovely sister Louise who is currently thrashing about wildly under mounds of ribbons and glitter in Nan’s garage in Cornwall so please be patient.

    There is only one Little Mustard Shop and that’s why its special. But we will be open next year too. Most of the time I will not be there because what I like doing best is sitting quietly at the studio making pictures and coming up with ideas. I can’t do that if there are distractions, so please don’t pop in and visit at the studio. I treasure my quiet time.

    There is no Grand Opening. We had a lovely party for friends and neighbours Thursday last which showed us that there is no real room AT ALL for any celebratory fandangling. Twenty close friends and it was mighty cosy in there, and there wasn’t anything to buy at the time!! But there is a lovely warm pub, The Crescent, opposite the shop (thecrescentpub.co.uk if you want to check out their menu or book a table).

    This little shop is an experiment. It will be open for 18 months definitely (as will the phoneboxes) after which we will review costs and time spent to see if we can continue.

    And yes wouldn’t it be nice for there to be other Little Mustard Shops? I have not the time, expertise or the energy to open another, but maybe in the future if there were any interest, it could be a franchise. I will think about that next year...

    At the weekends there will most likely be three dogs behind the counter. So although we welcome the fourleggers, perhaps with the size of the shop, the volume of people and with 16 legs in total behind the counter (you work it out) perhaps it may be best to tie up your own furry friends on one of the two dog loops outside if you wish to browse. My worry is if little Betty (a very joyful German Shepherd) decides she wants to play with your pooch there could be mayhem. The little bull in the china shop springs to mind. So please consider this for the weekends up until Christmas.

    On 25/11/17 at 12 noon GMT Mr Cain will be doing a Facebook Live, chatting to the queue if there is one, taking a tour of the phoneboxes and doing a quiz, so please tune in and keep him company.  Just go to my Facebook page at 12 noon GMT on Saturday 25th and it will all happen.  I hope to be able to talk to you live, depending how busy it is.

    Thanks for listening dear Mustardistas. I really appreciate your support as always. And you know I will be trying my best, working every weekend from 25th November at the shop, and every other day making stock and taking long walks with my dogs. On Christmas Day me and Nan will collapse with our ready meals and a nice bottle of wine, laughing about how mad it all was. And then after Christmas I can fully guarantee I will be hibernating for two weeks, maybe more.

    Sam

    X

  • Is it too early for a tubful of Christmas cheer?

    Dear Mustardistas,

    What a fine crackly Autumn we’re having!

    I'm writing this from a little cottage in the hills. Ashdown Forest is just around the corner and there's nothing to worry about but me and the pups. Feeling very spoilt. I’ve two warm dogs on my lap and a cup of tea with hot cross bun on the table. If only I could just reach them.

    We’ve had two VERY busy weekends at The Gift Centre and Gallery in Abingdon, and the Framing Workshop in Norwich. Six hour stints at the ole signing table. Dedicating prints, drawing in books, having me photie taken, meeting lots of people. Thanks so much to all who came along. PHEW!!!

    I’ve got lots to say, so forgive the long email. May as well get yourself a cuppa and the biscuit tin.

    Are you all sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

    I think I mentioned before that I am opening a shop? It was one of those Sunday morning Bright Ideas, but this time I decided to actually go for it. I hadn’t really thought beyond playing shops really and it has been quite a learning curve. And I’m so pleased I decided to do the phoneboxes as well... they’re the icing on the cake!

    There’ve been the usual round of blips along the way. One spectacular weekend a Council van backed into the shop smashing the front window, and some not very artistic person covered the newly decorated phoneboxes with black graffiti. Hopefully most of the drama is over now. We’ve just got a mushy front step, last minute decoration decisions, and a few delays on the stock (in that I haven’t made it yet). All the right things but not necessarily in the right order. You know the thing.

    THE DOG AND BONE GALLERY

    We are looking for submissions for the New Year on the theme of Dog and Bone. Do you have a burning desire to show your work in a lit-up, locked-up phone box? I thought so... well follow us on Instagram, email us at dogandbone@samtoft.co.uk or come see us in the shop.

    The phone boxes themselves look absolutely smashing. I’m hopefully doing the planting tomorrow and if I do I’ll post a pic. White cyclamen, variegated ivy and heather, underplanted with scented Narcissus and stunning Muscari. The grand plan to create a free community gallery space in a charming little used Brighton Square is almost complete. The Dog and Bone Gallery will be lit up from mid November with Christmas lights going in from December. We have two brilliant artists who will launch our first season:

    Anna Wilson-Patterson with her wonderful paintings of Hounds

    I love her sensitive portraits of lurchers and sighthounds, landscapes and seascapes… quirky, fun, inventive, captivating, wistful, mesmerizing. I absolutely love them. This Winter she is promoting her new self published book Hounds and a limited edition calendar. Her cards are to die for. Her Christmas cards are ALL I am sending this year.

    Innis McAllistair with his black and white photographic compositions

    Artful, thought provoking and beautifully composed. A selection of photographs of dogs form his travels. He should really make a book. These pictures are awesome. And he is also available for commissions. When you see this strikingly sensitive work, it may get you thinking about having a photo shoot with your own pooch. The kind of Christmas gift that would last forever... can’t wait for mine, Innis.

    Details about each artist and submission forms for 2018 exhibitions at Dog and Bone can be picked up at the shop, or email dogandbone@samtoft.co.uk

    LITTLE MUSTARD SHOP

    It’s a dream come true for me.

    If you’ve been following us on Instagram @littlemustardshop you will have seen our astonishing revelations. From a former local sandwich shop with boxed in plastic signage we uncovered an original late 1800s fascia. Lots of work still to be done, so check us out on instagram if you are interested in that side of things… otherwise please be invited to come visit our little shoppe!!!

    We are going to open mid November I think. Totally dependent on whether the works are finished on time. But DEFINITELY from Saturday 25th November where we will be part of the Brighton Christmas Open House Trail. We will remain open Thursdays - Sundays, 12-6pm, until Friday 22nd December. I’ll be there myself on the weekends of 25th and 26th November, 2nd and 3rd December, 9th and 10th December, but I’ll be popping in at other times to deliver supplies. It's a tiny shop with no store room so I’ll be renewing stock every day.

    I fondly hope that Little Mustard Shop will become a Destination Boutique. It's in a beautiful uncommercial area of Brighton that tourists don't often visit. It's not on the high street. If you didn't know where it was, you'd never find it. I’ve tried hard to make it unique and special. The kind of little independent shop I like to find myself. And there’s only one. We will have small things and favourite things. New things and old things. A few tiny originals not seen anywhere else.

    It’s a lovely area with a friendly pub opposite serving nice lunches: www.thecrescentpub.co.uk There's a new coffee shop opening soon, next door but one. 7 Dials is two minutes walk away with a selection of Cafes and Shops. There's a taxi rank opposite if you don't fancy the ten minute walk back to Brighton Station. And five minutes down the hill there’s the seaside. So it'll be a grand day out whichever time you choose to visit.

    We’ll have old favourites and things you won’t have seen before. Exclusive items, one offs, not very many of most things, always something new to see.

    As we have no store room we can’t house the entire stock. Nowhere near. But we can point you towards MustardShop online at www.samtoft.co.uk where Nan handles all the mail order. There is no mail order from the shop. There’s not enough of anything!

    We’ll be closing for a couple weeks in January to take a breath, then open again for the New Year. Details to follow in a post Christmas email!

    Opening stock in the shop to include:

    • Hawkes Hounds … I only have two, but these handmade pups are something to behold: Everybody. Loves. Them.
    • Dog lamps from Madeira … I have imported two from a chance meeting on a recent holiday. They are amazing. I want one.
    • Carolyn's Cushions … this lovely woman has raised nearly £8000, as ALL of the income goes DIRECT to the NSPCC. Aside from this, they are absolutely gorgeous. Can never get enough. Each one individually made. She even does stripy buttons.
    • Paintings on wood by Joe Ramm
    • Jig Dolls by Cadi Froehlich
    • Exclusive enamel badges from myself, Eve and Emma. Dogs and Mustard obvs.
    • Stickers
    • Writings sets
    • Sketch books
    • Christmas cards
    • Calendars
    • Both my books
    • Framed original paintings from my soon to be launched card range with www.artpress.com Larry and Pidge
    • O GORGEOUS essential oil, organic, palm oil free candles and soaps handmade in Cornwall
    • Brighton Rock
    • Tunnocks
    • Humbugs
    • Hand knit Mustard scarves
    • New bone china mugs
    • Limited edition prints, canvasses, prints on wood
    • Cotton bags
    • And Mustard Stockings...

    THE STOCKINGS

    I have been totally overwhelmed by the Facebook Group response to this little idea of mine. Surprise Mustard Stockings!

    A lovely indulgent little stocking with exclusive gifts. You’ll have an idea of the type of contents =Mustardy stuff= but not exactly. So you can buy one for yourself, get Santa to put it at the end of your bed, then have a lovely surprise Christmas morning!

    I will be making all the lovely Mustard Stockings for the shop myself. Containing £27.50 worth of exclusive wrapped Mustard Goodies (including a little framed signed picture and other items not available elsewhere). Plus £5 worth of lovely Xmas fillers and one free stripy sock to make a hand puppet with. These will be priced at £30 each. No mail order. No pre-order. I will make 20 for each weekend at my shop before Christmas. 80 in total, 10 on Saturdays 10 on Sundays. Exact contents are a surprise. The first ones will be on sale from 25/11/17 when the shop opens at 12 noon.

    Well this was my plan until I put the suggestion on my Facebook Group to see if it was an idea anyone was interested in… We immediately got over 300 people who said they wanted them!!

    So here’s where my sister Louise and her daughter Serafina stepped in. They volunteered to make 500 totally lovely surprise Mustard Stockings to their own recipe. All containing almost £30 worth of exclusive MUSTARD items, £5 worth of fillers and splendid wrapping. And let me tell you, Louise is the BEST stocking maker. I know because she always makes mine.

    MustardShop online stockings will be available from 1st December.

    You can buy one for yourself or we can send one directly to a friend for you. Your Stock-in-a-Box will be labelled Don’t Open Until December 25th, so it’s the ideal surprise gift.

    We can send them anywhere in the world...

    Stockings will retail for £30 plus postal costs. To give you an idea, one stocking sent anywhere in the UK would be £5.

    To buy (or to make an enquiry) please contact my sister Louise direct at mustardgoodies@samtoft.co.uk These items will not be available directly through Mustardshop or poor Nan would get swamped!

    And for a unique, indulgent, and totally Mustardy experience, Louise will be making TEN Great Mustard Hampers. They will be the ultimate in Mustardy Christmasiness, and are fully customisable. Each will include a handmade cushion, a Christmas card from yours truly. Over £300 worth of items... a real treasure box! These are available ONLY ONLINE, only while stocks last, and only if you’ve been VERY good ALL YEAR. For each hamper sold we are donating £30 to the NSPCC. Retailing at £250 a pop plus postage, they are an IDEAL gift for a whole family, or even just one extremely lucky, totally dotty individual who might just love being spoilt rotten. If you know anyone like that. Contact my sister Louise direct at mustardgoodies@samtoft.co.uk to reserve you hamper before 1st December. We have the stock for just ten.

    And lastly but not leastly:

    A HUGE THANK YOU to all those lovely knitters who made scarves for me to sell to raise funds for Sussex Pet Rescue. It would be lovely if you could send them soon so I can label them up for the shop opening 25th November. It would be great if you could include a name you are willing for me to share with the purchaser and a little bit about yourself. For example, Where you live, Your favourite colour, Your hobbies, The names of your pets… something silly or serious but brief so I can write it on a luggage tag and tie it with a bow around your donation. For example, “This scarf was knit by Ernest of Brighton. He loves humming, walking and his little dog Doris.” If you don't know what I'm talking about, you should join us on our Facebook Group some time... we have plenty now but keep your eye open for next time...

    Send to MUSTARD HQ, 313 Ditchling Road, Brighton, BN1 6JJ, to arrive in a week or so.

    Well just time for a second cuppa before you book you bus ride/ train ticket/ tandem or Steamer trunk for your visit to Brighton. Why not make a weekend of it?

    A warm welcomes awaits

    Sam

    X

  • Little Mustard Shop

    Dear Mustardistas,

    I feel I've been neglecting you.

    Not for good reason - because there is NO good reason for neglecting one’s friends - but for a BIG reason. Or maybe two. In fact THREE!

    I haven't really been able to say anything about it so far, as nothing is in the bag, and things keep changing, and I don't want to jinx things by shouting all about it before I've got the keys… But I think it is pretty much inevitable now. What else could possibly go wrong? And why do these things take twice as long as you think and cost three times as much?

    Ah well, what else was I going to do with my time and money?!

    Does a new shop and a phone box gallery sound good? How about TWO phone box galleries on a beautiful Brighton square in time for Christmas?

    What kind of a shop? you're thinking. And what the blinkin’ heck is a ‘phone box gallery’ when it’s at home??

    Well as I say, at time of writing, nothing is done and dusted. But throwing caution to the wind I will share my plans. It’s been killing me (rather unsuccessfully) keeping it all under wraps.

    First off, some dates for your diary:

    We will be opening 25th November in conjunction with the Artists’ Christmas Open House Trail in Brighton, 12-6pm daily.
    • Saturday, Sunday 25th, 26th November
    • Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 30th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd December
    • Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th December
    • Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th December
    • Thursday, Friday 21st, 22nd December
    And now a small taster of the delicious details…

    It's a small shop. Tiny in fact. Standing-room-only-and-short-leads-on-dogs small. No cat swinging. It will be called the Little Mustard Shop. Selling Mustard things, other things, favourite things, special things, exclusive things, one off things, lovely things, surprise things. No mail order, as Nan will continue to run that from Cornwall. And MustardShop online is still the best place to go for ‘all kinds of everything’ Mustard. At the Little Mustard Shop we will only have limited stock and then a few things that are just a little bit different.

    And the phone boxes? Around the corner from the shop I am planning to restore two old listed red phone boxes to run as lock up gallery spaces. Fairy lights, seasonal displays, guest artists. They will be known collectively as the Dog and Bone Gallery. And they will be ready for viewing 25th November. It's going to be a busy few weeks. And I’ve not got keys YET for the boxes nor the shop. Aren't I a one for counting my chickens?

    Before all that we have two very special gallery open days, where I will be signing books, meeting people and showing off my new paintings and drawings. Please contact the galleries direct for all information and availability…
    • 28th October at the Abingdon Gallery
    • 4th November at the Norwich Frame Workshop and Gallery Tel: 01603 616779
    And just as a reminder, there is NO OPEN STUDIO this year, so you’ll just have to come to a gallery opening or the shop and phone boxes instead!

    Meanwhile, Nan is going bonkers. She has been cooking up some crazy Autumn offers to warm the cockles…

    I’ll be sending another email in a few weeks with more news, but for now why not follow us on Facebook or Instagram? And we will have two new Insta accounts too: @littlemustardshop and @dogandbonegallery to show photos of our progress… let’s hope for a little fine weather!

    All the best to one and all. And I hope to see you soon!

    Sam Toft x