After the dire weather yesterday, today the south coast of Cornwall has been blessed with blue skies and patches of sun and an almighty wind. I spent the morning in Lostwithiel and then travelled further down the coast to Portscatho and have finally seen the sea.
I’ve met another group of wonderful businesses, all of whom you can find on The Natural Wedding Company directory, and it has been a pleasure to get to know them and hear more about what they do. It’s been a real honour to get an inside look into these small businesses, especially to very private places such as offices, studios, workrooms and cutting gardens.
So this is what I got up to yesterday on the TNWC Roadtrip…
Lancaster & Cornish
A recent addition to the directory and a last minute add on to my visits today, was a trip to the studio office of Lancaster & Cornish. I met the lovely Sian, who runs Lancaster & Cornish, last night at dinner with the ladies from The Garden Gate Flower Company, and was really excited at the prospect of looking at pretty fabrics and lace.
Sian stocks a beautiful range of organic fabrics and lace (which aside from vintage/antique lace is the prettiest I’ve ever seen) and is currently working on some fab sewing kits – both for bunting and knickers.
Hidden away in the top of an old building in Lostwithiel, Sian’s studio is a treasure trove of rolls of hand-loomed fabrics, reels of organic cotton threads, beautifully packaged bunting kits, trugs of delicate organic lace, and boxes of fabric covered and ceramic buttons.
With a background in environmental work, Sian fell in love with textiles on her journeys around Indian and Mexico, which sparked the idea of starting a small business in fabrics. Finding out more about the process of creating organic versus non-organic fabrics, Sian realised there was a gap in the market for beautiful, fairly traded, artisan organic fabrics.
From just the fabrics, Sian has widened her range to include the most exquisite organic lace that is made in Europe – it is seriously lovely, and because it isn’t bleached, has that lovely vintage feel to it. It comes in a range of patterns and thickness, from wide intricate designs, to dainty thin ribbons.
Sian has also started creating her own range of sewing kits, starting out with a bunting kit that includes all you need to make your own bunting – organic fabric, instructions, organic tape and so on. They come beautiful packaged in recycled brown tubes and would make great starter kits if you are wanting to make your own wedding bunting but don’t know how to get started.
Growing on her idea of the bunting kits, Sian is developing a brand new line of knicker kits! Just like the bunting kits, they will provide you with everything you need to make your own pair of rather beautiful knickers. I can just imagine these being a fabulous hen party activity with all your girls going away with their own pair of handmade knickers at the end of the night.
I was rather fond of this organic pom pom tape…now I just need to dream up an idea of how I can use it…
Sian is so passionate about organic fabrics and textiles, a passion you can’t help but absorb when she’s telling you about her products and ideas for Lancaster & Cornish. She also showed me a copy of an old family wedding photograph, with her great-grandfather who she discovered actually ran a textile business all those years ago. Sian’s passion is clearly in her blood!
After getting a little lost on my way to lunch, I finally met up at The Hidden Hut with Sarah from Sarah Wants… and Susanne from The Blue Carrot. If you are ever down in this bit of Cornwall, you should definitely add a trip to The Hidden Hut onto your itinerary – the food was delicious and the views are breathtaking.
Sarah Wants… is one of the lovely wedding stationery designers featured on The Natural Wedding Company directory, and I was delighted that Sarah brought along some sample of her work. Unfortunately the wind was so strong (we were even having to hold down our drinks!) that I wasn’t able to take any pictures of Sarah’s designs, so I’m including here some from her website just to give you a taster of what she creates.
Sarah is really into her fabrics and textiles, and this inspires a lot of her designs – in particularl I love how she uses images of fabric to build up her stationery designs creating a very distinct style. The quality of her card is also great, it has this lovely texture and feel to it.
Her designs cover all aspects of your wedding, from save the dates and invitations, to table numbers and menus. I really liked Sarah’s order of service which she ties together in one corner with rustic twine, which complements her whimsical country style.
The Blue Carrot
The afternoon was spent wandering around Susanne at The Blue Carrot’s exquisite walled cutting garden. You might well be familiar with Susanne’s distinct style and way with flowers, I’ve certainly fallen in-love with many of her creations with their loose, effortless appearance.
Set on a quiet farm, Susanne’s cutting garden is hidden away in a south facing walled garden, and is a little oasis of flower heaven. Entered through a creaking old gate, you come into this beautiful garden full of flowers and herbs and a polytunnel with ammi taller than you and masses of frothy love-in-a-mist.
Like all the other TNWC businesses I have met, Susanne is passionate about what she does. As we walked around the garden she pointed out different flowers to us and encouraged us to smell different things such as the roses and herbs.
Susanne would likely tell you that it’s a rather haphazard arrangement of flowers here there and everywhere, often making it difficult for her to get through, but to my eye it’s utterly beautiful.
Susanne also has a small studio workroom in an old part of the farm, which was once part of the dairy. She has shelves lined with all kinds of vases and bottles, including a fantastic collection of old blue glass bottles.
There are bundles of raffia and vintage lace and the softest of ribbons that she’s collected from markets and haberdasheries, gathering up anything she spots that she loves.
This coming weekend Susanne has a wedding so there were buckets of flowers keeping cool, including the most beautiful coral peonies she had bought in, and a lovely collection of cuttings from her garden – scented roses, sweetpeas, Icelandic poppies and more.
Susanne showed me how to she works from ideas given to her by her brides to put together their bridal bouquet, trying out different combinations until she’s happy with the final arrangement.
Having known Susanne for nearly two years now, and watching her business The Blue Carrot grow and develop in that time, it has been a delight to actually visit her cutting garden and speak to her about flowers. I hope you’ve all enjoyed a virtual peek into her beautiful business and garden, and I’ve got my fingers-crossed it’s not the last time I visit.
I must say an extra thank you to Susanne and her husband Mark for welcoming me into their home for dinner as well – and to Totty the dog for being an excellent temporary replacement for my own dog Buddy who I am missing lots!
Where I’m Going Today…
Today I’m starting my return leg of the TNWC South West Roadtrip, and will be travelling across Cornwall to the north coast where I’ll be meeting up with Charlie Scribble. After a very hectic week I’ve just got the one visit today, and having briefly met up with Flo from Charlie Scribble last spring, it will be lovely to get a proper look at her studio and stationery designs.
Images: The Natural Wedding Company