Tuesday, April 30, 2013

{Guest Post from David} Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening



David and I were talking about our fantastic weekend in Birmingham and his impressions of the grand opening of Lauren's new haberdashery and his opinions on the Great British Sewing Bee....and he agreed to do a guest post for today!  Enjoy!

     It was great to travel to Birmingham this past weekend to be present at the opening of Guthrie & Ghani, the haberdashery/brainchild/labour-of-love of Lauren from the Great British Sewing Bee, and her partner, Ayaz.


     We had been thinking about going on an overnight for my birthday, and had a few ideas in mind but once we heard about the Grand Opening, it was an easy decision.   Debi found a lovely B&B between the airport and Birmingham city centre, and we looked into things to do the day after the opening (which will, no doubt, feature in a forthcoming post).


     I came away from the weekend feeling very much inspired and thankful.  As I've related in a previous guest post, it's been amazing to witness the support network that Debi has found online (and IRL as a result of meet-ups).  As the partner of a particularly passionate sewist, it's not only great to see her involved in an activity that gives her so much pleasure but it's wonderful to see the community that has formed amongst sewists online, and the budding friendships that have developed as a result of enjoying a common pursuit.


     Much of this was alluded to in interviews with each of the Sewing Bee contestants (and in a chat we had with Tilly on our way to the railway station), and I am impressed with the way the show highlighted the importance of sewing in Britain, and the many ways in which people approach the art and utility of sewing.  I love hearing about the reasons why people have taken up sewing; for the practicality of making durable clothes that fit and compliment one's body; to learn a traditional skill (often passed down the generations); to dress in a particular fashion (such as Debi's fascination with the clothes of the 1930s and 40s); or to indulge in a practice that harkens back to a time and ethos - something that is perhaps missing in our current era, something that is worth reinvigorating and keeping, in order to combat the more seemingly shallow and disposable aspects of modern life.


     It was also inspiring to see what Lauren and Ayaz have been able to do together - transforming a neglected building into a beautiful and lovingly-polished storefront and workspace.  The amount of care and attention to both the original building materials and the feel of the space were evident in every centimetre of the store and workshop upstairs.  The space itself has a wonderful feel to it, and will be a productive, engaging atmosphere to learn, shop, and sew in.  There are already big ideas floating around the workshop's ceiling.
     The work they've done on it together has imbued the space with their spirit, and that of those who helped, including skilled workers, family and friends.
     Debi and I are firm believers in following one's dreams (as it's brought us this far), so it's always wonderful to see others pursuing theirs.  Hopefully, this will inspire others to strike out on a similar path.

                    
                       

     Although the Great British Sewing Bee is presented in the ubiquitous television programme format of an elimination competition, the contestants all expressed similar sentiments - that although they wanted to win, it wasn't as important to them as engaging in the camaraderie that developed amongst the contestants, something that was very much in evidence this Saturday.   Most of the show's participants were present and happy to support Lauren in her new business venture.  Although none seem entirely comfortable with their newfound celebrity status, they were happy to lend it to making the day a truly successful event by helping to cut fabric, greeting those waiting in the enormous queue that ran up the sidewalk, signing books, posing for photographs, and mingling with fans of the show inside the store.


     A "bee" is defined in the OED as "a meeting for communal work or amusement:  a sewing bee."  It is a space wherein skills can be passed-on and refined, workloads (and stories) shared, and friends made.   It is a communal space that has nothing to do with competing for prizes or titles.  The fact that this true spirit of the term shows through both in the televised story and in reality is a testament to the strength of what is at the heart of sewing and within the hearts of the people who are drawn to it.


     Personally, I think a more interesting show format would be to keep all the contestants and showcase the creative ways in which they approach the set tasks rather than eliminating participants.  It was fascinating to see each individual's interpretation of the challenges.  Whether or not that would make for "good television" (something that could be commodified) is questionable.  However, what was evident on Saturday is that co-operation, friendship, and a passion for the art and skills of sewing are the defining aspects of this community, and that its expansion into the blogosphere and the skewed "reality" of television has only allowed its strengths to shine through to a greater degree.
     It is a community that I am happy to see re-establishing itself in our modern world, and one that I am happy and proud to support and be a part of.


Thank you David for such a great post!!

35 comments:

  1. David, you are a wonderful wordsmith - reading this made me so happy and warm inside. Thank you both for being so sweet.

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  2. Thank you David for your honest and humble words. We are such a good bunch! But we couldn't spend as much time, effort or resources on creating without supportive men like yourself!

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    1. Thanks, Nessa.
      It's easy to support something that makes her so happy.

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  3. Dear David,

    I agree with all the above comments, and will reference yours, if I may, on my own blog.

    The honest sentiments you've written about seem too often absent here across the pond. The outpouring of love & affection for the craft unleashed by the programme warms the hearts of all of us who also love it, no matter what our nationality.

    Thank you so much for your thoughts, and for your support of Debi.

    Warmest wishes to you both,

    D'ellis

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    Replies
    1. Hi, D'ellis,

      Thank you very much for your feedback - it's appreciated.

      I hope the show, blogs, magazines and word-of-mouth continue to fan the interest in sewing. I think it's a great craft and wonderful way to connect with other people worldwide.

      Warm regards,
      David

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  4. What an utterly delightful post! The wordsmithing, the sentiment, and the source all make this post quite special; thank you :)

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  5. I agree with the others, David you wrote a beautiful tribute to sewing and the sewing community.
    thank you!

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  6. Lovely sentiment, and so nice to hear from someone "looking in" so to speak and appreciating the wonderfully generous and inspiring sewing community both online and IRL. Thanks David and Debi.

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    Replies
    1. Many thanks, Anne.
      It really is great to see the community forming around this hobby. I think we are stronger when we can connect with others and engage in a common interest. It's great that this one is making a comeback and that it is being met with such enthusiasm.

      -David

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  7. what a lovely post! i hope my husband feels the same (although i suspect he still thinks it's all a bit weird!)

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    1. Well, I didn't say anything about not thinking Debi was weird... I can't imagine that she'd have agreed to marry someone like me otherwise! :D

      I'm happiest when Debi and I can be engaged in doing something we love, and she's been wonderful about sharing her love of it with me, and allowing me to contribute where I can. Speaking of which, it's time to measure her hem.

      -David

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  8. I love how supportive we are of eachother and I love hearing about the support most of us receive at home- we are a blessed community!

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  9. David, I always enjoy your guest posts so much! Your unconditional support of Debi and her passions are so very wonderful to see. What a marvellous, marvellous day!

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  10. Wonderfully said David and it's always great to hear the perspective of a long-suffering sewing partner ;o) Your support of Debi and her passion is truly inspiring!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Marie.

      It's easy to support Debi in anything she involves herself in - her passion and enthusiasm is infectious. I'm happy to be able to lend a hand with photographs, design, and pinning her hems but it's great to see her go off on her own and do something that gives her so much pleasure. Even now, she's meeting up with sewists in London for a few hours.

      I'm equally inspired by all of you. It has shown me that the spirit of community is alive and well.

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  11. A lovely, thoughtful and beautifully expressed piece. Thank you, David.

    I tend to watch from afar - job, kids, sewing, all get in the way of being more proactive and meeting up in person with this fantastic community that has been springing up all around, but reading through the many wonderful blogs out there, like Debi's, is such a source of inspiration and helps me feel a part of it, however small. It isn't simply about the projects and patterns and skills, but very much about the people too. And when all this enthusiasm turns into something concrete, like it has here in the aftermath of the Sewing Bee, with Guthrie and Ghani, Tilly launching into pattern-making, etc. furthering the impact of sewing on the community and bringing people together in such a positive way, it is nothing short of heart-warming.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Thank you, Nathalie!
      Well put.

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  12. David, your writing is just wonderful! You litterally had me in tears at towards the end. I can only marvel at the wonderful online sewing community we're all part of, and also marvel at the amazing, understanding and supportive partners of dedicated sewists! I was single for a long time, and didn't fully appreciate the respect and compassion a sewist's partner shows. It takes a certain kind of greatness of character to support your partner's hobby when it' so all-engulfing as sewing. A huge thank you to all the wonderful, patient sewingaddictives-partners out there!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Erika. Very much appreciated.

      One of the greatest things about our relationship is that we fully support each other in pursuing our dreams. There have been many mentions of my being "long-suffering" and "compassionate." Debi does the same for me, many times over. She even pulled-up stakes and moved to Scotland with me because I wanted to go back to University.

      I enjoy hearing the singing from the sewing room - I think it's great when a partner finds something they love so well. It really enriches life.

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  13. What a lovely post! It really is such a unique, warm community. I never would've guessed just a few years ago not only how important sewing would become to me, but how many amazing relationships I would gain. I'm so thankful for the support and encouragement of this community, and for the support and encouragement that all our partners offer!

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    1. Thank you.

      Yes, it's been amazing to see this grow and see how supportive everyone is. 's a wonderful thing.

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    2. David, I've been meaning to post a comment here for a few days - reading this made me tear up a bit because I think all of us sewists know what this community has brought to us, it's genuinely heartwarming to know what it's brought to our partners. My boyfriend, Nic, feels much the same way - he was with me when I met Debi on Friday along with other sewists and he was buzzing the whole way home about the fabulous women I'd met, and how happy he was to have met them too.

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    3. Thank you, Roisin.

      Debi really enjoyed her visit to London. When I knew she had to go for a business meeting the first thing I told her to do was to reach out to sewists she knew there to plan a last-minute meet-up. I'm glad she was able to see you. It sounded like a lot of fun. Wish I'd been able to go along.

      Warm regards,
      David

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  14. POST-UTME TESTS
    The Federal University Oye-Ekiti has
    scheduled its 2013/2014 Post-UTME Screening tests to hold from
    Wednesday 31st July to Friday, 9th August, 2013.

    2.0 VENUE
    Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State
    Ikechwuku Iheanacho ICT Centre.

    ReplyDelete
  15. POST-UTME TESTS
    The Federal University Oye-Ekiti has
    scheduled its 2013/2014 Post-UTME Screening tests to hold from
    Wednesday 31st July to Friday, 9th August, 2013.

    2.0 VENUE
    Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State
    Ikechwuku Iheanacho ICT Centre. http://www.fuoye.edu.ng/site-news/248-20132014-post-utme-screening-exercise-

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you for reading and commenting!

    ReplyDelete

I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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