I have been told by more than one person I am a Connector. I do not want to sound big headed, I think I sound big headed. These people include a very good physhic who Carla Risdon and I once met and, most importantly the wise smoking owl Lou Leadbetter. Lou is my therapist, I cannot sing her praises enough and if you are in need of some talk time she is definitely your girl. She is the one who has confirmed to me over many hours that saying I am a connector is not big headed but truth.
I don’t mean for it to happen it just does. A believer in Kismet forces I often, in the same day will meet two people separately that are destined to work together, so I hook them up. This might be an artist and an architect looking for a studio space, a life drawer needing a photographer or perhaps finding a model for a shoot. Unlike my London friends who get paid lavish back handers when they introduce people I am mostly rewarded with a warm fluffy feeling and often FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out really is a real thing; for example when Mort the chihuahua, life model John Benge, and his erotic novelist partner Violet Fenn met photographer Birgitta Zoutman at The Shrewsbury Coffeehouse I couldn’t go. I was green with envy at missing the chat. You see my biggest problem is I want to be everywhere with everyone and the answer is one can’t. (Lou and I are still working on this). It should also be highlighted that being a connector in the Shrews is pretty easy when this microclimate of creative talent is all in one place; we are indeed a lucky lot.
I came up with a solution to my FOMO by forming PS Shop Up. It is a collective of creators, like minded people with exciting futures and bags of aptitude. A couple of times a year I get to hang out with them all in one space for a weekend and it is pure joy. Often in collaborative situations there's a moaner, or a lazy one; there are none of those kinds here*. This lot just crack on. I love every minute of our pop up adventures and this ever evolving band of brothers is getting stronger by the day!
*The strict no dicks allowed policy helps enormously but it's not really a dominant feature on the sign up form its more of a general feeling and luckily so far we haven’t had to turn anyone away.
Shop Uppers have already been party to some wonderful spin-offs; from selling each others' stuff to joint photo shoots, pop ups and creative collaborations. The phylosophy 'community over competition' really is a great way to work and seems to be happening across Shrewsbury these days. The collective is growing; we have our next Shop Up in Shrewsbury at Studio 39 where I have the privilege of being Artist in residence. It is on 29th & 30th September and will include four bursary spots and 25 sellers in total. AND before that we are pinching ourselves with disbelief as a group of the Shop Up Collective head to London where we have six allocated stalls on the 1st & 2nd September at Old Spitalfields Market.
I am hoping to spend the summer painting and, between arguments over screen time and many a sugar filled bribe writing about these incredible creative stars. I will be starting with my first ever creative connection in Shrewsbury; The Risdon Family where the talent is quite frankly off the scale.
Until then, friends without children enjoy the summer. Friends with children enjoy the juggle… I read the other day we only have 16 summers with our kids (if we are lucky) so I recon even if it does feel like an endless money pit and arguments about not going on that fucking bouncy castle in the Quarry might want to make you run for the hills TRY AND ENJOY IT/ make sure the Gin is in the drinks cabinet.
Photo 1. Credit Emma Playsted
Shop Up Number One at Rowley House September 2017
Shop Up Number Two.
The Shop Uppers at Number 11 fish Street April 2018.
Angela Georgiou, Wild Flora Clothing, Pom Pom Galore, Salty’s Studio, Ledbury Letterpress, Bertie and Tuppence, Olivia Gregory Print, Te. by Kao, Eleven Stars Three Mountain, Zoenso, Saloukee, Cherie Did This, Mustard, Daisy Pooley-Tolkien, Risdon and Risdon, Green Haus Plants, PS We Create, PS I.am Creating.