When we heard that Annie Greatorex and family (aka Wiseheart and Moonshine) were opening their own yarn store in Whaley Bridge we asked them to tell us about the reality of every knitter's dream.
I would imagine that many of you reading this has, at some point, daydreamed about the possibility of opening your own slice of woolly heaven. Two months ago, we got the opportunity to do just that. Suddenly all those day dreams had a chance of coming true and it was exciting, thrilling and terrifying at the same time.
On the 16th November 2016, Wiseheart Studio will open its doors officially for the first time and here's the story from behind the scenes.
First up, introductions: we're a family team of four, three based in Whaley Bridge and one in London - Kate, Martyn, Annie and Naomi. Between us we cover a wide range of creative fields from knitting through to weaving, dyeing, spinning drawing and woodwork.
As you can imagine, with four different people and four different opinions every time the hardest part was to bring an eclectic mix of ideas together to make one vision. Fortunately a deadline of two months does a wonderful job of focusing the mind and Wiseheart Studio was born.
The Studio will be, first and foremost, a textile arts venue and working studio with a yarn shop attached. Our aim is to encourage people's creativity and give opportunities for people to try new things and indulge their imagination. Knowing where our products come from is important to us and the yarns we stock will reflect that. We're huge supporters of British wool, ethical trading and independent companies.
Then came the fun bit, shopping for stock. Any yarn addict will probably tell you that they have a secret stock list for just such an event, we weren't any different. As the team member with the most experience in the retail world, I landed the role of head buyer (a role I've always wanted). Although in many ways it's living the dream, it can be overwhelming. For the first time in my life I didn't have the backing of a company behind me, it was just me and my family and it became personal. A combination of some extraordinarily kind and helpful people from our main suppliers and that two month deadline got me sorted and here's the vision for our yarn store:
We're starting with a small selection of suppliers, a mix of independent mills and small producers and will gradually increase the number of suppliers and range of yarns. I want to see our yarns reflect the seasons in both colour and weight, and I want to introduce you to new fibres and artists. I also want to know what your yarn dreams are, so feel free to ask about anything and we'll see what we can do for you.
Kate, meanwhile wanted to make it a working studio that gave people a chance to explore textiles and techniques. She will be found weaving and spinning on most days and, alongside commissions and creating her own pieces, she will be behind our programme of workshops. As an ex-teacher it's important to Kate that knowledge is shared and she also believes that there's no such thing as a stupid question, so whatever you want to know we'll answer (or find out if we can't)!
As for the other two: Martyn is our artist in residence and although he doesn't often work with textiles he knows his wool, so feel free to ask him anything. Naomi, on the other hand would be the first to admit textiles aren't her strength - she once sewed her hand to her own work - but she is the much valued objective voice and keep yout eyes peeled for her woodwork in the future.
We were fortunate to inherit three fabulous knit and natter groups and a lot of shelves as we are taking over the premises from Yarnbirds which sadly closed at the end of October. We've had lots of support from the groups as the studio has taken shape over the last couple of weeks which has been truly wonderful and much needed at times. The shelves meanwhile have saved us from numerous Ikea trips, so equally wonderful for us.
If you fancy joining in the adventures and finding out more, find us on the interweb at:
Or pop in and see us at 10, Canal Street, Whaley Bridge, SK23 7LS
Thanks for reading,
Love, Annie xx
Words by Annie Greatorex. Pictures by Naomi Ruth-Greatorex. All rights reserved by Annie Greatorex and Naomi-Ruth Greatorex. Follow my blog with Bloglovin