Music in the Park, Thame

Festivals

To kick off the festival season I decided to go local and visit Thame’s one day music festival!
We packed the car the night before as we had a fairly early start! And I was pleasantly surprised at how much we were able to fit in the jeep.

I had never been to Thame before, but had hear plenty of lovely things about it, in fact it reminded me a lot of Marlborough with its wide highsteet flanked with pretty little independent shops.


The festival was being held in a school field, with the food stalls, kids area and trading stalls around the edge of the arena – with two stages! Cleverly organised so they had music on all the time which was entertaining for us as well! It was so good to get everything out again, like the opening ceremony of our season!


We had some very interesting people trading near us, including Natty Tatty, who upcycles Tweed jackets and the like into dog collars, dog beds and more! I also got a lovely henna style drawing from the team next door, helping young people to open up and chat about what’s going on in their lives, supporting them through tough times and setting them up for job interviews, etc.

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There was a real festival feel to the day and even the rain held off for us! We had a lot of visitors to the stall, and many with encouraging comments to bestow – it is always lovely to receive feed back and ideas especially when they are local and can give tips of other local festivals, etc.


We even had some ladies trying some things on!! And, I’m sure I have said this before, but it is a fantastic mix of weird and exciting to see my clothes worn by real people! To me they are oo arh! pieces but to the people who fall in love with them, they are original!
Thanks to Chris and her amazing team of volunteers who made the day possible – you and the army guys did so well and it made the day go smoothly for all!


Thanks to Alex for all his manual labour, happy chatting and support –  and his brilliant dress sense!

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Here’s to the next one!!!

Our Dancing Town

Festivals, Film work

While our final year costumes were being displayed at the LBT in Huddersfield, there were some rehearsals going on for a parade through the town centre celebrating the people who live and work in Yorkshire, and the many cultures they being with them. The leading West End performer/choreographer Steve Elias was rehearsing with the groups of dancers and, while on a break, stumbled across the display of costumes and decided they had to be included – what an honour!

The final parade was filmed later on and broadcast on the BBC on Tuesday 24th January 2017 as part of a series called ‘Our Dancing Town‘(see the final dance through this link on YouTube!) You can just see my costumes about half way through as they start walking down the main straight of the tour – it was a shame not to see more of them but the dancers were just so incredible!!

We had to do a small interview with Steve for the show – felt very glamorous doing the hand shake, the smile, the “hello…I’m Amy”. Although this was not actually used in the episode, it was good experience and fascinating to see what goes on behind the scenes when filming!

My original performer Julia Blair took part to celebrate the heritage of Huddersfield, and a good friend of mine picked up the mantle of John Cabal as my brother could not make it. Stephen Finn was brillant and took it in his stride, actually his costumes were in the parade too – so proud that they were so enthusiastic!

WOMAD 2016

Festivals

So another year has been and gone…and it is WOMAD o’clock!

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Seems to be a tradition now, that when we are driving to WOMAD (not that long a drive!) we tune into radio WOMAD to get us in the mood for the world music, the dancing and the fun to come! There were some great tracks chosen, especially a folk one which got us both jigging in our seats!

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In convoy once more, us in ‘Rover’ (a company car which accompanied us last year!) and Matty in ‘Bertie’ behind, also jigging to the same tunes!

We arrived and were promptly shown to our slot in the newly lain out arena – I know! No more grid shaped WOMAD for us! They had evolved the original lay out to a much more meandering one which I love – yes, it meant that to do a loop took a lot longer but it meant that everyone got seen and enjoyed. And all the food was in one place, and we were placed with traders of a similar ilk which was lovely to see what they sold and how they got their inspiration!

The only downfall was that the stages ended up being very cramped when a popular act was on! But I quite like that because it meant we were all in it together instead of spread out – but I can understand why some people were disappointed by the new set up, but it was definitely time for a change.

So, as I was saying, we arrived at our pitch and started assembling my lovely gazebo. We hit a few stumbling blocks due to the tightness of the pitch – lots of rows of stalls had plenty of room between each one but our row seemed to be extra tight – so much so that we could not put up the fantastic sign we had at Boondocks so had to improvise with some bamboo and string to erect the oo arh! sign. It was a shame not to have it but our new system worked juts fine.

We used a similar lay out to Boondocks, since it worked so well, but we attached my standing mannequin to the front of the outside rail to add interest and show off the clothes which are better seen on a body than on a hanger!

I know I say this every time but part of doing festivals is the interaction with the customers – it does take a lot out of you but that is why I try and drag along Matty and Alex, so that at least one of us is bouncy and fresh to greet everyone with a smile! We got so many lovely comments from people passing by, to people just saying ‘oo arh!’ which really made me laugh, people wanting a chat about anything – got some amazing tips about finding veggie restaurants abroad! – and people admiring the colours inside!

I always forget to get pictures of everyone but here are a few…

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Georgina fell in love with my favourite blue sari skirt but was concerned about the length since she has a toddler to run after, so she came back and we pinned it up together to achieve a sensible length but still retaining the beautiful drape of the fabric. And she took it home to continue the up cycling circle! So thrilled to have my first ‘alterations’ customer!

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How fabulously happy does this lady look?! I was not there for this sale, but Alex said she loved it so much she wanted to wear it then and there – it fits her perfectly, and it is moment like this which I believe oo arh! was made for – to make people feel amazing!

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And what about this outfit! The ruffled sleeves match her dress perfectly, and she said she had a black ruffled dress which she was going to compliment the jacket with! This was one of the very first oo arh! items I created and I am so pleased it has gone to a colourful home!

So, that is another year gone…it was such a fantastic festival – we were lucky with the weather, not much rain and the heat of the sun burnt out during the day so it was not stifling! We had lovely neighbours again, and got to visit out trader chums! Saw some amazing bands, and got to meet a lot of them after they sets – even found a fellow twin in This Is The Kit!

I have never been so bombarded by heart felt congratulations from customers, and felt so proud of how far I have come. So, a huge thank you to everyone who came and visited and to those who found their own slice of oo arh! fashion to take home! Thank you to Lulu and the entire WOMAD crew for making it another spectacular year and to all those who believed in me and have helped me.

We have our eyes set on next year and how to take oo arh! further and further…I cannot wait – see you in another field next year! Keep dancing and being amazing to everyone!

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T-shirt trousers!

Construction, Festivals

You know all those old t-shirts you used to wear all the time…? Or those ones from that first ever gig you went to…? Or from your favourite bands…?

I have so many my draw would not close anymore! So when I had a bit of down time, I decided to put them to good use! I really did not want to charity them, because most of them have fond memories…and I love my music!

I saw a picture of some AMAZING yoga trousers online made out of Beatles Tees and I thought ‘That is exactly what I need’!

So I got cutting…firstly I cut of the bits I wanted to keep and then stitched the together in little tubes together – I kept them all the same width but varied the length so each trouser leg would be asymmetrical. And I am so so pleased with them!

They are some of the comfiest trousers I own! And….I made them! I used the waistband to tighten the top of the trousers by folding it back over itself!

So..I’ve got the bug now and decided to make another pair…but tighter this time!

I used the same method of making but fitted each rectangle to my legs! I think they worked really well, but a bit less faltering than the baggy ones…I had a bit of trouble getting the crotch right so I was able to cover it up with a little skirt which folded over the waistband!

Now my boyfriend wants a pair of baggy ones too! This could be an interesting line of business to open…I’m sure I cannot be the only one with too many T-shirts lurking in their wardrobes!

Boondocks 2016

Construction, Festivals

I was lucky enough to join the fantastic crew behind Boondocks for a festival packed with amazing music and lovely Boonies!

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There was such a community feel to the weekend, everyone knew everyone, and visitors to oo arh! had some truly lovely comments to pass on and fantastic suggestions for what I could make for next year – so a huge thank you to those who have inspired me to carry on with oo arh! and keep your eyes peeled next year.

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As you can see, we have invested in a much stronger and better marquee…not tape or zip ties needed to hold it together this year! And the addition of more fairy lights and lanterns has created a homely feel.

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It was a smaller affair than WOMAD, but that seemed to make it all the nicer – not as many people to fight in order to get to the port-a-loos and a smaller venue meant, even whilst manning the stall, we could still hear and appreciate the brilliant acts. It also meant we actually stood a chance of meeting the stars of the stage – some of the Goan Dogs guys came to the stall for a chat and a laugh which was amazing, and Natalia Tena joined in a belly dancing workshop I was at!! Pretty amazing! It also meant I noticed people wearing my clothes around the festival – there were a group of guys who bought two jumpers and a jacket and wore them together! A lovely lady who bought a jacket which really suited her who I saw quite a lot and the belly dancing teacher form Malmesbury nabbed the riding jacket which look amazing on her! There were many more including these two lovely ladies…

 

I always have to do a double take when I see my clothes on people – I can hardly believe it…they are wearing oo arh! So proud!

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This festival has made me realise areas I need to improve on and has actually made me appreciate how fantastic it is that I have made it another year! So another big thank you to those who believed in me, and helped me get here again! See you next year…