Browsing an exquiste array of beautiful items with champagne in hand is a divine way to spend a Thursday evening, meet with the unique community of St Catherine’s and to chat with Sinead at Seed.
Sinead, if you could paint the hill any colour, what colour would it be? It would have to be a rainbow, Frome and Catherine Hill are too diverse and individual to be limited by only one colour.
What bring you to Catherine Hill? I was showing some of my artist’s work at an exhibition in Bath last June, I came to visit Claudia at Deadly is the Female and after passing only two shops I had fallen in love. I saw number 13 and said this was the shop I wanted! By the time I reached Stony Street I was completely smitten. I haven’t seen so many unique independent retailers in one area in so long, it was a breath of fresh air and I felt excited. Once I had spoken to Gavin [who runs work hub The Old Church School ] and learnt all about the Artisan Market, there was no other option, somehow I had to be a part of it. I have dreamt of starting SEED for over 12 years and very slowly built steps to make it happen, in 2009 I started the website and was just looking for the right retail opportunity.
You seem to have an eye for interesting design and materials, are you an artist yourself? My training is in art and design and my career was in fashion. I don’t create anything I would say is worthy of a price tag, I leave it to the experts! Maybe I will take up making again – it is an inspiring environment to be in.
Where and how did you find the work of your contemporary artists? I go to lots of exhibitions, shows and open studio events around the UK. Some people have found me mainly by word of mouth or through other artists. All the emerging artists and designers I work with are based in the UK, with the exception of one jeweller, but I fell in love with her work, so she is my only exception. It is important that all the artist’s work complements each other and in doing so bring to life their exceptional qualities.
What catches your eye? That’s tricky one, I guess overall it would have to be quality and great workmanship, something which is unusual.
Do you have a favoured material? I don’t know that I have a favoured material, I am very drawn to texture. I love feeling a piece with my hands as well as exploring it visually..
What is your favourite piece in the shop at present? OOOh that’s difficult, can I have two favourite pieces? My first would be a spherical sculpture by Matthew Chambers, they are amazing creations, spheres within spheres and extremely tactile. My other piece would be a sculpture by textile designer Laura Thomas. Laura hand weaves her creation which is then encased in acrylic. The colour, delicacy and optical illusions which are created when looking at a piece from different angles is mesmerising.
When did you arrive on Catherine hill? I opened on March 17th 2010, a very happy day!
Describe the hill in one sentence. The Hill is an eclectic and unique experience offering exclusive items in a quirky environment, something for everyone.
What are your plans for the future? Lots of high hopes and big dreams, we will see. For now, being here is a dream come true in itself, so I am happy and content to reflect on my surroundings.
Have you experienced Halloween and Christmas on the hill? No, but if it is like everything else St Catherine’s does, I am sure everyone will get involved and it will be a magical time. Oooh, I am excited now, but don’t want to wish the summer away before it has truly begun.
What do you like most about the Artisan market? The vibrancy and the community spirit and seeing St Catherine’s so full of life- you get a real buzz from the atmosphere. The Easter market with the bonnet parade was gorgeous, with all the family and community values that have been lost elsewhere.
Tell us about your welcome to the hill. It was unbelievable, I couldn’t have been made to feel more welcome. I have come here from London, where I have never known my neighbours for around 11 years. To be welcomed into the community so quickly is a really special feeling and I was bought treats- fizz, flowers and chocolates- what more could a girl ask for?
It has been said that you resemble Audrey Tatoo, do you plan to learn French? Haaahaaa, I might try and polish up on my GCSE French, just for you!!
What would you like to say to all who attended your open evening? The biggest thank you to everyone for their support! I moved here knowing only two people, so to have approximately eighty people attend over the course of the evening was amazing