Thursday, 28 October 2010

Pick of upstairs at Bird's Yard

The downstairs at Bird's Yard is so beautiful, many people don't realise the upstairs is just as amazing! We have two more floors of vintage, handmade, and alternative goodies. I went round the two floors this morning, and picked some of my favourites, which would make great presents or stocking fillers.

Kee Boutique

Keeley just finished making this dress yesterday, and it's perfect for a special New Year's Eve event. Something which is a departure from the ever present little black dress.

This cute vintage pussy bow neck dress is also in stock. I think it would look amazing on Christmas day, with some little pumps and thick tights. The velvet skirt looks so cosy.

Butterfly Attic

Perfect for curling up next to the fire, this vintage Parker Knoll rocking and reclining chair is only £20! The crochet blanket is also for sale, we have a whole selection of them upstairs.

Life's Big Canvas

Christmas is all about sweets - how about this limited edition plastic smarties necklace and bracelet? If you buy the necklace, the bracelet is half price. The fabric covered tailor's dummies are also for sale.

Ruby Soho

If you don't fancy something that garish, then pick up a pair of classier silver earrings. Only £3.50 a pair from Medusa Bijoux, inside Ruby Soho.

Also perfect for a present are these great patterned cushions by Daisy Cutter. They're only £7, so would be a perfect 'secret santa' gift, and at £10 for 2, you can afford to get one for yourself as well

The Beating Arts

If you're thinking everything is a bit girlie, don't panic! We're also catering for the men in your life. Beating Arts have these pictures for sale, perfect for framing.

If you want to send a card for the holiday period, but don't celebrate Christmas, then why not get one of these original cards? Only £2.50.

Factory 4

If screen printing is more your style, Factory 4 have loads of limited edition prints, such as this one below. Priced from just £15 each, and with more added all the time.

Also available is this huge bag - I think it would be great as a gift, or for just schlepping around presents over Christmas.


And finally, even if your giftee doesn't need more CDs, there's plenty more goods for the musically minded in ReChord. All these framed photos are only £4, ideal for any pocket.

Also available, a selection of second hand books and DVDs, including the cult classic 'Modern Toss'

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Craft Collective, Otley

I talked about the burgeoning Leeds indie scene the other week, so continuing on that theme, I decided to feature the new shop opened within the last few months by Jenie Pickard, also known as Lady Bea's Vintage Hive.

Situated in the small market town of Otley, just outside Leeds, this amazing shop features work by various local artists. Some you might recognise from Pannier Markets, local fashion shows, How Bizarre's market stall and Bird's Yard. Jenie has gathered together the cream of the crop in Leeds and surrounding areas, and created a real treasure trove of goodies.

Whatever your style or budget, you're bound to find something to suit. Prices start as low as £1, which for a one-off, hand-made item is rare.

Brands within the shop (to be edited later)

Ringlit  - reworked vintage clothing

Ages of Elegance - handmade clothing, accessories and homewares

Dot Dot Dee - jewellery

Life's Big Canvas - me - The Craft Collective is the exclusive stockist for my vintage eraser collection

Zinc White  - recycled typewriter and pencil jewellery

OOBBAA - runs The Stalls in Harrogate - handmade bags

Handmade with Love

Adorn Lovestorm - statement jewellery

Blue Shed Knits - hand knitted creations, including cupcakes, poodles and eggs

Lilly's hats

Gill Ford - photography

stained glass

Northern Star - infamous for her lego jewellery, and other kitschy items

The shop itself is gorgeous. When I went over, the theme was Alice in Wonderland, so the window was full of teacups, red hearts and watches. Inside the shop sits a massive tea table, with cups and saucers, knitted cakes and floral patterns everywhere.

The shop also features original artwork on the walls, painted by Matthew Dawson, whose tiger is a show stopper.

The basement is due to be fitted out so Jenie can feature even more of her favourite designers on display. We had a sneak peek, and there's even more great stuff downstairs just waiting to be flung around the shop!

Jenie is a real magpie, and has an eye for the unusual. She mixes kitschy jewellery with classy clothing, and sthe shop itself is like a gallery, with vintage bird cages housing knitted animals hung in old fireplaces, surrounded by shoes, jewellery and pillows.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

What's been going on at Pesky HQ

SO, lots of exciting things are going on recently. Here are some bullet points

1. I moved some stock into The Craft Collective in Otley - a blogpost about Otley's wonderfulness will follow.

2. I've also been in Bird's Yard for about 6 weeks, and absolutely love working there. The people are nice, the shop is amazing, and I love getting feedback from customers, and meeting new people

3. Toys are continuing to sell well in Robin Hood's Bay.

4. Kim's tattoo studio, The Ink Station, will be expanding to include tattoo removal, piercing, nail artist, a new tattoo artist and jewellery collections - mainly my stuff! I'm really excited about this, as I don't have anything in that area yet.

5. I'm also going to be putting stuff in The Stalls shortly - it's a fairly new shop in Harrogate, similar to The Craft Collective. Natasha has asked for me to take in some toys.

6. College is going for a bit of a burton, as I'm so busy.

7. We joined East Street Arts, and Ian and I will have a studio in Barkston House in October.

PHEW! Think that should have caught everyone up!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Bird's Yard - the ground floor

I'm sorry it took so long to do the ground floor. Every time I started doing it, a new artist or designer was moving in, and I didn't want to miss anyone out! Now it seems we're nearly at capacity, so what an enormous post this could turn out to be. To be fair, I've gone around the room, and done them in the order they appear as you walk around the shop.

Hollie has loads of different bits and pieces, which is just my sort of cubby. As well as gorgeous vintage and festival inspired waistcoats and hot pants, you'll also find sock moggies and bunnies, knitted octopuses and even some children's clothing made from vintage fabric.
Laura's beautiful clothing is restyled vintage finds, including these amazing scarf halter-neck tops, which have got a few people in a tizzy when they come into the shop! She changes stock very regularly, so if you like her clothing, be sure to pick it up while you can.

I'd seen Dawn's clothing around for months before finally meeting her, and it had always made me smile, and be wistful for bygone eras. Gorgeous handmade dresses from fabrics including chocolates, skulls, and candy. She also stocks some men's ties, lingerie and even a small amount of homewares. Dawn also runs Fabric-ation around the corner, where you can do workshops on making your own clothing.

Beth's fascinators and hats get a lot of attention from browsers at the shop. They are the definition of statement pieces - huge flowers, feathers, leather shapes and twisted fabrics. Whilst they may not be for every day wear, you can ask Beth to make you something stunning for a special occasion.

Smokey Rag tees and tote bags are beautifully printed with some really eye catching designs. I've yet to meet Diondra who runs the brand, but I'm impressed with the quality of her products.  

Obviously this is me. I love being a part of this unique experience, and so far have been doing pretty well. Have had some nice feedback from customers and staff, and it's helping my confidence.

Pixie also reworks vintage clothing, but in a totally different way to Ringlit. Her two tone dresses have been a best seller, but I particularly like her reworked denimpinafore dress, which I would be purchasing like a shot if it would fit me.

Aneet's collection of clothing, accessories and jewellery is both actual vintage, and vintage inspired. Her cute little gathered tops have been flying off the shelves, and her cute jewellery can be found in a nearby cabinet.

Giving new meaning to the term recycled, Zine White use old typewriters and pencils to create fascinating jewellery. Although the brand has only been in the shop for about 3 weeks, it's made a fantastic impact, with the typewriter key rings so far have been the best sellers (mostly to people who work in the shop, admittedly)

Delicate, hand beaded jewellery, including the ever popular flag pins! These pieces are so light across your fingers, you'll want to play with them for hours. Again, Jane has only been in the shop a couple of weeks, but people have been beguiled by the butterflies in particular.

If you want to make a statement, you need to pick up one of Emily's belts or necklaces! Vintage, hammered and handmade items, all with one thing in common - they're bold, beautiful, and not for the faint hearted. This brand has just arrived in the shop, and I think it will cause an impact.

Ruth's jewellery is all sterling silver and handmade, but prices are amazing! Everything is less than £20, and  is superbly made. Lots of excellent ideas for gifts, and beautifully presented.

Bird's vintage clothing has been sourced from all over the place, and ranges in age from 20 to over 60 years old! Amazing vintage one-off pieces, separated into day and night wear. If you're after something truly unique for a special occasion, or even just something stunning for work, have a look around.


Other notable mentions of people who we love at Bird's Yard

Taheed - The Boy Prefers Prada
Gary Crozier - beautiful digital manipulation of photographs
Anna Fur Laxis - burlesque performer
Leeds Loves Shopping

Friday, 27 August 2010

Birds Yard in detail - first floor

Following on from yesterday, it's time to look at the first floor of Bird's Yard, which houses three superb and diverse shopping experiences.

Butterfly Attic

Tiffany Harper is without a doubt the sweetest, kindest hearted person I've ever met. She's also a bit bonkers, and has more mannequins than you would think was imaginable. All the mannequins in the shop are Tiff's, and they are also available for sale in Butterfly Attic, which takes up most of the first floor of the shop. Whenever I go upstairs, I always walk through the shop, even though you're able to get to the third floor without walking through. You'd be foolish not to though, as you never know what you're going to find.

As well as mannequin heads, torsos, legs, arms, and any combination of those you might want, you'll also find vintage furniture, has been altered, primped, decorated, or just cleaned up a bit. Cabinets overflow with all manner of stuff, including wigs, signs, mirrors, hats... it's just a lovely place to have a browse around. Everyone who works for Tiff is friendly, helpful, and always has a smile for you. If you haven't loved Bird's Yard before you go upstairs, this shop will make you love it.

The Beating Arts

Three talented artists, working under one banner. Joy Gilleard, Gemma Gilleard and Belinda Schofield produce a bewildering array of artefacts. This photograph doesn't really do the shop justice.

Firstly, along with ReChord, is the one where the men are going to want to go. The male mannequin at the Leeds Loves Shopping launch was styled by BA, and the look they created was well received by everyone who has seen it: male fit screen printed t-shirts, hand etched leather cuffs, and trilbys. They also produce ladies fit t-shirts and tote bags, so they cover a wide ground.

As well as clothing, the shop has large prints and cards, and much for sale gives 5% to the Haiti fund. By far my favourite part of the shop is the designer vinyl cabinet. I have to be careful not to get too close in case I accidently buy it all.

Beating Arts also provide wall design, such as that seen at Eiger Studios and City Bloc, and all three artists have provided graphic design, store design and photography for other stores in the building. It's a pleasure to work in the same building as this much talent.

Kee Boutique

Gorgeous Keely is delicate and pretty, and her clothing reflects her personality. Kee Boutique declares itself all things vintage, and provides vintage clothing, lovingly restored or restyled, as well as new clothing with a vintage styling.

The shop also includes jewellery, shoes and accessories to complete your outfit perfectly.Most excitingly (for me anyway) you get to see Keely sewing in her little shop/studio. Watching someone working, and actually making the clothes for sale, is surely the essence of independent shopping: you know slave labour hasn't provided your clothing, and you're supporting local designers at the same time.

(Photos courtesy of James Abbot Donnelly - with thanks)

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Birds Yard in detail - top floor

I feel for the people on the top floor. Some people get so sidetracked on their way up the stairs, that they often miss the very top floor of our beautiful building.

This space (at the moment) is dressed for impact. Mannequins from Butterfly Attic, dressed by Bird Shell and Daisy Cutter. This area is an amazing one, and I personally can't wait for a shop to move in, lovely as the mannequins are.

Ruby Soho Boutique

At the top of the stairs, you're greeted by this pink vision. Ruby Soho incorporates Daisy Cutter bespoke fashion design, and Medusa Bijoux jewellery.

Daisy herself is a popular burlesque performer, and as you might imagine creates outstanding pieces using outrageous fabrics. Day of the Dead, tattoo prints, pin-up girls and even parachutes provide the basis, with Daisy's unique vision adding the style.

Sarah creates jewellery as Medusa Bijoux, and they combine so well with Daisy's clothing, it's a match made in heaven. It's a little haven of twisted cuteness, especially her newest collection, which features sugar skulls, Victoriana images and beautiful cameos.

The girls themselves are always happy to chat, and have a love for what they do which isn't often seen (well, not outside Bird's Yard anyway).

Factory 4 Pop-up Shop

Factory 4 Workshop in Sheepscar is a fully fitted workshop for screen printing, woodworking and jewellery making. Members can go along and exercise their creativity at very low prices.

The pop-up shop at Bird's Yard is absolutely crammed full of products. Ten artists from the workshop have their items in stock; Joe Duffield, Jon Simmons, Tim Green, Elizabeth Chadwick, Laura Wellington, Paul Smith, Sallyanne McCrory, Marie Louise Dorrill, Emily Farncomb.

As well as a vast array of original screen prints of varying styles, the prints are also available on t-shirts and tote bags. Other clothing, such as stamp covered trilbys, can also be found. Finally, original furniture by Emily Farncombe can be seen in the flesh, including the most amazing chaise longue on the ground floor of the shop.


Elliot has managed to fit an amazing amount of stock in his little shop, situated right at the back. It's worth finding for any muso, whether you prefer vinyl or CD.

Nina Simone sits happily alongside Peaches and Jimi Hendrix. Music related merchandise is also available, including properly vintage t-shirts (not the fake printed ones on the high street!) and record bags.

If you've got enough music, there are also music related books, some DVDs and even videos for those of us who still appreciate a VHS. Elliot is also a tattoo artist, and has some of his work displayed in the shop.

However, possibly the most special service provided is vinyl to CD transfer. A few places do this, but no one is as good value. £2 for an album transferred to CD? Show me somewhere else that cheap!

(Photos courtesy of James Abbot Donnelly - with thanks)

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Bird's Yard and the burgeoning indie scene in Leeds

Leeds has been needing a new shopping experience for a long time. After the Corn Exchange closed, doing a bit of mooching around looking at handmade and alternative items was always a bit of a treck. Yes, there's Joy in The Light, and Culture Vulture near Oxfam, and a few vintage shops remain around The Corn Exchange area - but there hasn't been a central location, an area like The Village in New York.

The Pannier Markets which started in April at Granary Wharf showcased the amazing amounts of talent in the city. From there, I found out about other workshop events - deserving mentions go to Fabrication for their craft workshops, and the talented Michelle Duxbury, who runs the website Craftsville and Dr Sketchy's anti-art classes.

So after not being able to find a decent craft supply shop in the real world, and meeting all the artisans at the market who couldn't afford their own shops, I was toying with the idea of opening a shop selling craft supplies and handmade items from locals. I mentioned it to a Business Link advisor, and he told me of someone called Michelle who was doing something similar in Leeds City Centre.

It doesn't seem 5 weeks ago that I met Michelle Walton, sweeping the floor in an empty shop in Kirkgate. Having previously owned Bird Shell (that amazing vintage dress shop in the arcade behind BHS) she has the business acumen and knowledge of her market. Amazingly driven, enthusiastic and hard-working, I had no doubt she'd come up with something truly unique. Of course, as she was offering space to rent, it would save me the headache of having to open a shop of my own, knowing, as I do, absolutely nothing about running a business.

Bird's Yard has now been open for three weeks, and I can't believe how quickly the time has flown! The shop is now open, with a vast array of artists and designs (who I'll be doing blog posts on individually - I thought Shell deserved her own post), and without Michelle, it wouldn't have happened. She had the vision, and she's made it happen. Not only has it taken over where The Corn Exchange left a gaping void, it's bringing new designers and artists to the fore, and giving them the attention they deserve.

Opinions and reviews have been good, and last week Bird's Yard provided the goody bags at the Leeds Loves Shopping launch, which have also been well received. After seeing the shop, Louise Atkinson was inspired to create Independent Leeds, an interactive map showing areas of Leeds not usually seen and devoid of big brands.

I'm not a massive part this huge, thriving independent scene, but I hope I can provide some WD40 to help grease the bigger cogs.

Bird's Yard
83 Kirkgate

Facebook - Bird's Yard
Open - every day except Monday

(photo copyright James Abbott Donnelly)

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Etsy's suggest shops feature comes up trumps!

I decided to try the Etsy 'suggested shops' feature again, after the disastrous attempt last time (about 6 months ago) - seems like everything in life, the website gets to know you better the more you use it, and I found tons of stuff I loved and hadn't come across before. So this week's top 5 picks are all from the suggested shops.

1. Gustow Little Monster

Absolutely adorable little monsters, but I love the expression on this one the most. Look at him!

2. Monster Pet crochet pattern

My cats would never wear this. But I like that someone has managed to get monster hats onto their cat. I might just have to paint a cat wearing a hat now.

3. The Lonesome Accordionist print

This reminded me of a friend of mine called Claire, as she's called The Eternal Magpie and has just started playing the accordion. As good a reason as any I thought...

4. Nosferatu

I also liked the forest fox, but as he's been featured in a magazine already, I wanted to promote a lonelier animal. Look at his teeth - he's adorable.

5. Red acoustic guitar

Something out of the ordinary - I usually feature plushies and prints, but I loved these guitar sculptures so much! The size can be seen in this one (it's a penny in the soundhole and it's standing on a bent fork) and I'm a sucker for miniature versions.