I’ve been coming to Hope and Elvis for at least 16 years from the days of the founder Louise Presley, and now I run it! It’s amazing how things change, and I wanted to properly introduce myself, Wend, share my journey with Hope and Elvis up to now, and where I hope to take the studio too.
My happy place
Since I started coming to the studio, it’s been my happy place, the place that I go to, and have gone to, for workshops, creative space and time away from what was a frustrating life in the civil service – a life where there was little room to be ‘me’.
Hope and Elvis gave me that space and it gave me connection with like-minded individuals, people who also wanted to get away from something else perhaps, or to go to something else and to be inspired by amazing tutors. People who taught me that it was okay not to work in straight lines, that it was okay to deviate from the script; that nobody was going to go through my work and rubbish what I’d done.
Over the years I feel as if I’ve absorbed some of the essence of Hope and Elvis, and indeed both Louises allowed me to bring my pop-up shop, Ticking Stripes and sell some of my vintage treasures as materials for the workshops. As a vintage and antiques textiles dealer and lover of ephemera, they were a perfect match in ”the home of creativity”.
My favourite thing about Hope and Elvis is something that you can’t really touch or feel or even explain. It’s something that you have to experience. It’s the camaraderie that you get from meeting other like-minded individuals, the inspiration from the work that they’re doing, the general enthusiasm that we all get and the almost feeding frenzy we get from each other’s positivity, energy and zest for being creative.
And my favourite workshops, over the years? Oh, oh so many! Some tutors are or have become perhaps a backbone to my own creative practice. I love the work of Mandy Pattullo and Anne Kelly and have undertaken several of their workshops. I’m looking forward to welcoming them back this year. Those are very much textile-based, but I’ve also enjoyed other workshops. Celia Pym‘s darning really opened up an obsession with holey jumpers, jumpers that I want to engage with and stitch into, to extend their life and to embellish in a quirky and colourful way. I especially love workshops that involve recycling, reusing and repurposing old materials and ephemera.
Why i wanted to run hope and elvis
When Louise Asher told me she was moving to Margate, I realised that I didn’t want Hope and Elvis to change or become something very different from what I was used to.
I didn’t want to let those feelings go. I didn’t want somebody else to be responsible for them. Would it be the same? Would I feel the same? Was I going to lose something that had become so very important to me? Did other people feel like that too? Was I in a position to take it forward? Did I feel that I had a special something that I could bring to take it forwards?
I decided that I did have that something. I did have my own unique selling point. My years of curating and collecting fabrics and ephemera were what was going to make me not only a bit different but also give me my own platform from which to produce an exciting programme moving forwards.
looking forward to 2023 (and beyond!)
Firstly, the studio space has changed – it’s full of fabrics, vintage bits and pieces and inspiration. Some tutors have returned for 2023 and some have agreed to return in 2024. But I’ve also invited new tutors who are going to bring something different in terms of working with ephemera, or assemblage and mixed media sculpture, and dyeing workshops to name but a few. So far, there seems to be a real interest in those workshops and I’m delighted to be taking it forward in the same, ever so slightly different, direction.
Check out the full line-up of workshops here. You’re bound to be inspired!
What’s your favourite thing about Hope and Elvis? I’d love to know. Join me over on Instagram and send me a message!