|Amy Bluett of Anecdotalist; maker of handmade bags, banners and other fabric goods|
I moved in to find out more.
It was a cold day and we both had red noses but Amy’s articulate passion for her fabrics-with-a-story-to-tell animated us both – this was clearly a case requiring a blog posting!
Amy set up Anecdotalist in October 2012 to sell items made of fabrics with a past – sometimes mysterious, sometimes avant-garde, occasionally run-of-the-mill but certainly worth recounting by Amy to her customers hence the name. A thoughtful, informed person, Amy's whole ethos, including her products made from recycled materials, is entirely in synch with the zeitgeist’s cutting edge.
|Vintage Fabric labels|
As far as Love it Back is concerned, Anecdotalist is selling seriously desirable recycled gifts and I love the way an Anecdote about the fabric is secreted inside about every single Anecdotalist handmade bag.
Amy sources her fabrics on the internet and from junk shops. One particular fabric she says she was lucky enough to source online is also in the V&A Textile Collection. Her swatch was in beautiful condition and dated from 1971: it was designed by David Bartle for Heals department store and was called Gaiety. It would have been sold as an interiors fabric, probably for upholstery. Knowing this made it very hard for her to cut up and use on Anecdotalist products; it went against everything she had been taught on her MA in Fashion Curation. “My tutors would probably be furious!” Better to put it to creative use, I'd say.
Another great piece of fabric, she says, came from a fantastic junk shop in Margate. The owners of this place are complete eccentrics and remind her of many of the people from her hometown near Hay-on-Wye. The shop has boxes and boxes of textiles to rummage through and on a good day you can find whole curtains from across the decades for less than a few pounds.
|Vintage Liberty Fabric Bag|
|Vintage 1960s psychedelic print|
Amy reminds me of architect Kevin McCloud in the way she extolls the human need to link the past to the future by giving what we treasure new purpose. “If we continue to buy new this and that, we'll never have anything to form stories from, we'd be essentially eradicating a part of our history from the future. In my view fabric is one of our closest, most important histories. It tells people about design, taste, clothing, everyday life, health, class and such a lot more. I think everyone should be entitled to owning a little bit of history." I couldn't agree more and as the vintage fabric bags made with recycled materials only costs £11.00 each while the bunting goes for £10.00, owning a bit of Amy's history is entirely affordable.