Hello! It’s been a while so we thought it was time to give you an idea of what we’ve been up to. In this newsletter, we're sharing the process behind our popular market bags; introducing a couple of our favourite stockists and suggesting slow living summer activities in Suffolk and London: perfect for taking your market bag along with you.
THE MAKING OF A MARKET BAG
Sold only in-store, our exclusive market bags involve a lot of work to create. Starting with a visit to the Pump St Chocolate unit, we select a number of the cocoa bean sacks - a mix of plain and printed - before thoroughly washing, drying and ironing each one. Usually made in batches of 12, a calico lining and webbing is added by our seamstress whilst we hand-strip whole hides of undyed vegetable-tanned ‘russet” leather for the handles. Next, the edges are bevelled with a traditional grooved tool to round them. A special sap, Gum Tragacanth, derived from a desert succulent, is then applied with a linen cloth. This 'burnishing' is time consuming but results in a smooth, polished finish. Finally, hand punched leather washers from offcuts and copper rivets are set before the label is tied on with twine left over from the bag: we always endeavour to leave as little waste as possible. Practical and roomy, these bags are perfect for packing your essentials in on your slow summer days out.
We’re happy to announce our market bags are now exclusively available in-store at Pump St Bakery and Maud & Mabel. Despite the city/country dichotomy, both stockists place much importance on thoughtful products and slow living, just as we do here at Doe.
SLOW LIVING IN SUFFOLK
Suffolk is fast becoming a creative countryside hub and we think Orford is a great reflection of what this county has to offer. After tucking into the baked delights (and picking up a market bag) at Pump St, why not wander down to the river and catch a ferry to Orfordness Lighthouse? A walk up the 100 steps to the top gives a stunning vista of the peninsula and the chance to absorb a disappearing landscape as the sea encroaches. We also find the ageing interior inspiring in itself - the snap above is from our most recent visit. The lighthouse is open to guided tours (which you can arrange privately) or by joining the monthly open day: the next date is July 8th: book here.
SLOW LIVING IN HAMPSTEAD
Often described as London's most beautiful village, Hampstead & its heath are a welcome green space in the midst of one of the world's fastest moving cities. But there's more to this local spot than the obvious. After you've enjoyed a browse of Maud & Mabel, here are a few lesser known sites to visit next time you're in NW London:
The Freud Museum is the former home of the famous psychoanalyst, his study still untouched from when he lived there - couch included. Dedicated to educating people about Freud and his importance in modern therapy, the museum runs a full and varied events programme for those whose curiosity runs even deeper. The current exhibition, 'Breathe' (on until July 15th) is supported by a one-off event on July 9th entitled, 'The Place of Breath in Cinema', examining 'a cultural history of breath in art and moving image'. Given our culture's current fascination with the role of breathing in mindfulness, we think this would be a thought-provoking evening out.
Heading back towards the Heath, 2 Willow Road is a National Trust property whose owner, architect Erno Goldfinger, was rumoured to be the name inspiration for Bond's notorious villain. A beautiful modernist home built in 1939 (the same year our family tannery moved to its art deco factory) and full of modern art and ingenious design, it's open to the public 11am - 5pm Wednesday - Sunday.
An independent retail and workshop space bringing together the creative talents of Suffolk & London has opened in Woodbridge. The Merchant’s Table is curated by the talented designer Susanna Cook, and we were delighted to have had our market bags chosen to be part of the inaugural event.
IN THE SHOP
The Doe Key Lanyard is bench made using traditional harness making techniques. In hand waxed bridle leather with a contrasting ecru stitch, they are designed to be both smart and enduring.
A hidden stainless steel split ring holds keys securely and each has a small disc of archive print from the old family tannery.
GOOD DESIGN IS LONG-LASTING
It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.