Whitworth Art Gallery hosts Blue Patch’s ‘travelling’ Department Store!

Blue Patch’s ‘travelling’ Sustainable Department Store popped up at the Whitworth, Manchester University’s award winning museum.

Blue Patch were lucky to coincided with Whitworth Director Alistair Hudson’s radically refreshing vision for the ‘Useful Museum’ (listen to Alistair here).

Brands include XO Balm, Inch Blue baby shoes, Helena Lee printed bags and the table covering is Folklore Fabric By Lisa Watson.  Photo: Helena Lee

The Useful Museum got off to a flying start with the Reno residency, led by Linda Brogan. Everyone is talking about the role the Reno played in the community and how this translates into new ideas in the ‘here and now’.

2019 also marks the 200 year birthday of John Ruskin, artist, historian and thinker. The exhibition ‘Joy for Ever, How to use art to change the world and its price in the market’ invites visitors to consider what it means to have a responsible and inclusive economy. Much can be learnt about Ruskin’s sensible ideas and taking time to rediscover Unto This Last, a small book with a world changing influence – highly recommended.

The exhibition makes the case for art to be part of everyones life and be core to education, pointing out the benefit to the economy and wellbeing.

You’ll see the plan for the recreation of Ruskin’s Road in Whitworth Park too – watch this space! This exhibition also marks the start of a two-year project with the Manchester Business School, which culminates in the exhibition Economics: The Blockbuster in 2022. The Whitworth is a truly ‘living’ museum where past, future and theory leap from the page (or archive) to become co-created projects where everyone participates!

Mariam Syed scarf, Katie Walker’s Windsor Rocker, Rowena Ardern’s cushion. Photo: Helena Lee

Popping up within the context of the Whitworth, was apt. Blue Patch’s business model bears testament to the ideas of Ruskin and Morris with 100% of the company’s revenue dedicated to supporting sustainable local business, community and conservation programmes.

By Lisa Watson

Blue Patch’s ethos is so closely linked to Ruskin and Morris we’d like to think they would have joined the collective too!

organic, vegan, cosmos, beauty, terre verdi

Alessandra with her organic beauty brand Terre Verdi.  Photo: Helena Lee

Blue Patch members put together a beautiful ’boutique’ department store. There really was something for everyone!

Hellion Toys, a recent discovery, is a super sustainable, intelligent brand. Creating toys that help children to construct words, numbers and whatever else captures their imagination, based on Maria Montessori principles.

Apron by the Stitch Society, engraved spoons by Badger’s Velvet, Studio Craft rice bowls by Denby and leather mat by Spire Leather.

The store featured the fabulous Denby pottery – to their credit they are the first UK tableware manufacturer to be able to claim ‘zero to landfill’ for their process waste, saving approximately 600 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

Badger’s Velvet are wordsmiths, engraving on spoons that are lathed-turned bone, a byproduct of the food industry. The leather table mat is high quality ‘off-cut’ from saddlery and cricket balls, manufactured by the heritage company Spire Leather, in their Clayton Street Tannery in Castlefield. The Folk Lore table covering, designed by Lisa Watson is re-woven from selvedge yarns in Lancashire

Eve with her circular economy brand Bundlee. Photo: Helena Lee

The circular economy is the way to go! We all know space is at a premium and babies grows at supersonic speed, so dressing is ‘in the bag’ with Bundlee the baby clothes renting service. These gender-neutral clothes are soft as butter and made by an excellent factory in Nottingham. Eve Kekeh, the entrepreneur behind Bundlee, is a graduate of Manchester University, where she studied business. Eve gave talks to parents at the museum, spreading the principles of circular economy business.

Conversations with visitors to our store were so rewarding. People genuinely responded to the idea of a not-for-profit collective for Britain, that champions the local community as well as the environment. We had people saying being in the store made them happy – what more could we wish for!

Windsor Rocker by Katie Walker, Cushion designed by Rowena Arden, rug by Fleetwood Fox, scarves and prayer mat handwoven by Mariam Syed

From Glasgow, handweaver Mariam Syed, from Somerset, flatweavers Fleetwood Fox and Yorkshire Dales based handweaver Laura’s Loom, showcased their work. The colours and refinement of their unique skills shone through. Fleetwood Fox are selling ‘loom ends’ from large scale weaving projects, these transform into tidy rugs and runners. Practical and affordable, they were flying out of the shop!

Eve and Jane (founder of Blue Patch) sharing a joke. Photo: Helena Lee

Identity Papers launched their brand new word search Tee Shirts in divinely soft organic cotton. This neat idea will appeal to everyone who wants to unleash their playful side. You can now order them online.

4160 Tuesdays perfume

4160 Tuesdays. Photo Helena Lee

4160 Tuesdays are now offering a refill service. Created by the renowned perfumer and polymath Sarah McCartney, divine scent filled the store, attracting visitors like butterflies to a herbaceous border.

In The Right Light Photography are underway with their astonishing project to photograph Blue Patch members in the workplace. Called A Portrait of Enterprise in Britain’ They are soon to launch a blog and we’ll share this on our newsletter (you can sign up here)

Take a look at the full Blue Patch product range at the store.

Identity Papers (word-search tee-shirts and wallpaper) Katie Walker table and chair set in Ash. Denby and By Lisa Watson (cushion)

Blue Patch will be at London Design Fair from 19th – 22 September at the Old Truman Brewery. Please come and say hi, we’d love to meet you!

The Blue Patch Sustainable Business Awards are opening soon, why not enter. Information will be in our newsletter.

Cabbages and Nettles