Alison James the shopkeeper
Trading from a beautiful Georgian Grade ll listed building, in the centre of the old market town of Masham, situated in Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales.
Also home to some very well known brewery's, Blacksheep and Theakstons.
the early days
Perhaps I should start by giving thanks to Blue Peter for everything I know... I was that child who made miniature rooms out of cereal box's and tables out of yoghurt cartons.
Thankfully, this progressed into something much more productive, running not so much a kitchen table business, but a small bedroom business (much to my older sisters dismay). Well for that reason and also because I painted the walls black and the skirting boards red gloss... but this was the hight of the Punk Era so I think I can be forgiven!
So with a sewing machine and overlocker in hand I designed, made and supplied clothes to local shops . Everything that Vivianne Westwood did I did; dying, printing, pattern cutting the lot!
The middle bit
I detoured slightly off that path but always carried on being creative in some way. Having had a long love affair with France I decided to up sticks, move there and train to become a Patisserie Chef in a truly amazing C13 Chateau by the sea in the South of France. It was here that I really developed my passion for beautiful french antique furniture. The Chateau was a fully working Art Foundation for visiting artists and garden architects and I cooked for some incredible people. From French dignitaries to famous actors and artists visiting the Cannes Film Festival.
After my time in the Chateau I was asked to join a touring catering crew in the Rock 'n' Roll business where I traveled the world. It was only a matter of time before someone found out I could sew and I ended up repairing some Rock stars trousers... I then moved over into the Wardrobe department where I became Wardrobe Mistress looking after many famous artists. 33 years later I decided to put my suitcase away and settle down.
I have also trained as a Mac Makeup Artist and studied Floristry with companies such as McQueens and Paula Pryke in London. That amazingly mad lifestyle has helped me fulfil all sorts of dreams in travel, but essentially it allowed me to nurture my passion for renovating and styling old properties in both Yorkshire and London, sourcing quirky and unusual homewares to fill them with.
It seemed the natural progression for me at this stage in my life to open my own store in this Grade ll listed building and in such a beautiful setting. Ive been able to then fill it with an eclectic mix of salvaged one off pieces, decorative antiques through to emerging new makers of ceramics and textiles and anything in between that makes my heart swoon.
Whether it is something useful for the home or something you don't need at all but just want simply to admire... all these things can just make everything seem right with the world and I hope a visit to the shop will make you feel like that to.
Thank you for taking the time to visit the site and to read a bit about how I've arrived here! Hope to see you in this part of the world sometime soon.