Friday, 29 June 2012

Field frame #18: Stick of Lostwithiel

Site: Stick 
Location: Lostwithiel, Cornwall
Date: 1 March 2012
SiB team: SB and JR
Image: Everything has its place

Stick of Lostwithiel was the first business that we visited as part of the Small is Beautiful? Project. So it seems fitting to return there in a final fieldframe. This trajectory was in large measure shaped by the floods that arrived suddenly in Lostwithiel in November 2011, shortly after our first visit, ruining many businesses. Stick, a specialist shop repairing all kinds of leather goods and selling shoes, belts, hats and walking sticks, was particularly badly hit by the floodwater, depriving Graham and Rosemary Mitson of their shop and home for over a year. 

The space now feels welcoming and settled; certainly not like somewhere that was dramatically deluged so recently. This workbench, where Graham Mitson examines and fixes the numerous objects that customers bring to his shop, now sits squarely in the main shop space. Its design and arrangement of neatly organised implements and materials reflects the craftsman’s affection for the hand-made and utilitarian. The brightly-coloured metal and enamel Dunlop Boots advertisement, like the museum cabinet with antique shoes on the back wall of the shop, reminds the visitor that this is not simply a place to buy new things, but an opportunity to learn from accumulated knowledge of crafting and repair. 

The material memories present in the shop almost two years ago seem not only present but also amplified. Like a pair of favourite shoes, Stick has been lovingly repaired; its place in the local universe restored. 

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