How long have you lived in south London?
What made you want to set up your business here?
I’m a Croydon girl born and bred and now live in South Norwood. I set up my business in a former Victorian public house in August, 2016, and am happy to say it is thriving. I had been at home bringing up my family for some time; I found the only way back into work was to create my own career. I attended Adult Education Courses on pottery, enamelling jewellery and business studies. One day I had a flash of intuition to visit Crystal Palace to look for a pottery studio to set up a business. My enquiries led me to a lovely co-operative artist studio and I moved in 3 weeks later. I found a classroom to teach pottery classes and ran a stall supporting local creatives called Handmade Palace for a time. I was lucky enough to take on these premises and bring all my businesses under one roof, while offering a space for others to join me. Together we have created a wonderful community arts hub.
Tell us about your typical week.
The weekdays I spend at the Paxton Art Centre working in my various roles. I love stepping into the space each day – my heart skips a beat! Our customers are absolutely lovely; they make each day new and interesting. During the day we offer a café and hotdesking service. In the evenings, we run creative workshops including Pottery, Life Drawing and Art Clubs, which I love to be a part of. On weekends we have artist events, vinyl or open mic nights and we also host private parties and events which are always fun. Every day is different – a microcosm of the vibrance of south London.
What are your favourite south London restaurants?
My favourite places are all a stone’s throw from the Centre, luckily. Lorenzo’s is a real authentic Italian restaurant which reminds me of one I used to be taken to as a child. I love the nostalgic feeling it gives me. Every dish on the menu is amazing! The best café for coffee is ‘Blowing Dandelions’, which is also a handmade chocolate shop,38 so you can imagine how good the hot chocolate is.
Where do you relax after a busy day?
For an evening out it has to be the Crystal Palace Everyman Cinema. The décor is beautiful and in keeping with the 1930’s building. Watching a film on the luxury velvet sofas is a real treat.
Where do you shop for homeware in south London?
I enjoy looking around the vintage shops on Church Road and Haynes Lane for unusual pieces that you didn’t know you wanted! The Crystal Palace Antique Centre on Jasper Road is my go-to store for furniture pieces and lighting. It covers four floors, so it’s great for browsing.
How has the area shaped your creative vision?
The people in the area have shaped my life and outlook. My door is always open to work with other creatives and there’s no shortage in South London. Artists drop in to have coffee and conversation, an endless source of inspiration to me out of which often come collaborations. I was drawn to Crystal Palace because of its creative community vibe. Life here is never dull.
How would you describe south London – and south Londoners – in a nutshell?
South London is so cultured. Art is everywhere on our streets. The locals are community minded, creative, friendly and environmentally aware.
Finally: what’s the one place, thing or activity on our side of the river that everyone should try at least once?
Definitely Crystal Palace Food Market – well worth a visit on a Saturday followed by a stroll around the ‘triangle’, which has lots of independent shops, cafes and bars. Also, a visit to Crystal Palace Park which is vast, beautiful and so interesting. Not forgetting a visit to The Paxton Centre to check out the art gallery, try a workshop or to enjoy coffee and cake!
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