Turpentine: trinkets and treats come to Brixton

Turpentine owners: Alice, Judith and Amber
Turpentine owners: Alice, Judith and Amber

“We knew that we wanted to create something more than ‘just another indie craft shop’, said Alice co-owner of  The Turpentine.

The Coldharbour Lane emporium stocks handmade art, crafts and gifts produced by independent designers

The venture is a labour of love for art school graduates and owners Amber Rogers, Alice Waters and Judith de Berker.

The trio started out by holding a series of pop up craft markets at pubs in Brixton and after three years of hard graft have opened up their own premises.

Come the summer they will also be holding classes led by, qualified art teacher and one third of the Turpentine team, Judith.

 The workshops will include jewellery making, photography and up-cycling.

Quirky robot necklaces available in store
Quirky robot necklaces available in store

Brixton resident Alice told the Blog why her and her friends chose to set up shop here: “Brixton has a vibe about it; it’s a hub; it draws people in.

 According to Alice “culture and community” are all part of what  makes Brixton special.

“A lot of London you always feel like your commuting back to the city, you’re just living and there’s not much around you. But Brixton is a place in itself, which is lovely.

 “The aim is for the Turpentine to become a hub of creativity and where better to place ourselves than in the heart of Brixton: an area of South London known for it’s vibrant atmosphere” added Alice.

Talking about the challenges of opening her first business with friends, Alice told the Blog: “The biggest part for us was the unknown.

“We spent about a year researching and buying books on running your own business.

“We were getting quite bogged down. At some point you just got to jump. This property came up and we just jumped.

“But there was still a lot of nerves around that and there probably will be for a while.”

Exploring the Turpentine a few days after it opened, I found the boutique packed to the rafters with treats and treasures to suit most budgets.

Window display at the shop
Window display at the shop

 On a personal note, I have been long-term fan of the wonderful Kate Rowland and her pop-culture inspired jewellery and illustrations which you can find in the shop.

Speaking about Rowland’s work, Alice said: “Her feminist brooch was the first thing we ever sold out of. The wooden feel is a nice contrast with her illustrations.”

 Her Twin Peaks themed beauties are high up on my wish list list but the  wooden astronaut brooch is my current fave. And it’s a snip at only £7.

I’ve been keeping a close on the talented Rich Fairhead since buying one of his prints at the ever popular Crafty Fox pop up at The Dogstar.

 Alice told the Blog: “My favourite pieces are the do not speak to me I am drinking the gin print and prints from the Star Wars collection, as a geek at heart and also a gin drinker.”

 If I was going to buy one thing from the Turpentine ladies it would have to be Fairhead’s super cute robot print

 Visit The Turpentine at 433 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8NL

 Follow on Twitter @the_turpentine


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