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Discover the hidden delights of Wiltshire. 

Our members represent a rich community of independent local businesses providing quality and unique products and experiences.

Local uncovered is here to take you on a journey around Wiltshire and all the original things it has to offer.

  • Box Steam Brewery

    Box Steam Brewery was founded in 2004 on the hill above the Box Tunnel, built for the Great Western Railway ...»

  • Educational Learning Mats

    When Lucy Moore and her family moved out of London to the tiny village of Calstone Wellington in 2009, her children were settling into local primary schools. ...»

  • Sue Lashmar

    Sue Lashmar ‘s studio in Baydon is a visual treat, with its permanent display of Sue’s colourful, fused glass, including jewellery...»

  • Clementine's Shop

    Clementine always dreamed of having her own shop, and when she returned from London to her family home in Tisbury in 2006, she realised she could make it a reality. ...»

  • The Shalbourne Collection

    Following successful careers in London, Carolyn Bartholomew and Sarah Samuel now live in the beautiful village of Shalbourne. ...»

  • Troutbeck Guest House

    Troutbeck is a stunning guesthouse located opposite the Michelin starred Red Lion at East Chisenbury. ...»

  • The Trussell Trust

    After seeing children on the streets of Bulgaria in 1997 with no food or shelter, Paddy and Carol Henderson came home to Wiltshire and started the Trussell Trust. ...»

A treasure trove of gifts

Sam Bertram

25 September 2014

For many an Artist’s Studio wouldn’t be the first port of call for a bit of Christmas shopping, but if you’re looking for something unique this year I really recommend a visit to Wagon Yard Artists in Marlborough. There are Christmas cards, jewellery, ceramic and glass Christmas tree decorations, coasters, ring bowls, tea lights, lamps, vases, sculptural pieces, framed original art and prints and beautiful glass plates. Need I say more?  And for those wanting to gift a new skill why not sign-up a family member for some pottery classes? The artists at Wagon Yard have changed over the years as artists have moved away or opened their own studios but it currently has 6 local resident artists, all who live in the surrounding area, and two associates. Jacqui Melhuish, a ceramist, runs the studio and her passion it to develop an idea through clay. If you go to the studios you can see some of the beautiful sculptural and functional vases or plates she has made or attend one of her pottery classes she runs through the week. You can find Jacqui at the studios most days. Colin Palmer works as an architectural illustrator, mainly on commission, and also produces watercolours of local places of interest as well as original paintings with a Mediterranean feel. If you’re stuck for a gift for the person who has everything or someone reaching a milestone birthday, a Colin Palmer illustration of your house or a day’s watercolour class are lovely gifts.  Jeannette Therrien, founder of Wagon Yard Artists, is a glass artist who loves colour and vibrant pieces and creates stunning glass forms that are both functional and decorative. Her plates are absolutely exquisite. Jeannette founded the Wagon Yard Artists in 2007 after graduating and wanted to teach classes alongside selling her work. While doing a business course in Wagon Yard she noticed an empty unit filled with rubbish and storage. Despite it being a bare, run down place in desperate need of flooring and paint it’s now a warm space that houses a hive of talent. Jeannette has her own studio in Ogbourne St George so although her work is on display she divides her time between the two locations.    Mary Thorne specialises in pottery that is very recognisably influenced by the local Wiltshire countryside. She makes a range of domestic ware such as mugs, jugs, bowls and teapots , each one individually made and decorated by hand. Jane Renwick makes the most stunning wall light panels and lamps with porcelain paper clay with illustrations of bees, butterflies, sea shore anomites and fossils. Jane imprints paper clay with lino cuttings and drawings she’s made herself – so allowing the light to come through in different degrees and shades. She has also recently started doing cold cast metals. Kate Wade specialises in watercolours and oil and is brilliant at depicting light. Many people instantly recognise the landscape before reading the label.  She particularly likes Pembrokeshire and lots of parts of Wiltshire too. You can pick up her prints and cards at the studio. What brings the artists together is the opportunity to share space, firing kilns and rent but also do things that are difficult at home because of the dust it creates. There are currently 6 artists there which is the maximum they can take and they often have to turn new artists away. All of them, with the exception of Mary and Kate, also teach at Marlborough College Summer School. So please promise to visit Wagon Yard Artists. It’s a real treat and they love to welcome visitors to the studio. Just give them a call to make sure somebody will be there, there’s free parking at the yard and everything is fantastic value. Their Christmas Exhibition on the last weekend of November is a must. Open Saturday and Sunday from 10.00am to 4.00pm they have a cheaper market area downstairs for gifts and an exhibition of more high value work upstairs. Go on – you know you want to! www.wagonyardartists.co.uk


Smocked Frocks

Sam Bertram

15 September 2014

Do you often hear people (or yourself!) say children’s clothes aren’t what they used to be?  Well in answer to that question, they are – you just have to know where to look!  Shalbourne resident Jill Richard’s Smocked Frocks are gorgeous traditional hand smocked cotton clothes that any little girl or boy would love to have.  Unlike some of the new high-end brands that create dresses for little girls that are completely over the top, Jill’s smocked dresses are beautiful and understated where less is more.  As Jill says she likes to think they could be worn to a party one day but be worn while out jumping in puddles the next. Every piece is individual and made to order, a recent assignment of five bridesmaid dresses all had the same material but each with different smocking.  Her customers get to choose both the material and style although, a compliment to Jill,her return customers often leave it to her to decide on the detail. Jill does dresses, shirts, rompers and nightwear in pretty cotton checks, stripes and little prints – in fact anything that can be smocked! Her love of smocking is much like her love of jigsaw puzzles – she enjoys the symmetry of it and seeing the pattern emerge.  Her evenings are always spent smocking in front of the TV, while she does her machine work during the day.  Despite living in Wiltshire in the past, and kicking off her teaching career in Marlborough, Jill and her husband Rod haven’t always lived in Shalbourne.  After a stint in France they moved to Devon and it was while living there that Jill thought she would see where her love of sewing took her, and began to take her creations to a little weekly flea market in Chagford.  The response was great with her selling 4 dresses in the first week, spurring her on to attend further markets at National Trust venues and Exeter Festival week.  Jill has two sons, James and Will and all 4 grandchildren have modelled for the Smocked Frocks brand! They all live nearby and her latest model is her new 5 month old grandchild Hatty. Her biggest learning curve has been gauging tastes – understanding what people are looking for and the types of materials they like.  She says she has lovely customers all over the world who have been with her for years.  Many are grandmothers and mothers with babies who stay with her for 7 years or more.  Some just want to carry on traditions – one grandmother’s mother gave her smocked dresses to take her children out of hospital, and she wants to do the same for her children.  In this digital world she rarely meets her customers but through the process feels like she gets to know them.  Many remain on her mailing list even when their children are too big as they just love to see Jill’s designs. When Jill has spare time and left over material she makes little smocked gowns and sends them to the neo-natal department at John Radcliffe in Oxford. They are often given to babies too tiny to survive and Jill feels it’s really important that these little babies have something beautiful in those few moments of their lives. Having previously lived in the stunning yet harsh and elemental Dartmoor, Jill loves the undulating rolling hills and soft green of Wiltshire. She’s also really enjoying being in a less remote location and closer to people.  In Wiltshire you’re far enough out of London but not too far – it’s a good stepping off point for North, West and South.  She’s also enjoying being back with her old teaching friends and loving picking up from where they left off.  And with smocking having been developed in England in the Middle Ages, it’s rather apt that historic Wiltshire is where Smocked Frocks calls home. www.smockedfrocks.co.uk


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