Inside our workshop

Inside our workshop

Embroiderer Kate Clark describes her workshop, her inspiration and the detail that goes into each piece we create…. I always wanted to be an embroiderer; it is part of who I am. My  great grandmother was a court dressmaker, great grandfather a tailor and my grandmother was great at sewing as well. My mother is a quilter, maker and I’ve inherited her fine eye for detail. I am so lucky to have a job that fulfils a dream. I am also fortunate to have a job I can work around my family. The level of detail and hours required can be all consuming – I quickly bonded with the Mexican craftswomen over our ‘embroiderer’s’ sore shoulders! My workshop is in the old kitchen of our home in Tisbury, Wiltshire. My husband was born in this house – it is his family home. That makes it sound very grand but it is actually just a 1930s bungalow that until recently desperately needed a new roof. It is charming though and the workshop has big windows with lots of light. There are beautiful views across fields and down to the river. Like most embroiderers I am a bit of a magpie. I tend to fill any space with pretty and interesting things I have collected. Over time as the business has grown I have needed to move most things elsewhere to make more space. There isn’t even really room for pictures on the walls – every surface is covered in shelving, fabric and cushions! The materials we use are so colourful and beautiful though it really doesn’t matter. I love working...
NEW YEAR SALE

NEW YEAR SALE

To start the new year we have added a selection of cushions, artwork, lamps and table wear to the sale. Find yourself a bargain and brighten up January. Happy New Year!
Tradition, tinsel and tequila

Tradition, tinsel and tequila

Stretching back thousands of years, there is an innate need to warm our houses and lift our spirits when winter has truly arrived and days are shortest. Pagans used branches of evergreens to decorate their homes during the winter solstice to remind them of spring. Many cultures and religions include a winter celebration of light. However jaded by the Christmas rush I feel, there is something truly magical about coming in from the cold to a house full of warm Christmas lights. Or catching a glimpse through a window of another family’s Christmas tree and imagining the festivities inside. In our British-Mexican household, probably like most families, we have established our own Christmas traditions based on a mixture of our individual upbringings. Our Christmas tree is a happy jumble of gold baubles and Mexican decorations of techni-coloured pom-poms and tin figures. Hand-cut paper bunting (brilliant as it can be brought out again for all celebrations throughout the year) sits happily alongside the tinsel and fairy lights. The Christmas Table One of the traditions we have readily adopted from the Christmases we have spent with family in Mexico is the Christmas Eve punch. A gorgeous (but fairly lethal!) combination of tequila, spices and fresh fruit. Mangos, limes and guavas; the smell of fruit and cinnamon filling the house is just amazing. Christmas day itself is less of a focus for the celebrations in Mexico but for me, Christmas dinner is still the heart of Christmas. I therefore take extra care over the Christmas table settings. Welcoming our extended family with table decorations of colourful woven placemats intermingled with ivy and...
A Christmas present from Montes & Clark

A Christmas present from Montes & Clark

As a special Christmas thank you from Montes & Clark, we are including a free large cactus bag (worth £30) with every order over £70 placed before Christmas (whist stocks last!). In Mexico, these beautiful bags are used by both men and women every day for market trips, storing vegetables and carrying well, pretty much everything. Woven by hand from brightly dyed cactus fibres, they are light but extremely strong. Despite their prickly origins, they are surprisingly soft and get more and more supple with each use.   Beautiful and sustainable We love the colours, practicality and sustainability of these bags. I find they are perfect for storing away toys. So much more cheering than a standard ‘bag for life’, we hope they will lift your mood with a bit of Mexican sunshine as you embark on a Christmas shopping trip or hit the January sales. Montes & Clark gift ideas If you need some inspiration to help you on your way to your free cactus bag, these are some of our best sellers at Christmas time. Otomi hand embroidered cushions (starting from £45) Each cushion is unique and feature original detail of animals, birds and flowers with an enchanting, almost mythical quality. Our hand towels (£14) and pom poms (from £10) make lovely stocking fillers and this year our framed artwork collection has also been extremely popular at the Christmas fairs we have attended. Please remember The latest recommended posting date for guaranteed UK delivery is 20th December 2016 so we will be able to fill orders received on or before this date to arrive in time for...
November Fair

November Fair

We will be nestled amongst the goodies on offer at the wonderful Compton Marbling Fair in Wiltshire. If you have never been to this Christmas Fair, come along and enjoy a special day out. There is an amazing choice of independent retailers, handmade and rare gifts, laid out in the beautiful barns around a courtyard. A café provides food and drinks and there is lots of space for children to run around. Come join us, and shop for Christmas in style, knowing you are supporting independent companies. OPEN FRI 18 & SAT 19 NOVEMBER from 10am – 5pm  ...
Chute Lodge, Wiltshire | 1st October

Chute Lodge, Wiltshire | 1st October

We will be displaying our best pieces in a bedroom of this beautiful Georgian grade 1 listed house in Andover, Wiltshire. This is an art fair to raise funds for two important charities; Alzheimer’s Society and Wharf Kids. There will be activities for children, including cake decorating, a concert at 5pm and lots to see and do. Tickets are limited so get yourself one here  before they all go!  ...
OPEN STUDIO SAT 20 AUGUST 2-5PM

OPEN STUDIO SAT 20 AUGUST 2-5PM

Every month Kate opens the doors of her home where our studio is, so you can come and have a browse of our full range of Mexican beauties. It is really quite exciting seeing the embroidery and the quality of design in so many different pieces. It is a feast for the eyes. The address is Staddles, Hindon Lane, Tisbury, Wiltshire, SP36PU...
Holidays

Holidays

We have added some great bargains to our sale page. Kate and I are taking some much needed time off to be with our children over August. We will be back with lots of exciting events and product news in September when our children go back to school. We are holidaying on the Dorset and Welsh coasts this year. I hope you enjoy August whether its work or play, rain or...
Spirit of Summer | House Fair | Olympia, Kensington

Spirit of Summer | House Fair | Olympia, Kensington

Join us and hundreds of other independent designers and boutiques. Spirit of Summer Fair in association with House & Garden, the shopping event for stylish living, will return to Olympia London from 22nd – 25th June 2016. Discover a thoughtfully curated collection of 450 independent boutiques and distinguished designers presenting interior accessories and furnishings for your home, summer fashion, original gifts, artisan food & drink and much more. Tickets include entry to The HOUSE Fair and complimentary workshops from award-winning chefs, London’s leading florists and...
Bloomsbury Pop-up Shop

Bloomsbury Pop-up Shop

Our shop has had an amazing array of lovely visitors from Lily Allen kitting out her children’s bedrooms, to the artist Mark Hearld dropping buy to get a gift, and the founder of BlueBella choosing cushions for her new home. We have one more week left in Bloomsbury. Thursday 26th will be late night shopping until 8pm. Next up after our pop-up will be the Spirit of Summer Fair in June. Details to...
Our shop is open!

Our shop is open!

Our first shop has opened in Bloomsbury, London, and we are enjoying meeting so many customers and new faces. The street is in one of the loveliest parts of London, a pedestrianized street with lots of independent shops, cafes, and my favourite bookshop Persephone. We are next door to Pentreath & Hall, on Rugby Street. WC1 Open everyday except Sundays. 11am – 6pm. Thursdays we are doing late night shopping until 8pm. Come have a browse and say hello!...
London Pop-up Shop

London Pop-up Shop

Kate and I are just back from Mexico and are excited to reveal new designs and products at our pop-up shop. From the 3rd May until 31st May. Open every day except Sundays from 11 – 6pm The shop is located just off the beautiful, boutique shopping street of Lamb’s Conduit Street in Bloomsbury. We are next door to the gorgeous design shop Pentreath & Hall. Address 17A Rugby St, Bloomsbury, London, WC1N 3QT...
Open Studio Monthly

Open Studio Monthly

We open the doors of our workshop every month on a Saturday afternoon. If you are feeling indecisive about colours, or want to measure up different size lampshades, this is a great opportunity to have a browse and get some advice. 10% discount on all purchases made at our Open Studio day. Our workshop is located at Kate’s house: Staddles, Hindon Lane, Tisbury, Wiltshire, SP3 6PU Next Dates for our Open Studios: 16th April, 21st May, 18 June, 16 July, 20 August, 17 September, 15 October...
Easter basket bags

Easter basket bags

These adorable bags woven from cactus fibre have just arrived from Mexico. There are three different sizes, a shopping bag size, handbag size and these tiny little bags perfect for a child. Just in time for Easter, they would make an excellent Easter egg basket! What are your Easter traditions? For me its an enjoyable way to celebrate Spring – the life bursting out of every corner, the longer daylight, spring vegetables and being able to shed a few layers of clothes. My sister always made a beautiful bird’s nest made from moss and twigs to put painted eggs into. This Easter is particularly egg-citing (sorry) for Kate and I as we are off to Mexico to visit our cooperatives and plan our next collections. It is Kate’s first trip to Mexico and my father in law’s first visit from his new grandson. We look forwards to sharing our photos and stories of our trip here and on...
Open Studios 2016

Open Studios 2016

We are opening up our workshop once a month for anyone to drop by for a cup of tea and see Kate at work. All of our products will be available to buy, with special offers. Or you can commission a bespoke piece, on discussion. SATURDAY 20TH FEBRUARY 2016 FROM 2pm – 5pm MONTES & CLARK WORKSHOP is at: Staddles, Hindon Lane, TISBURY, SALISBURY, WILTSHIRE. SP3 6PU This Open Studios series will take place every month on a Saturday. Complimentary tea and refreshments...
Artisan Christmas Fair

Artisan Christmas Fair

Christmas is a good opportunity to discover independent shops and support artisan makers.  We are looking forwards to joining others at the Artisan Christmas Fair organised by the wonderful Selvedge Magazine. Come join us from 11am – 5pm on thursday 3rd December and from 10 to 5pm on friday 4th December at the Chelsea Town Hall, King’s Road, London...
Christmas Market Season

Christmas Market Season

It’s that time of the year. Kate and I (and this year, an 8 week old baby of mine!) will wrap up warm to join in a series of Christmas Markets. The next two weekends (fridays and saturdays) we will be at this Fair in Wiltshire which my mother set up and now my sister runs. As it has been long standing, it has a great following and an original selection of gifts and toys. Compton Xmas Fair invite...
Wahaca Day of the Dead Festival

Wahaca Day of the Dead Festival

We are taking part in the market at this epic Day of the Dead Festival in London. The line up is amazing, with live music, talks, films, art, street food and a market. Personally I’m excited about hearing Mexrrissey – the Mexican Morrissey band! Day of the Dead is an important festival in Mexico – dia de los muertos – which creates the opportunity to stop and remember those we love that have died. It is a celebration of life as much as an acknowledgement of death. An alter is created in your home with marigolds, candles, sugar skulls and offerings of your dear departed’s favourite food or drink. In Mexico many families and friends create an alter on the graves of family members to encourage the souls to visit, and sit up at night to keep them company. I think it is a friendlier and more meaningful version of our Halloween which just emphasises the abstract ghoulishness of death. We created thousands of meters of this bespoke handcut paper bunting (‘papel picado’) which will be strung up over the whole event. Sergio, our papercut artist in Mexico, cut this out with a range of different sized chisels from tissue paper. He has a steady hand! Come find us on the Tobacco Docks, London next...

Make your own Mexican embroidery

A perfect gift or a fun summer project, we have just launched our Mexican embroidery kits. Already proving popular, you can make a stunning embroidered cushion with pompoms or an adorable hoop art frame to hang. We have attached the pompoms for you already, as that can be the tricky bit. And we will be uploading video tutorials next week to guide through the making.   Happy summer...

Walled garden summer fair

We are looking forwards to taking a selection of our Mexican wares to the magical Pythouse Kitchen Garden for their Summer Fair. If you have never been to Pythouse, it is a special place – a walled garden full of flowers to explore and a stylish restaurant serving British food with products from their garden. They have even got a shed full of toys so you can relax under an apple tree while your children play. Pythouse Summer Fair:  SATURDAY 11th JULY from 10am – 6pm Pythouse Kitchen Garden, West Hatch, Tisbury, Salisbury, Wiltshire: SP3...

Introducing new lighting designs

We are excited to showcase two bespoke designs for our Montes & Clark lighting collection. Working with a super talented London based lighting expert, Jolene Farmer, we have designed what we think are the perfect base to display our hand embroidered lampshades. Jolene Farmer is a specialist in antique lighting restoration, turning objects into fantastic lights and lighting design. She is also a talented painter and her workshop is based in Hackney.  Have a look at her fabulous new lampbases, made by hand in brass and steel, and only available from Montes & Clark.   She can make them with different coloured cord, if you’d like a complimentary colour pop to go with the shade. Next up is our new cone shape ceiling lampshades. Don’t they look fabulous! We can take commission if you have a particular size and colour combination, we can see what we can...

The Hand Sale, Nottinghill

Come meet Kate and I and have a look at some of our new products for sale at The Hand Sale at the beautiful 20th Century Theatre. The opening evening is on thursday 21st May from 6 – 9pm Then the sale will run: 10am – 6pm Friday 22nd May 10am – 5pm Saturday 23rd May We take bank cards, cash or check and there is an exciting looking range of other exhibitors....

New collaborations

We have been preparing some exciting new collaborations on new products, soon to be unveiled on our website. In the meantime, our products are being featured on the lovely interiors blog – English Abode. We can also be found in The Little Black Book of design secrets on another stylish blog – Swoonworthy.   Enjoy browsing for inspiration.  ...
Women’s Day

Women’s Day

Does ‘Made in Britain’ mean better working conditions for garment makers? I was saddened to read an article on International Women’s Day that described the poor working conditions and poor pay of many UK based textile workers. The report looks at the textile industry in and around Leicester, which is substantial, with nearly 12,000 employees.  They are paying their workers, most of whom are women, only £3 an hour, which is not even half the minimum wage. Many work with worryingly bad health and safety conditions, no contracts and no maternity pay. The women are largely from migrant communities and are being exploited because they need to use their skills to support their families. There is something we can all do to improve women’s working conditions and respect around the world. We can buy from companies with ethical policies, that guarantee fair pay and worker rights, and we can pressure high street companies to improve. One of my favourite places to buy clothes is People Tree. At Montes & Clark we are proud to be working with an inspiring women-run cooperative. All the profits from sales of cloth that is designed and made by a network of women mostly working in their homes, go into training and support for the women. They can help negotiate better prices for the work and for their materials, and for some of the younger women the cooperative provides accommodation while they are in business training. This is just one of our suppliers and we hope that as we grow our business we can do more to support other networks of craftswomen in Mexico. Kate...
Happy New You

Happy New You

Christmas decorations tidied away, new years resolutions set, we are clearing our workshop up for the new year. We have opened our winter sale, so you can now justify buying that cushion you have had your eye on! A little bit of Mexican warmth on your sofa during these cold days. Last week our trusty buyer in Mexico City, Fleur, took a trip to the beautiful Pahuatlan to collect the latest embroidery made by some of the women living in the hills. This little town is a four hour drive to the east of Mexico City, in the centre of Mexico. While in Pahuatlan Fleur contributed to a puppet workshop that was organised for some of the embroiderers’ children. The workshop was led by Italian puppeteer Maria and was the idea of Miguel who helps us to communicate orders with the women.     Boys and girls gathered in the main market square with a pile of cardboard and second hand paper. They were curious how this heap of rubbish was going to be turned into a story. Maria started to tell the tale as they all sat in a circle. Slowly they all began to cut and stick until they ended up with fantastical eagles. The children were captivated for 4 hours and enjoyed unleashing their creativity. Happy New Year Pahuatlan!  ...

My true love sent to me…

This is the last week for ordering your christmas presents online. For the UK, make sure you place your orders by saturday 20th if you want to wrap and put under the tree on christmas day. Just in time for last minute gifts for a toddler, we have a new shipment in of gorgeous colourful cactus bags. Ony £10. Needing some inspiration? On the first day of christmas my true love sent to me….A yellow bird embroidered on a cushion   £47 embroidered by hand in Mexico. delivered to your door. On the second day of christmas my true love sent to me…Two embroidered turtle doves And A yellow bird embroidered on a cushion On the third day of christmas my true love sent to me Multicoloured hares   Two embroidered turtle doves And A yellow bird embroidered on a cushion   HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! Lucy and Kate...
Handmade Christmas

Handmade Christmas

Christmas trees are up and we’ve opened the first three doors of our advent calendars. Montes&Clark love a handmade christmas, the warmth and charm that it brings to your rooms as the temperature drops outside. Sliced and dried oranges hung with ribbons, gingerbread biscuits cut in the shape of stars and old cards made from leftover wrapping paper. Our hand embroidered cushions are a special gift to give, as each one is totally unique and made by hand by women in Mexico. Hand cut paper bunting will get everyone in the mood, fluttering over the table on christmas day.  Or bags woven from cactus fibre to hang in the hallway with your gloves and hats inside. Browse our shop while sipping a hot chocolate, or come find us at one of the next fairs. We will be at the ‘Touring Emporium‘ in Chilmark, Wiltshire on the 10th and 11th and the Shoreditch Christmas Craft Market on the 13th, 19th and 20th December. Wrap up warm and see us there!  ...

My mother’s christmas fair

When she was a young mother, as I am now, my mother started the ‘Compton Marbling Christmas Fair‘ in Tisbury, Wiltshire. At the same location where she made hand marbled paper products as Compton Marbling, started with her friend Caroline Mann, it soon became a popular place to find the latest designers, craftsmen and small businesses. My sister, Clementine has taken on the family tradition and now runs the Fair along with her gift shop. Many years later as I start Montes&Clark with my good friend Kate, producing hand embroidered, woven and cut out products, we are attending this Christmas Fair. The atmosphere is bustling and all the stall holders dotted around the beautiful courtyard and barns. If you are in the South West come find us on friday 21st, saturday 22nd, friday 28th and saturday 29th. Doors are open from 10am to 5pm. Location: Lower Lawn Barn, Nr Tisbury, Wiltshire. SP3 6SG. Just to give you a flavour of the wonderful atmosphere, have a look at my brilliant neighbouring stall, Dinah Nicholson Fairies.  I adore them! Lucy Montes de...
Mexican wedding inspiration

Mexican wedding inspiration

We recently provided Arabian Tent company with furnishings to create this gorgeous Mexican wedding shoot, for the magazine Mr&Mrs Unique. You can hire an incredible Mexican themed wedding marque from the Arabian Tent company, furnished with Montes&Clark lampshades, throws, cushions, table cloths and napkins.  I love the bright colours against white, so pretty. Flashback to my own wedding in 2009 which was a lovely mixture of English and Mexican – with papercut bunting, mariachi band and margharitas as well as English hedgerow flowers, white tablecloths and elderflower cordial made from local flowers. If you are planning a wedding, have a look at our papercut bunting or our napkins and...
Shedding light on new music

Shedding light on new music

A unique collaboration between Montes & Clark and Belle Rose Events created a special atmosphere for a night of live music, cocktails and Mexican food in the Wiltshire countryside. Entering a barn from a foggy November evening guests were greeted by our vibrant paper cut bunting,  a warm log fire, and delicious Mexican street food.  Two bands, ‘Towers’ and ‘Jasper in the company of others’ played to an energetic audience in a space that was illuminated by our hand embroidered Otomi  lampshades. They appeared suspended above the crowd as lanterns of rich texture and colour in the vaulted ceiling, adding a unique feature to this already stunning venue. The lampshades got a shout out from ‘Jasper in the company of others’ while the lights were flashed on and off during the chorus to shouts of approval from the crowd! We look forward to collaborating with Belle Rose Events at Ashley Wood Farm in the future and have already booked tickets for the next ‘Gig in a Barn’ in...
Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead

Montes & Clark have supplied the brilliant Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca with many hundreds of meters of handmade papercut bunting. This was commissioned with a special Day of the Dead design for Wahaca, and made by the papercut artist Sergio in his workshop in Mexico. Day of the Dead is becoming ever popular outside of Mexico. The striking catrina women – in elaborate dresses with skull painted faces – light the imagination. In London it is almost overtaking traditional Halloween fancy dress costumes. But the festival is much more than a dressing up theme for a party. Day of the Dead is an opportunity to celebrate and remember family and friends who have died beyond the single event of a funeral or wake. An altar is prepared, covered in flowers and fruits, where you can bring the favourite food and drinks of the dead you wish to remember and light a candle in their honour. The London Mexican community gather on November 2nd at the most authentic gathering at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green. And here I love to see the intermingling of messages for ‘my nan’ accompanying a cup of tea and a cigarette, along with traditional Mexican food and tequila for departed relatives. If you have never experienced Day of the Dead, then come along on Sunday November 2nd. It’s free and family oriented with craft making, day of the dead themed face-painting and live music. Bring along a momento of someone you wish to honor and remember. And head to a Wahaca restaurant if you want to taste authentic, fresh Mexican food (rather than the unappetising...

The stories told in every cloth

Over the past 6 months I have been knee deep in Otomi embroidery and have never been happier.  With our business, Montes&Clark soon to be launched, fairs and pop up shops imminent, my workroom has been filled with embroidered cloth in all colours of the rainbow. The graphic foral and animal patterns peer back at me from the ironing board, ready to be made into throws, cushions and lampshades. Every cloth tells its own story and I feel fascinated by each craftwoman and her story. This particular embroidery design came about after a drought in the 1960’s devastated the agricultural economy of these Otomi communities in central Mexico. The women needed to find an additional source of income with a design that used thread resourcefully. A bold and distinctive embroidery style arose out of this economic necessity, because of the women’s inate sense of design and understanding of cloth, skills practiced by Mexican women for centuries. In a recent delivery from Mexico, and opened up an exquisitly stitched yellow cloth that tells such a touching story of parenthood and general day to day life that I am reluctant to let it go.  As a fellow embroiderer I completely appreciate the time and artistry that goes into each piece of cloth and I have a huge amount of respect for the woman that make them. My own passion for Otomi embroidery started nearly 10 years ago when I worked with Chloe Sayer, a well known author and lecturer on Mexican Textiles at the Bermondsey Fashion and Textiles Museum.  At that time I was working at the Royal School of Needlework...