Stag & Bow, the popular haberdashery and craft store in Forest Hill is expanding its creative empire with a new open-access studio downstairs
We had a family Christmas where we were handing out gifts that we’d made for everybody,’ says Pascale Spall, when I ask how Stag & Bow, the haberdashery in Forest Hill she runs with husband Cyrus Colquitt, came to fruition. ‘My dad said, just off the cuff, “you guys should open a shop!”
‘It was already there at the back of our minds,’ she continues. ‘We were both at a point in our careers where we were looking to do something more.’
Pascale’s father is actor Timothy Spall, the national treasure who last year won the Best Actor Award for playing the title role in Mr Turner. But is he any good at making cushions?
‘No,’ laughs Pascale. ‘No, we all have our own special talents. I was always the go-to in our family for sewing on buttons, and taking measurements for my dad. If we were away somewhere I’d fill out the costume form for him to fax over.’
Haberdashery seems to be riding the crest of a creative wave at the moment and I wonder if Pascale sensed the ‘makers renaissance’ before opening the shop: ‘I wouldn’t say I sensed it, it’s always been such a big part of my life. I was making from my studio at home and I would have to travel into town to get any haberdashery, or pop over to Brixton. There was an amazing haberdashery shop in Penge called Maple Textiles, but I lived in Australia for eight years and when I came back it wasn’t there. So it grew from that, it was an obvious gap in the market.’
Pascale’s and Cyrus’ creative drive shows no signs of abating. Last year they opened The Framing Salon next door, and to coincide with Stag & Bow’s fifth anniversary, they have just expanded and renovated the shop, as well as opening the Studio Below. This open-access textile studio in the haberdashery’s basement is a place where designer-makers can use facilities like the Janome sewing machines, dye kitchen and textile screen-printing studio.
‘For the last four years we’ve done workshops upstairs, so this allows us to expand,’ says Cyrus, who, as a former teacher, hopes to take the creative agenda even further. ‘We’d like to use the space for vocational training, a machine shop really, where people could undertake a full programme and there might be a job at the end of it, or you would have the skills to set up your own thing.’
I suggest that Pascale and Cyrus are the centre of the local creative community, which makes Pascale laugh: ‘Oh no, we’re just part of a thriving community. Not only with designer-makers but the community we live in. It’s lovely that there’s the framers and the sweet shop and the butchers… It’s like a children’s book when you go for a pizza at St David’s and it’s like, “oh, hello, it’s the florist!”’
8 Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill SE23 3XU; 020 8291 4992; stagandbow.com
Words: Victoria Purcell
Photos by Daniel & Sara Communication Ltd