By Holly Christian.
It’s 2012. This is England’s year. It is a year of regeneration. The olympics are fast approaching. Hype around Britain is great, and there is one place where the hype is getting greater everyday. Margate. The seaside town, once a bustling holiday destination, has been through the wars with a high street on the verge of decease – it’s crumbling popularity is no more. Margate is in the middle of a huge regeneration – and designer-makers are at the centre of that.
My name is Holly Christian -I am a Margate girl, born and bred. There was once a time when myself and peers would shudder at the question “so where are you from?”… Erm, I live by the sea, near Canterbury…would generally be the answer. This is no more. I want people to ask me where I live – I am proud to say I am from Margate.
This wonderful town, is changing right before my very eyes. It’s a positive change, soon becoming a trendy, artistic, cultural hub – where people are travelling from far and wide, not only to sit and eat fish and chips on the beach, but to visit the multi-million pound Turner Gallery which is perched on the cliff edge, they are coming to hunt down and rummage through vintage goodies and londoners are snapping up property like there is no tomorrow (now known locally as DFL- “Down From London”). And I am part of this change.
I am currently sitting writing this article with my birds behind me. Yes, you heard right. ‘My birds” - I am a taxidermist, not the traditional taxidermy that pops straight into your head when you mention that word. No stags heads, hunting trophies or victorian dioramas crammed with the usual dusty, odd shaped beings.
I am trained as an interior architect which you may think is completely irrelevant to Taxidermy, however my creative juices have been pushed to the test every single day for about 5 years. This is why my work is different to tradition. My Taxidermy focuses on this idea of regeneration – I use old vintage objects, which have been found or bought around the local town, and bring a new meaning and way of looking at them – which sits side-by-side to the idea that Taxidermy breathes new life into the deceased forms which I use…
I am embarking on presenting myself and my skills right in the middle of this hype and evolution of Margate – I want to be caught up in the buzz and atmosphere of not only Margate being a vintage seaside town, but as an artistic hotspot, which is slowly happening. I am currently renting a space at ‘Rough Trade’ which is a collaborative space filled with local artists and ‘crafties’.
Once part of an old brewery, it has been used and abused for many different ventures. Today you will find vintage clothes for sale, vintage furniture, ‘The Old Woman’s Craft Home” – which you will find anything from dolls house trinkets to a bespoke tailoring service, there is Metal Man’s jewellery who create pieces using stainless steel nuts, bolts and screws. Next door to them is a master barber – ‘Mods and Rockers’ who specialises in ‘Mod‘ hairdoos. And in the middle of this you will find me. Me and my birds. The vision you are faced with is as soon as you walk in, is an avery of birds protruding at all angles out of a vintage trunk. You certainly cannot miss them.
Over the month of May, Tracy Emin is exhibiting at the Turner Gallery, here in Margate. This is my first big chance for people seeing and promoting my work. The publicity surrounding the Emin exhibition is wild, tickets for a talk between herself and Steven Fry at the Turner Contemporary sold out in minutes.
Everyone wants and craves a piece of this attention to promote and boost the views of their town. People need to be proud and support the town, in order for people to stop and think, like they did once before – “lets go down to Margate”.
Publicity is the key – and it is helping. From just sitting here today I have met people from London, America and Europe. They are the lucky ones who have stumbled across the various vintage shops – a jewel like ‘Breuer & Dawson’ for example, the best Charity shop around – The Hospice is filled with amazing finds, the cupcake shop (with Royal approval, I have you know – The Queen favoured one of their delights ) you have a bazaar which is held every weekend, independent galleries, eateries, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Shop, delightful pubs…what more could you want?
Well that’s my summer holiday sorted. If your local town or city is a makers paradise and you’d like to write about it, please do contact me through the about page. And thanks to Holly for writing such a lovely piece.