Creative dreaming in a rural cafe

Creative dreaming in a rural cafe

There’s nothing that fends off the January blues quite like planning for the coming festival season, and dreaming up ideas for fun-in-a-field in the summer ahead.

Luckily this is part of our job as festival folk, and so what could have been looked upon as a penchant for escapism is put to good use in booking entertainers, discussing ideas for workshops and designing new sets of flags and artworks.

Time has a habit of compressing itself between the months of January to June, where my partner Joe and I create new work for the season ahead, so we’ve learned over the years that it pays to start early.

So early this week I met with Lindsay Weatherston, one of the directors of the Isle of Wight Festival, to discuss plans for the site decoration of this years festival, in the café at Chale Green Stores.

Chale Green Stores has become one of my favorite meeting place over the years, close to our studio, with stunning views of St. Catherine’s Down from the café at the back, it’s peaceful and friendly atmosphere is equally conducive to a quiet lunch with friends, or animated discussion of creative ideas.

It’s a hidden gem in our rural landscape, offering a deli, fabulous food, and lots of different and unusual foods in its convenience store, alongside the usual fare. Many’s the time I’ve bought yummy last minute gifts from the shop, which features lots of local produce, from my favorite Oak-Roasted Tomatoes and Isle of Wight cheeses, to a range of chutneys from the Garlic Farm.

Given a complete makeover several years back it’s also considered it’s environmental impact by using rainwater to flush the toilets, installing a ground source heat recovery system to heat all its hot water and provide heating, and fitting light tunnels to bring in more natural light. It also established recycling centre for bottles and cans, very handy for us locals who used to have to go further afield.

After a great meeting where we dreamed up fields of colour and talked through the new areas I left feeling inspired and fortified against the chilly grey day.

Now – to work!