Starch Green – Printmakers & Patternsmiths
Photo: Spencer Murphy for Town magazine
What does your business do?
Starch Green is a small artist-design studio run by Jonathan Mercer and Kate Fishenden. We produce a range of prints and objects that add positively to the pattern of life from wood engravings to stationery, ceramics to jam making kits. All our products are produced in limited editions. We also take commissions for bespoke prints to celebrate special occasions, bespoke stationery and artisan design and illustration. Our letterpress stationery is printed at the studio on our own small presses.
What motivated you to do what you do?
As artists-designers we are keen to establish an artisan business that’s about using our craft skills to create lovely things, balancing home and work and creating a feeling of well-being. We are also very keen to create a sense of engagement with the local community and add to our pride in the place we live and work.
What is your Unique Selling Point?
Charming and delightful products designed and produced locally, inspired by a mid Twentieth Century sensibility.
Who is your ideal customer/client?
People who love prints and patterns and appreciate the extra time and care it takes to produce original, limited edition work. We have really enjoyed some recent commissions where we have worked closely with our customers to produce a bespoke wood engraving – we love to get to know people and what they like – and we especially like customers who keep coming back for more! We do have at least one official Starch Green collector.
How do people get in touch with you?
We have a website at www.starchgreen.com, we have a Starch Green Facebook page and we are on Twitter, @StarchGreen. We take part in Artists at Home, a group of artists in Hammersmith, Shepherd’s Bush and Chiswick who open up their homes and studios for a weekend- this year it’s 13th – 15th June, and we have a Christmas Sale, this year will be Sunday 30th November (but please check nearer the time!) We are easy to get hold of by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can arrange to pop in.
What is your biggest challenge in the current climate?
Making ends meet…
Has being a member of ABN helped your business?
ABN has been great catalyst in engaging with the local community and, more practically, selling things at the Christmas Bazaar. We’ve also met some lovely people through the network and this led to us having two exhibitions at Finlay Brewer in Askew Road and getting involved in the Edible Askew Road festivals (for which we designed the posters and treasure trail) in May and December. Edible Askew Road should be happening again this Spring from 17th May to 8th June (fingers crossed…) ABN is also active on Twitter (thanks to Annie) and a great re-tweeter to spread the word about our news. We’ve also designed a number of posters for ABN events.
How easy is it to shop locally in Askew Road?
We do our main grocery shopping in Askew Road on a Saturday – and you may spot Jonathan on one of his many sorties weighed down by a variety of well-filled ‘bags for life’. We believe that unless we support the local businesses with our cash, we can’t expect them to survive.
What do you think Askew Road will be like in 5 years time?
I have a dream that Askew Road will turn into the Artisan Quarter of West London, hiving with independent shops, curated to reflect the taste and quality of the discerning shopper – Modern British personified. However, I don’t think the rent equation is quite there to do that, although Max Inc, Lavelli Bakery and The Ginger Pig are the sort of shops that are showing that it could work. I’d love to see a great greengrocer, a good clothes shop, a proper fishmonger with bags of mussels, fresh mackerel and a lot of white tiles and somewhere selling charming and delightful products to improve the pattern of life (Starch Green perhaps…?). Well – I can dream… ‘a pencil and a dream can take you anywhere.”
The Starch Green Kindness Jug
Bespoke Stationery Box