A WEEK AT SAMANTHA PEACH - University Undergraduate Student Placement Heather

January 21, 2020



My name is Heather Gossage and I’m just about to start my 3rd year of Textile Design at Nottingham Trent University, I specialise in Embroidery and love working with crafts and 3D forms. Despite being about to start my final year of University, I am still unsure of what I would like to do as a career, so when the opportunity to spend a week at Samantha Peach came up I was very excited to be invited into a small, but friendly and creative company!!
Any nerves I had about the week ahead were settled as I was welcomed into the studio by four friendly faces and straight away offered a cup of tea! I was given a quick tour around the studio by Samantha; showing me shelves of ribbons, boxes of fake flowers and a big jar full of old buttons – heaven for anyone who loves embellishment!


My first job was to help with the orders, I was shown around the shop site and then started printing off address labels and then packing up the masks to be collected later that afternoon, which to me was as important as the creative experience I was going to get, because I was getting an insight into how a business works.  I was then set to something a little more practical, putting ribbons onto the ‘no-frills’ masks, which I continued with after lunch for the rest of the afternoon. Before I knew it it was gone 3o’clock, the end of my first day.
When I arrived in the studio on Tuesday morning I found Martin and Samantha rather excited as they had been asked to send some of their masks to Paris which would be used for a cover shoot!!
I started the day again by printing out the address labels and packing up all the orders to be collected for posting. I continued with ribboning up the no-frills masks and when they were all finished I was then shown how to add them onto the shop site so customers could see how many of each style mask was available for purchase.
Samantha told me I was going to be starting on my own mask designs on Wednesday and asked if I had any ideas of what I would like to make. My initial ideas were to do something Halloween related, maybe a Mens mask as I had been discussing with Martin earlier how the Mens masquerade mask range was quite limited. I also had an idea to use fabric on the masks as I had visited Venice earlier in the summer and the masks which stood out most to me were some which were patch-worked with beautiful upholstery fabrics. So I went home on Tuesday evening and rummaged through my fabric boxes and researched for images which I could use on a Halloween mask.
The day I got to start experimenting and making my own masks!!! I had found some Laura Ashley fabric in my scrap box at home and thought this would go well with the current floral trends! So my first mask had a very feminine floral theme, I added some fake flowers on one side and a braided trim with the glue gun around the edge of the mask to stop the fabric from fraying! The fabric was quite busy so I kept to a minimum with added embellishment and used a neutral ribbon to tie the mask. My first mask was made and I was pleasantly surprised with how well it had turned out!
Laura Ashley Floral fabric Venetian Mask
I continued with the use of fabric, but this time selected a Vietnamese silk which my parents had brought back from Vietnam for me earlier in the year. I also added some jewels under the eyes which I think gives the mask a more elegant feel and goes nicely with the oriental fabric.
Oriental Venetian Mask
By Thursday I was starting to feel more confident experimenting with the use of fabrics on the masks so after packing up all the orders again I started mask number 3!
I used some scraps of Laura Ashley gingham upholstery  fabric which I had collected and created a patchwork effect onto the mask base. When I first started putting the fabrics onto the base I thought I had gone very, very wrong and was going to embarrass myself by making a horrible clash of gingham reds and blues. However I continued with the mask and after adding a subtle trimming to separate the clashing colours I  think the outcome was quite successful. I also added some small ribbon roses to each side of the mask in matching colours to the gingham. It might take someone quite eccentric to wear such a mask but I think it is very on trend and I’m glad I was brave enough to continue with it!
Today is Friday and my final day here at Samantha Peach.
My time spent here has been so valuable, I now know that I want a career in crafts, where I can spend days experimenting to make beautiful products which hopefully enough people will want to buy!! After talking to Samantha I know it is not easy to start off your own business so I accept that I will have to work my way up to it but at least I know what I am aiming for now. Thank you for having me!!

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