The Muswell Hill mums putting Ally Pally on the design map
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
Tired of trekking to Muswell Hill to pick up a last-minute gift or interiors treat, Alexandra Palace residents have been rejoicing that design duo Tash & Tanya have a new semi-permanent home on the doorstep.
The disused gallery in a parade of independent shops on Alexandra Park Road presented the perfect opportunity for print maker Natasha Barton and textile designer Tanya Kreisky to set up shop and expand their offering from the screen prints and cushions they’re best known for.
“We had some stuff at a pop up shop here at Christmas and then we decided to ask if we could have a pop up just for us in March,” says Kreisky. “That went well enough for us to stay on for a bit. We did a little test the waters and that was lovely, we got fantastic feedback about how nice it was to see very local people like us selling stuff.
“We’re mums and we both also work: Natasha’s a graphic designer and I’m an editor. It’s really nice that we can have time for making alongside everything else, even if that does happen late into the night sometimes. It’s worth it, you don’t take on a shop that often!
“We want to be able to push our creativity. We’re not just shop minding, we’re also making.”
Although the pair are branching out to create a bigger range of homewares, gifts and cards, their indisputable bestseller is one of their early collaborations: the Ally Pally cushion.
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“We’re the home of the Ally Pally cushion. We’ve had people come in saying ‘I saw one of these in somebody else’s house and now I know where to get them!’ It’s definitely our best selling item.”
The original design for the cushion is by Barton, which she prints on fabric and gives to Kreisky to hand bead on the window, meaning that each cushion is unique.
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As well as expanding their range, having a more permanent base has also enabled the duo to stock work by other local designers and makers who either don’t yet have a formal outlet for their products or usually sell at markets.
“There are all these local people who are making lovely stuff almost behind the scenes and the shop gives them a place in the real world in a way,” says Kreisky.
“We’re working with Rob Jones, who does amazing Shibori dying on men’s handkerchiefs and women’s silk scarves; we’ve got prints by Eliza Southwood, lovely lino cuts; Sandra Menzies does ceramics for us; Toby Togs are hand screen printed kids’ clothes for ages 0 to 5.
“Our stock will keep growing as we get more feedback.”