This is the first in a series of interviews to give you a bit of an insight into the businesses behind Forest Hill Fashion Week. First up to talk to us is Joanna Gore of Canvas & Cream:
What We Do
Canvas & Cream comprises an artists-designed upcycled restaurant/cafe, a dedicated contemporary gallery (C&C Gallery) with art workshops and creative events program. We have seven artist/artisan studios at the rear adjoining Havelock Walk. We also have an alternative therapy room where various therapists offer a wide variety of therapies etc. We combine, health, wellbeing, arts innovation and a unique social experience all under one roof.
We have social and environmental objectives as our core values and aim to provide a high quality creative arts and social experience for our local community and beyond. C&C Gallery supports innovative emerging artists whilst being underpinned by a sound social enterprise business model.
From our restaurant we sell Monmouth Coffee, excellent cakes and French patisserie, fantastic brunch, lunch and in the evening we turn into an intimate restaurant with full a la carte menu, cocktails, wines and spirits. We also hold extraordinary events that combine art with dinner. For instance we have Valentines dinner with the showing of a black & white original version of Phantom of the Opera accompanied by live music by Igor Outkine; a Russian folk/opera singer.
We also have therapists that offer a range of therapies from our therapy room.
Why Forest Hill?
We (my daughter, 2 dogs, 2 cats and I) moved here over eight years ago. We love Forest Hill, the people and the growing vibe. We wanted a business that would provide us with somewhere to go to meet like-minded people and we wanted to work locally to where we live.
Forest Hill is going through rapid change since the overground line opened. We opened a year ago (this Sunday) and have been getting busier ever since. South London is becoming more desirable as people North of the river move to where housing is cheaper and there is more space to breath. The London art scene is an exciting movement that we are very pleased to be part of.
Who We Are
Canvas & Cream is a family-run social enterprise. Joanna and Emily Gore are mother and daughter; Joanna’s background is as an artist, writer and lecturer, Emily’s is in arts, events and baking. Paul (Joanna’s partner) is a carpenter, Joanna’s mother Linda (upholstery and Antiques) is also very much a part of Canvas & Cream. Together with volunteers and local help they hand built Canvas & Cream and the interior from a derelict warehouse into what it is today.
Our employees are a mixed bag from all over the world: Sergio our Spanish Bar Supervisor is always up for a laugh, Mona our Hungarian Front of House waitress is also an art student at Goldsmiths (she has shown in the gallery), Layla our admin/FOH is also a creative writer, Andreas an Italian Front of House is also studying art at Goldsmiths (you should check out his melting sculptures), Laura Front of House is an Argentinian mum of lovely Tommy, we have our Head Chef Peter from Manchester who makes a fantastic roast dinner and a fabulous haggis, Kryzs our Polish Sous Chef is a dab hand at Carpentry as well as cooking! Jahirul our Bangladeshi kitchen porter will be moving from the kitchen to show off his new coffee skills and dazzling smile and last but not least, Sam our kitchen porter is from Sierra leone, he plays the most beautiful music in the kitchen.
We were Finalists for Social Enterprise UK Start up of the year award, recently won a Lewisham Business award and had Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson visit and buy a whole show in the first month of opening!
The FHFW events
Our 1st Birthday Party! – As it is London Fashion Week, we thought in keeping with the creative Canvas & Cream style we would hold a OUT OF THE CLOSET PARTY on Sunday 17 February 7-10pm.
Dig down deep and pull out an oldie, wear that beautiful ball gown or tuxedo you never got a chance to show off. Always fancied being Buzz Light year? or a fanciful fairy? Well now is your chance to pull out anything you fancy and come dressed to impress, Soul Train impromptu catwalk for those who are game!
Free canapés, creative cocktails, Most Eye-catching Costume competition and a little something special for every 20th Guest!
It’s a wrap! Party, Canvas & Cream are holding the Come along to Canvas and Cream for a fashion-fabulous catwalk show featuring a wealth of local talent. New designers and makers mix with established Forest Hill favourites to celebrate the end of FHFW in style Tuesday 19th 7-10pm