Some words from Marie

Photobucket"I've always bought nice old things, I used to have my little buying forays.  When I was teaching I would bring great things home - things they were chucking out. I've got all the old school posters, lovely old illustrations. I've always collected bits like that. They had beautiful old maps that I was going to take home but we had a rat in the stock cupboard and it nibbled all the ends - they were lovely, old ones showing the empire.
I got ill and I had to leave school; I was only meant to be on sick leave but didn't get better so I couldn't go back. I was really unwell for quite a long time - I think it was a lot to do with stress. The job was really stressful - I was teacher governor and we had a lot of problems with our Head. When I was ill i couldn't really do anything so when I started to get a bit better I thought I'd do a stall. I'd been to a fair and people were selling enamel, I thought I could do it - I could enjoy collecting and  finding it, without having to think 'oh god where am i going to keep it all' . That was about 7 or 8 years ago now. Ellis (my husband) has helped me so much, he's even more supportive than he was before; helping me to carry everything."Photobucket Photobucket"I've liked enamel for so long. I started buying it just for myself - until I got to the point where i couldn't really buy any more. I don't know that it is about it, I love the colours. I think it's its durability appeals as well, there's something very solid about it - the feeling that someone's had it for years and years and years. I love all that, thinking which house it was in before, who might have used it. I like other things but its always been enamel. I keep the chinese enamel for myself  - it's got the big blousy roses on it.  I'm just drawn to kitchen stuff, I've always had the same taste, I don't think I've changed. I've adapted a bit to what sells well but then even that is changeable: sometimes I'll sell loads of colanders, say, so I think 'I'll get more colanders' then I don't sell one for ages. It's weird." Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket"When I'm buying I don't mind if people know I'm a dealer. Apart from in charity shops where I have a code - I'll say to Ellis 'do you think maggy would like it?' which means 'any good for the stall?'. I don't get much in charity shops, if I do sometimes I feel a bit bad - but not for long.
I was very green when I first started - I'd tell everybody how much I made and what was selling and some people are a bit ruthless in the market, they'd start buying the same stuff. Sometimes you have to be a bit tight-lipped, it's every woman for herself. Recently I had this amazing bread bin, oh my god it was just beautiful, a big old one. I didn't research it. I just put it out on my table and a lady came and bought it, she said her friend would love it for her birthday. Then I saw it on the same ladies stall in Camden passage for much, much more money. Couple of weeks later I bumped into her and said - 'did your friend like her bread bin?' and she said 'oh yes, she loved it'."Photobucket"It's not a job really - there's no pressure, you're your own boss, you do what you want when you want. But I think for me it's different, for some people it's their living so it must be more stressful - they need what they make to pay their rent. I'm in a fortunate position that it's just like a hobby really.
The money's lovely as a little extra but mostly i just turn it over. I get a nice little amount sometimes that I can put away or I maybe use it to get my hair done. I really enjoy it - when you're not working you miss the social aspects of your job, I miss the children and the parents and getting to know people from all cultures. You miss your colleagues and going for meals when it's somebody's birthday. To some extent I've got that back again at the market: making friends outside of your immediate family - not just stallholders but regulars. It's really interesting. And it's quite flattering - the fact that the stuff your choosing someone else likes you think 'I must have a bit of taste'."Photobucket
"Jarvis Cocker bought one of the tea cosies I knitted, as well as Tracey, must be something about tea cosies. Tracey bought a little baby cup from me and she was asking how the market was going, it's nice - I think famous people like to be able to just talk to you normally. Then there's George he just buys bits of china: of course he never uses any of it, but he likes it." Photobucket


  1. Marie sounds just lovely, and she's got good taste too I'd say!

  2. this was so, so lovely to read. can well imagine a suited george sorting through to find a handsome piece. and the tiny fawn coloured pan we use to make cocoa in is actually from marie's stall. bonne toot.

  3. Yes, she is a gem! It was nice to have a proper sit down and natter away from the market too, I learnt all sorts of nice and inspiring things I didn't know before. And I'm sure she'll be pleased to know her wares have made it as far as Nova Scotia.