As well as stocking a wide range of bone carvings (I sound like an advertisement) we stocked an extensive range of post cards.
The two best sellers can be viewed here. Stuart Gardyne was the creator, and quite by chance I met him a year or so ago through a tango buddy.
We also created our own merchandise like these cards:
There is also a set of Pasifika and natural history ones – as well as this shot from the 1907 Dominion Museum.
We had little badges made -mostly natural history ones – you can see their delivery to the shop in the previous post’s image. I like the fish best. We made fish mobiles.
We made bookmarks ($3.60 a 10 pack!)
Basia Smolnicki made us some great kete designs for T shirts, which I don’t think ever got made and Helen Wilson designed and then printed off hundreds and hundreds of T shirts for us – the most popular being BuzzyBee. I seem to not have any in my cupboard. What else was there? BuzzyBee was the hottest seller. Fish maybe? Basia is now a tango dance partner too.
We had dinosaurs from the British Museum, kites by Peter Lyn and LPs by Flying Nun. I’d to go to Chris Lipscombe’s house in Mt Vic to pick up the 5 or so records we’d sell each week. We were one of the few shops selling them. They sold well.
Other excitements were the books arriving from America – Lyotard, Derrida, Barthes and art books and the joy of being able to ring people and tell them their books had arrived. Packs of kete from Te Hapua in Northland and a marae in Hastings (?) the name of which I have forgotten – always sent the smell of newly woven harakeke through the shop and we got to know names of people we never met.
And although we had several favourite customers, my favourite group was that of Keri Kaa, Pat Grace, Irihapete Ramsden and Robyn Kahukiwa who’d salivate over the jewellery items then behind each others’ back ask for something or other to be put aside for one of the group. They didn’t always come in the same group but there was always at least three of them. Beside they gave me advice feedback and encouragement. Occasionally Tungia Baker would be with them. Tui Farrell was also a regular customer along with Jonathan Dennis and many Wellington-based literati.
But each of us had our own special group of people and the other staff could tell you other stories. It’s alarming to think how many of these people have now gone from our lives.