Thursday, 1 October 2015

The INDIE Revolution

A lot of many moons ago a friend of ours was telling us all about this exciting adventure he was about to go on, as the manager of a non-profit business, training and supporting young people in a cool and trendy coffee house. This place was to have art and music and creativity at it's core. And boy-oh-boy did Mr Plumtree pull it off! 

Cafe Indie before Mr Plumtree even had the keys. I was taking a few photos this day, to get an idea of the space, so I could help with loaning/buying a few bits of furniture for when they opened. This photo would (unknowingly) become very relevant to my future:

Cafe Indie is where we started to make a name for ourselves. Pigeon Vintage hosted our very first pop-up stall there and continued to do this until we felt confident enough to go for the big fairs. We loaned a few of our prize possessions to Indie, too, until they got much cooler and more appropriate furnishings.

One thing that has remained permanent fixture and plays a part in creating the venue's quirky atmosphere, is their famous INDIE sign. Some of you may know that the sign was made at Pigeon HQ, by the fair but gnarly hands of Mr Pigeon!

Plumtree was getting some outrageous quotes for this sign and I mentioned that my Mr P would probably be able to give it a good go. Being the perfectionist he is, I knew it would only ever be an amazing outcome.
So? I lost him to the garage for the next few weeks, while I stayed inside beginning my own exciting adventure (we were in the early weeks of pregnancy and I was suffering from delightful morning sickness).

The sign is made from sheet metal that was cut and bent to shape using an industrial machine that Mr P had to build from scratch (he'd salvaged it from a skip years ago and never needed to use it until now).
To get the industrial look, once the letters were made Mr P sprayed them with a salt solution and left them outside overnight to get them to rust.

I'll never forget the night that he sent me this photo; the first working component standing proud atop his workbench. I was working at the youth centre and gasped with shock at how good it looked. I knew it would, but THIS good? I was a proud girl, carrying this man's baby. It was a bit overwhelming. 

It took a few days to put up, because of the size and availability of people to help, but this was the sign installed before the bulbs were put in. Josh the apprentice, who's still serving time ( ;) ) at the cafe was like a metal monkey, climbing and hanging off walls to help us get it on the wall. To give you an idea of scale, the letters are 120cm high.

Being the modest beast he is, Mr Pigeon switched the lights on without telling people. There were so many young people in the building, helping to pull walls down, paint chairs, build furniture, clean floors and so on; but none of them knew what spectacle was about to occur. Everyone cheered and applauded and wowed. It looked fab and felt like the beginning of what has become a bit of an Indie revolution for us all.

Since then, the sign has featured in band photos, promo pictures, blog feeds, student selfies, instagram check-ins... it's part of the heart of Cafe Indie, and I couldn't be more proud of Mr P for being it's creator!

Image kindly given by Paul Rhoades Photography

Image of musician Joe Solo taken by Paul Rhoades Photography
Taken from Instagram's #cafeindie
Photo of Cooper and friends, taken by Imagernation Media
Image given by Under Electric Candlelight, from their Christmas stall

These pictures could keep coming, but I want to leave you with my favourite Indie sign capture of them all:

Our baby, StanleyPigeon, mesmerised by his Daddy's sign, reflecting in his eyes.

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