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Northampton Landmarks Immortalised in Merch

Posted by alex on April 5, 2024
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Image credits: Katie Wheatley / Northampton Chronicle

 

From the charming streets of Northampton emerges a creative venture that marries local pride with artistic flair. Meet Kardi Somerfield, the University of Northampton lecturer whose penchant for drawing has transformed into a thriving business, Fridge Street. What began as a hobby five years ago has now blossomed into a beloved local brand, offering residents a piece of Northampton to take home.

Fridge Street’s eclectic array of merchandise, from fridge magnets to textiles and mugs, features the town’s iconic buildings, each lovingly illustrated by Kardi. With a growing library of 356 drawings, her work captures the essence of Northampton, spotlighting independent businesses and places cherished by the community. These aren’t just drawings; they’re stories, memories, and landmarks immortalised in vibrant colour and accessible art.

Kardi’s journey with Fridge Street began in the summer of 2018, a season she dedicates to her craft amidst her teaching responsibilities. Her inspiration took flight during travels with her father, sketching cityscapes that later evolved into a focus on her hometown’s unique architecture. The response has been nothing short of heartwarming, with locals embracing her work, celebrating their personal connections to the places depicted, and even incorporating them into life events like weddings.

The concept is simple yet profound – building your own street of meaningful Northampton locales, be it the place you were born, your alma mater, or your favourite pub. These illustrations are more than just decor; they’re a narrative of personal history and community pride.

Fridge Street’s main stockist, Vintage Guru, reflects the symbiotic relationship between local businesses, providing a platform for small ventures to flourish. Kardi’s art has not only decorated homes but also graced her workplace, with a commissioned mural at the University of Northampton’s Waterside Campus.

Despite the challenges of starting an online shop during the pandemic, Kardi’s endeavour has thrived, reaching customers nationwide and even overseas. While suggestions to expand her horizons to other towns have been made, her heart remains with Northampton, the town she adores and is inspired by.

As Fridge Street continues to grow, Kardi’s Saturday drawing mornings remain a testament to the joy of creation and the love of one’s hometown. It’s a celebration of Northampton, one illustration at a time.

 

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