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château amelia strong

Château Amelia Strong is a chateau in the middle of France near the town of Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche in the Haute-Vienne Department, France

It is possible the Château has another more historical family name but in honor of Chilean designer Amelia Strong, we renamed it – at least temporarily to celebrate her playful prints and expanded collection with a photo shoot.. What is indisputable is we met 17 year old Junior cyclist, Holly Waymark and her parents for three days in Saint-Yrieix-L-Perche where we made photographs, shared dinners, drank wine, met a barn cat and named her Limoges, took long walks, looked for old porcelain (it’s near Limoges), talked about racing, admired Holly’s cycling trophies, and in the evenings viewed rare and interesting antiques (with Nicky and Nigel, Holly’s Parents who collect and sell them). We found the Château Amelia Strong on Air BnB and every hour of the day we completely and emotionally explored every nook and cranny of this magnificent old, tattered estate house. Surrounded by 45 hectares of a family farm & built in the 19th century, the Château Amelia Strong would be the dramatic setting to get to know Holly and become friends. Quite honestly, by the end of our stay we never wanted to leave the Château Amelia Strong. It felt like home.

Introducing Holly Waymark (Always with her Water Bottle of Vittel)

We met 17 year old Junior cyclist Holly Waymark through Instagram and old fashioned email, mostly talking about CX. Her very short bio intrigued us. She hails from the United Kingdom, though she has lived in village of Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche since the age of four. About a dozen years ago Holly’s parents forged a beautiful home by hand, converting an old dilapidated barn into a home to raise their children. Holly’s dad is currently busy rebuilding a small building on their property brick by brick so Holly has a proper place to ride the trainer in winter! Holly has been racing road bikes for three years and in 2016 became the Junior Championne Régional Poitou-Charente and Junior Championne du grand Sud-Ouest. Try as we might we could not figure out how to work with her as Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche is almost in the center of France and not quite on our usual path or visits. It seemed beyond our budget to fly to France, rent a car and drive 4 and 1/2 hours to a place we could not properly pronounce. However, the goal to outfit her for the 2017 cyclocross season seemed a bit empty if we could not actually meet her. A year later and the idea and impetus to work together had stalled. Yet, in the back of our mind we kept asking ourselves, “Why can’t a Junior cyclist help launch a brand and represent the Amelia Strong CX project? Who better than a teenager who lives and breathes this sport we all love?” Through her committed racing and honest expressions we knew we were communicating with someone special. In our few days with Holly we found her refreshingly direct in describing the physical demands of being a teenage girl in this sport, a voice not heard from often enough. She seemed perfect to represent our CX project with Amelia Strong. Our thoughts about seeing Holly were reignited in spring because we knew we had one more Amelia Strong jersey to release in July and this pattern was our favorite yet. It needed a competitive rider and a location worthy to celebrate its carefree joy. Once again, emails were exchanged and ideas shared. Before we knew it we were learning to pronounce Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche with Holly and her parents, Nicky and Nigel in the middle of France.

The jersey in question is simply called “Beaches”

In the store now

Amelia Strong is inspired by the pool, by swimming underwater with one’s eyes closed and concentrating on the moment and losing oneself. If you sift through her Instagram deeply you see joy, dance, celebration but you also see sadness and the tension of living in crowded media-drowned cities where one is often at odds with the way they feel about it and themselves. The pool is one of the places she lets her characters revel in the moment. She lets them breathe and exhale. Women sunbathing on a simple blow-up raft. Or a women gliding through the water with her hands pressed to her side, not wanting to come up for air until the last moment. This idyll is part fantasy but also real and attainable and an escape we all desperately need at times. This is the Amelia Strong we love and respect so much! The one that shows us the real world but thankfully illustrates a few escape hatches along the way.

Château Amelia Strong

So we went to France and took some pictures featuring Beaches, Marching Women, Mountains, and Paint Spots. Our French guide was architect and “Collage” Jersey designer Maud Glasel. Styling, Concepts and Photography with artist Aleia Murawski and co-founder of TSH, Luke Batten. Be sure to read our interview with Holly Waymark and an introduction to the jersey by Hannah Burtness! Below however we share in lightly captioned chapters, a gallery we call Château Amelia Strong!

Chapter One: Should we not be swimming in this pool!?

Chapter Two: The White room or The Library!

Chapter Three: Let’s take a break and walk around and talk and take pictures with Maud’s new camera

Chapter Four: Holly “I never knew this place existed in my village!”

Chapter Five: Holly rides home and we photograph her from the car. Through S-Y-P we go!

Chapter Five: Let’s go on a walk. “Aleia, tell us about your art?”

Chapter Six: “This house is haunted, Full of Ghosts!” 

Chapter Seven: Channeling “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott

Chapter Eight: Doors and Windows

Chapter Nine: Holly’s Racing Bike

Chapter Ten: This post is dedicated to Amelia Strong, Holly’s parents, Limoges the cat, and last but not least – Holly Waymark!