Sunday, 29 April 2012

Buy Handmade | Saltaire Arts Trail

I am currently very busy (and slightly stressed) preparing for my first craft fair as part of the Saltaire Arts Trail, which is in the very interesting village of Saltaire, near Leeds. What makes Saltaire such an interesting place? Why should you take a visit?

Saltaire was one of West Yorkshire's old purpose built worker's villages. In 1851, mill owner 'Sir Titus Salt' commissioned a village to be built for the workers of his mill. He was keen on improving the conditions in which textile workers of the time lived (he had previously trained to be a doctor, but couldn't handle the blood!). The village consisted of streets of neat little brick houses (11 of the Streets named after his 11 children), along with wash houses, a hospital, a school for the worker's children and other things such as a library and concert hall, all built around Salts Mill. In 1876 the last planned building was completed, and later that year Titus Salt died in his home, aged 73. Neighbouring city, Bradford, gave him a civic funeral, which was watched by over 100,000 people. He was a very popular guy!

Salts Mill continued to run as a textile mill for some time after, but was closed in 1986. The mill was bought the next year to be renovated, and today it hosts a vibrant range of galleries, shops and cafes, including everything from music, book and antiques shops, to tailors and florists! The area surrounding the mill is lovely to explore, with lots more arty shops and galleries to have a nosey at!

Each year, Saltaire hosts The Saltaire Arts Trail, and this is where my shameless self-promotion comes in! This bank holiday weekend (5th - 7th May) myself and many other artists and makers will be exhibiting our work. I will be in the main room of the 'maker's fair', and it should be a really good event, so everyone should come and visit me, say hi, and then buy all my wares so that I can go home a very happy (and very rich) bunny!

Alongside the maker's fair, there will also be other exciting things going on, such as the 'open houses' which allows you to enter people's homes and see a selection of an artist's work arranged in them - so much better than viewing them in an empty gallery as you can really begin to imagine how they might look in your own home!

I could write a lot more about this, but it seems slightly pointless when I can just direct you to this video, which will tell you a lot more about the weekend:

Saltaire Arts Trail 2011 from Simon Lawson on Vimeo.

So if you're free next weekend, come along and say hello, but if you're not, Saltaire is a great place to go for a day out. Put it on your 'to-do' list!

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