By Pauline Neville
All craft is art.
I believe that if someone takes components, whether they be thread and fabric, precious metal, wood or clay and by some process combines these to make something aesthetically appealing and on occasion useful, then they are an artist.
The term handmade as opposed to homemade has rightly gained more respect and popularity over the last few years. Appreciative customers are more aware of the time and love lavished upon such items in addition to the quality materials and skill involved. I am happy to see more venues for small local businesses popping up, across our city allowing our talented makers the opportunity to sell directly to a discerning public.
Since 2015 I have been organising Liverpool Makers Bazaar (LMB) a pop up market of all things handmade. I curate as wide a variety of crafts as possible to ensure that our events are interesting for our regular customers and hopefully lucrative for our stallholders. Past makers of jewellery for example have worked in silver, fabric, concrete, resin, polymer clay, beads, glass… you get the idea.
Down the years I have been frequently impressed with the imagination and creativity that people display in their work. For example, we are often joined by stallholders with beautiful mouth blown glass, several amazing painters selling originals and prints and candle makers to name but a few. You really don’t want me to list them all as they are not the same group at each event.
There is surely a craft for everyone and if you maintain that you are not artistic, perhaps that is because you have not yet discovered the right one for you. Or indeed maybe it is waiting for you to invent it.
LMB has swelled from the initial 24 stalls in the community centre at The Old Police Station on Lark Lane, to a healthy 45 stalls across the three rooms available in this quirky old building. As well as our artists, we host Mrs B’s Vintage Tea Room, a legend in everyone’s lunchtime, offering hot drinks and the most wonderful home-made cakes, served on fine vintage china atop embroidered tablecloths. We take our fuel stops very seriously!
With the exception of July and August we hold a monthly market through March to December at Lark Lane. But this year, as I have retired from my day job, I hope to have the capacity to hold extra pop up markets around and about. But news of those later in the year. When I know, you will, so keep an eye on the Instagram page for details.
LMB operates a first come best served policy. When one event finishes, we issue a callout for stallholders for our next event, on Instagram and Facebook. Potential attendees provide pictures of what they wish to sell. If their work is made by them and is sufficiently different from the work of those we have already signed up, we invite them to join us (subject, to receipt of their public and product liability insurance and payment).
In addition to our frequent attendees, happily we have new artists joining us each time. We have been lucky enough to host some very experienced makers alongside first timers, which can be of benefit to both. Sales aside, there are many networking benefits at our events. I have seen firm friendships forged, productive business introductions made and opportunities seized. On a smaller scale practical advice such as recommendations for insurance, card readers or packaging is offered freely between stallholders, alongside suggestions to improve display layouts or expand on products on offer.
Liverpool is an incredibly creative city brimming with people who have amazing ideas and the technical know-how to realise them. I have been delighted to have met so many talented local people and hope to meet more in the future. It would also be my pleasure to introduce you to some of them, with the assistance of the ever supportive Uncover Liverpool. I have been asked to bring you a series of interviews spotlighting some of the wonderful small local business owners who are doing what they love and with your help as customers hope to forge a livelihood from it.
I hope to see you at a market soon. Our next Liverpool Makers Bazaar takes place on Sunday 12 March and with free entry it’d be rude not to join us!