With this being the first event of its kind, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. However, walking up the stairs to the Norman Rea Gallery, listening to the music and sound of voices drifting down from the gallery, it was abundantly clear that this was going to be a very special event.
Gallery Assistant and stall-holder Tash Crane said ‘As a committee a lot of us love finding ways of integrating art and the handcrafted into our everyday lives, which goes hand in hand with knowing and supporting small businesses. We saw an event that was missing for students, that felt personally curated and considered, and we just went “why don’t we do it?”.
It is mind-boggling to think an event like this had not been put on before, with the amount of people there from the very beginning, there is obviously an appetite for it. There was an explosion of art, with jewellery, prints, zines and bags all on offer.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a variety of sellers from York and beyond. Tash added ‘it was imperative for us that we included a wide range of student sellers – especially as there is so much talent here at York that we wanted to champion and celebrate. We also have recent graduates from further away, like Manchester Met, and a remote print maker who studies at Winchester!’
There was a real sense of the art community coming together, to celebrate and uplift each other. The gallery had an electric atmosphere, you could see how much work and love had gone into the event. Tash went on to say ‘We wanted one of our first events of the term to be a space where people could really interact and talk to each other, meet members of the committee and also find some really amazing businesses and artists to support. We also see the huge value of getting artists together in the same room, and allowing them to grow their networks and circles, in again a personal environment’.
The committee members I spoke to were incredibly welcoming, and obviously relieved that people were piling into the gallery. Although it was a Pop-Up shop, it also seemed like a great place to network, I could see the artists all interacting with each other, as well as many of the visitors taking an interest in the merchandise and the gallery.
I was lucky enough to speak to some of the stall-holders (in between customers), and a common factor with almost all of them was their commitment to sustainability. There was Wonky Upcycling from Leeds, who rescue clothes from landfill and turn them into something new – a net-zero business.
Jess Hargreaves presented a range of prints and zines which were all completely had made, she was contacted on Instagram, and got involved as a way to promote her work but also said ‘it was great to see the art community of York brought together’
As someone who loves art, but does not have a creative bone in her body (and believe me I have tried), I really appreciated that everyone took the time to explain how their pieces were made and what inspired their business. It made the event seem really intimate and personal.
The personal touch was emphasised by the amount of committee members who were there. Tash explained ‘As a committee, we work so closely together to have everything run smoothly, without one person, the other cannot do their job – it’s a very positive symbiotic relationship and truly what is meant by ‘teamwork’.
When you’re going to an event that is the first of its kind, it’s almost a given that there will be some hiccups, a hint of disorganisation. But that wasn’t the case here and I really believe that was down to the hard work and dedication of the committee.
If you missed the Pop-Up shop, don’t worry! Their newest exhibition Cache Money will be opening on the 10th October. Tash said ‘This exhibition is inspired by the digital technologies in 180 The Strand’s exhibition Future Shock, and explores the world we live in today, that has become one of data storage and transmission’. Check out Norman Rea’s Instagram for more information!.