Makers’ Yard and Makers’ Mart

In my last post I wrote about the St George’s area of Leicester and showed you some of the old warehouses and factory buildings.  Regeneration of this area and its rebranding as ‘The Cultural Quarter’ started around 2000.  A new theatre (Curve) was built, Leicester’s arts cinema (Phoenix) relocated, and the Moderne cinema became the Athena conference centre.

Alongside these high profile projects has been the development of spaces for creative businesses.  The LCB depot, built on the site of the former Leicester City Bus depot, opened in 2004.  Here you will find a cafe-bar, gallery, meeting rooms and workspace for nearly 50 small creative businesses.  At Phoenix Square, as well as the cinema, there is a film and digital media centre and workspace for businesses specialising in digital arts.  And last month the newest workspace, called Maker’s Yard, opened in what  is thought to be the oldest surviving hosiery factory in the East Midlands; there are large studios here for artists and designer-makers.

Makers' Yard, The Cultural Quarter, Leicester

Makers’ Yard, The Cultural Quarter, Leicester

On Saturday 20th April, Makers’ Yard held an open day, which was a wonderful opportunity to see the buildings and have a nose around the studios.  Here you can see the type of wide windows that were common in the early framework knitters’ workshops.

Makers' Yard - detail

Makers’ Yard – detail

Ruth Singer has a studio on the ground floor; this phenomenally busy textile artist runs workshops, makes art by manipulating fabric and writes books.  Sushila Pillai runs her business Felt 4 Art Sake from her second floor studio.  She was busy running taster sessions for felt-making during the open day.   Lisa Godrich, a paper artist who shares a studio on the top floor, creates stunning pieces by punching holes in paper.
Makers’ Mart was held at Curve theatre on the same day.  The standard of work, from local designer-makers, was very high and there were many desirable pieces!  I’ve picked out two stands to show you.  The first is Feltings, run by Alison Linnell.  Alison makes beautiful felted work such as cushions, scarves and bags, cosies for iPads and phones, journal covers, babies’ booties and round vessels from wool and silk.  She also runs workshops from her studio.
Feltings - mobile phone cosies

Feltings

I was particularly impressed by the intricate designs on Alison’s work and love the colours she uses.

Feltings - mobile phone cosies

Feltings – mobile phone cosies

The second is Thread and Ink, run by Claire Holmes.  Claire prints her illustrations of flowers and wildlife, then adds machine embroidery to create beautiful cushions and bags.
Thread & Ink cushions

Thread & Ink

I love the hydrangea cushion; hydrangeas remind me of Brittany and these clean designs would look good in any seaside scheme.

Thread & Ink cushions

Thread & Ink cushions

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