Review: Shop Boutique – A ‘Pop-Up’ Delight

Shop Boutique

(6th – 21st Dec, 10am-6pm daily except Sundays)

I strongly suspect Captain Oates was not, as the famous tale tells, knowingly sacrificing his life for his comrades as he announced ‘I am just going outside and may be some time’ before swapping a cosy tent for a blizzard. I now believe he had got wind of a nearby pop-up craft emporium and wanted to select the choicest morsels for himself.

So it was, against winds strong enough to rip the moustache from your very lips, I found myself entering the cossetting warmth of the opening night of ‘Shop Boutique’ on St John’s Square, Blackpool. Even The Illuminations Department had been blown off course in attempting to deliver the new sign but inside, having interrupted the mayor’s opening address (well he should have waited), I was struck by the unruffled glamour and conviviality of the assembly within.

Just what is it with these people! What is wrong with them? How can they look so affable and satisfied in their excitingly patterned coats and good hair despite the apocalyptic conditions? Is it some kind of cult sect?  I’ll tell you why – because they are in the best place in the world, the carefully crafted world of the hand made.

People are passionate about craft. I am not saying they will fight and die for it but if we had a constitution I am sure it would clearly give ‘an inalienable right to make and buy craft.’ I’ll tell you why…

There is a fundamental difference between the vast majority of ‘stuff’ in the world and what is on offer in the pop-up  Shop Boutique. Virtually everything we possess and buy is turned out by a dead machine – a craft object is made with love. It doesn’t matter whether it is a hand printed t-shirt by Dead Pigeon or  glass platters with sparse landscapes by Collette Halstead everything in there is made with care, thought and consideration and each one is slightly different. Why would you want to own anything loveless and identical ever again, I wonder?

The twenty or so makers have been carefully selected by Garth Gratrix from FYCreatives in collaboration with Kerry Vasilou from the Grundy Art Gallery and we have much to thank them for. Not only does the shop look far from being temporary, (it looks great and I am already disappointed that it must close soon) there is a really strong variety of easily accessible and pleasurable work from cushions to jewellery, clothing to coasters.

There is only one catch – it is a ‘pop-up’ shop which means you must ‘pop-out’ (like Captain Oates) and ‘pop in’ to enjoy and own before it ‘pops off’ on 21 December. Curses.

Craft – get addicted.

Michael Trainor, Artistic Director, LeftCoast

Are you already a maker or interested in becoming one – why not come to a special industry talk by Claire Bates (of Landbaby)  at FYCreatives on 17 December (6.30 – 8.30pm) at FYCreatives on Church St in Blackpool.

Footnote: Oates died, by the way. Please be warned that popping out for craft can be dangerous so you should dress accordingly.

Images courtesy of Linzi Cason Photography.

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