For the past 38 years we have been championing contemporary craft in the vibrant city of Leeds to shine a spotlight on independent makers and their small businesses from across Yorkshire and the rest of the UK. Through an exciting seasonal exhibition programme we highlight the skills behind handmade and share their inspiring stories. Bringing these amazing collections of contemporary craft together under one roof has created a haven for many visitors to escape the stresses of daily life & create mindful experiences. Please help us keep the gallery and the hundreds of small businesses we support alive by donating what you can so we can continue to keep bringing the very best of contemporary craft to you and help us and these creative industries thrive.
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"Grandad Needham; a true Yorkshireman often found with soil under his fingernails from his big love of gardening and a pipe in his mouth, not to forget the endless pockets full of “spice” (that’s a Yorkshire term for sweets) that’d he’d offer to us on our regular visits. I have very fond memories of those visits; unearthing potatoes from beneath the soil in their big garden, picking blackberries and apples for Grandma Needham to make a pie with, collecting eggs from the hen shed (a task that terrified me in case they were sat there waiting for me as I lifted up the hatch)! Sometimes my twin sister and I would uncover old coins that we’d dig up when preparing soil for planting onions and we’d be so excited thinking that we’d found buried treasure (we later found out Grandad ‘planted’ them so we’d uncover them on our visits). Since then I have given some of these old coins away to friends getting married (something old) and I’d like to think that they would give them some luck as often coins have been said to do.
When I first saw Frances Noon’s delivery of work I was intrigued, I knew she had been working on some new pieces and couldn’t wait to see the results. Her collection was for a Christmas exhibition here last year and as they were hung on the walls I secretly hoped that I would be lucky enough to own one of my own when the show came to an end. It was one piece in particular that caught my eye; Shed! It immediately took me back to those happiest of days gardening with my Grandad who is sadly no longer with us. Shed now hangs proudly in our living room and I can’t but help get a whiff of Grandad’s tobacco smoke every time I look at it as it transports me back to those happy and carefree days.
My other special piece was bought from the gallery to remember a very special lady; Grandma Connolly who is also sadly no longer with us. A lady who enjoyed making her own fancy dress costumes in her youth (which I discovered when I inherited her rather colourful sewing box full of cotton reels of every colour imaginable). She’d always match her handbag to her shoes and wear a nice brooch with every outfit. I remember visiting her as a child and she’d always have a fresh cream Victoria Sponge cake in the fridge ready for us. When she passed away I wanted to buy a print that would remind me of her and so I choose Flora McLachlan’s ‘When the Wind Comes to Carry us Away’. Although it’s in black and white and not as colourful as my Grandma was it was the softness of the etching that I loved with a sense of freedom and gentleness like my Grandma. It hangs in the same room as the Shed piece by Frances Noon and other treasured prints and pieces. It’s a lovely room to sit in when the sun shines through the windows and highlights the beauty of the pieces hung on the wall. Thank you Frances and Flora for making such beautiful pieces for others to treasure. They provide great comfort when remembering loved ones."
Don't forget to get in touch if you have a story of a treasured piece you've bought from us from the last 35 years that you'd like for us to share. We'd love to hear from you. Simply email us a few photographs and your story to firstname.lastname@example.org #wherearetheynow?