Sunday, July 19, 2009

Standing in the sunshine

I had a lovely day at the Fairtrade, Design and Craft fair yesterday, standing in a sunlit spot in the charming Royal Arcade in Keighley. I'm sure there must be many people like me who never realised that just a short distance from the "high street" shops in the Airedale shopping centre are the hidden delights of the Grade II listed Royal Arcade - it certainly deserves to be better known.

The Arcade was built at the beginning of the last century but by the end had fallen largely derelict. There's a fascinating story of how the 1999 renovations uncovered a forgotten lower level arcade of shops, still with glass in their windows and signs.

The Royal Arcade is now home to a cafe, hairdressers and range of shops, including Blue Ginger, a perfect place to go for handmade jewellery, clothing and accessories. Blue Ginger is the creation of Louise, who organised yesterday's fair. Amongst the talents on display were:

  • the fun and funky fused glass creations of Glassprimitif. I couldn't resist a sweetheart sushi dish. There are similar ones in her Folksy shop (hurry, there's a summer sale on some items!)
  • the colourful jewellery of RubySpiritDesigns. I love the blue bead charm bracelet I bought earlier this year - it's like an instant holiday in the Aegean!
  • the beautiful designs of Julie Mills. Having admired Julie's work when she was a Coriandr Express VIP a few weeks ago, it was great to meet her; her silk scarves are so lustrous, you really have to see them.
  • The Little Gemstone Company whom I met last week at Keighley World Arts Market. Anne and Helen have a lovely selection of necklaces and bracelets where the stones just speak for themselves. I particularly liked one that looked like sea polished pebbles.
  • personalised ribbons and cards and gorgeous papers from Sue Pollard Ribbons & Wrapping. I've ordered some cute ribbons from her for a special project so will be posting pictures soon.
It was a real treat to spend the day with such creative and enterprising individuals, and of course to meet some lovely new customers as well - thanks very much for all your hard work, Louise!

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