HANDY HUB: Michelle Grancourt is delighted with the support for The Hand Crafter’s Hub
HANDY HUB: Michelle Grancourt is delighted with the support for The Hand Crafter’s Hub

A FORMER department store buyer says she is delighted with the response to her artisan hub which opened last week.
Michelle Grancourt was made redundant during the pandemic and decided to follow a creative dream setting up a retail hub for local artists and crafters.
During the last couple of months Ms Grancourt, who is well known for her stylised artwork, has transformed the former gas shop at 42 The Bank, Barnard Castle, into an Aladdin’s cave filled with handcrafted items.
She said: “The support has been fantastic and I couldn’t keep up with the amount of emails and messages that kept coming in when I announced I was setting up the hub.
“There are so many unique things here that you can’t get in normal high street shops and all from the local talented people.”
Oil paintings through to tweed caps and oversized ottomans as well as turned wood bottle stoppers are all creatively displayed and there is definitely something for everyone if you take your time to browse.
She added: “The support from everybody has been great.
“I’ve had lots of people dropping in cards and it’s been so nice. I was nervous when I began this but I’m not now. I just have to find time to make some of my own stuff.”
Ms Grancourt had intended to use the back room of her new hub as a workshop where she could work on upcycled items, however, due to the demand for space from artists, she now intends to turn this into part of the shop.
She said: “I’ve got about 40 artists at the moment and I’ve got a waiting list for people wanting to put stock in. I had that many artists and crafters get in touch. I’m already looking at extending the retail area into the back workshop.
“I was going to do furniture back there, but I’m going to work on resins, casts and pictures and there will be enough room for me to do that in the shop.”
Plans to host workshops later in the year are already taking shape.
She added: “I’m going to run jewellery making workshops and upholstery sessions as well, but not for a couple of months.
“I’ve been so focussed on getting the shop ready, now it’s open I’m relaxed and I just need to get started on some of my own craft stuff.”
The Hand Crafter’s Hub is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am until 4pm and on Sundays from 11am until 3pm.