Michelle's crafty idea to help local artisans
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
A FORMER store buyer who lost her job due to the pandemic is launching a hub for local artists and crafters to showcase their wares.
Michelle Grancourt, from Barnard Castle, has always been creative and her stylised artwork has been in constant demand for the past few years.
However, after being made redundant last year she is combining her passion with upcycling and retail by launching an artists and crafters hub.
She said: “I was made redundant from my full-time job in September at Lloyds Animal Feeds, at Piercebridge, and because of lockdowns and restrictions I haven’t been able to work at my second job at the Commercial Hotel, in Barnard Castle.
“People have said for years that I should do something art and crafty but I have never had the opportunity or the nerve.”
Ms Grancourt said during the lockdowns, she kept herself busy by finishing commissioned artwork as well as working on a number of upcycling projects, including the conversion of a transit-style van into a one-of-a-kind motorhome.
She added: “I started the van not knowing if I was capable of using a jigsaw, but when I was doing it, I thought ‘I would love to do this as a job’ and it got me thinking.
“My background is retail. I was regional manager at Waterford Wedgewood and in the sales department for House of Fraser, in Birmingham, so I feel like I have the right experience.”
She plans to base her new venture at the former gas shop at 42 The Bank, in Barnard Castle.
Renovation work is underway and she is hoping to have the alterations completed by April.
She added: “It is quite challenging certainly at the moment, but I plan to give it a go.
“I should have the shop ready to open by April, Covid-19 dependant of course.
“I upcycle things and make them into other things and recycle items and will have vintage stuff as well.”
She added: “There is an amazing number of talented people in Teesdale creating a lot – from artists to crafters.
“Many of them don’t have the provision to sell their items other than at craft fairs, so I’m looking to provide that space.”
For a weekly fee, Ms Grancourt will offer space within the “hub” and 100 per cent of the sale fee would go directly to the artist and crafter.
“I will have my workshop in the back,” she said.
“And the front shop, hopefully, will be full of locally created artwork and crafting pieces. I’ll sort out all of the marketing and advertising as well to help promote everyone.
“I do know a lot of truly talented people but if anyone wants to get in touch, I’m more than happy to have a chat.” For more information on the crafting hub contact Ms Grancourt by email at email@example.com.