For the last three weeks, curious shoppers in Huddersfield have been pausing to look in the windows of 21 Market Place. With lots to catch their eye from a collection of artist’s tools and found objects to artwork including a handmade blue and white banner featuring a quote from Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner.
Now the secret of this unusual combination can be revealed. The shop is being turned into a gallery, events and activity space by Huddersfield co-operative The Making Space, who will be opening the doors to the public on Thursday 15 June at 6pm.
The group received 8K from the Huddersfield District Committee, as part of a number of activities the committee has funded to increase vibrancy in the town and bring empty shops back to life.
The first activity in the new gallery has been a two week collective residency, where seven members of The Making Space have created new artworks using materials left behind in the shop by previous tenants, including dozens of plastic hoops for displaying watch straps, unused till rolls, and piles of empty boxes for jewellery.
“When we got in it was an Aladdin’s cave of unusual packaging” said Helen Williamson, who created one of the window displays.
“We wanted to make use of it, not just throw it away. The space has been transformed quickly with the members working together in the shop for at least seven hours each over twelve days. All the work is a response to the space and to Huddersfield, both the town and the town centre. And the football team!”
As well as events and exhibitions by The Making Space, the new venue is open for other artists, musicians, crafts-people and community groups to use.
“The shop is a lot bigger than it looks from the outside” said Rachael Walker, another member. “We hope people will come along to the opening of the space, join in with some making and have a chat with us about their ideas for making use of it.”
The Collective Residency Exhibition opens on Thursday 15 June at 6pm, and continues Friday and Saturday, 11am-3pm.
The artists aim is to animate Huddersfield town centre by creating opportunities for collaboration through an accessible and exciting space right in the town centre.