It’s always a bit chilly on the concourse at Newcastle Central Station but that didn’t stop a handful of the region’s best artists, crafters and designers showcasing and selling their amazing work at the Arts Steamer. This pop up event takes place on the first Friday of each month, from 10am-6pm. There were around 12 stalls when I stopped by, selling everything from original art and prints, to jewellery, ceramics, glass, woodwork and handmade candles. It was a great opportunity to browse in such a magnificent location as Central Station, which is one of the great monuments of the early Railway Age. The Grade I listed building was designed by John Dobson and opened by Queen Victoria on the 29th August 1850. The trainshed was, jointly with the Lime Street station in Liverpool, the first to be designed and built in Britain using curved wrought iron ribs to support an arched roof and its original Romano-Italian design with ancient Greek ornamental work is still as beautiful today.
The Arts Steamer is organised by Loveartnortheast, one of the region’s biggest network of artists. Loveartnortheast artists all live and work in the North East and include painters, printers, photographers, glassmakers, potters, silversmiths, jewellery and textile designers. It started up in 2014 with just 12 artists. Forward to 2019 and there are now dozens of artists who present each month at regular and annual pop-up art fairs, events and exhibitions across the North East of England, the Arts Steamer being just one of these. They are great opportunities to buy quality art, design and craft directly from the artist and support small local businesses at the same time.
Here is my top pick of the what was available on the day.
Ceri is the owner of the this small run, handcrafted, palm oil free, artisan soap and skincare business. All her ingredients are 100% vegetarian and her 98% plastic free packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable. Does that compromise on her products? Absolutely not! They are the most gorgeous looking array of goodies and smell amazing. I bought the cutest bundle of Soap Samples, tied up with string – this is definitely now one of my favourite things! Her website is equally as pretty and gives a lot of information on how she makes her products and why she’s passionate about green alternatives for her business, so make sure you check her out.
Michelle Johnson is an artist, jewellery designer, maker and teacher with a studio in The Biscuit Factory. She has several collections featuring her beautiful handmade contemporary and unique jewellery and also takes commissions to create jewellery tailored to your needs. She runs a range of workshops from her studio and if you’re not sure jewellery making is for you she offers a half day taster class, which is fantastic value at £32 including materials. In the class you get a chance to create a simple silver ring, which will involve learning a number of skills such as design, texture, soldering, filing, sanding and polishing. This class will give you a good idea of what is involved in the jewellery making process and what can be accomplished in a longer class, and at the end of it you will have your own beautiful handmade silver ring to take home with you.
As you can see, her designs are wonderfully individual and elegant so make sure you view the rest of her collections online and hopefully see for yourself at one of the Art Steamers in the Station.