Best of Friends

The Creative Recycling Gallery has brought beauty to Chorlton’s Beech Road for 15 years. Linsey Parkinson talked to its owners, Fiona Norton and Glennis  Andrews, about its future and how we can all help.

The Creative Recycling Gallery is more than just a great place to buy unique, handmade gifts. It’s also been an outlet for emerging young artists, a place to learn art and craft skills, a gorgeous hidden art-garden oasis, a venue for live music and much, much more.

And just as their name suggests, the art is all about creative recycling. Beautiful things are made from materials that might otherwise have ended up in landfill. This isn’t upcycling: it’s not about repainting, fixing up or re-working perfectly serviceable items. Rubbish – from broken glass and torn scraps of wallpaper to roof slates and copper wires – is completely transformed into shimmering landscapes, jewellery, ceramics, cards and gifts.

“We’ve always run on a not-for-profit basis,” says Fiona. “We work as a community of artists and craftspeople, earning a living from sharing our skills and selling our work. Anything we make over and above that is invested back into the gallery and local community, developing the spaces or donating to local charities.”

The gallery has been successful and is a well-loved fixture in Beech Road, but trading in Chorlton is challenging – and increasingly expensive. Now their lease is up for renewal, Fiona and Glennis are thinking about the future. “We’ve absorbed as much as we can in terms of rising overheads, but if we’re to plan ahead, we need to know that what we offer at the gallery is what people still want and value,” says Fiona.

“We’re launching a Friends of the Creative Recycling Gallery scheme, in which customers, visitors and local people can donate a small amount each month, to help us to survive. It’s our own, low-tech Crowdfunder scheme!

“We’d like to thank everyone who has already supported us over the years, but we hope they may also consider becoming a Friend of the gallery. They’ll receive early notice of events and exhibitions, special offers, discounts and invitations to previews and parties.”

Adds Glennis: “By supporting the gallery, you’ll be helping support artists and craftspeople, enabling them to display their work and teach others. We’ll always stay true to our ethical values and our commitment to recycling, sustainability and celebrating the hand-made. We believe that you shouldn’t need to take out a mortgage to own original art.”

You’ll find the Creative Recycling Gallery at 40 Beech Road, Chorlton. Call in to buy something wonderful, make a donation, find out more about the Friends scheme – or just have a look around.

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