Holmfirth’s reputation as a cultural centre has been growing over the years, and with good reason. The town is home to a thriving artistic community and puts on a full calendar of festivals showcasing local artistic and musical talent.
The Fair Traders Co-operative is proud to support these events and to sell the work of local artists in its Huddersfield Road shop. A fringe venue for Holmfirth Art Week 2011, the shop will house three exhibitions by artists with links to the Holme Valley. The artwork on display will also fit with the shop’s ethos of sustainability, by being made from recycled materials.
Promoting environmental protection and sustainable development is a core element of the way that The Fair Traders Co-operative does business. Products sold through the shop and its online store undergo a unique sustainability assessment process, which involves finding out as much as possible about the impact of each product on the environment, on people and on the economy. This information is then made available for customers alongside a simple sustainability star rating that is presented on labels displayed with the products.
“We want our customers to be able to make informed choices when choosing between different products, and to know that a purchase here improves livelihoods and helps the environment,” said Helen Robinson of The Fair Traders Co-operative. “Another way we promote sustainability is by selling goods that have been produced locally and by supporting local events such as Art Week.”
Holmfirth Art Week’s main exhibition in the Civic Hall this year runs from 3rd to 9th July. Proceeds from the event will go, as in previous years, to MacMillan Cancer Support. For the duration of Art Week, The Fair Traders Co-operative will house eco-friendly collections by Tanya Palmer, Sophie Bebb and Maike Browning to include textile art, collage and recycled silver jewellery.
Tanya Palmer, a Holmfirth-based artisan and textile artist, last year won Holmfirth Art Week’s Florence Parker Memorial prize for Best Newcomer for her exhibit ‘South Lane, Holmfirth’. Some of Tanya’s craft products, such as beautiful tea- and coffee-cosies, brooches and bags are already on sale in The Fair Traders Co-operative shop and in its online store. Like these products, Tanya’s artwork utilises vintage and recycled textiles. “My textile art work is created using a mixture of appliqué and free-motion embroidery – which is me ‘drawing’ with my sewing machine,” said Tanya. “I also like to use splashes of colour, often with vintage fabric.”
Meltham artist Sophie Bebb’s collection of collage utilises recycled images from newspapers and magazines alongside
snippets of text on recycled newsprint that challenge the viewer’s concepts and assumptions. The result is art works that are sharp and pithy, whilst being accessible to a wide audience. “I believe strongly that we all need to take responsibility for our impact on people and on the environment, which is why I use recycled materials in my work,” said Sophie. “Exhibiting at The Fair Traders Co-operative is wonderful for me, because its aims and ethos fit closely with my own.”
Also exhibiting will be Maike Browning, who grew up in the Holme Valley and designs and makes contemporary silver jewellery. Drawing inspiration from her travels in India, her tactile, delicate jewellery is both beautiful to look at and a pleasure to wear. “I work intuitively with precious and non-precious materials, adding flickers of colour using precious stones and coloured threads,” said Maike. “I am happy to say that this collection is made almost entirely with recycled silver and all the jewellery is packaged in recycled boxes.” Using recycled silver improves both the environmental and ethical impact of the jewellery as the mining of silver, along with other metals, is considered to be very damaging to the environment and often lacking in human rights and labour regulations.
Sophie and Maike should both feel at home exhibiting at The Fair Traders Co-operative. Following completion of a degree in Jewellery and Silversmithing at the Edinburgh College of Art, Maike worked in The Fair Traders Co-operative shop until her move back to Edinburgh earlier this year to pursue a career as a jeweller. She also runs occasional silver jewellery workshops for beginners in the Community Room. A graduate in Fine Art Skills and Practice from Central St Martin’s in London, Sophie works part time at The Fair Traders Co-operative, leaving her time to develop her art portfolio… as well as offering many volunteer hours to The Fair Traders Cooperative to help with our events programme.
There will be a preview evening at The Fair Traders Co-operative on Friday 1st July at 7.30pm. Please come along, share some wine and be among the first to view the exhibition.