Made in the Shade – Glasgow arts and crafts
Indie arts and crafts: With craft and creativity becoming ever more popular, two Glaswegian entrepreneurs have opened the city’s first dedicated space celebrating all things DIY.
It didn’t surprise me that, on my first visit to the Made in the Shade Maisonette, I met a little princess.
“Daddy, daddy!” she cried, spotting some vintage paper dolls behind the till. “Can I have one?”
Okay, it was a Halloween-y Saturday afternoon and the princess was probably on her way to a costume party in Glasgow’s fashionable West End. But the boutiques in the newly-reopened De Courcy’s Arcade really do feel like something out of a fairytale.
The Maisonette, or “Little House”, opened its doors at the end of October, and offers a permanent retail, gallery and social space dedicated to showcasing and promoting off-beat design, craft and vintage lifestyle. Co-owners Clare Nicolson and Carrie Maclennan are two-thirds of Made in the Shade, who have championed the creative ethos through boutique shopping and other events since May 2008.
Carrie explains the Made in the Shade philosophy: “We wanted to help reconfigure the notion of ‘craft and change the connotations associated with ‘handmade’ – from handicraft tat to functional and/or decorative pieces of off-beat design,” she says. “Out with the tartan cushion covers and in with the Dot Cotton embroideries!”
And there is certainly an eclectic selection on show on opening weekend. Dot Cotton graces greeting cards designed by Laura Donald, on the shelf above Angharad Jefferson’s hand-embroidered Tom Selleck cushion – famous moustache and all. There are delicate ceramics by Kitty & Dude, mugs and glassware, fabric brooches and hand-bound Bindyboo notebooks stuffed with secret pockets. And somebody has brought in the most deliciously iced cupcakes this writer has ever tasted.
Just as exciting is The Tiny Gallery, the city’s smallest exhibition space. Measuring at just over 1m square, an intimate cubbyhole only one visitor can view at a time, the Gallery opens with a special post-it note exhibit and accompanying zine.by local illustrator Jennifer Nicolson.
“We can’t wait to play hostess,” says Carrie excitedly. “Once we’ve settled into our new home, we’ll be organizing a whole series of fabulous workshops, meet-ups and demos – all taking place in The Maisonette after-hours.”
Glasgow has always had a strong independent art and music community, and the years have done nothing to diminish that creative fire. “It just so happens that right now, the ‘underground’ or subcultural DIY or punk ethic is making its way into mainstream culture more and more,” muses Carrie. “I guess eco-awareness and the financial climate have contributed to this – consumers are tuning in a lot to more to an ethical way of shopping, and the economic downturn has reincarnated the whole ‘mend and make do’ ethos of times past.
“It’s been a real thrill for us to talk to people about our ideas and intentions. The designers we work closest with are really excited about having a new outlet for their work and our customers are excited that they have a permanent space to visit and satisfy all their indie shopping desires!”
Their new project open to visitors, the Made in the Shade gals refuse to rest on their laurels. With Christmas shopping season around the corner, the Maisonette is planning a series of seasonal showcases; and the new year will see a planned link with Evolve at Glasgow School of Art as well as the ongoing development of creative workshops and tutorials with local councils. There’s even talk of a Made in the Shade club night!
The Made in the Shade Maisonette, Upper Floor, De Courcy’s Arcade (off Creswell Lane), Glasgow G12 8AA. Open 10am – 6pm, Monday – Saturday (7pm Thursday) and 12pm – 5pm Sunday. Catch up with the girls at www.wearemadeintheshade.com.
Clare Nicolson (left) and Carrie Maclennan outside the Maisonette.