Sketch by artist Alice Angus
MID Pennine Arts and the Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce have announced the launch of As It Comes, a new commission by artist Alice Angus working with local independent traders, shopkeepers and marketstall owners to celebrate and highlight the overlooked skills, unseen knowledge and rich history of traders in the community.
As it Comes is part of the Lancaster Talking Shop project, which celebrates independent shops and shopkeepers, through artists, designers, photographers and musicians working with local businesses to document, celebrate and highlight their role in the community. The project will highlight some of the unique aspects of Lancaster’s traders and residents, allowing shoppers and visitors to see the area in a new light. Organisers have undertaken the project as part of broader initiatives to raise the profile of traders and increase visitors to areas of Lancaster that have been adversely affected by the economic climate.
As It Comes continues Alice’s work on markets and shops exploring the communities and community bonds they support. Alice was inspired by the skills, crafts and care of traders she got to know in Lancaster, the history of cotton production and the combination of old and new technologies in the area. The resulting work combines traditional embroidery with drawing and cutting edge digital printing on fabric to produce a new series of large scale works to be shown in New Street in November and December.
Lucy Green, Talking Shop Project Coordinator from Mid Pennine Arts, said: “Working closely with our partners, we’ve developed a project with local roots that brings a fresh perspective to what makes Lancaster such a unique place. Having worked closely with retailers, Alice’s work will fill the shop windows of what is now the last empty retail unit on New Street, encouraging shoppers to look at Lancaster in a new light.”
Alice Angus, said: “At first I was amazed to find that within a five minute walk I could have a wedding dress made by a local designer, pick up some home cured ham, local cheese and vegetables, have a suit made and then go to have my chainsaw sharpened. The range of independent traders and their skills is impressive. I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of all the people and traders I’ve met in Lancaster. They’ve shared memories and allowed me to see ‘behind the scenes’ – and draw and photograph them at work! I’ve found a rich heritage of independent trade that people are rightly proud of, something vitally important to support, preserve and build on in the future.”
Mid Pennine Arts is delivering the project in partnership with Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce, Storey Gallery and the History Department of Lancaster University.