Twice a year the Hebden Bridge branch of the WI hold their Rag Market. After hearing about the new and vintage textile treasures on offer, I’ve been wanting to go for a while but it has always fallen on my working Saturday. This time though, I was prepared. The date was in my diary and I’d requested the day off. What an excellent plan that turned out to be!
Bundling a rather suspicious husband and couple of sleepy tweens out of the house, we set off for the station, and before long our train had arrived in the bustling, picturesque and creative Yorkshire town.
There were two venues for the rag market. After receiving a tip that one might be a little quieter, we set off for the Egg Factory, saying hello to many a like-minded friend with the same idea on the way. This venue is a very interesting space. As well as offering workshops and screen printing facilities, it’s also a community where creatives can rent an affordable studio space.
On Saturday though it was packed full of cheery bargain hunters. Entry to both venues was just £1 (under 16s free). I distracted the family by sending them off on a mission to check out the cake, buy some raffle tickets and look out for ‘things with bees on’ for one of my ongoing projects.
Despite them claiming ‘no bees’, they weren’t looking properly and I came across these gorgeous handmade porcelain insect buttons by Caroline Barnes Ceramics being sold by Beyond Measure. Ok, I didn’t actually need the ladybirds, beetles and dragonflies that were in the set as well, neither the flower buttons, nor the one with navy blue leaves that I liked the rectangular shape of, but they’ll all get used eventually. Probably. The other set of cute ceramic smiley bees were something I came across later as we browsed the outdoor market.
My best finds were pieces of stitched and lacy traycloths at just 50p each! Next week I have a workshop where the tutor has asked us to bring pieces of vintage textiles to incorporate into our work. I was drawn straight away to this one but as it’s in perfect condition, I’m not sure whether I can bear to repurpose it.
Below was part of a cloth which did have some staining. However, the embroidered section is in great condition. It appears to be Ayrshire whitework, beautifully stitched with eyelets, needlelace and padded satin stitch.
After our first outdoor lunch of the year, enjoyed with the sun on our faces, listening to buskers and watching the world go by, we set off for the second venue, Hebden Bridge Town Hall.
We were fascinated by this sculpture in the reception area by Tony Houlden. ‘Wire Man’ was inspired by the clothing his Grandfathers used to wear and created out of electrical waste found in a skip while the artist was working as a carpenter.
It was just a brief wander around the hall because we were all keen to get back outside and enjoy the beautiful weather and an ice cream by the river. The lemon meringue flavour was delicious!
Next stop was the Quilt Cabin, a traditional shop for patchwork and quilting supplies where they offer workshops and a long arm quilting service that I was keen to find out about. Meanwhile some bee and honeycomb fabric had been spotted and my youngest daughter begged for a fat quarter of the fun pineapples.
Our final stop was Heart Gallery, a fantastic place to buy the work of contemporary British artists and makers, including one of my long-term favourites Kate Lycett. We were a little to early for her upcoming Craggs and Fells exhibition that opens on 26th April. Hey-ho, we’ll just have to come back.
We wandered across the canal and through the park back to the station in the warm spring sunshine. It had indeed been a grand day out in Yorkshire.