Demand for pitches at the popular arts and crafts market in Stamford’s Red Lion Square means it has recently expanded to as many as 15 artists.
Artisans On Friday has now been running successfully for five years and is held throughout the summer as an addition to the town’s main Friday market and the fortnightly Farmers’ Markets.
Initially set up just for artwork, it has gradually grown to include crafts. It gets a large footfall and is fully supported by the retailers around the square. Pitches on any one day from May through to late September can include photography, jewellery, wood turning, soft furnishings, home-made preserves and knitting, as well as paintings and other artwork.
The market was introduced following Red Lion Square’s controversial £1.4m refurbishment five years ago as part of the Gateway project by Stamford Town Partnership.
The partnership decided that some colour and activity was needed, particularly on market day and provided funding for nine A-frames to allow local artists to showcase and sell their artwork.
More recently a number of tables have been added to enable other artisans to display and sell their crafts. Pitches are specifically for local artisans and cannot be used by anyone selling bought-in artefacts.
Cottesmore-based artist Stuart Ball, who produces quirky paintings of Stamford and other towns, has been there since the beginning while wood-turner Graham Hall is a more recent addition. Other regulars are Allan and Lorna Grey, of Oakham, who are current organisers of the market. They produce photo art images of the Stamford area and offer a photo restoration and montage service. Renting a frame or a table costs just £5 for the day.
Allan says: “We are always on the lookout for new artisans, particularly artists, as we have several display frames available each week at short notice.”
Being an open-air market, the weather is always the greatest challenge and one third of the markets were cancelled last summer and several others were interrupted by rain. To date this summer has been much better, and there are regularly crowds of visitors around the square.”
He said he felt the original concept of bringing a lively vibe to Red Lion Square on market days was being fulfilled and he can see no reason why it should not continue to draw crowds.
Allan also wanted to thank the Churches Conservation Trust for allowing the frames and tables to be stored in St John’s Church.
To find out more pop along on a Friday to speak to Allan or Lorna or call 01572 755863.