Last year I did a series on Farmers’ Markets which I enjoyed a lot, but a few of them were quite full of art and craft stalls. Nothing wrong with that of course, but not many of the vendors were practising farmers.
There is now a monthly event at Headrow House called Open House which is devoted to art and craft stalls. There are also workshops and masterclasses as well as music and food.
I arrived at about one o’clock and had a chat with the people whose painstakingly created wares were for sale. Most of them were fairly local but there were exhibitors from Wakefield, Hebden Bridge and Middlesburgh as well. As you would expect there was a pretty eclectic mix of goods, ranging from knitted phone covers to face creams. There were cards, bamboo toothbrushes, paper clocks, jewellery and pots containing plants and candles. Everything was beautifully done and presented with a great deal of pride. To keep you sustained during your perusal of the items on sale, those boys from Rabbit Hole Travelling Coffee Shop were dispensing free brews.
For those of you who are not familiar with Headrow House, it is a multi storey venue and the above exhibitors were situated on the first floor. Moving up a level I arrived at the Macrame Masterclass. I have been told to get knotted many times in my life and so this was just the place for me. When I entered the room the students were cutting rope to size before the intricacies of the macrame skills began. The facilitator was wandering around making sure that everyone was happy with what they were doing and passing on hints and tips along with the basic instructions. I was informed that the end product would be a plant pot holder but when I left it was still in the form which made me look forward to the spaghetti which I was having for dinner.
Speaking of food, on the ground floor the Ox Club was serving its usual Saturday Brunch and across the passage, the Beer Hall dispensed beers from cask, keg, bottle and their large tank. A DJ was on the decks providing a musical soundtrack to the proceedings. There truly was something for everybody.
Open House takes place on the last Saturday of every month, except December, from 11.00am until 4.00pm, and entry is free. Not only is it free for visitors but also for stall holders, as its purpose is to give the artistic community an accessible outlet for their work. Should you find yourself in need of a break from the large stores and hustle of what is Leeds on a Saturday then you could do much worse than pop into Headrow House for a meander. In addition to the levels I have described above there are also two roof terraces should the weather be clement enough for an al fresco beer – or several.
Stan writes Let’s Do Lunch for Leeds Living. He also reviews special events for food and drink, which sometimes takes him beyond Leeds. He has also developed an interest in writing on culture, most frequently dramatic and musical theatre.