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Jesmond Dene Market
Jesmond Dene Market is now growing into one of Newcastle' most popular small markets....after just four markets in as many months, its Facebook page has over 1000 followers!
This weekend, Sat Nov 8, is the fifth market. It's now doubled it's size with 23 stallholders, who are all local artists, designers and crafters.
The market's success has pleasantly surprised its organiser, North East journalist and former ITV Tyne Tees Television reporter Lesley McNish. She says she still finds it hard to believe it was just an idea she had while drinking a cup of coffee there, in the sunshine at the end of May this year. Within a few weeks, she was holding her first market.
Lesley now hopes to be able to make Jesmond Dene arts and crafts market a regular monthly event...ideally on second Saturdays...which seems to be the preferred day for customers and traders!
Since leaving TTTV Lesley has been running video production and media company, The Projection Room. However she also makes jewellery as a hobby and started selling it at markets and fairs around the region.
As a child, Lesley helped out in her parents' wool shops and at the markets, so retail and selling is something quite natural to her. She's also always made things, so is quite creative.
After recently doing various markets, Lesley realised there was a need for more outlets for artists, crafters and designers to sell their products directly to the public at a reasonable price. It also means that these small businesses don't have to pay the massive commission fees charged by galleries.
Lesley noticed the empty education room next to the Visitors' Centre shop and thought it would make a lovely small arts and crafts market.
After talking to the Park Manager and the shop administrator, she booked the room and then applied to Newcastle City Council for licences to hold markets there.
The council recently allowed her to double the number of traders and expand into a second room, above the cafe in Millfield House.
Lesley says, “At the moment the Council is granting licences in three monthly batches. We have licences until December, but we have to re-apply for more dates next year. “
“We hope the Council will allow us to become a permanent market, there, inside these rooms in the adjoining Millfie
ld House and the new Visitors' centre building, which are right at the heart of the Dene, next to Pets' Corner.”
Lesley says she has been inundated with requests for stalls from artists, crafters and designers, but she's had to turn many away because the markets are fully booked almost as soon as the new dates are announced.
Jesmond Dene Market's Facebook page has built up over 1000 likes in 5 months and it grows more each week!
“Word is definitely spreading about the market. Whenever I mention it to people now, most say they've already heard about it, which is great”.
“We now need to build on this, particularly in the winter months, when people may not consider coming to the Dene.
“We want people to come to it specifically for our market...not just that there's a fab cafe, gift shop, not to mention Pets' Corner and it's all set in one of the most beautiful and unusual parks in the country. We want second Saturdays in Jesmond Dene to be the Place to be Seen!!”
Well known local artists Jim Edwards and his partner Natalie Bell, were amongst the first to sign up for Jesmond Dene Market. They both started their careers selling on the former Armstrong Bridge Sunday arts market. Since its demise, they are passionate about the return of arts and crafts to Jesmond Dene.
The fact this new market is indoors is also an added bonus to people like them who spend many hours creating the most unusual and unique items...and who don't want to see them ruined by wind and rain!
The next Jesmond Dene Market is on Saturday Dec 6, from 10am till 3.30pm.
Recently the Market's popularity attracted Spice Radio's Doc Anand to cover it's story in a live radio interview with Lesley and also to film the market and the the traders for a special piece on YouTube.
Jesmond Dene Market was also invited by North East magazine Luxe to set up a mini designer art market at one of its events at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead last weekend.
Lesley says the response to the market has been overwhelming. She is so keen to provide more outlets for artists, crafters and designers, she has also set up Loveartnortheast....which is an independent platform (a Facebook page) for all creatives to promote themselves and their work.
She also intends taking Lovartnortheast out onto the road, in pop-up style fairs and exhibitions. The first one is a Christmas arts fair at St Nicholas' Cathedral in Newcastle city centre on Saturday Nov 29 from 9.30am till 3.30pm.
There will be 26 local artists, designers, crafters, musicians taking part. Live music will be provided by local musicians Steve Daggett, who plays with Lindisfarne; Afnan Prince Iftikhar and his band SeaBones (he got through to the final 10 of Andrew Lloyd Webber's search for someone to play Jesus in Superstar) and also Hildy Harland, who is 1940's/50's singer.
There will be story telling, art and craft demos by some of the artists and also children's art and craft sessions.
Admission to Loveartnortheast at the Cathedral is free.
This is the second arts' event held by the Cathedral this year. The last one, Extraordinary, was a huge success.
The Cathedral is keen for the venue to be used by the whole community for events like this, particularly arts and crafts which is part of its history.
To arrange any further interviews about Jesmond Dene Market and Loveartnortheast or for any information about joining the events contact Lesley McNish on 07973 108 608 or email firstname.lastname@example.org