Masham Town Hall hosted its first Creative Masham event this week as part of an initiative to drive business and tourism to the town.
Crafted By Hand was the first installment of the new arts festival event, where visitors gathered to learn about everything from glass-making and metalwork, to wood-turning and stone-carving.
The event, sponsored by Masham Gallery and ArtisOn, combined 38 stalls – including nine interactive workshop stops – with a specially commissioned paper-cut installation which greeted visitors at the entrance.
Josie Beszant, owner of Masham Gallery, said: “We’ve set out to create a really fresh, contemporary, quirky event where you can find art, craft and design that’s being chosen for its quality and originality. It’s definitely not the sort of place where you’ll find peach coloured crocheted toilet roll holders. We had a careful selection process, so visitors could see the work of over 20 of northern England’s most talented craftspeople.”
Ms Beszant, who has owned the gallery on Market Place for 20 years, said that the event completely surpassed the organisers’ expectations.
“At least 1,200 people turned up. It was phenomenal,” she said.
“I think it was the quality of the work being produced which attracted people. People said how appreciative they were that it was handmade and not manufactured. They appreciated the skill involved.
“Huge numbers of people travelled a long way to visit us. It was amazing. It completely out-stripped our expectations.”
Creative Masham will run during October with a different theme each year, as part of Masham Arts Festival.
The arts festival organisers will hold their Annual General Meeting on Tuesday November 6 at 6pm at Masham Town Hall.