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Make your Christmas sparkle

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

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IF you are looking for that extra special accessory or gift this Christmas make sure you visit Exeter Phoenix for two special markets next month.

The arts centre is hosting the Unique Boutique Market for the third year running.

This 'pop up' event will take place on December 1 and 6 and will offer original design clothing and jewellery for sale.

"The Unique Boutique is an opportunity to support local artists and buy something really special direct from the makers themselves," said Eleanor Carr, who organises the event.

"What makes them so special is that they are under cover so it's warm and toasty. The bar serves lovely drinks so you can sup as you shop, and it is all accompanied by funky tunes from live performers and DJs.

"Both markets will take place in the foyer and the auditorium. Saturday, December 1, is during the day and Thursday, December 6, is in the evening.

"The stallholders really vary – some are just starting out on the market scene while others do this for their living. What I like about Exeter Phoenix is that it attracts such a broad range of makers and artist as well as audience."

Eleanor started running the markets three years ago to give local designers and artists an outlet for their work.

"It takes a lot of hard work making the goods, then a whole lot more hard work over again to sell it," she said. "The handmade ethic has really blossomed in the city over the last few years and I have had so many people wanting to take part.

"The idea of supporting independent shops, and shopping local took hold nationally and I wanted to capture this along with supporting small scale makers and artists. Devon people really do value independent retailers, makers and craftspeople."

As Eleanor used to work at Exeter Phoenix she knew first hand its potential as a venue.

"What I so admire about The Phoenix is that, with very little funding, they manage to attract such a broad range of people through the doors, and there is something happening there for everyone. I believe this is reflected in what is for sale at Unique Boutique.

"Other market organisers and I collaborate so that if one market is full, details of another gets passed to makers. its all very friendly and cooperative. in fact this year on December 1 there are three events on the same day. Unique Boutique, Handmade Arcade and Magdalen Road Village Fair have teamed up to help support each other's events and produced a map for people to follow. These will be displayed at each venue."

Everything on sale at the markets in the Phoenix has been made or up-cycled in Devon. Goods on offer include dressing gowns, hats, textiles, colour-me-in bags, 'vintage' baby grows, jewellery and accessories.

Artist Madeline Bunyan, from Dawlish, will be selling her original glass jewellery.

"I will be bringing a selection of my bird earrings to Unique Boutique for sure," she said. "This week saw the launch of my newest bird variety, in time for Christmas, a little robin.

"Lots of my bead jewellery will be available, made using my own handmade beads and sterling silver, as well as a selection of handmade beads for people to use in their own jewellery. Leather cuffs with poppers will make an appearance too. These are fun and interchangeable, I make several designs including animal print, flowers, sculpted frogs and rabbits."

Madeline will be at the Unique Boutique on December 6 and at the Handmade Arcade in McCoy's Arcade on December 1.

"I'm always captivated by what glass can do as a material, the way it can be moved, and changed, the colours that can be encouraged to bloom," she said. "I work with my material, trying to understand it to improve the details and forms I can achieve. Of course glass will always find new ways to suprise you, its fascinating."

New shop Arietty, of Magdalen Road, will be selling hand printed baby grows among other things.

Arrietty is a small independent shop run by Laurel Coxon and Daniel Haynes. It opened in June this year and last month was selected as one of Exeter's Hidden Treasures and featured in Grazia Magazine.

Laurel Coxon has made costumes for theatre and television and is an associate lecturer at Exeter college, where she teaches print.

"We are fortunate to have some exceptional talents showcasing their handmade wares in the shop, said Dan. "We hope we are some small part of an antidote to the monotonous chains that plague our high streets. We work hard to provide an original, interesting space that people can enjoy, explore, take inspiration from and learn in."

Also on offer at the market will be dresses and dressing gowns from upcycled fabrics, jewellery by Cassie Leceister, and crochet hats with a twist of the 30s and 40s.

Entry to both Unique Boutique markets is free. The Saturday daytime market will take place from 11am-4pm, and the late-night shopping evening market on December 6 will be open from 5pm to 9pm.

For more information go to the Phoenix in Gandy Street, call 01392 667 080 or visit: www.exeterphoenix.org.uk

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