Local artists set up shop in a box this weekend as Mediacity’s Box on the Docks opened their doors to sell unique pieces.

The boxes first opened at the end of the summer as a Covid safe outdoor eating area.

Almost 20 jewellery makers, painters, and photographers showcased their work to customers as each artist was given a box to sell their items.

Aiden Doyle, a student artist from the university who was displaying some of his work, said: “After the year we’ve had, not very often do we get the opportunity to sell work physically so it’s really good to now have somewhere.

“It’s really important because this year, I’m a level 5, I’ve only just really started off so it’s great to have the opportunity in such a busy and important place.”

Art work by Aiden Doyle. Image credit: Olivia Mukerjea

Another artist, Lois Gilbert, who took part in a similar event during the first lockdown, filled her box with a disco ball, a party banner, and party streamers. She was selling hand screen printed work such as cushions, tea towels, and wrapping paper.

Lois said: “I thought it would be perfect because this space was transformed during lockdown and there was nowhere for people to go. If you’re living in flats around here, there’s not much open space, so people were drawn to this area and it became a little hive of activity, so I think it’s been a really good idea.

“It gave us a focus and a goal to work towards and hopefully we’ll see it all come together and let everyone enjoy it.”

But not all the boxes were aimed at selling work. Some of the boxes were interactive and aimed at providing an experience.

One box, created by Heard Storytelling, was dressed as a grandparent’s living room, decorated with a big red armchair, fireplace, and ornaments. People were invited to sit in the chair and listen to life stories told by residents of Greater Manchester.

Caroline Dyer, one of the co-founders of Heard, said the project, which was called, A Grand Life Heard, was aimed at giving people a voice.

She said: “Because of Covid-19, a lot of older people have had to isolate this year and because of that, they’ve not been able to see their friends and family. We wanted a way to bring generations back together and let the older people know their stories are really valuable to us, we really want to hear them.”

The storytellers ranged in age and all had a different life experience to tell.

“Rosemary, who is a fitness instructor for over 50s, she’s in her 70s and runs ultra-marathons, so for her, COVID meant she had to turn all her fitness classes online and get herself a puppy to go with her instead.

“A lot of our storytellers have enjoyed just having a really nice activity to do whilst being in lockdown so that has been a really wonderful thing for us to do,” Caroline added.

To learn more about the artists and their work, check out the Box on the Docks website to view their interactive gallery.

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