The Gallery is run as a co-operative, which means that all the members take a part in the running of the enterprise. Part of this commitment to the Gallery is taking turns behind the till on a rota basis. Customers often try to guess what the person behind the till makes.
The co-operative was established in 1991 by a group of local crafters and artists who wanted to find a way to sell their products directly to the public, while still having the time to be creative.
The ethos is that all the products in the Gallery are made locally by the craftsman/artist themselves. This means that when you buy something from the Gallery there is no middleman, hence the prices are reasonable and compare favourably with elsewhere. Many of the items are one-offs and are only available within the shop, so you sometimes have to be quick as once it's gone it's gone and artists are unable to repeat a particular product as the materials are unique. Certain items can be made to order within a week or two.
Demalion provides a range of cards for every occasion, including coin cards, incorporating a coin from a particular year. Each of Demalion's bags is individually hand cut, hand sewn and by using off-cuts, remnants and reclaimed materials each becomes an individual in itself. Using a wide array of natural gemstones Demalion also creates delicate items of jewellery suitable for day or evening wear. Each piece is unique as the artist only buys gemstones in small quantities to allow the range to be updated regularly.
Daisy beads offers unique designs in jewellery, using glass, freshwater pearls, wood and clay beads, ensuring each piece is a one-off creation. Daisy Bears' traditionally-made mohair bears use cotter-pin jointing methods and Austrian crystal boot-button eyes. All crochet bears use top quality wools and silk mixes from Rowan, Debbie Bliss and some hand-spun and hand-dyed varieties. All are complete one-offs.
The shop has plenty of items to appeal to children. Pocket money prices include Daisy bead's bracelets from 75p. There is a selection of sock monkeys in a range of colours including the original US Rockford socks which are rarely available in this country and a range of appliquéd bags and other items suitable for children's bedrooms.
For the home is a range of glassware, from Alison's handpainted glass. Alison enjoys playing with light and colour to achieve her own unique style, having developed a technique incorporating raised relief, glitter and painting free-hand, making each piece individual. The glass is fired after painting making the artwork durable.Margaret's pottery has a nostalgic feel and is often decorated with popular sayings. Many items are dishwasher- and oven-proof, making them practical too. Monika's decoupage adorns jugs, plant pots and other useful containers. Rowena's hand-painted wood often incorporates images of flowers. David uses a variety of woods for his range of products including bowls, clocks and vases.
Amongst the most established members is Rob, who creates scrap sculpture from recycled car parts and stocks prints of construction and machine drawings drawn by his Great Grandfather.
Julie's gift range includes mobiles in a range of eye-catching colours, some of which have butterflies attached. She also has a range of hand-cut painted wood and a large selection of painted gift boxes and inexpensive greetings cards.
The shop also stocks a small quantity of wrapping paper, gift bags and gift ribbon for wrapping gifts.
From time to time space becomes available in the shop and new members are invited into the shop. Are you a crafter who would like to sell your work at Merton Abbey Mills working alongside likeminded people? If so why not call in or give the shop a ring on 0208 544 1610.
The 1929 Shop
Merton Abbey Mills