As It Comes

Independent shops are going to be a thing of the past and I think everybody, once they are gone, is going to realise how important they are but its going to be to late.

In August 2010 Alice was commissioned, by Mid Pennine Arts and Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce, to create a work inspired by Lancaster’s independent traders. She met and drew in traders’ places of work where they would talk about craft and knowledge; communities and friendships and the relationships they have with commodities, food, and people. There is a difference between the physical tools of the trade and the unspoken skills like the care and connection many traders have to local communities whether selling fabric, tailoring a suit, fitting a floor or finding that single tiny screw. In the shops, market stalls and workshops there are some tools that almost everyone has a version of like scissors and sellotape, and others that are highly specialist like a gilders brush or a filleting knife. But when you ask traders about the tools of their trade its often but the unspoken, intangible, invisible things they mention, like knowledge, ability to talk to people, humour, honesty and trust.

He’d go, “Just a minute…” and he’d go in the back where he had hundreds of drawers and then he’d come out with it and you’d go, “Thank you so much. How much?” and he’d go, “5 pence please”.

The conversations  interviews and drawings inspired new works combining embroidery with drawing and digital printing on cotton – a fabric for which Lancashire was once famous. Embroidering seemed appropriate to capture fragments of conversations about intangible skills, experiential knowledge and an uncertain future.

The project is hanging in a unit in St Nicholas Arcade to the end of June 2011.

There are two publications and a special set of StoryCubes printed using – you can download the print and make up version, or get in touch if you would like a  printed version.

As It Comes by Alice Angus

A Lancaster Sketchbook by Caroline Maclennan

As It Comes StoryCubes

As It Comes website

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(As It Comes was commissioned by Mid Pennine Arts in their Arts Talking Shop series, in partnership with Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce, Storey Gallery and Lancaster University.)