Continuing our residency with Piccadilly charity shops, last Friday we opened the Fatter Quarter fabric sale outside St. Vincent’s. This mini project is the result of our research in the early days of Counterplay, when we snooped around the Cultural Quarter, in everyone’s spare rooms for potential work spaces and materials.
At St. Vincent’s we found a stockpile of materials that was taking up a lot of space, mainly bedding and curtains. These items flood into the shop and are difficult to sell. After using some to create the peregrine watch sign, and dressing the tables for the piccadilly picnic, we decided to use the fabrics to draw more creative people back to the Cultural Quarter, create more street level activity and make some space and money for the charity shop. So the idea of Fatter Quarter was born.
Fat Quarter Bundles are collections of different materials from a fabric line. Fat Quarters are quarter-yard cuts of fabric cut wide (hence the name fat). Since we had such a lot of fabric, we decided to sell it by the pound, 1lb for £1, and invite all of the local costume designers, dress makers, textile artists and workshops we could to the sale. We set up a pair of scales in the street and brought down all of the fabric from the store room and piled it up on the stone benches.
As well as local creative practitioners, the sale was popular with people on the street, including many people who have english as a second language, who engaged more with this event than any other in the project.
We sold a total of £105.20 of fabric (105.2lb/ 47.7kg) 5 times St. Vincent’s usual days takings, an bought them a little extra space in their storeroom. On the street people were enjoying seeing the activity. A quote from a passing woman sums this up.
“I don’t know what you’re doing, but I like it!”
along with a spontaneous ‘high five’ I got from another passer by.
Of course the city’s textile makers went away with what they need to clothe this years pantomime dames, create a new batch of faux taxidermy shields and the next yarn-bombsite.