Weaving Stories

Fiona Norton and Glennis Andrews have been right at the heart of ethical and artistic Chorlton since 2004. Their Creative Recycling Gallery on Beech Road is absolutely packed with originality. Words by Linsey Parkinson

Framed artwork made from sparkling fused glass and collaged waste papers, jewellery, gifts, ceramics, cards and framed prints line the walls. And as the name suggests, virtually everything is made with waste materials.

Their not-for-profit gallery isn’t the type of enterprise that slaps a coat of paint on a bit of old furniture and calls it ‘upcycling’. Fiona and Glennis take items destined for landfill – from broken glass and scraps of wallpaper to roof slates and old copper wires – find the beauty within them and effect a genuine transformation.

There’s a strong ethos behind everything they do. Working with real rubbish (not serviceable items), using green energy and sustainable supplies, showcasing the work of emerging artists, celebrating craftspeople and giving generously to local charities.

Their latest project is a collaboration with artist Laura Tuffley (pictured). Fiona inherited the Loom from her Grandfather. More than a century old, its been admired by many in the ‘Shed’ Gallery. Some visitors will remember seeing his daughter Anna Yates now (90 years old) demonstrate the Loom’s original use in the early 1900’s Swiss Straw industry. Laura has now carefully and painstakingly restored it to full working order. She’s now also an Artist in Residence at the gallery.

The loom itself is beautiful: constructed from lengths of bolted-together honey coloured wood, it manages to be both simple and complex at the same time. Bobbins, pegs, shuttles and pedals combine to create woollen cloth, which Laura will make into items including scarves, purses and cushions for sale in the gallery.

“This has been such a wonderful opportunity,” says Laura. “No two looms are ever the same and I’ve got to know this one really well.”

A recent graduate in Textile Design, Laura’s been sharing ideas with Crafts Council mentor, Kate Whitehead. An exhibition in the studio, alongside the loom, will tell its story; from a working life in the nineteenth century to its recent restoration. Laura will also be running weaving classes, using both the large loom and smaller, desktop versions.

Exhibition: Weaving – Restoration and Rebirth Sunday 17 July-28 August.

Creative Recycling Gallery


© Linsey Parkinson