Crafty take over of Skipton sheep pens this weekend

An example of an exhibit at Crafts in the Pen. This image is being sold as pictures and cards by CravenCards.co.uk
An example of an exhibit at Crafts in the Pen. This image is being sold as pictures and cards by CravenCards.co.uk
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WHEN LIVESTOCK is not taking up the pens, artistic talent has been drawing visitors to Skipton Auction Mart, but this weekend aims to attract a new flock, with the debut of a crafts fair.

Crafts in the Pen is a new event run by volunteers and takes place today and tomorrow featuring more than 100 craft makers. They will be selling gifts that include jewellery, woodwork, metal, ceramics, glass and paper crafts.

It is aimed at raising funds for The Mart Theatre, Skipton - the world’s only theatre set within a working auction mart.

Event organiser, Andy Lynan, said: “Although the theatre’s now been running for 10 years we currently receive no funding whatsoever. To stay open we need to bring in more visitors and we hope that a Christmas shopping experience will not only help support the theatre but create an event that can grow over a number of years that shoppers look forward too.”

A similar Art in the Pen event attracts artists to transform the empty cattle marts into art galleries.

“Crafts in the Pen follows on from this,” Mr Lynan said. “For this first event we’ve started from scratch with no financial backing. We’ve spent all fees raised from exhibitors on transforming the cattle pen area and advertising the event and we’re going to split the visitor entry fees equally between The Mart Theatre, and reinvestment back into Crafts in the Pen.”

Skipton-born Mr Lynan, an actor and drama teacher now based in Bingley, is keen to see non-livestock events flourish at the mart long into the future: “I also run The Mart Theatre which now creates in-house Christmas pantomimes at affordable prices. To keep these prices accessible while being able to hire sets and costumes is difficult - Crafts in the Pen will help us carry this out. Eventually we’d love to offer crafty workshops for children and transform one of the rooms into a grotto but we need to get people through the door to do this. Coming to Crafts in the Pen this year will invest in the event and help it grow.”

Crafts in the Pen is being held at Skipton Auction Mart, Ling Fields, Skipton this weekend, between 10am-4pm both days. Admission is £5, and free for under 16s.