Whether you’re a festive fan or not, there’s no denying it: Christmas fever has already begun to set in across the city. Santa (with the real beard!) has settled in at Castletown; pumpkins have been replaced with advent calendars at supermarkets; and I have started wearing novelty T-shirts.
With Christmas fever comes the dreaded stress of gift-buying – but Umbrella Studio contemporary arts is hoping to ease the burden this year, with their Christmas Pop Up North Queensland Shop now open in the CBD.
The storefront, nestled between Perc Tucker Regional Gallery and Aluminium Art Exclusives, showcases the work of 15 local artists – and the best part is that it’s all for sale.
Umbrella Studio Special Events Coordinator Linda Yeo said the store builds on the success of Umbrella’s Pop Up North Queensland (PUNQ) Festival earlier this year.
“The community was really supportive of local artists during the 10-day festival in July, with nearly $30,000 made in workshop fees and art sales. When this location became available to rent again at a discounted rate we jumped at the opportunity, and so did the artists,” Linda said.
“The artists were all really keen to come on board when they found out about it, and as more and more are finding out they want to come on board too – but it’s not a huge shop, so can’t fit a huge number in here unfortunately.”
One of the showcasing artists, Warren Ogden, said the opportunity to be involved was too good to pass up.
“It was a great opportunity to sell some work – because there aren’t a lot of specific outlets in town for this type of thing. My wife Catherine and I were part of the PUNQ Festival earlier in the year as part of the North Queensland Potters’ Association, so now getting to be involved in this store alongside other artists is really exciting for us,” said Warren.
“About five years ago, Catherine was doing pottery at TAFE and it’s been something I’ve always been interested in – but never really got to try. Then when she started doing it at home I decided to give it a go. I don’t use a wheel or anything though, it’s all by hand. Nothing of mine has been near a potter’s wheel at all. I just sit at a table under a tree in the yard and that’s where I work.
“I work part time as a gardener at a school, and I make pots. It’d be great to live off selling my work, but I wouldn’t be able to eat very much! It’s only a hobby – I would never have enough to be able to live off it unless something really amazing happened. It’s like any art – unless you make a big name for yourself, it’s an uphill battle. We sell a bit here and there, but it’s nothing major.”
And while mugs and prints at Kmart may be cheaper, Warren said it was a small price to pay for individual and locally-made artwork.
“You’ll get some bargains, because a lot of the work in here is reasonably priced – but you’re still supporting the artist who created the work. If we were in a capital city you’d be paying three times the price you do here. And there’s some incredible artists in Townsville, so by shopping here you end up with amazing and unique pieces.”
Support local artists at the Christmas Pop Up North Queensland Shop, 261 Flinders Street until 17 December. Click here for opening times and more information.
To read more about the benefits of shopping locally, click here.