Lace fair attitude
Lace fair attitude

Jay Yung is a British born Chinese artist based in Liverpool. This was the first time she had worked with Grizedale.

Her research led to many discussions with food producers and market stall holders in the village about how they might rethink the way they present and package their produce.

In particular she worked with two groups. The first was a family who ran a dried food market stall, selling mushrooms, tea, nuts and dried vegetables. The second a peanut oil manufacturer, who also sold the husk bi-product of this process, which could be sold as food roughage, pig food or compost additive.

These groups only sold their product to people in the village, with no specific packaging, but were interested in how they could increase the return on their products.
The artist worked on several ideas which would enhance the appeal of the goods and open them up to other markets other than direct sales to fellow villagers.

Jay was interested to see how they could use existing skills to develop a sustainable packaging idea and noticed how the market traders practiced crochet during idle moments on their stalls, even though they could only make a simple flower shape.

This crochet had recently been developed by teachers from the Guangzhou University and mirrored the work of the writer John Ruskin with his development of lace skills with the villagers of Coniston in the Lake District. http://www.ruskinlace.org.uk/

Jay encouraged the producers to elaborate the patterns they produced, into crochet wrappings for existing packaging, such as bottles and bags.

After a little encouragement and confidence boosting, the project was greeted enthusiastically. The resulting repackaged goods got the producers to think about how they might transform their products to make them more viable in a wider market through the added value of applied craft and personalisation.

The first stage designs were conceived as prototypes, with the packaging in the realm of artisan craft product, rather than mass produced goods. The latter would need further development but could be possible.

As a result of the market on Happy Stacking Day, one of the crochet designers was commissioned by a tourist from Guangzhou for a unique piece of dress-wear for them. This kind of interaction suggests an appetite for such value added product, with its value enhanced by the knowledge of the village and its people.

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