When fire ravaged Kirkgate, Fabrication lost their workshop, but now you can help them get back on track.
Remember when Hills Furnishings caught fire in November 2015? The fire ravaged the building and it had to be knocked down, but Hills wasn’t the only business affected. In fact, Fabrication, whose workshops were just behind the store on Crown Street also took a hit. Part of their workshop had to be demolished and they’ve been looking for a new space ever since.
It was a traumatic time for Dawn Wood, “Looking at the ceiling the next day we were about 10 mins from going up in flames.” They thought the damage would be horrific, but actually it turned out that they’d got off quite lightly – at least, until they discovered that Hills had to be demolished. They had two weeks of limbo while they waited to find out if their workshop would survive it.
“We shared a wall with Hills and no one was sure if taking it down would cause our wall to crumble, so we watched the building being taken down with hearts in mouths and everything crossed,” Wood told us. “We spent most of that two weeks just walking to the building, wandering around to the back to watch and feeling powerless, but trying not to fear the worst, then going for cake – we didn’t actually eat a home cooked meal until Christmas Day because we just couldn’t face food.”
At first, it looked like they’d be okay, but then the builders found a vaulted arched underneath their workshop, and they next thing they knew, they were being asked how quickly they could pack.
The good news is, they’ve now found space – but it’s a doer-upper and they need your help to turn it into the workshop and events space that they’ve been dreaming of. However, before we get onto the space, let us tell you a little something about Fabrication.
It was started by Wood in 2008 to give the independent designers and artists a space to work and sell their wares. It’s not just a shop, though that’s what most people think of it as, thanks to their successful store in The Light – in actual fact, Fabrication is a social enterprise, offering specialist equipment, mentoring and a community to local craftsmen.
Their space on Crown Street had a different purpose – it was a workshop used to create, but also to teach. Fabrication used to offer a packed calendar of creative classes, ranging from jewellery making to screen printing, but they all took place in their old workshop, and they haven’t been able to offer them since the space was destroyed – which is why they so desperately need a new one.
And boy have they found a good ‘un. The new premises are just off Vicar Lane and offer a massive 6,250 square foot, spread across three floors. They’ll have space for 30 full time and ad hoc businesses, alongside meeting and events spaces where they can hold their classes – and there are two more floors above, which they hope to expand into in the future, creating a real hub for independent makers.
But it’s not all good news. The building has limited electrics and no heating at all, so it needs to be completely rewired, and although they’re getting a good rental price from owners Hammerson, they have to pay for all the work themselves. On top of that, they’ll have to cover the costs of new doors, plumbing, partitioning and equipment, which will help turn the neglected property into a creative community space.
Renovations like this don’t come cheap, so they’re reaching out to local residents and businesses for support. They’ve set up a crowd-sourcing campaign, giving you the chance to donate with a medley of lovely rewards, like jewellery, limited edition prints, workshops and even workbench rental. But they’re also looking for people who can donate time or equipment to help them reach their end goal.
You can help Fabrication to turn a disaster into an opportunity, so why not get into the spirit of the season and make a donation that will bring joy to a whole host of independents, as they set out on their mission to make Leeds a more creative, more unique and more interesting city to live in?
Make a donation to Fabrication’s crowd sourcing campaign or send them a message if you can help to provide equipment and skills.