Today’s story is especially close to my heart! As a photographer, I passionately believe that framing memories and displaying them on walls is important. This way, not only can we enjoy those every day but also, we preserve our memories as heirlooms for our children and grandchildren. In our digital age, no one can predict how long hard drives and the digital medium will last. Anything that is not printed may be lost for future generations. So, I guess I don’t need to stress how much I enjoyed visiting Paul at Arison Gallery and getting an insight into the world of framing.
Paul started his career in picture framing in 1982 and has been framing ever since - a passion that seems to have accompanied and hence shaped Paul’s life. In 1987, he moved from Glasgow to Manchester and worked for different framing companies, until he started his job at Arison in Chorlton in 1999. Arison Craft, as it was called then, was established in 1976 by a husband and wife team. In 2000, Paul had been working at Arison for just over a year, the owners decided to move on and so Paul seized the opportunity and purchased the framing shop.
As Paul wanted to widen the potential of the premise, he introduced exhibitions and consequently renamed it Arison Gallery. Providing an exhibition space proved to be very successful. Last year, Paul held 8 exhibitions. Exhibitions vary, showing the work of one particular artist or focus on a certain theme with a mixture of different artists.
In addition, Arison Gallery is running a children’s art competition, which is a fantastic way of involving children in the arts. The competition is run in conjunction with the Chorlton Arts Festival and is judged by a local artist. Hundreds of children aged 4 to 14 take part every year. There are no rules or guidelines; anything from sculpture to photography and collages is accepted. At the end, every child receives a certificate of participation and the top three win a price sponsored by Conrad, Chorlton’s arts and crafts shop.
The majority of Arison’s income does still come from framing though. People frame all sorts of nice things: artwork, photographs, memorabilia such as boxing gloves or football shirts, and very popular this year – the poppies that were displayed at the Tower of London to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WWI. I was fortunate to be shown to Paul’s workshop and I was truly fascinated that everything is still manufactured and assembled manually. Genuine craftsmanship! A very rare thing these days - makes me all nostalgic again :-)
Arison is interesting in another aspect as the retail space is shared by two businesses – Arison, the Gallery, and a hairdressing and beautician shop, run by Gail Hunter. And it has been operating this way since its establishment in 1976. This also means that Arison Gallery will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2016! Exciting!!! Paul is planning lots of interesting activities, so stay tuned!
And finally, did you know that Paul is also acting and playing the piano - how admirable is this!
Next week, it’s Elliott's veg and fruit on the blog.