In August, we introduced you to Bellingham Handmade Market. As the previous story mentioned, Rachel Jackson—a local Bellingham artisan—played a large part in founding the market at Goods Nursery and Produce last spring.
“At that point, I feel like it was definitely my project, and then Libby [Hale] and I started working together and it became our project,” Jackson says.
As the market continued through the summer, the pair realized how well they worked together, and how clearly their ethics aligned. In addition to the partnership they had created, they had also fostered a community with the artists whose goods were at the market.
As the end of the outdoor market season approached, Jackson and Hale knew the shop was something they wanted to continue.
“We were like, ‘Holiday season is right here, it just makes sense to keep going with this,’ but obviously we can’t keep doing Goods outdoors in the winter,” says Hale.
The duo was hoping to find a vacant space they could occupy for the holiday months. As they researched, Hale and Jackson connected with the owner of a building in the Fountain District who was looking for a downstairs tenant—specifically someone working in the arts.
Jackson and Hale decided to jump right in. Around this time, Hale was inspired to turn Bellingham Handmade into a state-level nonprofit organization.
“It just made sense for all the goals we were talking about and aligning with,” she says. “[Non-profit status would] help us be able to reel in
some big grants, which is how I saw, ideally, being able to fund artists having a living wage and surviving in Bellingham,” Hale continues.
When I visited Hale and Jackson in the new retail space on Meridian Street, the store had only been open for five days and still smelled of fresh wood. The building’s bright yellow exterior is hard to miss, and the interior is equally bright, with wooden shelves and colored walls.
Throughout the store, you’ll find various handcrafted goods from local makers, like cutting boards made by Carrve Woodworks and the entire collection of El Fuego Hot Sauces.
Jackson sells her jewelry in the space, as does Hale, who makes whimsical needle felt work. Other gift items, like shirts, hats, novelty figurines, and home decor pieces also abound.
In addition to the retail shop, the new space also has a classroom. Artists who pay for a Bellingham Handmade membership and sell their goods in-store can use the space for free.
Jackson taught the first class in mid November, on creating ear hooks. Class prices are set by the instructor and are available to the public. Members are able to attend the classes strictly at material cost. Community Members, which is another tier of membership, may reserve the space for an hourly rate.
“You can hold classes in there, use it as a workroom, study space, meeting spot, whatever,” says Hale. “It’s definitely more like a solo little
area to work.”
2715 Meridian St., Bellingham, bellinghamhandmade.com
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