Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Mish Mash brings a touch of Alice to Chilwell – and maybe Mary Poppins too!

Yesterday I visited the new look Mish Mash Gallery at the junction of Cator Lane and Chilwell High Road.

Through the entrance and I was immediately taken Alice-like into a long corridor full of ceramics, paintings, prints, photographs, hand-made crafts and jewellery artfully displayed to draw you into the gallery.

To the right are a number of small workshops, all bar one already occupied by Cyrilyn Silver, Prisma Clothing, Gary Thomas photography and crafts, and Pretty Splitty, who specialise in 'camper van commissions'. The workshops are rented out by Mish Mash and there is a good chance visitors will be lucky enough to see the occupants hard at work.  

Mish Mash is best described as a contemporary gallery and this has to be its great strength. 

Some may look at the work of local artist Dan Cullen and catch a whiff of nostalgia, Edward Hopper's 'Nighthawks' from 1942 for example, whereas I would describe his work as ethereal, rooted in a reality easy to see once you know where it is. There are number of Beeston related limited edition prints by Dan for sale in Mish Mash.

Below is a cropped image from Dan Cullen's print 'Acacia Walk', offering viewers a different take on Beeston High Road. The edition is limited to 40 copies, costing £70 unframed, £120 framed.

I could have lingered far longer in Mish Mash, but the smell of coffee was pulling me towards the far end of the display corridor and then I saw it, the Froth coffee shop and eatery. Tuesday afternoon and a few tables occupied by mums with buggies and young children, otherwise quieter than usual.

Froth (which I have called 'Frothy' on some of my Beeston maps by mistake) opened in January 2016 and followed in the footsteps of Fusion. It is the creation of James Thomas (left) and James Kellett (right), who began doing drinks, cake and toasties, but now do a wide range of snacks for the hungry visitor, including ice-cream. I have been visiting (not nearly enough) since they opened and like the quiet ambience of Froth, even more attractive as a Beeston coffee destination now that Mish Mash is up and running again.

On the wall in Froth is the guitar pictured below. It reminded me of Fusion and the guitar classes it ran for a while. James (the Kellett one) told me he got it from AJ, who used to run Fusion, and is trying to play the guitar. I suspect he is being modest, for I found out during our chat that he is a singer-songwriter and that the other James plays guitar.

Some reading this post may have visited Froth recently when it was a Beeston Oxjam venue. Perhaps next year James and James will do their own thing in Froth as part of Beeston Oxjam 2017? I hope so. 

Another item on a Froth wall is this rather ancient bicycle. Shades of Mary Poppins. I see a story here for all the kids who come to Froth. I would tell them it is her actual bike. She came on a flying visit and left pushing a buggy, and those in the know say Mary Poppins still calls in from time to time, looks up at her old bicycle and, for a moment, wonders about flying away, but she always leaves with a buggy instead because she likes Beeston and Chilwell that much!

And, and if children look very carefully as they walk along Chilwell High Road, Chilwell Road and Beeston High Road, they may just see Mary Poppins pushing her buggy. I know this story is true, because I have seen her and, if you look hard enough, you will see her too!

Finally, keep an eye open for more changes in the pipeline, which you should be able to see from Chilwell High Road as you pass by. Even better, call in and have a look around. Mish Mash and Froth welcome visitors. There is limited car parking (entrance off Cator Lane).

The Tram stops three minutes walk away (I've timed it) at 'High Road-Central College' (off the tram you walk away from Beeston). Even better Nottingham City Transport bus route 36 stops stops outside (towards Chilwell) on Cator Lane, together with Trent-Barton bus route 18. Trent-Barton's Indigo bus route on stops outside on Chilwell High Road, as does Your Bus route Y5. 

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