As Didsbury’s Bisque & Beyond prepares to open next month, Chorlton’s new crafty caff is already thriving
When Nina Chesworth lost the use of her right eye in an accident nine years ago, her dreams of a graphic design career hung precariously in the balance.
“I did a career in art direction and couldn’t see myself working in anything else - I wasn’t in a good place.”
A new calling came unexpectedly, when her auntie booked her onto a bead-making course and she found herself really enjoying it. More courses followed, as did running a fortnightly craft session for sight loss charity Henshaws.
What with workshops, parenting and selling glass jewellery, Nina had found a new occupation - stoking her ambition for a new business inspired by crafting.
Finally, after two years of searching for suitable premises in her home of Chorlton, she found suitable premises; a former double-glazing store on Barlow Moor Road. A few busy months later, Craft Café officially opened on Saturday 3 March.
The café element builds on Nina’s dual background in hospitality, serving hot drinks and sweet treats from local producers like Second City Coffee and Icky Sticky Cakes; soon to be joined by lunch and breakfast dishes such as paninis, crepes and deli boards.
But it’s crafts that give this new community caff its USP. Diners can choose from two activities while there, decoupage and canvas painting (the latter geared more towards kids), and Nina is lining up a lively evening workshop programme with local practitioners. Those confirmed so far include poly printing, Buddhist mediation and embroidery, with classes in up-cycling and pottery also in the pipeline. Craft Café also offers party packages and hire space.
Considering Nina’s background, it’s unsurprising she’s a big advocate of crafts for wellbeing. There is a growing amount of evidence that links getting arty with improved mental health - as indicated by CICs like The Owl and Coconut, initiatives like Art on Prescription and Mind’s ‘craft cupboard.’ A sense of purpose, community and creativity - crafting provides them all.
Since it’s great for families too, I’m unsurprised when Nina tells me she was ‘gobsmacked’ by the response at Craft Café’s soft launch (even if there were free cupcakes).
With Didsbury’s Bisque and Beyond opening next month, offering a similar concept, could this be the start of a new craft café trend?