T.La ARTS & Craft Gallery is one of the most curious shops you can stumble upon in Manchester.
T.La Arts & Craft Gallery is a vibrant outburst of colour and clutter
Find it amongst the bustle of Chinatown, selling intriguing Chinese merchandise ranging from authentic lanterns to a range of indoor fireworks. It’s the perfect shop for stocking fillers or to present hunt for that odd friend who doesn't appreciate anything unless it's 'weird'.
Across the back there are around 100 different incense fragrances, with a variety of choice ranging from the more ordinary cinnamon and coffee scents to the more bizarre ‘Dragon’s Blood’ and ‘Go Away Evil’.
The little shop offers an impressive assortment of smiling Buddha figurines, ornate dragons and Lucky Cats, as well as some fake but scarily realistic cats curled up in plastic packets. The gallery gets curiouser and curiouser as a machine incessantly offers to convert your photo into stickers in a high-pitched, childlike voice.
As for the more low-key gifts, the shop features traditional oriental crockery from chopsticks to soup spoons, and the usual elaborate fans and parasols. Wind chimes dangle from the ceiling, and dream catchers decorate the windows – a selection spanning from fluorescent pink to emblazoned with two eagles and the face of a Native American.
There's a lovely assortment of gem stone trees, gem bottles and all other pretty-if-useless trinkets involving gemstones on display; another exhibits a bowl of starfish and a selection of ornaments made of shells, from trinket boxes to bespectacled turtles.
A highlight for any sweet tooth, lies adjacent to a wall constituting entirely of shelves crammed with Chinese books, with a gloriously diverse confectionery section. The sweets are every child’s heaven and contains all sorts of weird and wonderful flavoured sweets not found in your average supermarket (more likely found on a trip to Hogwarts).
Getting increasingly peculiar, furry animal backpacks and slippers (including the illustrious Hello Kitty) adorn one section of the shop.
T.La Arts & Craft Gallery is a vibrant outburst of colour and clutter. Ornaments, wall decorations and shelves cover everything with barely an inch of space spared. In short, this shop is a perfectionist’s worst nightmare, but despite this even the most organised of customers will find it hard to leave without buying something.
Find T.LA Arts & Craft Gallery on 16 Nicholas St | Manchester | Lancashire | M1 4EJ | 0161 236 2333 | Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-5pm