Inside York’s crafty new shop – which sells everything from modelling clay to knicker-making kits

Crafty businesswoman: Kayleigh Oliver. Photographs: Dan Edwards
16 May 2016 @ 8.00 pm
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Crafty businesswoman: Kayleigh Oliver. Photographs: Dan Edwards
Crafty businesswoman: Kayleigh Oliver. Photographs: Dan Edwards

Hen parties in York are usually associated with noisy bar crawls, but the opening of a new shop offers a very different way to celebrate.

“Crafty hen parties are actually really on the up,” says Kayleigh Oliver, who recently opened craft store York Makery on Gillygate.

“It’s no longer looked at as something that your granny would do. I actually came to York for a crafty hen party myself.”

York Makery

36 Gillygate, York

Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 9.30am-5.30pm, Sun 11am-3pm


Her parties will cover activities from sleep mask making, bridal party clay modelling and the creation of applique bunting and banners.

Meanwhile York’s shoppers can enter an Aladdin’s cave of crafting sundry, with stock including silk modelling clay, hooked Zpaghetti T-shirt yarn and even knicker making kits. Prices range from five pence coloured clothes pegs to £54 metal stamping kits.

Spinning a yarn
Spinning a yarn
Spelling it out
Spelling it out

The events don’t stop at hen parties.

“We’re doing classes in anything from crochet and knitting, to lino-cutting and printing,” said Kayleigh.

“We’re hoping to have something for everyone so that at some point over the four months that the brochure of classes will cover, there will be something that most crafters will fancy.”

And children’s parties are also proving popular, she said.

From ages six to 11 almost everyone is interested in making things.

Making things and making a mess and being creative is something that children are really fond of, so I’ve found already that I’ve got quite a lot of children’s parties booked in.

Button it
Button it
Inside York Makery
Inside York Makery

Kayleigh has loved crafts from a very young age, citing memories of creating items from bits and pieces around the house with her grandad, who was a carpenter.

After spending some time down south teaching art as well as design and technology, the loss of her father two years ago prompted her to change career paths. She explained:

He always believed that I should do what makes me happy, and it got to the point where I wasn’t happy teaching.

Something about someone passing away makes the memory stronger, so I thought he would definitely be proud of me for doing it.

And the people around me believe in me so it was worth making the transition.

There's all sorts on offer
There’s all sorts on offer
A happy customer
A happy customer

Originally from Sunderland, she sees York as the perfect place to begin a new career.

“York is just beautiful, and it’s far away enough [from Sunderland] that I have my own life, but close enough for me to still go and see my family.

“The city also seems to constantly be on the up in terms of tourism, so hopefully it’s a match made in heaven.”

The latest addition to York's independent shop sector
The latest addition to York’s independent shop sector

Kayleigh also wanted to thank her store-owner neighbours in Gillygate for their kindness and support.

The neighbours here have been amazing. The local business support for one another has been really impressive.

It’s definitely a good place for independent business. It’s lovely to talk to people who can identify and offer a word of advice.