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Hidden treasures

5 April 2018 | Posted in: News

Written by: Rayannon Innes | Photography: Livecreativlee as part of @hello_newy_east

Over the past year, treasures have been unearthed within the old City Arcade. Tucked away between Hunter Street and Newcomen Street, the small retail strip – known to have once housed swimming baths below its current façade – is filling with a collection of local artisans.

One of these makers is mixed media artist and jeweller Barbara Nanshe, who is enthusiastic about the creative direction the Arcade is heading. Although she admits foot traffic is quite low within the arcade, more so than central Hunter Street mall district, many state-wide and international tourists keep Barb optimistic.

Having formerly traded in The Emporium, Barb remembers meeting customers visiting from many different corners of the globe, fascinated by Newcastle’s burgeoning maker culture. Today, alongside fellow jewellery maker and silversmith Vanessa Day, Barb mightn’t see as many locals as she did in her previous shopfront, but friendly tourist visitation still makes its way down the alley of the City Arcade.

One of Barb’s favourite regulars is an avid traveller and collector of things. The customer will present Barb with her worldly findings and request to have the pieces made into customised wearable momentos of her travels. This fuels the passionate artist and environmentalist in Barb, who’s one-off pieces are all made from 100% ethically sourced materials. Whether it be recycled metals or unique found objects, Barb harnesses her craft to construct and repurpose beautiful new works of wearable art.

If you haven’t lost yourself in the hidden gems, metals, and leathers of the City Arcade, it’s time you headed in.