Trucks and buses clatter by on Parramatta Road, but behind the heavy wood door of The Happenstore, the sound is just a gentle rumble.
“People have a strong desire and even a need for these sorts of places,” says owner and designer Cath Derksema. “You can come in and restore your senses. Technology is a huge part of our lives, and hand-making is the antithesis.”
The Happenstore is half store, half workshop. Items for sale are exclusively handmade by Australian artists and craftspeople.
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That means natural colours, upcycled pieces and things made from organic materials. A collection of colourful baskets woven from beach debris from Western Australia sits in the front window. Blue and grey misshapen plates and cups from Byron are displayed on a wooden table.
A textile designer by trade, Derksema also sells her own pieces: dyed and embroidered textiles as artworks, re-upholstered furniture and clothes. The most interesting pieces are vintage indigo French workers’ shirts that are patched with the designer’s textiles and decorated with contemporary embroidery.
Derksema holds regular workshops in ceramics, shibori (Japanese indigo dyeing), embroidery, basket making and pom-pom jewellery making. There’s also Craft Night In, a bring-you-own-project event during the week where a group of people sit around a communal table with a small project.
The former guitar store was gutted and rebuilt by Derksema and her husband.
“We worked for about two months and stripped it back to what it really is. We repurposed a lot of materials. Old benches were made into the long countertop, and we scraped away paint to reveal beautiful raw brick. When the black grill came off the front window, it all started to come together.”
The space flows from shelves of yarns, to racks of clothing, to paintings and jewellery on the wall. Natural light comes in the large front window, supplemented by pendant lamps hanging over workspaces.
55 Parramatta Road, Annandale
0438 212 231
Tue to Fri 10am–4pm