Make It Tenterfield kicks off with a bang with grand opening | PHOTOS

The newest hot spot in Tenterfield for artisan crafts opened with fanfare on Friday, June 21 with a big crowd climbing the steps to the upper floor of Mitre 10 to celebrate Make It Tenterfield.

As Helen Duroux pointed out in her Welcome to Country, Australia's indigenous people have been handcrafting for thousands of years so they're well ahead in the experience stakes, but those a little newer to the field now have a great outlet in the not-for-profit initiative which welcomes creators of all kinds.

MC Ruth Rutherford said the group only gained traction thanks to the support of many local businesses and individuals, but Mitre 10 proprietor Brian Smith was singled out for his extraordinary generosity in providing the large space above the hardware store to the group for free for its first year.

Group members have since knocked the space into shape, along the way discovering cleaning skills they never knew they had according to Ms Rutherford.

Mr Smith was presented with a custom-made Superman cloak and special superhero cake for his contribution but said he was happy to support the effort.

"I hoped it would create a little through-traffic, and we certainly got that," he said of the 60-plus people who attended the opening.

"I just hope you grab some hardware on your way out."

Everyone present was invited to add their name to specially-created parchment paper created by Liz Powell, which will be framed as a memento of the occasion.

Make It Tenterfield is now open for business, weekdays from 9am to 4.30pm and weekends from 9 to 11.30am. It's already bulging with an eclectic array of unique, handmade items and permanent artisans on site. A scheduled of visiting craft makers and workshops will be rolled out over coming months.

Ms Rutherford said the organisers had received very positive feedback to date.

"People are feeling comfortable here, like sitting in a library. There's a good vibe from the community and people are lining up to participate.

"There's a lot of interest."

Guest speaker David Caldwell, who officially opened the centre in honour of his multi-talented mother Shirley, said it's incredible how much talent there is in Tenterfield.

"Growing up with mum, you learn to recognise the skills, the talent, the passion that every artist or craftsperson has, and I can see it here."

Renowned weaver Dolly Jerome was manning her stand featuring not only her intricate weaving work but a variety of indigenous craft.

She has a number of workshops planned for weaving and for ochre art. The latter will teach participants where to look and how to identify appropriate rocks and crush them up to create paint.

"It's about using the resources you have, whether they're around your house or around the local environment," Ms Jerome said.

"You just need to improvise, and you can create works of art.

"The emphasis is on your resources. This is practical, ancient knowledge that needs to have its place, in a time when we need to live and create sustainably."

Anyone interested in the workshops can book through Make It Tenterfield and Ms Jerome appreciates the flexibility the arrangement gives her, exposing her work to a wider audience but also allowing her the freedom to meet her other commitments.

Following the official opening, organisers, friends and fans gathered at Our Place Wine and Espresso Bar that evening to celebrate.

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