A long time ago in a gallery far away. Well actually no, predictive text is fraught with hazards, but certainly a long time ago, the idea of the Grapevine was born. Having found the space and agreed terms, the need for an identity was uppermost. Various names were suggested and considered but we very quickly settled on Grapevine. Why? Well those who have followed our progress over the last 17 years will probably know, our then location at No.109 was already well-known as Grapevine, having previously been a wine shop with an exhibition space upstairs. There seemed little logic in changing it for even in those pre-online days, most delivery and taxi drivers knew exactly where we were. Name settled we then commissioned graphic designers and with the approval of younger members of the family the logo and typography emerged, and it was green!
And it still is. When we opened in Burnham 12 years back it was very soon made clear by those who mattered in North Norfolk that our identity should be perpetuated, so as 7 years previously we accepted the inevitable. Now of course, green is fashionable and more significantly part of worldwide consciousness.
Not getting too carried away, I have given some thought to how green we actually are. Surprisingly encouraging it seems. We are entirely lit and heated (minimally) by electricity and I am informed this is renewable and sustainable. Our artists and makers are increasingly local - no airmiles to be found here, and they use local craftspeople for framing and local supplies wherever possible.
We could do better of course. Most of the packaging we receive is re-used but I still feel uneasy about bubble-wrap however many times it goes round. We also use cling-film wrap. With this, we are at least now using what I am told is a degradable form but I'm not totally convinced. And of course, in common with most rural businesses, we do use that ubiquitous on-line retailer for things not readily obtainable locally - but as noted before their boxes do come in useful.
On a personal basis my footprint has also reduced, no longer travelling to the far corners of the country on the pretext of meeting artists. There is inevitably a downside to this and in some cases a real sense of sadness, as inevitably a number of those who exhibited with us and supported us in the early days have retired or sadly died.
This time of year prompts consideration of gifts. In common with many of our friends and acquaintances, the character of our giving and receiving has changed over the years. The blatantly commercial element has been squeezed by various forces, economic and political uncertainty across the spectrum and a more deep-seated drawing back from the acquisitive desires by the younger and greener sectors of society. So where does this leave the world of the small gallery?
Probably and hopefully not in a bad place. Our art is reasonably green - particularly if you let us wrap it in brown paper or corrugated card. It supports genuinely local economies. It comes in all shapes and sizes and it has a long life – and can be passed on to future generations even if you or the recipient tire of it. So what are you waiting for?