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Visiting Hours: ReFound

Another new regular feature! Visiting Hours is the Quill’s ‘out and about’ feature – be it a review of a gig or show, coverage of a festival or fair, or my thoughts on an exhibition, event or outlet, this is where you’ll find it. Content on the blog has been a bit craft-heavy, culture-light recently, so I am hoping this will help me to redress the imbalance.

You can expect to see this feature once a fortnight initially, but I plan to make my visiting hours more frequent in the very near future – ideally at least one a week.

I spent my first Visiting Hour doing something I have been meaning to do for a very long time – popping into ReFound! This highly innovative artists’ collective was founded (‘Re’ founded, if you will) by Jill O’Neill in 2007. Its ethos: “Recreating found furniture into individual one-offs. Reuse, restyle, refound.”

Jill was an early pioneer of the pop-up concept that has proven so effective for Northern Ireland’s independent retailers and restauranteurs in recent years. This is how ReFound was born; with a series of pop-up shops and galleries creating an infectious catch-it-while-you-can buzz. I interviewed her about the pop-up model during my time at the Belfast Telegraph; you can read the article here.

A core group of ReFounders – as well as a larger ‘satellite’ group of artists and makers – now keep the beautiful showroom in Wellington Place stocked with upcycled and reimagined furniture and homewares.

The common theme is that everything is created from something that has been discarded or is no longer being used for its original purpose, so you have old shipping trunks turned into seating; tables, chairs and lamps given a new lease of life with bright new upholstery and paint; and jewellery made from antique spoons, coins or watch parts.

I love everything about ReFound – the crafting aspect; the spirit of creativity and innovation; the idea of upcycling and re-using; the quirky, blended styling. However, until a couple of weeks ago, I had never visited the showroom. It was time to put this right.

From the brightly painted columns outside, to the majestic high ceilings and arched, glass-domed landing, just approaching the showroom is an exciting experience.

The clever, elegant styling within provides the pay-off you’re anticipating. In every nook and cranny, there is something to catch your eye and tug at those heart and purse strings (although starting prices are surprisingly reasonable!). I loved the North by North West table, the painted upholsteries, the shipping trunk seat and the steampunk jewellery.

One of the latest initiatives at ReFound is the 5 – 9 series of talks. The idea is that many creative projects and businesses begin life in the 5 – 9, ie outside typical working hours, or alongside a day job that pays the bills for now.

This is the second in the series; the first focused on bloggers and this talk puts crafters in the spotlight.

I will be going to this, so do let me know if you will be attending, it would be great to meet some Quill readers!

ReFound is open Thursdays 10am – 7pm and 10am to 5.30pm Fridays and Saturdays. Visit the Facebook page here.

I’m looking forward to featuring some ReFounders in more detail on the blog soon…stay tuned for more!

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