The Shiny Shed is an art gallery, community space and swap shop that has just opened in Chelmsford, in Essex, under the care of artist Holly English. This is their website, and this is their facebook page.

The place is run on a money-free community basis. You can come in and swap your stuff for the stuff in the shop. Studio space upstairs has been donated to some local artists who donate some of their work to the shop in return. There are also paints and pencils and other art materials available for anyone that wants to come in and use them, and a piano and a guitar and a harp as well. And a room where you can draw on the walls.

I spent a few days last week helping them set up, and despite my inept and probably counteractive efforts the place is looking lovely now. Everyone involved is really nice, too, which is nice. If you’re nearby you should definitely go and have a look.

Below are some photos I took while we were in the process of setting it up. It looks better now.

This is the smallest theatre in the world, which Holly was given recently. There’s an article about its previous owners here.


Some of the stuff in the gallery. The stuff there will change as people donate new stuff, and swap things for the old stuff.

The little creature in the jar is one of my favourite things.


Some of the things you can come in and use: a big board game, a miniature pretend garden, some musical instruments.

The front desk was salvaged from someone’s garden, and comes complete with ivy growing upthe front and a small community of slugs in the drawers.


These paintings are on the stairs that lead up to the studio spaces, so most people probably won’t get to see them. I really love them. And below are a couple of other things that were lurking about that I really liked, too.


And that’s all the pictures.

Related Posts