A model maker whoruns a curiosities shop in Chorlton with his partner is about to see his work go on tour with Grayson Perry’s Art Club.
Stewart Hucheon first came to Manchester fifteen years ago to work on tv show Bob the Builder, staying there for years, on and off, until the show was eventually digitised.
A children’s animator by trade, he assisted as a prop maker for years: creating all the little details that bring the show to life to build out the world of Bob’s many adventures.
But now, he channels his model-making passion into creating incredible displays for his and his partner David Dodson’s shop window at The Curious Fox, something which has led the business to gain notoriety amongst South Manchester locals.
Inside the shop, you’ll find a host of wonderful products – including a secret Christmas room filled with matryoshka nesting doll baubles, mini Beefeaters, sparkling dragonflies and many other delights.
Elsewhere in the gift and homeware store, the walls are lined with Alice In Wonderland-inspired artwork, a stag’s head, giant clocks, with hot air balloons hanging from the ceiling and a section of beautiful pop-up 3D cards, Lowry and Klimt mugs, and much more.
Over the years at The Curious Fox, Stewart has created a number of different themed window displays – all more magical than the last according to his neighbours.
Many of these appear around Christmas time, and are unveiled with a shabang as local Chorltonites gather together with glasses of champagne infront of the store for the big reveal.
In previous years he’s created a Snow Queen window depicting the iconic character in a frozen white forest, a Nutcracker theme with lots of ballerinas and the ballet’s little-known Mother Ginger character, who appeared on stilts, with a dress opening like curtains and children running out of it.
He told The Manc: “There’s a character inThe Nutcracker, not very well known but it’s in the show, and she’s called Mother Ginger, and, she’s usually, it’s not like a pantomime thing, with an enormous skirt, and she’s like on stilts.
“Then this dress opens like curtains and all these children run out of the dress, so I tried to do that with a big figure and her dress was like a theatre and I had Harlequin and Columbine spinning in her dress and all the other things. That was my favourite window I’ve ever done.”
This year, the plan was to create a huge Manchester or Salford-themed window full of 1960s women who Stewart describes, in his amusing way, as being “all a bit miserable looking”.
He told The Manc: “They were to be part of a big window, which I am still doing, and I thought well I’m going to use them and I’m going to put them in and we’ll have a Mother’s Day window, so we just had all the women in the window.
“Oh and people just went nuts for it, and somebody said: ‘Oh you should put that in Grayson Perry’s art club’, which I hadn’t thought about at all because I didn’t know it was coming back on, and I thought well I haven’t got nothing to lose, I haven’t especially made them for this so there’s no stress involed, it’s done, if they pick it they pick it
He continued: “I think they get about 30,000 entries Grayson Perry’s art club. Anyway I put it in, and they were on the phone straight away.
“Well, the closing date was like a Wednesday at five o’clock and on that Wednesday at quarter past five they were on the phone, so as soon as the closing thing had finished they were straight on the phone.”
The pieces, which will go on a tour of the UK starting on 1 December, were even given a special mention by Grayson Perry himself on his TV show with the host saying that they were one of his absolute favourite submissions.
Stewart told The Manc: “They were all very positive and wanting to know more.
“Well, they didn’t tell you if it was going to be on, unless you’ve been like done the video call with Grayson Perry then they don’t tell you that you’re going to be on, so we were watching it and the programme was nearly finished.
“There was minutes left and we thought ‘well we’re not on, nevermind,’ and then he said ‘Every week I pick my top three’, and there was me, I was one of his top three and he loved it yeah.
He continued: “They were going to be this year’s Christmas window, cause that’s what I was making. The whole idea this year’s Christmas window was going to be a whole Manchester street, in the winter, sort of 1960s, corner shop that you could see all the products in the corner shop.
“But the whole idea was like an animation set, because that’s what I know, and there’s going to be a big car and postboxes and postmen on bikes and you could see in the houses a little bit and it would be lit up at night, so you could see in the living rooms and stuff like that, and they would have, there would be layers to it, but they’ve gone now.”
As a result, this year’s Christmas window is being put on hold as Stewart doesn’t have the figures – but watch this space, because once they return we’ll be right down to follow up and let you know where you can go and see them.
In the mean time, you can visit The Curious Fox shop on Beech Road in Chorlton Tuesday to Sunday between the hours of 11am and 5pm.
Feature image – Supplied
Three Little Words and Seven Brothers Brewery are moving into Kampus this summer
This week, Manchester’s waterside neighbourhood Kampus has revealed that two of Manchester’s best-loved indie drinks producers will be moving in over the summer.
Manchester Gin’s bar and distillery Three Little Words will be taking over the infamous bungalow, whilst Ancoats’ favourite Seven Brothers Brewery will temporarily move into the neighbourhood’s red-brick Minshull Warehouse – previously tipped to house a new taproom from Cloudwater.
This summer, the brewery – first founded in Salford nine years ago by the McAvoy brothers – will open the doors to the warehouse serving up their popular family beers alongside a few Kampus specials.
With seating inside and out, once the warmer nights arrive drinkers can once again enjoy the Manchester neighbourhood’s canalside beer garden.
Set to open officially from the long Easter weekend, for the first time tables and chairs will be nestled throughout the giant tree ferns and palms, with visitors able to sample the delights of the impressive foodie community – including Nell’s, Pollen, Great North Pie, The Beeswing wine bar and Yum Cha.
Elsewhere, in the Bungalow popular local gin distillers and cocktail pros Three Little Words will serve up a sleek cocktail menu – all made up from their portfolio of multi-award-winning spirits from The Spirit of Manchester Distillery.
First opened in 2019 by Seb & Jen Heeley-Wiggins, the founders of Manchester Gin, luxurious cocktail bar Three Little Words has since won awards for its signature menu of innovative cocktails.
Both will kick-start on Friday 7 April, with an Easter Weekender of booze, beats and eats in store – with Nell’s Pizza also joined by guest DJs throughout the weekend.
The season is a major moment for Kampus, the first year when the neighbourhood will have a full force of eclectic independent operators fully trading.
More names are set to join too. Red Light will lift the curtain on the insta-friendly Little David Street LGTBQ+ cocktail den, with the opening date to be revealed in the coming weeks, whilst taqueria and mezcaleria Madre is currently fitting out its space ready to bring its take on Mexican goodness to Manchester.
Seb Heeley-Wiggins, Master Distiller & Co-Owner The Spirit of Manchester Distillery & Three Little Words, said: “We’ve got such a loyal following and we’ve been on the hunt for a spot where people could enjoy our cocktails in a beautiful outdoor setting … spritzes in the sunshine.
“Kampus absolutely fits that bill and will be an incredible summer posting for our team. We’ll be bringing our signature menu as well as some seasonal creations unique to Kampus.
“There’s so much going at the neighbourhood that we’ll be in good company. We’ve already got celebrations planned throughout the summer months, where we’ll be collaborating with incredible brands and creatives, and we’ve got a big surprise in store for next month. We just need a long, hot summer now.”
Keith McAvoy, CEO for Seven Brothers, said: “We’ve been big fans of Kampus for a while so we jumped at the chance to put on a summer-long party and create a new beerhouse here. The historic setting is stunning and we know we’ll create, hands down, the best beer garden in Manchester.
“We’re a family run business, born here in Greater Manchester. Our Kampus run is a fitting celebration for how far the brewery has come with the incredible support of every person who’s ever enjoyed a SEVEN BRO7HERS pint.
“We’ll be in good company with our brilliant independent neighbours and encourage everyone to come spend summer with us.”
Seven Brothers will be open Thursday to Sunday every week all summer, whilst Three Little Words will open Wednesday to Sunday.
Featured image – Kampus
The fried chicken bottomless brunch with an epic ‘carb-fest’ chip butty
Manchester rock bar Jimmy’s has launched a new fried chicken bottomless brunch deal and it features the most epic chip butty we’ve seen in some time.
Combining skin-on chips with serrated waffle fries – all piled high inside a soft white bun – it’s absolute carb-fest, served with even more chips on the side and a pot of sauce of your choosing (we went for chip shop curry sauce, and don’t mind telling you it’s up there with the best we’ve ever had).
The perfect stodgy filler-upper for a 90 minute session of non-stop cocktails, beer and spirit mixers, according to Jimmy’s owners this is a proper ‘working men’s’ chip butty – the antithesis of the much-lauded offering at their next door neighbours The Edinburgh Castle.
This mega butty is priced at £5 on its own, but to make the most of it order it as part of the new fried chicken bottomless deal: which gives diners 90 minutes of non-stop drinks and any large dish of their choice for £35.
Served every Saturday between 12-5pm, drinks choices on the bottomless include the likes of Pornstar and espresso martinis, Aperol spritz and Jimmy’s lager, plus cider, pale ale, prosecco, and vodka, gin, whiskey and rum spirit mixers.
Further mains options, meanwhile, include various sandwiches stuffed with buttermilk fried chicken and sauces like hot honey and blue cheese, plus a vegan-friendly ‘magic mushrooms’ version with karaage oyster mushroom, house slaw and Mrs Elwood pickles.
Doubling down on the fried chicken concept, there is also a dish of fried chicken, ice cream and waffles, plus a ‘light bites’ section with ‘chicken nugs’, ‘popcorn shrooms’, buttermilk fried chicken tenders and ‘cauliflower candy’.
All bottomless meals come served with skin-on fries, and if you’ve got room you can also opt to pay extra for a deep-fried chocolate bar pudding.