Have yourself a Mackem little Christmas with Sunderland-inspired gifts

Nadia Heron's design
Nadia Heron's design
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Ha’way in a manger - Christmas has been given a Mackem makeover thanks to students at Sunderland College.

Inspired by Sunderland’s bid to be crowned City of Culture 2021, the students have come up with a range of cards, postcards and tote bags emblazoned with Mackem colloquialisms.

Sunderland College students' Mackem gift designs.

Sunderland College students' Mackem gift designs.

Shoppers will be able to pick up the quirky gifts, which feature phrases such as “Av yaself a proper Merry Christmas” and “clammin’ for some mince pies” at a stall in the newly-spruced up Park Lane Market in the city centre.

After helping to clean up the well-known market earlier in the year, students were offered a pitch on the site which they’ll be manning today and tomorrow with plans to potentially run the stall next week too.

The venture is a joint enterprise between art and design, graphics, photography and textile students.

Heather Johnson, 17, from Whitburn, who is studying art and design with photography, said: “A lot of the ideas started off from a Power Point presentation in which we looked at traditional Christmas sayings and words which we mixed with Sunderland words.”

Mackem gift designs.

Mackem gift designs.

Nadia Heron, 17, from Houghton, who is studying art and design, added: “The market is very much part of the community and as it’s Christmas at the same time these are sayings a lot of people can relate to.”

Hollie Marshall, lecturer in art and design, said: “The students were inspired by the City of Culture bid and its celebration of Sunderland and they wanted to reflect that in an artistic way using typography, while also learning new techniques such as screen printing.”

She added: “It all started with Project 100 which saw the students clean up the market and brighten up the stalls. On the back of that they were offered a stall to thank them for their hard work. They all got together and decided that a Mackem Christmas stall would be a great idea.”

Once a thriving market, Park Lane Market has suffered a fall in visitor numbers in recent years which led to just a handful of stalls remaining.

But Sunderland BID have worked closely with local businesses and independent traders to breathe new life into the site over the Christmas season.

Each week, from Thursday to Sunday, there’s a host of independent traders in the market, selling everything from Christmas decorations and artisan coffees to brownies and homemade jewellery.

Sunderland College art students Mackem gift designs.

Sunderland College art students Mackem gift designs.