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Crafty Collective sets up shop for Christmas

PUBLISHED: 13:02 14 December 2018

Crafty crafters at Sailmakers Shopping Centre - Ida Thomas, left, Christine Old, Sue Lawrence and Heather Richards.

Crafty crafters at Sailmakers Shopping Centre - Ida Thomas, left, Christine Old, Sue Lawrence and Heather Richards.

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Crafty crafters and artists from Suffolk will be bringing a double helping of Christmas cheer to the Sailmakers shopping centre in Ipswich.

Crafter Ida Thomas crafts a wreath at Sailmakers Shopping CentreCrafter Ida Thomas crafts a wreath at Sailmakers Shopping Centre

The Crafty Collective Ipswich are running craft markets at Sailmakers Shopping Centre over the next two weekends, Thursday to Sunday, this week, December 13-16 and next, December 20-23.

Shoppers will be able to buy handcrafted Christmas decorations, stockings and gifts as well as jewellery, glass and woodwork products, cards and gift bags, African and Indian clothing, and oil and watercolour paintings, while Sailmakers are donating all the stall fees to St Elizabeth’s Hospice.

The group, which started out as a team of 12 independent businesses, was set up last year to organise affordable events for stallholders and has proved both successful and popular.

It has recently expanded to more than 50 members and will run the markets under its new name - Home of Suffolk Arts and Crafts - ahead of a website launch next year.

Handmade goods will be on sale at the fairs.Handmade goods will be on sale at the fairs.

One of the founding members, former psychiatric nurse Sue Laurence, who has been making and selling glass and wooden crafts since 2010, said: “We’re a group of stallholders and small businesses who make and sell handcrafted items. We also have artists in the group.

“We were finding that a lot of the big events we were selling at charged horrendous prices for stalls.

“It was difficult to cover costs and make a profit. So we decided to do something about it.

“We got a collective together and approached venues to organise events ourselves. It also means that we can support one another.”

She added: “We approached Sailmakers to see if they’d be interested in an event before Christmas and the centre manager Mike Sorhaindo got back to us to give it the go-ahead.

“Sailmakers like to do things to support the community and put events on for people visiting the centre.

“It’s the first time we’ve had an event in a shopping centre so it’s a new angle we’re coming from. If it works it could be something we explore in the future.

“At the markets we’ll have lots of festive items on offer like decorations and stockings. There will be a mixture of crafters and artists on the day.”

Sue, who organises events with the help of fellow group administrators and crafters Christine Old and Heather Richards, says keeping craftmaking alive plays a big part in the collective’s work.

Sailmakers Shopping Centre manager Mike Sorhaindo said: “We’re really looking forward to hosting two craft markets here at the shopping centre in the run up to Christmas.

“There is going to be some beautifully handcrafted items on sale and it will give our visitors the chance to pick up some unique decorations for the festive period or special gifts for family and friends.”

The craft markets at Sailmakers over both weekends will run from 12-7pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 12-4.30pm on the Sunday.

For more details go to the Sailmakers website or its Facebook page.

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