New bar and 'design quarter' ambitions for Stowmarket

Samantha Bell owner od Fox Yard Studio in Stowmarket are opening a new bar next door

Sam Bell owner of the Fox Yard Studio in Stowmarket - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

A creative couple from Suffolk have big plans to open a new bar in the Old Fox Yard in Stowmarket and turn the area into a 'design quarter' for the community. 

Sam Bell, 33, who lives in Baylham, was given unimaginable blow in March 2020 when the country went into lockdown just two days after her new venture Fox Yard Studio opened. 

Described as "a place for creative people to come together, share skills and socialise" the studio is in the Old Fox Yard is next door to Modece Architects, where Mrs Bell's husband Matthew Bell is director. 

In April 2021 the Fox Yard Studio opened again and with the help of employees from the Kickstart programme the studio and Modece worked on a project to transform the Stowmarket Library garden. 

Samantha Bell owner od Fox Yard Studio in Stowmarket are opening a new bar next door

Inside the Fox Yard Studio in Stowmarket - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Describing her experience during lockdown Mrs Bell who is a textile artist and illustrator said: "The whole point of the studio was to bring people together but then all of a sudden we couldn't do that. 

"It was incredibly challenging, we went from trying to bring people together to completely stopping.

"Even though it felt like a big drastic change going from socially distancing to working in a team, actually that really helped remind me how important it is just to have that interaction with people."

She added: "Just on a personal level I got so used to being on my own completely it kind of helped me rediscover why I wanted to open the studio in the first place."

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Now that the Stowmarket Library garden project has finished Mr and Mrs Bell are pushing on with their plans to turn the Old Fox Yard, which can be found off Stowmarket High street, into a 'design quarter' for the area. 

Samantha Bell outside Fox Yard Studio in Stowmarket 

Sam Bell in the Old Fox Yard Stowmarket - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Work is already underway on their new bar 'Palette' which is due to open later this month. 

Palette, will serve locally sourced wine and Mrs Bell plans to let some of the art nights and workshops she is running at the studio spill into the bar later in the evening. 

Mrs Bell hopes the new bar will "create a little buzz" in Stowmarket and says she has been touched by local residents that have said the studio has "helped bring life back into the town" after lockdown. 

As well as working on the new bar Mrs Bell is hoping to set up an art trail which will be part of the Stowmarket Christmas Fayre on November 28.

You can see the latest updates from the Fox Yard Studio on their Facebook page. 

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