Blackthorpe Barn offers Christmas present buyers the best of British craft work

Blackthorpe Barn's showcase for innovative craft work which runs for five weekends from November 9

Blackthorpe Barn's showcase for innovative craft work which runs for five weekends from November 9 Photo: Tom Soper - Credit: Archant

Craftmakers often provide some of the most imaginative and unique Christmas presents you can receive. Blackthorpe Barn once again unveils some of the best showcases for elegant, handmade functional art

Margaret Gardiner, one of the crafts people exhibiting at Blackthorpe Barn's showcase for innovative

Margaret Gardiner, one of the crafts people exhibiting at Blackthorpe Barn's showcase for innovative craft work Photo: Tom Soper - Credit: Archant

There has always been something special about the elegance and imagination that goes into British craft work. Modern craftmakers mix modern invention and classic design with traditional skills to fashion some unique items which will undoubtedly become talking points around the home.

Half hidden in the mature woodlands of Rougham Estate, just off the A14, near Bury St Edmunds, the historic Blackthorpe Barn is the perfect setting for a unique craft event. Each year during weekends in November and December the beautiful Barn provides the perfect backdrop to showcase some of the best British craft talent in the country.

Housed in the medieval barn itself, craft makers are nestled between the old oak beams. As visitors meander through the barn they can be captivated by the diverse skills and creativity on display. The real selling point of these events is that the visitors can engage with the makers themselves and find out how these wonderful items are designed.

The organisers of the Blackthorpe Barn craft events have a strict criteria that stall holders must meet; the work must be of the highest quality and each exhibitor must be the actual craft-maker themselves. Being able to talk to visitors about the work and what goes into making each piece is seen as being vitally important.

Christmas shoppers at Blackthorpe Barn craft showcase Photo: Archant

Christmas shoppers at Blackthorpe Barn craft showcase Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant

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This leads to an amazingly eclectic mix of pure creativity.

This year visitors can be inspired by original sculpture and ceramics, wooden, metal and glass creations, traditional and textile jewellery, leather items, feltware, homewares and furniture, artworks and landscapes, health and beauty indulgence, tasty food items and so much more.

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Also it's not a static event, many exhibitors change each weekend so there are new crafts to be explored with each visit.

This year crafts include:

Fused glass sculptures and smaller hanging decorations by Danielle Hopkinson

Danielle designs, manufactures, restores and installs traditionally made stained glass. Located in Ipswich, Danielle has undertaken commissions across East Anglia, the UK and Europe. With almost 25 years' experience, Danielle's pieces are beautifully created with stunning attention to detail combined with exquisite colours.

Recycled Sculpture by Matt Brown Makes

An intriguing and quirky collection of coastal creations made from driftwood, detritus and reclaimed materials. Choose from beautifully crafted ramshackle fishing huts to rusting tugboats with a few trademark robots thrown in for good measure.

Ceramic by Margaret Gardiner

Margaret's work is mainly thrown, porcelain and stoneware. She loves textures, lace, peacock feathers shells and shiny things and adores the process of evolving these into her ceramics. Margaret uses vapour-glazes combined with a cocktail of salt, soda and stannous chloride to create a truly lustrous, rainbow finish.

Merrywood soaps, botanical candles and oil by Linda

Linda's passion for crafting traditional soaps started 20 years ago after a chance find of a 100 year old soap recipe. Today she creates a beautiful collection of handmade botanicals made from a blend of natural, organic, home-grown and wild harvested plant ingredients, including scented beeswax candles.

For visitors wishing to explore their own creative skills there are craft-led workshops, a perfect chance to get hands-on at making your very own masterpieces. Choose from beautiful Christmas garlands, wreaths, decorative willow items, Batik silk scarf making, silver pendant making and many more. Workshops can be booked online.

In addition to the crafts there is a popular Christmas event that attracts visitors from far and wide every year. The Country Christmas Shop is truly bursting at the seams with everything you need to decorate your home, and with gifts for friends and all the family. Famous Rougham Estate Christmas trees are also available from November 22. Known for their quality and longevity the trees are carefully nurtured all year round in plantations close to the barn, and this year visitors can pick their own tree straight from the plantations.

George Agnew, owner of Blackthorpe Barn and Rougham Estate adds, "I'm really proud of our best of British craft weekends. We work hard every year to ensure we offer an intriguing collection of the most wonderful hand-crafted and unique items, showcasing traditional, contemporary and innovative techniques. I must admit the craft talent this year is exceptional, there is plenty to inspire all visitors and lots of choice to find a special gift for friends and family or even a little something for themselves."

For more information and opening times for the various events see

The best of British craft weekends start on November 9 and run for the following five weekends.

2019 Event time & dates:

Country Christmas Shop

See video here -

Everyday Monday 21 Oct - Monday 23 Dec

9.30am - 5.30pm (until 1pm on Mon 23 December)

Country Christmas Shop Festive Nights

Friday 22 & 29 Nov, Friday 6, 13 & 20 Dec


British Crafts

Sat-Sun only

9-10, 16-17, 23-24 Nov

30 Nov-1 Dec, 7-8, 14-15 Dec

10am-5pm (Free after 4pm)

Adults £3, OAPs £2, Children/students free,

Season tickets £10

Christmas Trees & Natural Decorations

Fri 22 Nov-Sat 23 Dec

9.30am-5.30pm (until 1pm on Mon 23 December)

Christmas Trees Festive Nights

Friday 22 & 29 Nov, Friday 6, 13 & 20 Dec


Christmas Workshops

On various days

See for details.

Santa's Grotto

Tickets go on sale from September.

See for details.

Christmas Cafe

Everyday Monday 21 Oct - Sunday 22 Dec 9.30am - 5pm

Monday 23 December 9.30am - 1pm

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