Ipswich cheese shop hosts exclusive exhibition in upstairs gallery

“Sweet wrappers, papers like that, are amazing,” says Teresa as she points proudly to one of her pieces, By The Stream.

Like most people, I’m more interested in the sweet inside; but she’s not most people.

“This one is all made from sweet wrappers,” she continues. “You can stitch over them, then paint over them and they turn into a different media.

“I’m a great recycler, I’m always pulling people’s clothes out of bags, things like that or wrappings. Many, many things make their way into my work,” she smiles.

“Where you would see an old shirt and think ‘oh that’s fit for the bin’ I would think ‘oh I can use that bit and that bit’. Everything will come off it and I’ll use the buttons and the inter lining for something else.”

Teresa works in paint, fabric and other materials collected from around and about like charity shops, auctions, markets and the such. Friends know to chuck bits and pieces her way too.

Always looking for inspiration, the strangest thing to make it into a piece, she laughs, was a used garlic bag from the market which found a new life as a climbing frame for roses.

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In the first few days of the exhibition, a previous buyer of her work brought along a beloved blouse and skirt that had seen better days and commissioned her to turn them into a piece of art.

“That way they said they’d still have them around,” she laughs.

Teresa’s interest in the textile side of things developed over the last couple of years. Most of her work is landscape and flowers – occasionally with an abstract or different twist – inspired by nature walks with her dog and photographs.

The mixed media artist has always painted, more so after she was forced to give up work when diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996. She began branching out more, joining Open Studios and linking up with other artists and galleries, and has exhibited in various venues in Bury St Edmunds, Kesgrave Arts and The Quay.

Teresa, who works from a studio at her Ipswich home, was a regular at the Memorable Cheeses shop in Dial Lane which is how she found out about the gallery upstairs; set up by owners Peter and Sarah Forster.

It’s clear art is her passion and she’s enjoying taking over the entire space; exhibiting as much old and new work as she can fit in.

“My work there was doing very well and last year I had a solo exhibition in Bury and wanted to have one in Ipswich centre.

“There aren’t many galleries in Ipswich and there tends to be a waiting list of two to three years. It’s very difficult to find a space which is why I was so excited when they said ‘oh you can have a solo’. I was like ‘yes’!

“This isn’t my first exhibition but I’m always just as excited. When I sell a piece of work I get just as excited as I did the first time, because it’s like wow, somebody wants to buy something I’ve created.”

The gallery, opened last April, takes a broad brush stroke approach to content, comprising paintings and textiles to pottery and more.

“We had a lovely space upstairs which was being wasted,” says Peter.

“We knew a number of artists locally who couldn’t display their work because there’s just not enough gallery space, so we thought we’d combine the two and give a lot of new artists – as well as those maybe who’ve left college and looking to start to display, somewhere to put their works.

“There’s so much talent out there that just needs a bit of help and if we can do that, brilliant.”

Peter says giving the whole gallery over to Teresa is fitting given she was the first to exhibit there.

“We’d known her for a while and seen her work elsewhere; she’s probably our top seller and I think you can see why through her work. The quality is excellent and there’s so much depth to it.”

He hopes her popularity will be starting point for more exclusive shows in the future.

“I think its going to be great, to see one artist’s work in one room; the impact will be incredible.”

The exhibition at Memorable Cheeses’ upstairs gallery, 10 Dial Lane, Ipswich, runs from 9am-5pm until April 23.

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