Suffolk Craft Society showcases a creative county with two summer exhibitions

Coming in to Land by printmaker Helen Maxfield 

Coming in to Land by printmaker Helen Maxfield - Credit: Suffolk Craft Society

Suffolk Craft Society’s annual summer exhibition in Aldeburgh’s Peter Pears Gallery was one of the fixed points in the county’s cultural calendar – until the arrival of Covid and lockdown.

Now, the county’s craftspeople are bouncing back with two new events which should make the exhibition’s safer and open them up to a wider audience.

Feature on Suffolk Craft Society chair, Sarah Thane.

Suffolk Craft Society chair, Sarah Thane who championing two summer exhibitions for 2021 - Credit: Gregg Brown

Society chair Sarah Thane said that they were venturing out with their collective fingers firmly crossed that the recovery roadmap will stay on track and that people will feel safe enough to venture out and enjoy some rare opportunities to invest in some unique pieces from some of Suffolk’s most creative designers and makers.

She said that instead of hosting one big show in one location they are taking the opportunity to “shake things up a bit” – do things differently – and run two shows at two different locations.

Into Stormy Weather from printmaker Terry Bryan.

Into Stormy Weather from printmaker Terry Bryan. - Credit: Suffolk Craft Society

“Next week we open at The Pond Gallery, Snape, for just under two weeks with a selection of around 30 makers. “We have put together a show with a quality and mix of work which will delight. Crafts featured include printmaking, textiles, ceramics, jewellery, glass, furniture and woodwork.”

Among those taking part are: ceramicists: Sue Bruce, Sally Dunham, Pru Green, Simon Sharp, Usch Spettigue, Ursula Stroh-Rubens and Pam Schomberg; textile artists: Elizabeth Chester, Jean Fryer, Ruth Holt, Jenny Nutbeem and Polly's Textiles by Danielle Wade. Jewellers: Sara Barker, Alison Dane, Susi Hines, Dianne Levitt and Helen Smith  and glass artists: Lynn Foster, Clare Gaylard, Gay Hutchings and Rebecca Rowland-Chandler.

A sculpted pot from Nicola Coe sculptor and printmaker

A sculpted pot from Nicola Coe sculptor and printmaker - Credit: mKm Photography

Sculptor Nicola Coe will have work on display as will printmakers: Terry Bryan, Sue Bruce, Sally Freer, Helen Maxfield, and Mike Fenton and Annette Rolston. 
There will also be handmade furniture on show from Tim Germain and Toby Winteringham as well as pieces from woodworkers: Simon Turner and Jon Warnes.

The Pond Gallery show runs from June 11-23.

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Then in July, the Suffolk Craft Society will be taking over The Longshed Gallery in Woodbridge for a much larger exhibition.

A wide range of unique items, handmade by Suffolk craftspeople, are on show at the Suffolk Craft Soc

A previous Suffolk Craft Society summer exhibition. The annual showcase was part of the cultural landscape until lockdown. This year the Suffolk Craft Society are mounting two new shows featuring a wide range of crafts - Credit: Dennis Hales

Sarah said: “The Woodbridge Riverside Trust has been upgrading its mezzanine gallery which overlooks the workspace on the ground floor, where the replica of the Sutton Hoo burial ship is taking place.  The Gallery is very spacious, and now glazed and air-conditioned to ensure that any noise and dust from the woodworking is kept out.  We hope to attract those who used to see us in Aldeburgh as well as a raft of new visitors.”  

Jazz for Squares by textile weaver Liz Chester

Jazz for Squares by textile weaver Liz Chester - Credit: Suffolk Craft Society

The spacious mezzanine gallery will provide a different sort of backdrop for a new-look summer show which is being curated to showcase a wide variety of the Society’s contemporary designer makers’ work. 

Xegur side table by furntiure maker Toby Winteringham

Xegur side table by furntiure maker Toby Winteringham - Credit: Suffolk Craft Society

The Longshed is situated near The Tide Mill Museum, along the Riverside Walk. Visitors to the exhibition can also get a view of the work going on to replicate the Sutton Hoo Royal Burial Ship.

“We are looking forward to meeting up with old friends as well as making new relationships with people who, perhaps, haven’t visited our exhibitions before. Snape and Woodbridge offer two very different sites and hopefully people will enjoy getting out and being tempted by some marvellous one-off items. We really do have some amazingly talented craftspeople in the county.”

A mug and saucer by ceramic artist Susie Bruce

A mug and saucer by ceramic artist Susie Bruce - Credit: Suffolk Craft Society

She added that during lockdown the Society has helped provide practical advice and support to craftspeople who may have felt isolated including workshops on how to improve photography skills to promote their work, redesigned the society’s website and have started an online shopping feature.

During lockdown the society have also admitted six new makers and have several more waiting in the wings.

The Suffolk Craft Society Summer Exhibition runs at The Longshed Gallery, Woodbridge, from July 9-25.