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Crafts are on the rise: be inspired by Suffolk’s craft-makers

PUBLISHED: 18:43 22 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:20 27 July 2020

Suffolk Craft Society celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with an online exhibition which serves to inspire Suffolk's growing number of hobbyist craft-makers  Photo: Dennis Hales

Suffolk Craft Society celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with an online exhibition which serves to inspire Suffolk's growing number of hobbyist craft-makers Photo: Dennis Hales

©2019 Dennis Hales

Craft-making has really taken off during lockdown, building on an increasing popularity in recent years. Hobbyists can gain inspiration from visiting Suffolk Craft Society’s 50th anniversary show online or by talking to makers at a series of pop-up events in Aldeburgh during August

Sally Dunham's sculpture Seals. Sally will be taking part in the Suffolk Craft Society's Pop-Up Markets at the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh during August  Photo: Suffolk Craft SocietySally Dunham's sculpture Seals. Sally will be taking part in the Suffolk Craft Society's Pop-Up Markets at the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh during August Photo: Suffolk Craft Society

It started with knitting, then embroidery – remember those nattily named ‘Stitch and Bitch’ sessions that cropped up in libraries, community centres and coffee shops? – then crochet became ‘a thing’ and now it’s quilting.

Carpentry disguised as DIY has also made a bit of a comeback in recent months if Facebook and Twitter posts are to be believed. Craft-making is the in-thing again. As daily life has become ever-more focused on technology, people have been seeking ways to reconnect with ‘the real world’.

Tapping into your creativity, developing skills and using your hands to make unique, practical objects that also works of art is deeply satisfying, particularly in a world which is becoming increasingly digital and virtual.

The recent lockdown because of the Coronavirus pandemic has afforded people the time to adopt new hobbies and become increasingly proficient. There is something rewarding in making something from scratch, learning how to improve processes and experimenting with design – particularly with how it impacts on practicality.

Mary Wyatt's Grebe sculpture. Mary will be taking part in the Suffolk Craft Society's Pop-Up Markets at the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh during August  Photo: Suffolk Craft SocietyMary Wyatt's Grebe sculpture. Mary will be taking part in the Suffolk Craft Society's Pop-Up Markets at the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh during August Photo: Suffolk Craft Society

According to a recent survey published on craft website Where Inspiration Blooms the top trends for 2020 are pottery – inspired by TV’s The Great Pottery Throwdown and high street pottery cafes where people can make and decorate their first cups and bowls before committing to a new hobby; various Japanese crafts such as Furoshiki, the Japanese art of stylish gift-wrapping, using beautiful fabrics which can then be reused; the eco-craft of Sashiko – the art of hand stitching geometric patterns to reinforce a piece of clothing or fabric; then there is Shibori – a resist dyeing technique that allows you to create really interesting patterns on indigo dyed fabric.

Dyeing is also very ‘on trend’ at the moment, particularly using natural dyes taken from plants that have been foraged from sustainable woodland. Weaving is also starting to take off with people making everything from scarves to wall hangings.

Stained glass mosaics are increasing in popularity, which can be combined with that other eco-hobby gaining ground, making sculptures out of driftwood, discarded plastic and all manner of found objects – both natural and man-made.

While, the boom in craft-making as hobby is to be celebrated – every hobbyist needs something to aspire to and be inspired by – which is why a visit to Suffolk Craft Society’s online summer exhibition or one of their pop-shows in August would be well worth while.

Annette Rolston's Starlight Woman screenprint. Annette will be taking part in the Suffolk Craft Society's Pop-Up Markets at the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh during August  Photo: Suffolk Craft SocietyAnnette Rolston's Starlight Woman screenprint. Annette will be taking part in the Suffolk Craft Society's Pop-Up Markets at the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh during August Photo: Suffolk Craft Society

Sarah Thane, chair of the Suffolk Craft Society, said that big plans to mark the organisation’s 50th birthday have had to be put on hold but creative minds have turned their annual summer exhibition into an online showcase which brilliantly illustrates the breadth of professional talent in Suffolk.

Sarah said: “So many plans shelved – a new spring show at the Guildhall in Bury, the six-week curated Exhibition at the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh, a big celebratory party on the night before that was due to open in the Snape Maltings Concert Hall restaurant – but hey-ho, we move on.

“Instead, we are launching a Virtual Summer Exhibition on the day the Aldeburgh show was due to open, running from mid July until August Bank Holiday Monday. Around 50 makers have submitted images of the work they had planned for Aldeburgh, so we hope that at least some of our usual 6,000 plus visitors may take a look at that and contact makers in whom they’re interested.

“We are also planning to run three consecutive weeks of “ Pop-Up Markets” in the Peter Pears Gallery, seven makers a week, from August 7 – 31. This is a major departure for us. We couldn’t think of a way to make the usual Exhibition work with social distancing, especially the setting up with all our staging and equipment being hauled up those stairs.

Sally Dunham's sculpture I'm Listening. Sally will be taking part in the Suffolk Craft Society's Pop-Up Markets at the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh during August  Photo: Suffolk Craft SocietySally Dunham's sculpture I'm Listening. Sally will be taking part in the Suffolk Craft Society's Pop-Up Markets at the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh during August Photo: Suffolk Craft Society

“However 21 of our makers are up for appearing at our pop-up markets displaying work across a range of craft disciplines. August will be special with three consecutive one-week pop-up markets, featuring changing groups of printmakers, jewellers, woodworkers and ceramicists.

“With only seven per week, we can make the Gallery welcoming and safe for all. It will be a chance to enjoy and buy the work of some of the Society’s talented designer makers, and to meet and chat with them. After months of not being able to show their new work, our makers look forward to welcoming you in this light and spacious gallery.”

Thursdays are being kept as a change over day which will also allow for a thorough deep clean of the gallery space.

Suffolk Craft Society Pop Up Markets will run at Peter Pears Gallery, High Street, Aldeburgh from 10am – 5pm, August 6-26. Credit and debit cards only. Chairlift is available. You can visit the online exhibition and get extra details of the pop-up markets at the Suffolk Craft Society website www.suffolkcraftsociety.org

Susie Bruce's Cockerels artwork. Susie will be taking part in the Suffolk Craft Society's Pop-Up Markets at the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh during August  Photo: Suffolk Craft SocietySusie Bruce's Cockerels artwork. Susie will be taking part in the Suffolk Craft Society's Pop-Up Markets at the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh during August Photo: Suffolk Craft Society

Pop-Up Market Schedule

Week 1: August 6 – 12

Sara Barker – Jewellery

Annette Rolsto and Mike Fenton's Bees and Flowers shade. Annette and Mike will be taking part in the Suffolk Craft Society's Pop-Up Markets at the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh during August  Photo: Suffolk Craft SocietyAnnette Rolsto and Mike Fenton's Bees and Flowers shade. Annette and Mike will be taking part in the Suffolk Craft Society's Pop-Up Markets at the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh during August Photo: Suffolk Craft Society

Annabel Ridley - Printmaking

You may also want to watch:

Noreen Grant – Bookbinding

Pru Green – Ceramics

Simon Sharp – Ceramics

Jon Warnes – Woodworking

Mary Wyatt – Ceramics

Week 2: August 13 – 19

Sue Bruce – Ceramics +Printmaking

Liz Chester – Textiles

Danielle Wade– Textiles

Susi Hines – Jewellery

Sally Dunham – Ceramics

Emma Buckmaster – Prints

Simon Turner – Woodworking

Week 3: August 20 – 26

Caroline Fish – Ceramics

Clare Gaylard – Glass

Jenny Nutbeem– Textiles

Annette Rolston & Mike Fenton – Printmaking

Ruth Holt – Textiles

Terry Bryan – Printmaking

Kate Reynolds – Ceramics


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