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Summer craft exhibition showcases Suffolk's wealth of creative talent

PUBLISHED: 13:11 14 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:11 14 July 2019

A wide range of unique items, handmade by Suffolk craftspeople, are on show at the Suffolk Craft Society summer exhibition at Peter Pears Gallery, Aldeburgh. This year there is a special focus on furniture design Photo: Dennis Hales

A wide range of unique items, handmade by Suffolk craftspeople, are on show at the Suffolk Craft Society summer exhibition at Peter Pears Gallery, Aldeburgh. This year there is a special focus on furniture design Photo: Dennis Hales

©2019 Dennis Hales

Suffolk Craft Society's summer show is an important fixture in the county's creative calendar. This year's exhibition is more dazzling than ever with an influx of new talent sharing a new perspective

A wide range of unique items, handmade by Suffolk craftspeople, are on show at the Suffolk Craft Society summer exhibition at Peter Pears Gallery, Aldeburgh. This year there is a special focus on furniture design Photo: Dennis HalesA wide range of unique items, handmade by Suffolk craftspeople, are on show at the Suffolk Craft Society summer exhibition at Peter Pears Gallery, Aldeburgh. This year there is a special focus on furniture design Photo: Dennis Hales

Tucked away behind Suffolk's hedgerows, in a plethora of small studios and workshops, a creative army of talented artisans and craftspeople are hard at work throughout the year fashioning a wealth of unique items for our homes.

Glasswork, ceramics, tapestries, prints, silk-work, textiles, carvings, small sculpture, ingenious furniture designs - the result of much of this home-centred industry - will be on display at the Peter Pears Gallery, in Aldeburgh, for the Suffolk Craft Society summer exhibition.

The annual event is a huge shop window for local creative talent and is staffed by the makers themselves and so presents visitors with the opportunity to get to know the people who dream up these innovative designs and gain an insight into how these beautiful items are made.

This year's exhibition showcases the work of 62 of the Society's craft-makers. Alongside many regular and favourite makers, are six newly elected and one returning craftsperson.

A wide range of unique items, handmade by Suffolk craftspeople, are on show at the Suffolk Craft Society summer exhibition at Peter Pears Gallery, Aldeburgh. This year there is a special focus on furniture design Photo: Dennis HalesA wide range of unique items, handmade by Suffolk craftspeople, are on show at the Suffolk Craft Society summer exhibition at Peter Pears Gallery, Aldeburgh. This year there is a special focus on furniture design Photo: Dennis Hales

The society's chair is Sarah Thane who is thrilled with the range and diversity of this year's show and credits an expanding membership, plenty of fresh-blood with new ideas, with keeping everything buzzing.

She says that experienced members can pass on wisdom and tricks of the trade, while younger members do keep the old guard on their toes by questioning them about why do they do things a certain way and what happens if we did it differently? It's all about communication, sharing knowledge and ideas.

"I'm delighted that this year we have more makers participating in the exhibition and such a good blend of the established and the new.

"Janice Holland our new co-ordinator, and the talented teams of makers who design and put the exhibition up, aim to create a fresh and attractive display. We set ourselves high standards and it's always gratifying when visitors express real pleasure at the range and quality of our work.

A wide range of unique items, handmade by Suffolk craftspeople, are on show at the Suffolk Craft Society summer exhibition at Peter Pears Gallery, Aldeburgh. This year there is a special focus on furniture design Photo: Dennis HalesA wide range of unique items, handmade by Suffolk craftspeople, are on show at the Suffolk Craft Society summer exhibition at Peter Pears Gallery, Aldeburgh. This year there is a special focus on furniture design Photo: Dennis Hales

"I think there is always a market for individuality whether it's wearing a different piece of jewellery or adding character or personality to our homes or finding something unique as a gift to give.

"I'm hopeful that the growing negativity about cheap, throw-away clothing and other goods, makes people more appreciative of the time, skill and love that goes into quality hand produced craft."

The goal of the Suffolk Craft Society is to support and promote contemporary designer craft-making in and around Suffolk, celebrating the skills involved in the concept and execution of many types of craftwork. The vast majority of the makers have studied, gained qualifications and perfected their craft over many years, and they seek to innovate in the design, techniques and the materials they use.

Pru Green, the renowned ceramic artist who ran the Sentinel Gallery in Wivenhoe, has returned to the SCS and her son Simon, an innovative ceramicist and new member, are both exhibiting. Both produce highly colourful and attractive work, Simon regarding his ceramics as three-dimensional canvases on which to paint.

Nicola Coe, a printmaker from Hasketon, is another newcomer member, working in both two-and three-dimensions using paper, natural inks, rainwater and found objects. Her work is highly innovative and inspired by her garden and love of nature.

Terry Bryan is a printmaker and graphic artist working in Great Dunmow. Following a career in graphic design, he studied traditional fine art printmaking. His contemporary prints are created using different mediums of etching and monotype and collograph.

Two new woodworking makers have contrasting styles and focus. Simon Turner, based in Yoxford, creates sea and landscapes from wooden panels and acrylic paint, and small sculpture using local timbers while Jon Warnes, from Great Glemham, carves and turns wooden bowls, vessels and utensils but also creates a range of indoor and outdoor furniture.

Sara Barker creates jewellery out of silver and nylon, and enamelled silver, aiming for clarity and purity of line. While loving the light and open spaces of East Anglia, it is towns and cityscapes that provide much of her inspiration for sketching and making.

Diane Levitt, who lives and works in Constable Country, is a silversmith and jeweller inspired in line and shape by nature who likes to incorporate recycled and ethically sourced materials in her work.

In addition to these new makers, there will be a focus on some of the Society's outstanding furniture makers this year. These makers often earn their living largely through commissions, but their work is so inspiring that the Society is putting together a varied display as part of the main exhibition.

Several of honorary members will be showing their work, including founder member and versatile ceramicist John Chipperfield.

For Sarah Thane it is no surprise that such a concentration of creativity can be found in the rural heart of the county. "Suffolk is an ideal place for craft-makers in many disciplines as they draw such inspiration from their surroundings"

The Suffolk Craft Society Summer Exhibition is at the Peter Pears Gallery, High Street, Aldeburgh, until Bank Holiday Monday, August 26, from 10am - 5pm. Admission free.

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