For some time now I have been doing some work as a volunteer with Cranleigh Arts Centre in Surrey. One of my recent projects was the annual art Open exhibition, a project which came with a very short timescale for delivery, but with some hard work it all came together and was a great success – even if I do say so myself (although visitor comments would seem on balance to support this – phew!)
newly repainted and refurbished gallery area at Cranleigh Arts Centre
As the Centre closes for the whole of August when it undergoes maintenance and this year was the turn of the coffee bar which was truthfully looking very tired and dated. The Centre Manager had a vision that the coffee bar should be a funky and vibrant place and should also do more to help promote local artists and from this came the idea of a small outlet selling carefully selected handmade craft items. It fell to me to locate some local-ish artists and makers through the summer, get their stock in and out on display in the amazing and very stylish new bespoke shelving in the coffee bar.
newly refurbished cafe and crafts area at Cranleigh Arts Centre awaiting final dressing out
With the reinvention of the coffee bar as The Art Tea House, now specialising in offering a wide variety of lovely and interesting tea alongside home-baked cakes from the local WI; it became my mission to find high quality and unique craft items to compliment the newly refurbished Front of House area in the Centre.
The Art Tea House at Cranleigh Arts Centre (with its first customers)
With so many amazing and talented artists and makers in the West Sussex/Surrey borders area, I was really spoiled for choice and it was difficult to whittle the choice down. In the end I was lucky to find some of the most beautiful items of jewellery and ceramics, all of a very high quality and individuality in design, and examples of these artists’ work now graces the new shelves and cabinet in the Art Tea House craft outlet, known as “Handmade at Cranleigh”.
some of the beautiful, individual crafts available in the Handmade at Cranleigh craft outlet
The makers currently on sale are:
Textiles: Rebecca-Jane Eco Handbags (www.rebecca-jane.com)
I think these artists make for an interesting and varied selection of high quality goods to suit all pockets; and I am relieved that it is all now up and running. It has been quite intense work these past few weeks, but I am proud of what I have achieved – and even more so as I am only a Volunteer!
The official launch of the Art Tea House and Handmade at Cranleigh craft outlet is on Saturday 6th September between 11am and 1pm. I am excited!