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Stan About Town: Life Begins at 40

Stan About Town: Life Begins at 40

Words by
Stan Graham

The title of the old Sophie Tucker song  seemed very appropriate when I called in at The Craft Centre and Design Gallery for a chat with the manager, Jane Laverty. The Gallery is celebrating its Fortieth Birthday this year, and I am beginning my life as a contributor to Welcome To Leeds.

The Gallery was set up in 1982, obviously, to provide an outlet for new designers and craftspeople in order to kick-start their careers after graduation. In the early days they concentrated on furniture, textiles and large pieces of sculpture but over the years have become more accessible by carrying smaller items such as ceramics and jewellery.

There are seven members of the team, which is run by a Board of Governors with assistance from Leeds Art Gallery, although it is a totally separate entity. Each has their own role but they also act as curators and ‘discover’ artists at various trade shows or by word of mouth.

After surviving lockdown by using social media and other on-line methods to showcase and sell the artefacts, their focus has turned towards celebrating the milestone birthday and examining ways to begin the next forty years and, hopefully, beyond.

The celebrations include exhibitions by Anna Lambert, who is also celebrating her forty years of making ceramics, many of which have been shown here over the years, alongside newbies such as CloD Studios who work in the same medium.

Special events include 40 Years in the Making, and, yet to be announced, an exhibition by celebrated printmaker, Anita Klein called Reflections. There will also be a first for the Gallery in that they are presenting an Alternative Wedding Show with everything you need for the big day, such as wedding bands and accessories, but with a twist.

Further ahead is an expansion of the range of their popular Workshops, with Masterclasses from designers and makers, both at the Gallery and at the artists’ premises.

To join in with the celebrations or to view and purchase something unique, why not go to their website. Better still, pop down in person. It’s under Leeds Art Gallery and open Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am – 5.00pm.

L - R Amy Stringer, Head of Jewellery, Jane Laverty, Manager and Samantha Pickard, Payments Officer and Online Store Supervisor L - R Amy Stringer, Head of Jewellery, Jane Laverty, Manager and Samantha Pickard, Payments Officer and Online Store Supervisor
Wire Sculpture by Emma Bird Wire Sculpture by Emma Bird
Laminated Paper Lights by Hannah Nunn Laminated Paper Lights by Hannah Nunn
Ceramics by New Maker, CloD Studio Ceramics by New Maker, CloD Studio

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