Crafted for Christmas is our annual festive exhibition that takes over our shop and gallery and even our onsite makers’ studios. Crafted for Christmas offers visitors the chance to acquire something truly unique and special, either as gift or for the home; it’s a visual feast for the eyes.
This exhibition is where we support and showcase many more British makers, designers and craftspeople than we usually have space for; while we usually have work by 150-200 makers in our craft shop, for Crafted for Christmas, this increases to almost 400.
Supporting craftspeople is one of our most important charitable aims. Every purchase made in our shop, gallery or online directly supports not only the craftsperson or maker, but it also helps New Brewery Arts to support the wider craft ecology through talent development and other professional opportunities for makers.
We are passionate about hand-crafted objects - they have a special meaning and, as you live with them and use them, you learn about the piece; how they were made, about the material, about the inspiration behind them. While we encourage people to have a go with crafts through our courses and workshops, some people prefer to experience craft through living alongside handmade objects rather than making them.
We have an amazing variety of pieces included in Crafted for Christmas this year; ceramics (both decorative and functional), glass (blown and fused), metal (forged and sculpted), textiles (wearable and domestic), wood, prints, and a wide selection of jewellery in a variety of materials (silver, gold, bronze, acrylic, copper, titanium, glass and others), we also have craft kits to give people an opportunity to have a go themselves.
We’re always on the lookout for amazing work to sell in our shop. But for Crafted for Christmas we start sourcing work in January, 10 months in advance of the start of the show. We look for British made, high-quality work, and we are invariably interested in the story behind the piece and the craftsperson who made it.
We attend trade shows such as the British Craft Trade Fair (Harrogate), visit craft shows such as Contemporary Craft Fair in Bovey Tracey, see makers in their studios, view university shows and regularly visit other galleries and exhibitions.
It’s really important to us that we talk to designers and makers. Some makers contact us to tell us about their work, but principally we source by getting out and about, allowing us to keep a strong eye on mainstream trends, so we know what’s happening generally in the retail industry as well as in the craft sector.
Whenever we choose to take work by a maker or craftsperson we discuss selling prices with them. There’s always a dialogue about how much they need to make for their practice to be sustainable, and how much we need to cover our costs and to give to our charitable work. It’s clear that with online shopping people can choose to shop online elsewhere, or even buy direct from the maker, but we always make sure the price we sell for is the same as that you would pay if were buying directly from the maker; there is always parity of price.
So, when you buy a piece at New Brewery Arts not only are you buying work at a price that supports the maker, but you are also contributing to us as a charity. There aren’t many places where purchasing something handmade can have such a beneficial impact.
We love sourcing work for Crafted for Christmas, and we really hope that people appreciate the quality and love that goes in to each unique piece. I also hope that people see that buying from us contributes to the wider craft sector, and supports New Brewery Arts, makers, designers and craftspeople. More than anything else I would say buy what you love, and buy handmade!