The Suffolk Craft Society was formed in 1970 to promote the value and importance of contemporary crafts and to support individual craftspeople in the creation of their work. The Society supports around 90 makers with a wide variety of craft skills.
The overriding aims of the Society are: To promote good design and fine workmanship in the crafts, To advance the careers of the Society’s craft makers, To recruit new makers who demonstrate excellence in their craft, To promote the education and training of craft workers, To inform and educate the public about the crafts.
For many years the Society was best known for the summer exhibition of its makers' work that took place in Aldeburgh each year. More recently we have found a new venue for the summer at the Longshed Gallery in Woodbridge, and later in the year at the Guildhall in Bury St Edmunds, opening us up to a wider audience.
The Society also seeks to promote and encourage the purchase of makers' work through its website and imaginative use of social media.
The Society has relied on a few dedicated makers and friends supported by a voluntary committee to organise and run the Society. Makers are expected as part of their membership to offer some stewarding days for exhibitions. Where necessary the committee authorises fees to makers or freelances to organise, mount and supervise exhibitions, and also for some regular financial and secretarial assistance.
Our current personnel: Patron - Trevor Pickett | Chair - Juliet Bowmaker | Vice Chair - Liz Chester | Treasurer - Nicci Dedman Secretary - Sarah Woodcock | Friends Secretary - Paul Simmons
Membership Co-ordinator - Ruth Holt | Webmaster - Diane Levitt
Other Committee members - Alison Dane | Marie Mallen | Mary Anstee-Parry | Helen Maxfield
Non Committee members - Social Media Co-ordinator - Clare Gaylard
The overiding value of membership is being part of a network of shared interests and commitment. The Society seeks to enhance maker's status in the cultural sector and to share their experience with other makers and find a sympathetic audience to show their endeavours. A more tangible benefit is one of promoting and marketing makers' work while supporting the development of their creative work.
Members are invited to take part in our exhibitions across the year and have an entry in the Makers Directory on the website. Their work is also featured in our social media posts. The society seeks encourage the commissioning of craftwork by its makers.
Society newsletters are produced regularly for makers (and for the wider public and SCS Friends) to keep all those interested informed of what we and our makers are doing.
Education lies at the heart of the Society’s aims. It is seen as a vital part of our public communications and our exhibitions including our virtual shows, our website and social media posts and our physical exhibitions and events. The Society’s ‘Meet the Maker’ shows have a particular educational and informative component.
In terms of more focussed education many of our makers hold formal teaching appointments as part of their portfolios, others provide workshops or classes on a less formal basis.
In the past the Society has arranged hands-on workshops led by invited makers. Also, in partnership with the school, it developed a programme of studio visits for design scholars at Framlingham College. This scheme is seen as a template for future collaborations with schools and colleges.