Operating Gallery 2 for a decade through some turbulent economic times and through many changes within the venue is an achievement to be proud of. Over 100 Suffolk Craft Society members, along with local amateur makers, visiting designers from further afield and new graduates have had the opportunity to exhibit their work and make sales in the calm and airy gallery space curated by Gallery Manager, Sarah Young, for the last decade. 
When Gallery 2 opened to the public in 2006, the Visual Arts Ipswich department, run by Ipswich Borough Council, was curating a changing programme of contemporary art in Gallery 1. Ipswich Museum Services were curating Gallery 3 upstairs but nothing stays the same for long! Gallery 1 is now run by Town and Tea as a creative café venue, while Gallery 3 is hired out by various local arts groups. 
The opportunity for exhibitions and sales in Gallery 2 has been a bonus for many Suffolk Craft Society members over the last decade. Gallery 2 has been invaluable to introduce and showcase the Suffolk Craft Society’s newest members, whether they be established professionals, or the 14 new graduates welcomed through the Making It initiative. Making It is a Suffolk Craft Society initiative offering recent graduates with a Suffolk connection the opportunity of support in bridging the gap between education and the market place with a two year period of membership, providing access to exhibition and gallery selling opportunities as well as a supportive network of fellow professional makers. Some Making It members had studied locally and aimed to stay locally to set up a business and others had been away to London or further for study but returned to Suffolk to set up a professional studio. 
Sarah Young has a keen eye for new design talent and often invited guest exhibitors to come to Ipswich to exhibit amongst our local artisans. Memorable exhibitors include Claire Loder from Bath with her amazing ceramic heads and Fine Cell Work, a social enterprise that trains prisoners in needlework skills, exhibiting beautiful textiles. Sarah has also curated an exhibition of hand crafted furniture and another one of musical instruments in Gallery 2. 
In 2013 and 2014 Gallery 2 hosted Open Craft Exhibitions with the aim to engage and connect with local makers who may aspire to joining this highly regarded Society of crafts people. Approximately 40 local makers took part. 
The Suffolk Craft Society is very grateful to the many regular customers and supporters of Gallery 2 over the last decade. The group will continue to promote and support their makers through the year, with exhibiting opportunities around the county, the main annual focus being the Summer Exhibition in Aldeburgh during July and August. They are interested in discovering new venues to set up professional exhibitions or for showcase areas to sell and promote their makers work. 
If you are interested to find out what the Suffolk Craft Society does next, do connect via Facebook, Twitter or join their email or postal mailing lists. There is a busy and sociable Friends association who enjoy demonstrations and studio visits through the year. You can find details on how to join the Friends of the Suffolk Craft Society here. 
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