Artists and artisan crafters from across the county now have a new home thanks to the launch this week of a dedicated independent shop, Shrewsbury Arts and Crafts.
The brainchild of Shrewsbury-based entrepreneur Jessica Richards, the craft emporium in Windsor Place in the town is now home to over 30 individual producers, flying the flag for local creative talent.
“When I realised the costs of running a shop like this, I put out a post on Facebook to see if anyone else might wish to share the space and was absolutely bowled over by the positive feedback and interest” explained Jessica.
“Seeing how much talent there is locally, but also how many barriers there are for small and start-up artists and crafters to trade, made me determined to make a real success of this enterprise and provide each with a dedicated space to showcase their wares.”
Based from a family-owned property, Perches House, the shop stocks handmade and original items from local producers across disciplines as diverse as interior design, silversmithing, printmaking, painting, childrens’ clothing, papercutting, and natural soap and candle making.
“This really is the ultimate Aladdin’s Cave of beautiful items, and because each and every one is made by an individual I like to think they’re all full of love too” Jessica added. “In an age where we all seem to be moving away from the faceless and nameless conglomerates, I’m hoping that the shop becomes a real draw for those seeking something a little more special.”
Amongst the artists in residence are printmaker Shelley Wingrove and her granddaughter Molly Wingrove. Inspired by the beauty of the natural world around her home on Wenlock Edge, Shelley’s business Little Black Mare is named for her rescue Shetland pony, while 16-year-old Thomas Telford pupil Molly launched her own cake topper business over the summer to support her business studies course and to earn her first wage.
“It’s a hugely exciting project to be part of” explained Shelley, “and I’m beyond proud to be able to share space with such talented artists and artisan producers – especially so my lovely granddaughter Molly.”
Textile Artist Louise Spencer is showing her range of woollen, silk and bamboo felted wall hangings, pictures and wearable art, all inspired by her love of travel and nature.
She added “Without Jessica’s vision we would never have had the opportunity to come together and to have the profile – and access to the footfall – that we do. It’s a hugely exciting week for us and we’re looking forward to welcoming lots of visitors across the coming Bank Holiday weekend.”
“People keep thanking me but it’s me that should be thanking them.” Jessica concluded. “Without the hugely talented artists and crafters who’ve joined us we’d certainly not be able to make this all happen. We’re all very excited about the weeks and months ahead, and hope to soon become a must-visit destination for shoppers across the town.”