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Village Art & Literature

Textiles and much more

Posted on January 20 2013 at 2:58:38 0 comments

Jenny Mann pet portrait

Hopwood-based artist Paula Hamilton visits Inkberrow Design Centre.

I feel as though I have just come back from visiting a Craft Village! In point of fact I have visited only one venue and that was Inkberrow Design Centre (IDC). It is the most unexpected place and a very exciting one, right in the middle of Redditch.

Brenda Killigrew, the dynamic owner and founder of IDC, which is housed appropriately in the Old Needle Works, has been in the business of designing and organising creative courses for quite some time, and is ably assisted by a very enthusiastic staff.

Opening in 1992, the Centre worked hard to establish itself as a City and Guilds centre of excellence by 1997 and has been successfully running C & G, as well as recreational courses, in fashion and textiles ever since.

I started my tour of IDC by visiting a group of artists and designers who have their working studios and retail outlets there.

In her spacious studio/shop I met local artist Jenny Mann, of Mann Made Art, who paints excellent portraits and pet portraits like the one above. She takes commissions as well as selling from her stock of canvases. I’m very tempted to have my own dog given the Mann Made treatment! .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Laura Auburn of Auburn Grace has a colourful design studio close by, where she cuts and stitches vintage-style garments for special occasions using eco-friendly materials wherever possible. Think 60s influence and glam garments with a similar feel to those in BBC’s The Hour. Each design is unique or limited to two or three only, ensuring the wearer has a dress that is all their own.

Samantha Quigley, who recently graduated in Fine Art, was working on a figurative piece when I stopped for a chat and to have a look at her workplace. Using an asymmetric canvas, strong colour and an interestingly naïve style, Sam creates thought-provoking work and is a promising young artist who is definitely worth a visit.

You can see Sam’s painting and photos at

Next there’s jeweller Marie Frascina in her newly-refurbished studio/shop/workshop, by which I mean that Marie makes and sells her lovely bespoke pieces, sells the materials for others to make their own jewellery, and runs workshops to pass on her skills.

Materials used include gemstones, glass, shell, leather, wire and silver; much of this is also for sale on Marie’s website. Have a look on

I loved Louise Pocock’s hats. She is a milliner who teaches at IDC as well as selling her amazing creations and taking commissions. On the day I visited, Louise had a small class of students who were working on cloche hats and trilbies and she was helping them to steam the hats into shape.

Some of the hats were very Downton Abbey and much of Louise’s work seems to fuse vintage with contemporary ideas.

How great to be able to stop for a cuppa at this point! There’s The Crafty Café, run by three crafty sisters, where you can select your favourite cup for a tea or coffee with optional delicious homemade cake.

And while you are relaxing in the coffee shop, you can bring your own craft project in to work on. The sisters also run classes in beading, spinning, drawing and painting and making “sock monkeys”.

If you have decided that 2013 is going to be the year you learn a new skill or hobby, there are so many inspiring courses to choose from at IDC. Courses include Felt-making, Fashion Design, Patchwork & Quilting and even Corsetry – at any level and from a couple of hours to full-time.

And if you fancy a fab week’s holiday in Spain while indulging in your favourite craft, this is also on offer. 

Oh, and did I mention that there is a haberdashery and wool store where Knit & Chat classes happen; a furniture restorer next door and that Craft Fairs take place on the third Saturday of each month? I could go on!

Visit the designers and artists, go to a Craft Fair, sign up for a course or just go and enjoy a coffee and chat in stimulating surroundings. Happy New Year!

Inkberrow Design Centre, Britten Street, Redditch B97 6HD; Tel: 01527 69100

Please get in touch if you would like me to write about an art event near you. Contact me via The Village or at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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