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The Arter at Hall's Croft
The Arter, a shop specialising in hand-made arts and crafts by local contemporary designer-makers, has found a new home at Hall’s Croft in Stratford-upon-Avon.
01 June 2012
As part of a drive to support local creative talent and community groups, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has teamed up with The Arter’s owners to create a distinctive new shopping experience in the elegant Jacobean mansion where Shakespeare’s daughter Susannah lived.
The Arter stocks beautifully crafted original pieces including knitted silver wire jewellery, glamorous millinery, colourful ceramics, modern textiles and upcycled accessories. With its suppliers ranging from the internationally exhibited ceramic artist Rosamonde Ingram, to young silk screen printer Stephanie Cole, voted as one of Channel 4’s top 10 makers to watch in 2012, the shop is full of one-off treasures to tempt all tastes and pockets.
Current best-sellers include pots by Jenny Knight, who trained at Leamington Spa and Colchester, then worked for Poterie deBourzolles in Dordogne and at Whichford Pottery in the Cotswolds before setting up from her own workshop in Blockley. Also in stock are exquisite hats by Louise Pocock, who works as a gallery owner, art consultant and bespoke milliner as well as teaching and running online courses at the fashion college where she trained, Inkberrow Design Centre. Robin Wade, who runs Warwickshire arts charity Escape: Community Arts in Action, supplies delicately painted vases, tiles and jewellery formed in clay. (Click here for biographies of The Arter's artists.)
The Arter started as a National Trust creative retail project in 2011, showcasing the work of 15 of the best artists and craftspeople in Stratford and the surrounding region. When funding cuts led to the closure of its premises in Stratford’s town centre, project manager Rachael Hand and sales manager Paula Auchincloss determined to save their unique business. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the charity which cares for the five Shakespeare Houses & Gardens in Stratford-upon-Avon, stepped into the breach with the offer of a lease on the former gift shop at Hall’s Croft, and the budding entrepreneurs opened The Arter there in time for the annual Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations on 21 April.
Sue Croxford, Head of Retail at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust said, “This is an exciting new retail experiment for us. Following the expansion of our main gift and book shop next to Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Henley Street, we wanted to do something different with the retail space at Hall’s Croft. We are developing Hall’s Croft as a hub for creative and performance arts, so we were delighted to team up with Paula and Rachael, whose business is dedicated to promoting and selling the work of local artists and craftspeople. We are looking forward to working together to run workshops and other events with The Arter’s suppliers, making full use of our lovely cafe which recently re-opened at Hall’s Croft. We are also inviting other community groups to get in touch to discuss any ideas for creative activities at Hall’s Croft.”
Paula Auchincloss, co-owner of The Arter said, “We are thrilled with our new ‘home of handmade’ at Hall’s Croft. The grand 17th century house provides a fantastic foil for displaying our hand-picked selection of contemporary arts and crafts. The new shop is proving a hit both with our loyal regular customers and with visitors who are keen to take home highly individual, well-crafted things that they simply won’t find anywhere else.”
The Arter, and the newly refurbished Hall’s Croft cafe which also showcases artworks for sale, provide a welcome stopping point on the popular ‘cradle to grave’ route between Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Holy Trinity Church, in the tranquil Old Town quarter just a short stroll from Stratford town centre.
For further information please contact:
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
T: 01789 207134
M: 07887 661770
The Arter’s owners
Paula Auchincloss was Head of Training for Kenneth Green Associates and worked within L’Oreal for many years prior to that. She moved to Shipston-on-Stour from London with her son Rory in 2006 and they have settled happily into their Warwickshire home.
Rachael Hand started out as an arts education manager in Birmingham, running community projects & live performances for many years, and now lives in the beautiful grounds of Hidcote Manor Garden in Gloucestershire.