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Suffolk People, Talking To…

6 St Johns Street Bury St Edmunds Suffolk IP33 1SQ

01449 736913

JaneCrickJane Crick is a Suffolk based artist whose bright and breezy designs are inspired by her love of nature and the countryside and coastline that is on her doorstep.  She runs a successful business designing a range of greetings cards, stationery and giftwrap, all printed locally in Suffolk and she also designs bespoke giftware and undertakes commissions.

As if that didn’t keep her busy enough, she has set up a business in Bury St Edmunds to raise the profile of East Anglian artists and is the proud owner of The Handmade Shop & Gallery.

It’s a big leap to go from being a freelance artist, to setting up a shop and gallery to sell your own and other artists’ work; what was the inspiration behind that decision?

I belong to a group of Suffolk-based artists and crafts people called The March Hare Collective. We meet regularly in The Apex in Bury St Edmunds for pop-up fairs.

We had often chatted about the possibility of opening a shop together, so when an opportunity came up at No 6 St Johns Street, adjoining my friend and neighbour Maria Broadbent at Cafe Del Mar, it seemed a ideal opportunity!  St John’s Street is full of friendly, independent shops – it’s the perfect place for us to be.

At The Handmade Shop & Gallery the artists themselves volunteer to take turns behind the counter, so everyone who serves our customers, knows a lot about all the items, how they were made and who by.

We offer customers a rare opportunity to buy local handmade goods direct from the designer makers in a retail environment.

Did you specifically look for artisans making a diverse range of products?

Yes, I have known most of the artists for a long time, and I know their work extremely well.

There is a wide and varied selection of original handmade work, including original prints, textiles, glass, paintings, silver and gemstone jewellery, together with greetings cards and giftwrap – it really is a one-stop shop to find perfectly unique pieces in the heart of Bury St Edmunds.

Are you looking for more people to join the collective and how do you choose which products to stock?

At the moment we have enough members – if and when space becomes available we will look at all applicants to see who would complement the group as a whole.

We hope to have guest artists from time to time – this will be an opportunity for other March Hare Collective members and East Anglian artists to get involved.

How would you like to see your business develop in the next year or so?

I would like us to be regarded as one of the most vibrant and creative places to shop in East Anglia.

What are the most popular products that you sell?

It’s right across the board really – all of our artists sell very well. Many have built up a large following and good reputation as makers. The jewellery does sell extremely well.

What’s your ‘most memorable moment’ relating to your business?

We have such lovely customers in The Handmade Shop & Gallery. One weekend the town was hosting a twinning exchange visit from residents of Compiègne in France, so we had lots of French visitors who we practiced our French speaking skills on – and vice versa! One of our artists is also a language translator so we had a lot of fun! On the same day we had another customer all dressed up in his best ‘bib and tucker’. It turned out he was a tenor who was appearing in a concert later – and he serenaded us with a whole song. It was magical!

What three things do you like most about living and working in Suffolk?

I love the wide open countryside – with it’s big skies, farmland and coast.
I love the friendly people and the pace of living here – not busy city bustle but not too sleepy either!
I love Bury St Edmunds – it’s heritage, the Cathedral, the beautiful Abbey Gardens and the market.

I think myself very lucky to live and work in such a beautiful county.

Where is your favourite place to eat in Suffolk?

Cafe Del Mar at No 7 St Johns Street, of course – the seafood is amazing!

Where is your favourite place to go for a walk in Suffolk?

Just down the road from where I live in Felsham is Bradfield Woods – when there is a fresh fall of snow there is no better place for a stroll.

What is your favourite Suffolk event of the year and why?

As a child I visited The Suffolk Show every year with my family – we always got dressed up and spent the whole day there. I still love looking around all the livestock tents – but unfortunately I don’t get to go every year now.

What’s your favourite Suffolk tipple?

Bacchus from Wyken Vineyards, sipped outside on their restaurant terrace on a summer’s day awaiting a delicious salad. Perfect!

Most fun fact about yourself?

That’s a difficult question to answer… I am known for my loud, crazy laugh. One friend found the shop in St Johns Street entirely by accident because she heard it and recognised it half way up the road!

Thought for the day/philosophy on life?

I believe opportunities present themselves for a reason – take one day at a time, deal with one piece of the puzzle at a time. Eventually you’ll be able to look back at the project as a whole and hopefully be pleasantly surprised at your achievements!


3 The Handmade Gift Shop and Gallery, Bury St Edmunds, SuffolkThank you to Jane for taking time out of a very busy schedule to talk to us. Do pop into the The Handmade Shop & Gallery and pick up a lovely, handmade souvenir of your visit to Suffolk.

To view more of Jane’s lovely work, please visit her website.

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