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Need inspiration on what gifts to buy this festive season? Gallery Development Manager, Shelley Mullane, gives you a few ideas in this week's blog.  

Part of my role here at Jerwood Gallery has been to develop the gallery shop and as any retailer knows you have to start thinking about Christmas in the height of summer, which often gets strange looks from your colleagues.

I live in the Old Town and I am thrilled that there are so many fabulous shops in Hastings and St Leonards to visit when looking for presents with a great variety of products. In the gallery shop we stock a bespoke range of gifts, eco-friendly Jerwood Gallery stationery, artist supplies and a good selection of art-related books.

One of my favourite parts of developing the gallery shop has been getting together with artists, designers and makers. Their inspirational ideas are so refreshing and it’s exciting to experience the germination of a new product and see it through to the end result on the shop shelves.

A range I’ve worked on this year is with the designer Andy Tuohy, who took inspiration from our unique location on the Stade to produce a distinct design to use on a tea towel, mug and tote bag. In an interview he described how he ‘drew on the shapes of the painted fishing boat hulls utilising the pastel Jerwood brand colours’. We were thrilled with the modern design and our visitors love the design, colours and products.

I was also lucky enough to work on the Quentin Blake products for our summer drawing festival. Quentin’s illustrations for the exhibition were so rooted in the local area and the Jerwood Collection and we will continue to stock all the products we designed for the show including a poster, greeting card, tea towel and notebook. Quentin was a real sport and even modelled one of our bags for the opening of the exhibition!

There are also some great products out there that fit really well with the gallery’s environmental ethos. We work with locally-based Seawhites of Brighton to produce our quality sketchbooks and they also provide many of our artist supplies like wooden easels, paints and charcoals.

Zincwhite is another eco-conscious company we are proud to work with. They are an upcycling project based in Huddersfield, who design and handcraft contemporary jewellery using recycled Derwent colouring pencils. The pieces are fun, colourful and very popular with young and old visitors alike.

One of my favourite projects has been the beautiful ceramic range from Anne Barrell, inspired by the work of the artist Alfred Wallis. Each piece is unique and Anne’s use of colour and techniques make each item really special.

If you are looking for stocking filler ideas our From My Window at Ditchling range is ideal. These affordable, stylish little items are popular as take home gifts. The range includes a fridge magnet, lens cloth and pocket mirror. Perfect for slipping into a festive stocking.

The latest Little Hastings Fish Cook Book by three St Leonards locals, Sally and Stewart Walton and Debi Angel, has just hit the shelves here at the gallery last week. The book includes many wonderfully locally sourced and personal recipes, stunning illustrations and most importantly it encourages people to buy locally caught fish. This is their third book, it’s bigger and bang up to date and has already been very popular in the shop.

Our shop is open whenever the gallery is and you can just visit the shop if you haven’t time to look round the gallery. We’re a not for profit organisation so any funds made through sales, go straight back into the running of the gallery. Our staff are extremely knowledgeable about our product ranges and enjoy helping to solve shopping dilemmas, especially where presents are concerned.

Christmas isn’t all about the presents, so with that in mind I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2015!

12 December, 2014
Written by Shelley Mullane