A home for a great arts and crafts tradition

In a region of inspirational landscapes and deep rooted traditions it is easy to understand why the creative spirit burns brightly in the Borders.

Northumberland and the Scottish Borders boasts one of the most diverse arts and crafts sectors anywhere in the UK, with centres based in its historic towns and tucked away down quiet country roads.

Studios and workshops of artists, sculptors, jewellery makers, bespoke furniture makers, potters, textile and glass makers dot the landscape throughout the region, and most have a welcome sing outside inviting people to call in and see what’s going on. Denise Playfair (above) runs the Vennel Gallery in Kelso and specialises in painting horses.

Over the summer months visitors can follow the Northumberland Art Tour where more than 100 artists across the county open their doors June and July. Further information  is available at www.visitnorthumberland.com

Into autumn and you can join the Crossing Borders Art Trail, a three-day break that links the arts and crafts community across the Scottish English Border. More at www.crossing-borders.co.uk

The Crafters in Melrose is a co-operative of Borders artists and designers, with guest exhibitors from the Borders and further afield.

Down the road just outside Jedburgh, the Harestanes visitor centre is linked to a Craft Courtyard of businesses where you’ll find contemporary jewellery, Cuero Handbag Designs (above), Elizabeth Elliott Ceramics (shown left),  fibre arts and art and tile makers.

A near neighbour is the Buy Design Gallery that is a showcase for quality art and crafts.

And there’s plenty for those looking for antiques and collectables with most towns having two or three resident antiques and curio shops.

The former Alnwick railway station is now a famous second hand book store, Barter Books – a destination for booklovers the world over.

Many of the great places to visit across the county have shops that stock the work of our local artists, bespoke designers and makers. Try The Barn at Beal, not only for its phenomenal views of Lindisfarne but also the paintings and photography of local landscapes and wildlife.

Explore the Borders will be featuring individual profiles of some of the finest examples of arts and crafts in the region and signposting visitors who are on the collectables trail as we develop an Arts and Crafts and Collectables directory.

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