June 24, 2022 12:30 PM
It has been a big 365 days for Suffolk’s smallest commercial art gallery as it marks its first year in business.
Come Hither Gallery, in Holbrook, is only 2m wide and 4m long – smaller than a typical parking space.
Originally intended to be a garden room, owner Lisa Thomas opened it as a gallery to help enhance her own well-being and maintain creativity during lockdown.
Ms Thomas said: “Preparing the garden room helped me to clear my mind and focus on making something good and colorful during the pandemic. The gallery idea soon emerged, and it just took off, very quickly becoming popular with visitors and more successful than I’d ever expected.
“Being here always makes me feel a bit smiley! It’s nice when people visit, and they seem excited to be here too. I like helping people with anything art related.
“We enjoy conversation while they are exploring the gallery and often, I can help with advice on artists they might enjoy, if they are looking for a specific kind of art, or if they want a unique commission.”
Since then, the art gallery has attracted hundreds of visitors, becoming a ‘hidden gem’ on Suffolk’s cultural tourism trail.
This summer, the business is launching a new sculpture garden, featuring four very well-established artists, each with their own unique style and methods.
In addition, a garden party will take place on Saturday, June 25, for the artists and VIP customers who have supported the gallery in its first year of business.
Then on Sunday, June 26, the gallery will be hosting an open day for local visitors. Members of the public can visit the Ipswich Road gallery from 10am to 5pm.
The visitors can not only admire, but also touch the work of Dale Devereux Barker, Patrick Elder, Kate Reynolds and Zoe Rubens.
Ms Thomas said that her ambition is to make Come Hither Gallery Suffolk’s answer to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, but in miniature.
Visitors on Trip Advisor have written about the gallery as a “much-needed ray of sunshine after the dark days of Covid”, commending the warmth of the welcome they received from the owner, and the surprisingly wide range of art, prints, jewellery, enamels, and ceramics on sale, noting among them some very well-known artists with East Anglian connections.
To show solidarity and support for Ukrainian refugees arriving in Suffolk, Ms Thomas will donate 10% of every sale made during the birthday weekend to the not-for-profit organization Suffolk Refugee Support.