SINCE taking the business over last year, it’s been something of a rollercoaster for Crafthouse Gallery owner Claire Fleming.
Claire took over the premises in Coldstream High Street last May, after previously hearing they were up for sale on a chance outing to buy a birthday present for her daughter.
Retiring from her job as a physiotherapist travelling around the Borders, Claire was looking for something to fill her time and she thought the gallery fitted the bill perfectly.
Unfortunately after a fantastic start, with lots of local artists and craftspeople showing a keen interest in exhibiting in the space and some great work on show, Claire’s new venture was dealt a setback.
Like many people in Berwickshire, the winter weather brought bad tidings for Claire, and the heavy snowfall that caused a massive headache for many in the run up to Christmas caused some structural damage to the gallery.
“Once the snow started to melt, I noticed a leak in the roof,” she explained.
“I thought we’d be able to get it sorted within two weeks but when we stripped it back there was rampant dry rot and some asbestos, so there’s been quite a lot of repair work involved.”
After generating something of a buzz in the town, Claire said she’s had to answer a few queries as to why the gallery’s doors were closed and was just relieved to now be able to welcome people’s custom once again.
“It’s been an extremely frustrating few months,” Claire continued.
“I’ve hardly been able to walk down the street without people asking me what’s going on with the gallery.
“Some of the rumours I’ve heard is that it was flooded and that there’d been a gas leak which is strange considering I don’t have gas on the premises!
“I had to keep reminding people that although the gallery was closed the business side of things was still going well and I was working hard.”
Visitors came from far afield to check out the gallery and its contents last summer and Claire said she was hopeful that the lineup for the new exhibition ‘Meet The Maker’ would prove to be a big hit with locals and tourists.
“I trade on the fact that every time people come into the gallery they will see something new.
“Considerable renovations have taken place since Christmas and I’ve now got a bigger display area which means I can have even more fantastic art from local people.
“I specialise in goods made and designed in the Borders and Northumberland and sell these on behalf of the craftspeople.
“I think the region provides a wonderful environment for artists; there’s such a relaxed way of life and a great atmosphere, it’s easy to be stimulated by your surroundings.
“I’m born and bred Berwickshire, from Duns originally, and there is so much untapped artistic talent in our midst - I thought it was my job to showcase it! Going from a bad negative with all the problems to a huge positive with the re-opening I’m hoping for a great season.”