Celebrate 20 Years of The Biscuit Factory this Winter
The Newcastle art gallery, the largest independent commercial gallery in the UK, celebrates its 20th anniversary this November
For 20 years The Biscuit Factory has showcased the work of hundreds of independent artists, exhibiting thousands of pieces. From established artists whose careers span several decades, to new and emerging talent; the sheer scale of the space and the reputation of the gallery attracts creatives from all disciplines throughout the UK and beyond.
Although vast in stature, The Biscuit Factory’s cogs are turned by a small and friendly team who work hard to make the gallery a welcoming place to visit. The relaxed atmosphere allows you to browse the huge collections – of everything from original paintings to handcrafted jewellery, sculpture, textiles, homeware and furniture – at your own pace. ‘We’ve found over the years,’ says General Manager, Rachel Brown, ‘that allowing clients to take the time to fully absorb the exhibits in their own time helps them to find the pieces that truly connect with them. Something that is so important when choosing a piece of art for your home.’
Over the past two decades those choices have been many and varied; the pieces of original artwork sold innumerable; the reach of the gallery’s reputation now international, with items frequently shipped to Europe, America and beyond, while the diversification of the curatorial approach keeps local clients returning again and again. ‘We’ve built so many valued friendships over the years, with artists and buyers alike,’ explains Rachel. ‘It’s these relationships that have helped bring us to this exciting 20-year milestone which we can’t wait to celebrate, especially at this time of year.’
The 20th anniversary celebrations launch with the seasonal Winter Social on Friday 25th November – a register-to-attend event which will see the gallery reveal a specially commissioned installation by artist Megan Randall. Crafted by the artist with the help of visitors to the gallery earlier this year, hundreds of ceramic forms will combine to create an organic sculpture with nods to the history of The Biscuit Factory and the local area.
The Winter Showcase exhibition will also be opened. This year Royal Scottish Academician Ade Adesina presents a collection of work examining the human footprint on ecology. ‘Ade’s work has been growing in popularity over recent years and is considered to be one of the finest emerging contemporary printmakers in the UK at the moment,’ says Rachel.
Anniversary celebrations will continue over the weekend of 26th–27th November, which also coincides with the annual Ouseburn Open Studios event where you can explore not only the fantastic collections in The Biscuit Factory gallery, but also visit the artists and creatives themselves. It’s an ideal time to choose beautiful, unique gifts to share come Christmas Day.
Finally, don’t miss The Biscuit Factory’s late night shopping event on 15th December. The gallery will welcome more local independent creatives and traders including Forum Books (whose permanent pop-up in the gallery adds a range of interesting and unusual titles alongside mainstream publications), and sustainable florist Harvest Moon, while the in-house café The Factory Kitchen will serve up festive flavours and a luxury hot chocolate menu.
Ever conscious of the need to make art accessible, the gallery has worked for a long time with Own Art, the UK’s leading art finance scheme. Established in 2004, the scheme has facilitated the purchase of over £56 million worth of art, by allowing buyers to spread the cost over 10 interest-free monthly instalments. In more recent years, The Biscuit Factory has gradually grown its programme of creative workshops. Whether you want to get in touch with your inner-artist, learn a new skill, or just enjoy a different type of day out with friends, The Biscuit Factory’s range of workshops are always a wonderful way to unwind and get your creativity flowing.
This Winter you can find a Christmassy-twist on some of their most popular sessions. Textile artists Lucy Freeman and Donna Cheshire return with Festive Embroidery and Christmas Mice Needle-felting respectively; local ceramicist Kirsty Adams will lead decoration-making for the tree and the table; whilst artist Michelle Wood of Sea Tern Print will run two workshops teaching you how to create your own rubber stamps, or print your own greeting cards; and local florist Helen McIlveny of Harvest Moon will guide you through sustainable wreath or garland-making. Plus, keep an eye out for Little Biscuits’ children’s workshops during school holidays.
Nestled in a corner of The Biscuit Factory, The Factory Kitchen might be one of Newcastle’s best kept secrets when it comes to the best brunch spots in the city. With a kitchen team overseen by a Michelin-trained head chef, produce sourced from local suppliers and wine supplied by royally-appointed merchant Corney and Barrow; the creative and high-quality menu is perfectly at place in its art gallery surroundings, serving an all day brunch menu with regularly changing dishes.
Always a popular choice during the Christmas period, The Factory Kitchen’s Festive Afternoon Tea will return from 14th November–15th January. Think warming soup, sandwiches and savouries followed by indulgent desserts with seasonal influences.
The Biscuit Factory’s Winter Social and 20th Anniversary Celebration will take place on Friday 25th November. It’s an event not to be missed, so head to their website and sign up to the newsletter to stay up to date with all the party plans!
Got some Christmas Party plans of your own? Check out their Christmas Party packages too – head to thebiscuitfactory.com to find out more.