Expansion is welcomed by staff and councillors

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MORE talented county artists are showcasing their skills as a result of Morpeth Chantry Craft Centre’s expansion.

Creative pieces and home furnishings from existing and new exhibitors are available to buy in the part of the building previously occupied by the Northumbria Mountain Sports business, which closed during the winter.

Tourist Information Officers Suzanna Barlow and Sarah-Jayne Robson with some of the pieces available in the expansion to the Morpeth Chantry Craft Centre.

Tourist Information Officers Suzanna Barlow and Sarah-Jayne Robson with some of the pieces available in the expansion to the Morpeth Chantry Craft Centre.

An event was recently held to launch the new displays to help spread the word and give the craft entrepreneurs an opportunity to network with each other.

The Chantry also houses Morpeth’s tourist information centre and a bagpipe museum.

Tourist Information Officer Suzanna Barlow said: “It’s absolutely brilliant that we have more space for arts and crafts, particularly as 90 per cent of our products are hand-made or produced by local artists.

“It’s also important to have the frontage of the windows because it has helped to make the craft centre come alive.”

The 13th-century building has had a wide range of uses, these include being a chapel, school, cholera hospital and mineral water factory.

It became the home of the tourist information and craft centres when it was restored in the 1980s – originally in the smaller section, then the larger part of the downstairs area when the Antiquarian museum moved out.

Coun Val Tyler, Policy Board Member for Infrastructure and Culture at Northumberland County Council, said: “As someone who was born and bred in Morpeth, I’m delighted that there is even more space in the town centre for local artists to display their works.

“The expansion has opened up an Aladdin’s cave to the craft centre from the Bridge Street entrance.”

Town and county councillor for Morpeth Kirkhill, Andrew Tebbutt, added: “The Chantry has always been extremely important to residents and I hope that it will go from strength to strength with this expansion.”

Items available include paintings, postcards, gift books, felt pieces, soaps, jewellery, wood crafts, glass pieces, shortbread and jams.

Jane Jackson, who makes pictures out of Harris Tweed, said: “The centre is genuinely about local artists and quality products and I’m delighted with the expansion as it has allowed me to set up my first permanent stall here.”