Focus Gallery had its grand relaunch this week, celebrating 44 years of trading. With a new owner, Antonia Disney, at the helm, the gallery was looking fabulous with lots of new artwork, British crafts and exclusive jewellery.
Antonia graduated from Staffordshire University with a BA (hons) in Design Crafts after specialising in jewellery design, and set up her own jewellery business which she ran for five years, whilst working at Ferrers Gallery in Leicestershire. Later, she took an enterprise management course at Derby University and when the chance came up to take over Focus Gallery, Antonia grabbed it.
She has made some changes since taking over. The gallery has been repainted and the shop floor space better utilised. Downstairs, it’s completely changed. Now there is a jewellery floor which showcases over 50 jewellers.
Alongside this, is a dedicated jewellery workshop, which has been equipped with 15 jewellery benches waiting to be used by graduates of local East Midlands universities to set up their own businesses, enabling up to 15 new businesses to set up each year. There is also general workshop space available for artists to hire to run their own arts and crafts workshops.
The first solo exhibition at the gallery opened alongside the relaunch and features Victoria Brown, who brings us delightful, floral works in acrylic on canvas with the theme of blossoms. Victoria’s artwork was created during an arts residency at the National trust’s Hardwick Hall, within their fruit orchards, and haddesden, a suburb in the city of Derby, amidst it’s glorious cherry blossom edged roads.
Later on in the year there will be further exhibitions by Helaina Sharpley, a wirework artist, Gillian Lee Smith and Hannah Sawtell who is a long standing artist of focus along with Gillian. Antonia now has solo exhibitions booked up at Focus till the end of 2017!
Antonia says ”I am proud to say we only sell UK made artwork. Beautiful jewellery from Fife in Scotland to glassware from Taunton in Devon, there is nothing better than supporting British craftsmanship. From galleries, to designers to customers, we must support one another and together we shall grow the arts and crafts once more throughout the UK.”
Focus Gallery is on Derby Road, just out of the city centre, and is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am till 6pm and Sunday 11am till 5pm