Doomed Felton village pub reborn as a sanctuary for artists

Artists who have moved into the former Stag's Head, on the Main Street in Felton, are hoping that the change of direction for the Victorian building will mean new orders for their work

 

It was last orders for a Northumberland village pub after no buyers came forward once it closed its doors several months ago.

But now artists who have moved into the former Stag’s Head, on the Main Street in Felton, are hoping that the change of direction for the Victorian building will mean new orders for their work.

The old pub was taken over by local teachers and mothers-of-three Jane Mills and Mary Mewitt, who decided to turn it into an art gallery.

Now called Gallery 45, it showcases the work of local artists and also includes a crafts and gift shop.

The building’s upstairs “long room” is now used for events and exhibitions, with Felton Arts Group holding its first display.

What were the pub’s letting bedrooms, plus a ground floor cellar and coach houses at the rear have now also been turned into seven artists’ studios.

They have been quickly let and now house stained glass artist Helen Grierson, from Widdrington and Renira Barnes from Felton, a landscape architect who is now a full time painter.

Other studios have been occupied by textile designer Cheryl Jackson, from Alnwick, Emma George, a painter from Warkworth, Judith Goodfellow from West Thurston who hand crafts knitwear and photographer Paula Ansley, also from West Thurston.

The studio of leather worker Lyndsay Stanton, who runs Awl by Hand, is next door to her home, which was once the accommodation of the pub landlord.

Jane said: “When the pub closed nobody was interested in it and we mulled over doing something with the building. Now we have invested quite a lot in it.

“There are a lot of artists in the area, some of whom have changed careers and are hoping to make a living out of what they are doing. The studios will help people bounce marketing and other ideas off each other, and nobody is tied to a long lease.

“We hope the studios will allow the artists to make a real living. We have kept some of the pub bits and pieces, including the vintage pub tables.”

The former snug is now used for workshop sessions where people can book to learn new skills.

On offer this month are beginner workshops in knitting and calligraphy, and also batik and botanical water colours.

Ring 01670 783 424 to book.

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