STUDENTS are showing off their creations with the opening of a new shop.
Cleveland College of Art and Design, in Hartlepool, has launched The Folio which is believed to be the first of its kind in the region.
College chiefs say the shop allows students to gain invaluable business experience and offers people the chance to buy bespoke and often collectable pieces at affordable prices.
The shop, in Church Square, Hartlepool, provides creations including clever ceramics, stylish jewellery, statement handbags, contemporary prints, trendy notebooks, colourful soft furnishings, cute toys and even a tea pot, complete with its cosy winter warmer.
The college’s business development manager for creative industries, Melanie Shee, said: “Our students wanted the chance to link with potential customers, to develop their products and gain vital experience in costing, pricing and selling on the high street.
“Often, at the end of the degree shows, students would be approached by the public and asked where their designs could be bought, so it made sense to develop this further and open something like The Folio.”
She added: “Ultimately we would like The Folio to become established in Hartlepool and the Tees Valley and to be well known for offering a more diverse and interesting range of products.
“We are also looking at the possibility of holding workshops at the back of the shop so the public can come along and try out their creative skills. We are even considering making The Folio mobile so it can reach out to more people in the market.”
The Folio is run by the students, who give up two hours of their time each week to work in the shop, gaining essential experience of selling products.
The college’s print technician demonstrator, Vicky Graham, has played an active part in the launch and is also displaying some of her own work.
She said: “It is a brilliant idea and it is great for staff to be able to show what they can do.
“It’s just what we needed and it creates such a buzz to be able to exhibit and sell at the college. It also gives the public a taste of what we do here at CCAD and what they could do if they joined one of our courses.”
The Folio is open from 10am to 3.30pm, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. For further information contact Rebecca Smiles Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org