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We talk to Sarah Perry about her life as a budding Artist and her plans for the future

Fine artist, Sarah Perry, will soon be making her way to the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate where she will participate in her first ever trade exhibition, the British Craft Trade Fair (BCTF), from April 10-12.

BCTF is the largest and most well-established event of its kind, focusing exclusively on British made artisan products across categories which include handmade ceramics, porcelain, fashion accessories and jewellery, glass, metalwork, woodwork, textiles, greetings cards and fine art.

As research from organisations including Which? shows that the consumer appetite for authentic British made products is at an all-time high, BCTF is the perfect hunting ground for retailers in search of homegrown design talent.

Speaking about life as a designer-maker and what the future holds, Sarah said: Having spent the previous 33 years of my working life as a medical researcher in Leeds, embarking on my new career in October 2020 as an artist with my own small commission-based business has been both exciting and challenging. Although I have had some formal art training, I’m largely self-taught working mostly in pastel. Over the last 16 months I’ve built up my customer base and now have pet portrait commissions booked four months in advance.

My first year has produced some amazing opportunities and awards. In December 2020, I donated an original framed pastel portrait of Burrow Seven, a racehorse, bought to raise funds for the legendary Leeds Rhinos rugby league player, Rob Burrow, who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in December 2019. My portrait will be auctioned off this year since Burrow Seven’s racing campaign started in December 2020.He’s proving himself to be a promising horse having come fourth in his first attempt over hurdles at Wetherby on 16th February. Profits from the auction and the resulting 95 limited edition prints (all sold out) will all go to Rob’s charity.

I was also thrilled to receive two awards in 2021 for my original drawing of a boxer dog entitled “Waiting”. In October I entered my first art competition and was a finalist and awarded second place for ‘Artist of the Year - Pet Portrait category’ run by The Artist Lounge. This drawing has been published in their 2nd Edition magazine (available from Amazon) showcasing all the semi-finalists, finalists and winners of each category. In November, at the Association of Animal Artists Autumn Exhibition, held at The Station Gallery in Richmond North Yorkshire, “Waiting” was one of three original artworks selected for a ‘Special Commendation’. My original drawing “Soulful” was also sold at this exhibition.

I have produced a collection of greetings cards from my portraits which have been professionally printed by Knight Graphics and includes my award winning “Waiting” portrait. As well as greetings cards, I produced three Christmas card designs, a 2022 calendar featuring 12 of my drawings, Giclee prints plus I have limited-edition canvas prints available (A4 and A3 size) of “Waiting” and “Soulful”. I also have gift certificates available for pet portrait commissions. All of these products are available in my Etsy shop. I’m exploring the possibility of having other products printed with my artwork such as notebooks and mugs.

I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to exhibit at the BCTF 22 in Harrogate and I’m looking forward to meeting buyers, gallery owners and other exhibitors at this prestigious event.

BCTF organiser, Margeret Bunn, says: “We are delighted to welcome Sarah to the exhibition for the first time this year. She is an exceptionally talented designer and one of many from the North of England who are participating in the show. If any retailers are looking for the best local designers to feature in their stores, we would love to welcome you to the show in April. There are many indications that people want to support more local, sustainable businesses and are seeking beautifully designed products which they know are of sound provenance. Research is backed up by strong anecdotal feedback we are receiving from retailers visiting the show and followers on our social media sites. If ever there was a time to support our heritage industries and independent designer-makers, then this is it!”


The British Craft Trade Fair (BCTF) will showcase the very best of British crafts across a huge variety of product categories, including Jewellery, glassware, metalwork, fine art, greetings cards, ceramics, fashion accessories and homewares. This is the perfect event for retailers seeking exciting British designed products with sound provenance and strong heritage values. No public admittance as it’s a trade-only event, and free of charge.

Heading into its 45th year in 2022, BCTF will host hundreds of creative designer-makers in a fabulous state of the art venue, the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate, from April 10th-12th. Trade prices for the unique handmade works on display will start from just a few pounds so something for everyone and all exhibitors are guaranteed to be working from Great Britain and Ireland.

The annual BCTF Awards will be held on Monday April 11th at 6.00pm at the Yorkshire Event Centre, after the show closes. Sponsors include Pyramid Gallery (York) which will sponsor the BCTF Award for Excellence; Heart Gallery (Hebden Bridge) sponsor of the Best Newcomer Award; The Giftware Association is sponsoring The Giftware Association Award for Excellence; the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ), sponsoring the Award for Excellence in Jewellery; The Platform Gallery sponsor the Platform & Function Award of Excellence.

 For more information about BCTF visit:

 For more information on Sarah Perry visit:

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