Creative and classy

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Well worth a visit: a veritable Aladdin's cave of goodies for the house and garden is to be found at O'Farrells which aims to attract those of a creative bent, whether they be artists selling their work or customers looking for something special

A new shop has opened in town selling hand-painted furniture, gifts for the home and garden, and artists’ and illustrators’ cards.

O’Farrells is situated at 1a Wish Ward, next to one of the old town wells, and is owned by Jill Hickmott who has worked at various retail outlets in Rye and will be a familiar face to many people in the town.

Jill chose the name of her shop because it has no specific connotation with one particular range of products and this allows her to sell a variety of different wares based on her philosophy of “if I like it I buy it”. The result is a lovely collection of eye-catching gifts and furniture that complement each other.

Cards on sale include note cards from original letterpress plates depicting scenes of Rye, which are proving especially popular with tourists. Along with printed cards there is a collection of small books handmade by Jill, who trained as a bookbinder. The marbled paper used to make the books is produced by Elizabeth Harbour, an artist and printmaker based just outside Maidstone.

Jill plans to extend her stock by selling prints by local artists, as well as hand-made silk screens. There will also be some locally made furniture using reclaimed wood, and O’Farrells will be taking orders for customised pieces.

Jill likes to make sure she knows as much as possible about the artists whose work she sells, finding out what their background is, whether they teach, and what inspires them to create their product.

Creativity is important to Jill and with Plaristo next door, selling hand-woven rugs and carpets and unusual candles, and Rye Pottery across the road selling hand made ceramics, this stretch of Wish Ward is becoming a creative hub for producer-retailers. Jill hopes that in time other retailers who sell hand-produced merchandise will be drawn to this corner of Rye.

Any local artists or artisans who wish to sell their product at the shop should call in to see Jill, or contact her by phone on 07595 981709 or by e-mailing jillyhickmott@gmail.com. O’Farrells is open between 10am and 5pm, with late opening at 11am on Thursdays and late closing at 6pm on Saturdays. The shop is closed on Tuesdays.