The opening of Zebediahs Makers Collective came about in a rather serendipitous way. Many people in Launceston remember when 5 Church Street was the Tamar Gallery, owned by Norman and Irene Preston.
Norman, a native of Calstock, was a watercolour artist. He had a dislike for being called an artist, preferring the epithet 'painter of scenes'. He nearly always painted on location at riverbanks, woodland and of course the coast. In time Norman's painting evolved to a vivid stained-glass style. This difference in approach can be seen in the two pictures of his work above.
Norman and Irene ran the gallery, selling antiques and fine art including of course Norman's own
pieces until their retirement. For many years since the shop has been operating as Tamar of Launceston, offering key cutting and jewellery repairs, among other services. On the closure of that business, and the sad fact that Launceston already had a number of empty premises, Norman and Irene's son John and daughter-in-law Suzie took the decision to do something more positive for Launceston than leave another vacant shop.
Suzie has an arts background and through her vision and various contacts the germ of an idea grew into what is now Zebediahs, bringing the building back to its former purpose, though in a new co-operative format. In addition to providing an outlet for local artists through the shop, the business has at its core the additional aim of providing a hub for the local creative community. To this end Zebediahs also incorporates The White Room Gallery. This space will be available for individual artists or groups to hire and exhibit, and will also be used for providing workshops hosted by members of the collective, and other visiting artists and crafters.
When work started on the building and the Tamar of Launceston shop sign taken down, there, underneath it all this time, was Norman and Irene's black and white Tamar Gallery sign. It has been 25 years since it was last a gallery, and now the building has come full circle, opening on the 3rd June as Zebediahs Makers Collective. It's wonderful to think that our sign could still be there in another 25 years too.