A Newcastle art gallery is toasting the new summer season with a botanical themed programme of art, workshops, and food and drink events, launching in June.

The Biscuit Factory – the UK’s largest independent commercial art, craft and design gallery – unveils its new summer exhibition on Friday 7 June, headlined by painter Simon M Smith, who creates floral works with dress pattern tissue, torn paper and soft colour washes.

Curator Sam Knowles said: “What better way to celebrate summer at the gallery than with the wonderful paintings of Simon M Smith. With flowers as his regular subject matter Simon’s work is unashamedly beautiful and decorative, revealing his love for the bold shapes and colours of nature.

“At first impression there is a graphic and orderly quality about Simon’s paintings with obvious reference to pattern and surface design. And yet closer inspection reveals something more complex, natural and evolving. Abstract motifs from dress patterns sit alongside numbers and collage exposing something of Simon’s creative explorations within each piece and his deep passion for the process of making.”

Taking inspiration from Simon M Smith’s headline collection, the gallery has curated a programme of workshops, and food and drink events with a botanical twist.

New additions to its creative workshop programme include a botanical embroidery hoop art workshop, and styling and composition photography classes using a variety of props.

The gallery’s in-house café The Factory Kitchen has also partnered with Northumberland-based Hepple Gin to present Sloe Sundays – a weekly gin bar on the eatery’s urban rooftop terrace complemented by a soul playlist and botanical specials on the food menu.

Restaurant and events space Artisan will host its new weekly Artisan Social, welcoming a different foodie pop up every Wednesday 4pm until 8pm in its newly revamped outdoors space, launching on 3 July with Papa Ganoush and running until 28 August.

Rachel Brown, General Manager of The Biscuit Factory, added: “We have a great summer lined up. We hope that our programme allows as many people as possible to engage with the gallery, whether that’s visiting the exhibition, enjoying a workshop, a leisurely cocktail or a foodie night out.

“Our summer preview event in June will be a great launchpad to our Botanical Summer, with an opportunity to be the first to see the new show, enjoy our floral installation, barbecued food, drinks on our terrace and to uncover an exciting new collaboration launching on the night itself.”

The summer exhibition, which features work from more than 250 artists, opens with a public launch event on Friday 7 June, 6-9pm and runs until 25 August 2019. The gallery is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm and admission is free.

For more information, visit www.thebiscuitfactory.com.

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