Victoria Petchey is the founder of Suffolk Vegans. In advance of A Very Vegan Christmas in Felixstowe tomorrow, the artist and director behind The Gallery Box explains how the Beach Street Felixstowe is exceptionally vegan friendly
I’ve had many jobs over the years but found my outspoken confidence when I was working in the registration service. When I departed that vocation, I decided to pursue my true passion. Art is my world and when I was given the opportunity to work in a new art gallery in my hometown of Felixstowe, I took the opportunity. 142 Hamilton Road inspired me to run my own art gallery and, after 18 months working with the ‘142 Team’, I signed a lease to run a small (but perfectly formed) art gallery in the upcoming and trendy site, Beach Street Felixstowe. I’m about to celebrate my one-year anniversary since opening The Gallery Box!
The pandemic hasn’t affected the business aspect of my work, as I have continued to be creative and artistic at home. Commissions have continued to come in and I posted artworks via Royal Mail. Most of the artists I have met and work with are naturally reclusive individuals. The pandemic allowed us to spend more time in our creative bubbles.
In 2017 I went through some personal challenges which led me to make some significant changes to my life. Upon doing a revaluation of my lifestyle choices, I decided to go vegan. Like anything, when you make big steps for change, we try to look around us for like-minded people or those who are on the same path. As I was struggling to find local people who were also vegan to discuss food, clothes, and anything vegan-related to, with the support of my other half, I ignited a small group called Suffolk Vegans and in December 2017 we held our first meet-up.
During the pandemic all the meetups ceased. However, pre-Covid, we got together at Isaacs on the Quay, Hank’s Deli and – during the summer months – we would have picnics in Christchurch Park – all in Ipswich. Anyone who is keen to meet other like-minded people and learn more about veganism is welcome to join us at a meet-up in person or join the Facebook group. Our next meet-up is at The Gallery Ipswich (sister venue of Isaacs) on Wednesday January 26, 2022 (6-9pm) and the delicious tapas food is provided by Vikings Bakehouse!
The definition of being vegan is ‘a lifestyle that avoids all animal foods such as meat, dairy, eggs and honey; animal derived products like leather; and, as far as possible, products tested on animals.’ Animal farming (deforestation), the leather industry (water pollution), etc, are just some of the problems contributing to our current climate. But being vegan and opting for choices that cause the least amount of harm, to any human or non-human animal, surely makes perfect sense?
We will have a beautiful selection of vegan treats available at the Very Vegan Christmas Market at Beach Street Felixstowe. Sweet treats, teas, beer sets, jewellery, Christmas decorations, books, cosmetics, pottery, ceramics, cakes, biscuits, box sets, etc – the list goes on. Perfect for the vegan in your life or to treat yourself! The Market is the first of its kind in Felixstowe and will be held at the Hazel & Co Yoga Studio. I first met Hazel last year when she bamboozled me on a cold winter’s day by running into The Gallery Box with a beaming smile and loudly saying into her camera phone (I later realised she was streaming a live video) ‘Wow! Look at all this amazing artwork!’. I knew then that she was a firecracker with an honest and creative energy to share positivity with those she cares for most. It’s my honour to work alongside Hazel and she is the real-life wonder woman of Beach Street Felixstowe.
Beach Street Felixstowe is exceptionally vegan friendly! Let me tell you why: The Waffle Shack – large selection of waffle and crepe combinations available; Shore Coffee – plant based milks and many yummy, sweet treats available; Hank’s Dirty – vegan junk food; FourThreePizza – vegan cheese available; The Viet Street Food Co – incredibly fresh vegan dishes available; Hopsters – vegan selection of alcoholic drinks available; Cosy Aromas – all vegan candles and wax melts; Simply Lovely Jubbly – vegan bath bombs and other vegan cosmetics. Winning! As for myself, I hope to continue creating art and sharing the positivity of producing art alongside others.
Hazel & Co presents A Very Vegan Christmas! tomorrow (December 4, 2021), from 10am-4pm, at Beach Street Felixstowe, in collaboration with Suffolk Vegans. Stalls include: The Guilt Free Soapery; The Vegan Potter; Woodbridge Tea Emporium; The Vegan Cookiio; Vikings Bakehouse; Chestnut & Rose; Rocca Rose Jewellery; Elora Timms Jewellery. You can find The Gallery Box at Unit 5. Click here for more Events – Beach Street Felixstowe.