An insider's guide to the county's best kept secrets
Norfolk is renowned for its breathtaking coastline and undulating landscapes but what about its people? Well there are artists bursting from every village you pass. Our county has a vast array of local talent; here’s my guide to the cream of the creative crop.
Photographers come from miles around to capture the essence of Norfolk life
but for me, Martin Wase has it covered. Visit Country Cabin in Hunstanton
(formerly The Attic) to view his outstanding images of the natural world. A
portfolio of canvases displayed from floor to ceiling; once inside prepare to
be mesmerised. With an already long string of awards to his name, he has
recently had two of his photographs, Stoats and Jay, chosen to feature in the
British Wildlife Photographic Awards book for 2012. It’s not hard to see why.
If contemporary artwork appeals, you’ll love Red Lobster Gallery in Sheringham. With an emphasis on functional everyday living you’ll find quirky artists and designer-led gifts to explore. I’m also a huge fan of Andrew Ruffhead’s work. Bright fun designs of coastal subjects in pen, ink and guache, as well as lobsters and crabs made from driftwood and recycled objects. Fish and Ships in Burnham Market is well worth a visit. Whether you’re an artist, aspire to be an artist, or simply adore arty things, I recommend Broad Skies Gallery in Ludham too. Have a coffee and browse Linda Matthew’s original paintings, or pick up a brush and have a go yourself – lessons from two hours up to a full week’s vacation.
Picture Craft in Holt are specialists in art materials and have recently moved to larger premises in Lees Yard to accommodate their ever expanding comprehensive stock, the largest in East Anglia I’m told. As well as a knowledgeable picture framing service (they were once asked to frame the jaws of a white shark); they also have forty years of hosting major art exhibitions under their belt. The Kieron Williamson exhibition saw overseas admirers camping on the doorstep two days before opening!
I like to see hands on demonstration and there’s nothing like a craft workshop to watch talent take shape before your eyes. There are the big studios with units such as Wroxham Barns (Chris Hutchin’s Norfolk sketches are a must see) and Alby Crafts (Mark Bradley’s wildlife habitats are impressive, especially the ladybird towers and hedgehog homes). Langham Glass is also an interesting afternoon out. But it’s often the smaller independent collectives where the hidden gems come to light. Blue Jacket Workshop in Morston is an excellent example of this. From
handmade furniture and toys, to recycled vintage textile art (there’s a
contemporary textile fair on 6th to 7th July), you’re bound to find something
to suit, perhaps with an unexpected twist. They’re only open at weekends and
bank holidays but the crafts there are all exclusive so definitely worth a trip.
As too is Made in Cley where you’ll find the usual pottery, jewellery and
sculptures but their products are cross influenced where all the craftspeople
work together bouncing ideas and inspiration around which makes for some
If you simply want to buy good quality items from local artists though, look no further than Big Blue Sky in Wells-next-the-Sea. A bright and bubbly blend of all things creative, it’s a real showcase of the wonderful talent that is proud to be from Norfolk.
Fish and Ships - 01328 738621 - www.fish-and-ships.com
Picture Craft - 01263 713259 - www.picturecraftofholt.co.uk
Wroxham Barns - 01603 783762 - www.wroxhambarns.co.uk
Alby Crafts - 01263 761590 - www.albycrafts.co.uk
Langham Glass - 01328 863500 - www.langhamglass.co.uk
Blue Jacket Workshop - 01263 740144 - www.bluejacketworkshop.co.uk
Made in Cley - 01263 740134 - www.madeincley.co.uk
This article was written for Norfolk on my Mind magazine's June 2013 issue. For more information visit www.norfolkonmymind.co.uk