Budding artists young and old will be able to develop their creative talents and gain art qualifications at a mid Norfolk gallery.

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The first group of students have completed the eight week level one City and Guilds diploma in machine embroidery and patchwork and quilting hosted the art gallery, in Dereham’s Memorial Hall on Norwich Street.

This is the first of many qualifications to be taught by professional artists at the gallery, which opened last year.

Tutor Jane Clark, from Marham, who led the City and Guilds diploma in machine embroidery and patchwork and quilting, said: “People can now obtain an education because a lot of them cannot get to Easton and Norwich. The work they have produced is amazing.”

Currently these kind of courses, run by Norfolk Adult Education, are only taught at Great Yarmouth or in Norwich but nowhere in mid Norfolk.

Students who completed the first course this week ranged from 26-years-old to 81-years-old and 18 people received a merit or above.

They had to complete a sketchbook and a textured book, featuring a range of different materials and techniques.

Beryl Orme, 75, a retired secretary from Scarning, said: “All my life I have been interested in textiles and dabbled with all sorts of things to do with needlework. The course has given me a new lease of life. It has been wonderful.”

Another graduate from the City and Guilds diploma, Jenny Atkin, 69, from Dereham, said: “It has been fun, but hard work.”

A new City and Guilds creative techniques diploma, focusing on painting and drawing, has started at the gallery led by Dereham artist Claire Frances Smith.

She said: “I think it is brilliant for the area because there is not anywhere between here and Norwich supplying accredited courses in this field.

“It is making this place an art centre and academy and allows people to get qualifications without travelling.”

Degree courses in textiles will be starting in Easter and Mrs Clark will be leading new City and Guilds level two courses in machine embroidery and patchwork and quilting from September.

For more information about textile courses at the gallery, ring Mrs Clark on 01760 337181.

To sign up for the City and Guilds creative techniques diploma, ring Ms Frances Smith on 07821 692593.

For more information about other classes at the gallery or exhibitions, ring 01362 690969 or visit www.thegallerydereham.co.uk

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