All the fun of the fair for Norfolk Makers Festival

The stained glass carousel. Picture: The Forum

The stained glass carousel. Picture: The Forum - Credit: Archant

A working fairground made entirely of stained glass is to go on show when Norfolk Makers Festival returns to Norwich from February 8-23.

One of the fairground games made by Alby Stained Glass. Picture: The Forum

One of the fairground games made by Alby Stained Glass. Picture: The Forum - Credit: Archant

A working traditional fairground made entirely of stained glass, complete with moving miniature dodgems, helter skelter and carousel has been created especially for Norfolk Makers Festival, which is being held at the Forum in Norwich from February 8-23.

It's the brainchild of artist Julie Kirkham, who runs Alby Stained Glass. She explained that the ambitious year-long project was inspired by seeing local knitter Margaret Seaman's 12ft long model of Great Yarmouth in the 1970s at last year's Makers Festival

"I was blown away by the knitted Great Yarmouth and by Margaret who created it," she said. "It pushed the boundaries of what is usually expected of knitting and brought back so many precious memories for local people.

"We have done the same here with glass. When you say 'stained glass' people immediately think windows. But you can see from this fairground, in 3D with working models, that there is so much more you can do if you stretch yourself.

Julie Kirkham with Mick Franks and Sandra Stevens. Picture: courtesy of Julie Kirkham

Julie Kirkham with Mick Franks and Sandra Stevens. Picture: courtesy of Julie Kirkham - Credit: Archant

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"We hope it takes people back to happy memories of the traditional Norwich fair, which was a big event for the whole family."

The display at the Forum will also include models of families playing traditional fairground games including hook-a-duck and bullseye, as well as candyfloss and popcorn stands.

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Julie worked with two of her students, Mick Franks and Sandra Stevens, to create the fairground and has fond memories of her own outings to the Easter and Christmas Fairs in the 70s, held on the Cattle Market site in Norwich.

Throughout the festival there will be people from Alby Stained Glass on hand to answer questions about the display and demonstrate how they create the models.

And for anyone who would like to try out the basics of working with glass, the team are also running evening workshops at The Forum on February 12, 16 and 19 as part of the festival where you can learn how to use copper foil to solder colourful cuts of glass together.

Julie said: "I can't wait to showcase what we do. We want to show people that stained glass is not just about church windows; it's so much more than that.

"The festival is an opportunity to share our work with a wider audience in a unique environment with other crafters. We want to encourage people to appreciate this ancient craft to keep it alive and we are excited to promote the tuition and courses that we can offer."

The Norfolk Makers Festival is funded by the Forum Trust, the educational charity which runs the Forum. Now in its fifth year, it celebrates the county's local crafts people, artists and heritage with 16 days of open exhibitions, free activities, workshops, demonstrations, talks and crafty conversation. All the Fun of the Fair will be on show from 10am to 4pm from February 8-23.

The Modelling with Glass workshops cost £20 and can be booked by emailing

For more information about all the festival events, as well as the Fringe Festival with more workshops running around the county, visit

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