New venue for contemporary art and sculpture event

Unusual and thought provoking works of modern art and sculpture will be on display in and around the coastal village of Cley during an exhibition starting next month.

Artists, architects and designers have been invited to create 34 individual works which will be set amongst the medieval architecture of St Margaret's of Antioch Church, in the pretty village streets and along the Norfolk Wildlife Trust coastal path, which runs between marsh and sea.

The exhibition, which was held in Salthouse for 11 years, has been brought to Cley for the first time by The North Norfolk Exhibition Project. The new setting offers more outdoor exhibition space where visitors can experience an eclectic array of sculpture, ceramics, stone-carving, painting, photography, projection, sound, installation, textile and community crochet.

Among the exhibits at the Cley12 Aisle and Air event is a camera obscura, which visitors can walk in to and see a projection of the scene outside, a ten-metre organic submarine made from Norfolk reed created as a memorial to drowned submariners, a cape made from thousands of clothing labels and a replica of one of the church windows crafted from felt.

This year for the first time the exhibition is collaborating with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, which has offered wool and reed from its land to use in the exhibition.

Artist Mary Crofts, who is exhibiting her work at the event and has helped to organise it, said: 'One of the great things about the exhibition is that it gives artists the chance to step outside of what they normally do. It gives them the opportunity to go really large scale.

'Everyone has responded to the surroundings, the architecture and church to understand what is here and what is happening environmentally.'

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Curator Isabel Vasseur added: 'Aisle and Air will demonstrate that art within public spaces has a unique and historic role illustrating the ever present creativity of all people at all times and all places and not just in galleries.'

Craft workshops will take place throughout the event, including silk printing, pottery, stained glass, poetry, decoupage and drawing.

Cley Church will also host a selection of concerts and talks. Jehane Markham and musicians will perform poetry and jazz on July 8, whilst Norwich five-piece band Swingball will play a vibrant mix of Eastern European, French and 1930s swing music on July 13.

Hugh Lupton will explore and celebrate the ancient relationship between man and horse through a programme of words and music on July 22 and Vocality will celebrate nature by singing songs of land and sea on July 28.

The rector of Cley and art historian Neil Batcock will give a talk on art on July 15 and 18 and there will be bat watching with Norfolk bat consultant Philip Parker on July 31.

The Cley 12 Aisle and Air exhibition runs from July 5 to August 5. It is free to enter and exhibits are open daily from 10am to 5.30pm. Craft workshops and some events in Cley Church are charged. For the full programme and ticket prices visit

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