Produced in Norfolk exhibition

Ceramicists, furniture makers and fine artists are coming together for a special all-Norfolk event showcasing their talents in Norwich this Easter weekend.

Norfolk has a long history of being home to artists and craftsmen who have sought refuge and inspiration in its beautiful landscape.

And today the country's arts scene is as vibrant and diverse as it's ever been.

There's renewed interest in traditional skills - and the boundaries are always being pushed thanks to the creativity and experimentation of its makers.

To celebrate that fact this weekend, Produced in Norfolk is taking over the former Bally shoe factory in Norwich to showcase the talents of its members.

Founded in 2005 and now boasting more than 120 members, Produced in Norfolk promotes and support local producers who are genuinely making their products within the county with the aim of revitalising rural economies.

The event, which is supported by the Norwich-based property development company Targetfollow, which owns the factory, will feature a wide variety of craft and furniture makers, with examples of silk painting, weaving, painting, a millinery, willow basket making, wood turning, photography and jewellery making on show.

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There will also be a display by one of Produced in Norfolk's newest members, the Norfolk Furniture Makers Association. And Su Lenk of AzSu Alpacas will be exhibiting garments made from alpaca wool - and there will even be a chance to meet some of the gentle animals, which originate from the Peruvian Andes.

Jane Miller, director of Produced in Norfolk says: “The exhibition gives people the opportunity to meet some of Norfolk's artists, craftsmen and furniture makers under one roof.”

Some of the artists taking part in the Produced in Norfolk exhibition include:

DENNIS HALES, DECORATIVE WOOD TURNER

The son of a Norfolk farmer, Dennis Hales works with locally-grown sycamore, holly, ash and maple. The light-coloured woods offer a natural canvas on which to incorporate a wide range of finishing techniques. Turned, carved, textured surfaces finished with water-soluble dyes and metal leaf are used to enhance the natural features of the wood while achieving a sympathetic balance of form and finish.

His early influence was a love of nature, his first workshop was a converted garden shed and he found his enjoyment of woodworking was only surpassed by his love of good food. He trained as a chef and then a manager in hotel operations and his woodworking went on the back burner until he found solace in his skill some 30 years later. He discovered the use of colour complemented his wares when he made a croquet set for his children.

The balls were made of elm and he coloured them appropriately. He also experimented with colour, making a miniature set of fruit and that was the beginning of a 15-year development period of blending natural and aniline water soluble dye to create the colour range and application techniques to arrest the colours which he likens to producing a watercolour image on blotting paper.

Woodturning eventually became his day job when he was invited to exhibit as a guest with the Suffolk Craft Society and he regularly shows his work locally and nationally and sells to galleries and private collectors.

NORFOLK FURNITURE MAKERS ASSOCIATION

Founded in 1972 by a small group of craft-based furniture designers and makers, it is unique in being the only county-based furniture association in the country. The group's work ranges from 17th century style, through garden and country furniture, the classical and ultra modern to complete interiors. The association can also offer carving, gilding and restoration skills to a very high standard.

Many prestigious commissions have been undertaken by members of the association including work for the Royal Family, UEA, Norwich Cathedral and the Anglican Shrine at Walsingham.

SU LENK - ALPACA CLOTHING AND TEXTILES

Who would have thought that 140 Alpacas live deep in the Norfolk countryside where they are bred and their wool used to make clothing and textiles? Owner Su Lenk has travelled through the Peruvian Andes learning about these amazing animals from the people who have farmed them for more than 600 years. They are gentle creatures who have adapted well to living in the Norfolk countryside and their wool is like cashmere, which makes beautiful garments.

CHRYSTAL ROSE DESIGNS

Fused glass, clay, semi-precious stones, acrylic, silver and gold are used to make bridal tiaras and accessories as

well as necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings.

JULIA HURST RAFFIQUE

Julia Hurst handmakes her bespoke raffia hats at her studio.

KATHY SCOTT

Kathy Scott originally trained as a graphic designer and spent several years working in the advertising department of an Essex newspaper group until her husband was relocated to Herefordshire. She decided to return to art school and enrolled on a 3D course at Hereford Art School and developed textile sculptures based on historical costume.

This developed further when she was commissioned by a mother to make a cake decoration for a couple who were getting married. She made a miniature version of the couple and the business has developed from there.

PETER DIBBLE - WILLOW BASKET MAKER

Peter Dibble grows and harvests most of the willow he uses for his baskets.

MARTIN HURST - TRIGSAW PUZZLES

Martin Hurst makes puzzles in sustainable hard woods. They have between one and six layers of wood and each piece is individually polished to show off the beauty of the wood.

ELIZABETH RADFORD SILKS

Hand-painted textiles, including pictures, silk jewellery, scarves and individually created cards.

JANE MILLER

Former teacher Jane Miller is a fine artist and jewellery maker.

MARK YARDLEY

Born in England, Mark Yardley grew up in Africa. Since graduating from Swansea University, he has established himself as a freelance artist specialising in natural history and wildlife painting. His work features objects being reclaimed by nature, such as abandoned boats, rusty chains and door latches. Currently based in Norwich he spends a lot of time exploring the Norfolk and Suffolk coast. His work has also been exhibited at the Picturecraft gallery at Holt, Thompsons gallery in Aldeburgh and at Grapevine in Norwich.

Produced in Norfolk's spring exhibition is being held at the former Bally shoe factory, Hall Road, Norwich, from Good Friday until Easter Monday from 10am-4pm. Admission and parking is free.

Produced in Norfolk also has a stall on Norwich Market selling a wide range of local food and drink.

For more information visit www.producedinnorfolk.com