Purls by the sea exhibition features textile artworks at Belfry Arts Centre, Overstrand

Work by some of the UK's leading textile artists is on show at the Belfry Arts Centre, Overstrand, as part of a celebration challenging the idea of knitting as a traditional domestic craft.

Purls by the Sea is a month-long exhibition featuring knitted textiles created by artists from all over the country.

It is curated by Belfry artistic director Nora Gaston and her daughter-in-law, and fellow artist, Elizabeth, and is funded by the Arts Council, Norfolk County Council and North Norfolk District Council.

Exhibitors include Dr Annie Shaw, whose miniature fishermen's ganseys have been displayed at the Scottish Fisheries Museum and Scarborough Art Gallery, Joanna Jack, whose sea life, knit-based illuminated installations are inspired by her home in the Shetland islands and by a childhood fascination with science laboratories, and Anita Bruce, who takes her inspiration from her earlier career as a zoologist.

Also on show will be a light projection installation created by artists' collective Mirrie Dancers, work by award-winning knitwear designer Samantha Brooke, who is currently working for top fashion designer Alberta Ferretti, and pieces by Norfolk-based textile artists including Stephanie Potts, whose knitted vessels will be displayed with delicate knitted jewellery by Kate Holdsworth.


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To coincide with the exhibition, the Belfry is hosting a series of workshops run by artist Biddy Rychnovsky, with those taking part using unusual materials, including broomsticks, to create a knitted wall hanging of the coastline, which will go on permanent display at the centre.

Elizabeth, who is a senior teaching fellow at Leeds University's school of design, has exhibited her own knitted artwork at UK venues including the Wellcome Gallery at the Science Museum, London. She has given lectures on knitting all over the country, as well as in Italy, South Africa and South Korea.

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'We are very excited about the exhibition,' she said. 'And we would like to see lots of knitting groups and individuals getting involved in the workshops and being part of an exciting project to create a fantastic artwork made by the community, for the community.'

Purls by the Sea runs daily from 11am-4pm at the Belfry Arts Centre, Cromer Road, Overstrand, NR27 0NT, until August 30.

* Annie Shaw will be giving a talk on her work at 4.30pm today, August 13, and Elizabeth Gaston will giving a talk on the value of knitting at 3pm on August 27. Places are available on two knitting workshops on August 20. For more information, or to book a place, phone 01263 576437 or email: nora.gaston@zen.co.uk

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