Spotlight on contemporary crafts

Emma Lee Some of the best contemporary craft in Norfolk will be showcased at the Assembly House in Norwich from October 23-26. EMMA LEE finds out more about the exhibition – and how local students have been helping to spread the word about it.

Emma Lee

For Norfolk's contemporary craft artists it's a chance to showcase their talents. And for graphic design students at Norwich University College of the Arts it was the chance to work on a real commission with real deadlines.

On Thursday, October 23, Norfolk Contemporary Craft Society's (NCCS) exhibition and sale, Bespoke, opens at the Assembly House in Norwich.

And, in an exciting link-up with the college formerly known as Norwich School of Art and Design, students have been helping to spread the word about it.

Jess Crass, 20, has designed the eye-catching posters which can be seen all over the city. And Dan Elvin, 22, has created a new logo for the NCCS.

The collaboration is the brainchild of Kate Vogler, of the NCCS, and art college lecturer Vicki Winteringham. The very specific brief was thrown open to the students who had to pitch for the commission to produce a logo, poster, flyer and private view invitation.

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Vicki explains: “It makes such a difference knowing you are working for a real client. And this is exactly the sort of thing our students will be doing when they go out into the world of work.”

And Kate says that she was impressed by how seriously the students took the project.

“All the students had such a professional approach,” she says. “And we've had such a great response from members of the society to the designs that we chose. Several people have phoned up to say how much they like it.”

Dan says that he enjoyed having the opportunity to experiment with different logo designs. “I can't remember how I did it - I just played around with the letters... and I got there.”

And Jess got to work quite closely with the artists whose work features on her posters and flyers. “The deadlines were real, and I had to do things like ask printers for quotes. It was a proper commission, so we had to make it work properly,” she says. “We had to make sure that all the information they wanted on there fitted in with the design. I really enjoyed it.”

The exhibition, which features the work of most of the society's 45 members, will be held at the Music Room at the Assembly House. The show, which is supported by Norfolk County Council, will include furniture, a wide variety of textiles, jewellery, ceramics, kiln-formed glass, calligraphy and letter cutting, hand-decorated papers, bookbinding, baskets and turned wood.

The Norfolk Contemporary Craft Society was formed in 1972 to promote the county's talent in the field.

Bespoke will be open daily between 10am and 6pm from Thursday to Saturday and from 11am to 4pm on Sunday. Admission is free. For more information about the exhibition, contact Marian Williams on 01603 434710.


A series of demonstrations will take place during the exhibition. Morning demonstrations are 10am-1pm and afternoon 2pm-4pm.

t Thursday morning - Judith Ellis, bookbinding, afternoon - Paul Jackson, ceramics.

t Friday morning - Beth Walsh, lace-making; afternoon - Alison Varley, jewellery

t Saturday 10am-4pm - Jenny Rose, weaving

t Sunday morning - Jill Sharpe, patchwork; afternoon - Debbie Booth, basket-making