The Forum, Norwich

Norfolk Makers’ Festival 2023

I had a fantastic day at the Norfolk Makers’ Festival, which is taking place at The Forum in Norwich until 19 March.

This is a free, annual event that brings together local artists, crafters, and artisans. I especially enjoy the textile art exhibitions, but other crafts are also represented, such as willow weaving, painting, upcycling, and animation. The exhibitions are complemented by a series of workshops and talks. 

This year’s show did not disappoint. My first stop was the gallery to see the exhibitions. The theme for this year’s juried exhibition of textile work was Bold Perspectives. Here are just a few of the entries:

In My Opinion by Esther Montero
In My Opinion by Esther Montero
Heron by Aran Illingworth
Heron by Aran Illingworth
Armada Portrait by Gill Leftwich
Armada Portrait by Gill Leftwich

The Dangerous Pockets exhibition is a community collaboration in response to the theory that pockets in women’s clothing were once considered ill-advised as they might have been used for hiding seditious material.

Dangerous coats

The incredible Margaret Seaman once again had a display, this time of a knitted Buckingham Palace. 

Knitted Buckingham Palace
Knitted Buckingham Palace

This display – Progression in Textiles – was created by artists from the Kings Lynn area.

Progression in Textiles

These costumes, created by the Costume and Textile Association, explore Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Norwich in 1578.

When Good Queen Bess Came to Norwich

The Really Woolly Mammoth was created at last year’s festival.

Really Woolly Mammoth

A knitted Quentin Crisp, one of the squares in the Sew Gay Pride Patchwork quilt.

Knitted Quentin Crisp

The Dementia Darnings, which I had seen before, still packed a punch on second viewing. Jenni Dutton has really captured that lost look in the eyes of someone with the disease, something that I’m horribly familiar with.

Dementia Darnings

Sections of the Grenfell Memorial Quilt were on display in St Peter Mancroft Church. The quilt project has been created by ‘artivist’ Tuesday Greenidge, whose daughter escaped from the tower fire. The sections have been completed by sewists around the world, and the aim is to grow the quilt to the dimensions of the Grenfell Tower by the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, in 2027.

Grenfell Quilt Memorial

It was a great day out and I definitely recommend a visit if you’re in the area. I’m already looking forward to next year’s show.


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