NORFOLK BY DESIGN IN THE NEWS
We have had the following press coverage for Norfolk by Design shows. Click on the top bar in the entries below to open and close the panels containing more on these articles.
FEATURE ARTICLE / OCTOBER 2017
FEATURE ARTICLE / APRIL 2017
ONLINE GUIDE / 1 DECEMBER 2016
Art Norfolk Style
Into the Woods is an exhibition organised by Norfolk by Designaround an informal network of Norfolk-based artists, designer makers and craftspeople.
The art pieces will be on display in a rural setting honouring Norfolk’s quality of light, landscape, wildlife and coast. The exhibition title references the seasonal splendour of Norfolk’s woodland at this time of year.
This special show will feature an impressive range of work, including paintings, drawings, photography, textiles, glassware, hand-finished wooden bowls and cutting boards, lights and lanterns, handmade ceramics, decorative shell work (home page image) and bespoke mirrors and handmade furniture.
Norfolk’s natural environment will be explored in landscapes depicted in jewel colours by Linda Jamieson. And Cornelia Fitzroy’s work is a direct response to the changing colours, light , weather and seasons (pictured left).
There will be joyous landscapes populated by her dynamic diminutive figures by Lucy Loveheart and cunningly crafted animal sculptures by Crochetdermy.
Cazalet’s works are signified by their representation of nature using vibrant colours and abstract composition creating striking designs.
Into the Woods will be a rare opportunity for visitors to buy original works of art, as well as handcrafted objects and home décor, straight from the best of Norfolk’s artists, craftspeople and designer-makers.
It will be a heady mix displayed on a domestic scale, in a beautifully designed setting.
MORE ABOUT THE ORGANISERS
Norfolk by Design was established by Davina Barber in recognition that Norfolk-based artists and craftspeople were not getting their work seen. Aided and abetted by co-curators Paul Vater and Paul Barratt, they are redefining Norfolk as a place where creative people can thrive.
ANNNUAL REPORT 2016
Bedfords Review | Issue Three 51
Davina Barber is energetic and focused, a hard-working and informed art enthusiast on a mission. She identified the need for a unique show of Norfolk art and, with Bedfords as enthusiastic sponsors, turned her nascent idea into beautiful reality.
TEXT BY Frances Hopewell Smith PHOTOGRAPHS BY Nick Ilott
Not far from Burnham Market in North Norfolk, the ruins of Creake Abbey are the setting for an intriguing and inspirational art show. The organisers are ‘Norfolk by Design’, a collaboration forged in 2014 between Davina Barber and co-curators Paul Vater and Paul Barratt. This morning they are all busy in two adjoining Norfolk stone barns, unwrapping and arranging all the artworks. More pieces arrive by the minute. There are easels, ladders and boxes everywhere, pictures propped against walls ready to be hung and mysterious objects covered in thick paper. It’s hard to believe that in just twenty-four hours’ time everything will be ready for the two day event, but Davina is confident: “I know it will be done in time and we’re not panicking, yet!” Talking as she cuts pieces of background cloth, she explains how it started. “I studied history of art at Bristol then got a job in London at the Dickinson gallery, specialists in Old Masters, then four years in contemporary art with Timothy Taylor.” Marriage and twins led her to leave the city and come back to East Anglia. “I was born and brought up here, so it’s always been home, the place I love.”
Settled back in Norfolk with a new, self-initiated job as artefact and furniture finder, Davina uncovered a surprising number of talented artists, designers and craftspeople, most of whom had little or no opportunity to exhibit. It was this untapped wealth of artists which gave Davina the idea to group them together and get them the audience they deserved. “I found people by word of mouth and by research. A lot of them are here, in the Norfolk countryside, and just need encouraging out of their studios into a sympathetic venue,” she says, “so we keep things low key – approachable but professional.”
The title for this show is ‘Nature’ and the intention is to ‘showcase artists and designer-makers’. And it succeeds – the sheer variety of imaginative skill is breathtaking. Davina gives a running commentary on the pieces as they are displayed. Here are delicate circular collages in white, made up from owl pellets and a round of razor clam shells in perfect symmetry by Liz McGowan. Then two ghostly depictions created from smoke by Maria Pavledis, the swirls of grey to black morphing into wildlife images. Then Davina points out a long, narrow side table, its top a dark, deep brown, resting on conical plinths by Toby Winteringham. This is bog oak,” she explains, running her hand along the impossibly silky top, “probably five thousand years old.”
Through in the second barn a central sculpture dominates the space. Alec Birkbeck has welded old tool blades into a larger than life bird of prey, its wings outstretched and head pointing down. Incredibly, it’s balanced on a block of wood and sways effortlessly to the lightest touch, capturing the bird’s combination of grace and strength. Stylised ceramic shells or gnarled bark vessels sit next to ranges of smooth, patinated wooden dishes. Still life oil paintings and haunting photographs are arranged with sensitivity to their best advantage. “This large work by leading photographer Frances Kearney took us an hour and a half to hang,” Davina says. “We had to work out how to secure it because it’s heavy and we didn’t want to damage the walls. It was a bit nerve-wracking!”
Davina is proud of her achievement and of the quality and diversity of the works they have collated. “I’ve done popup shows but wanted to prove I could do something bigger and better. There’s such a huge stable of good artists right here.” She and her two co-curators have certainly done a fine job in their selection and presentation. They call for her help with a newly-arrived delivery and she is off at once, dragging some bubble wrap behind her and definitely not panicking.
NORFOLK MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2015
In kitchens and back bedrooms, studios and sheds, they are creating pictures and pots, furniture and photographs, cartoons, carvings and cushions. Across Norfolk, artists and craftsmen and women are inspired by the county’s landscape and history to make beautiful things.
Many work alone, but this month 28 Norfolk artists are getting together for a joint exhibition.
It all began last year, when Davina Barber, of South Acre, near Swaffham, and Emma Deterding, of Field Dalling, near Holt, had lunch together and realised that although Norfolk is full of creative people, many of them work in isolation. They decided to gather a group of artists and craftspeople together, to share information and support. A series of lunches was arranged and soon an exhibition of their work was being discussed.
“We were just talking about all the amazing talent around here, but we are all individual businesses and we sit at our desks all day and don’t necessarily connect with other people,” says Davina. “Several months later, we proudly present Norfolk by Design: An event that we hope will provide isolated talents with an opportunity to be part of a collective and showcase their work.”
Davina, who runs Source Furnishings finding furniture for clients, and Emma, of interior design business Kelling Designs, knew each other as both are involved in fundraising for the East Anglia Children’s Hospices’ nook appeal. The exhibition will include the chance to donate to the appeal which is raising money to create a new hospice at Framingham Earl, south of Norwich.
Experienced artists with a national profile, including photographer Garlinda Birkbeck, cartoonist Annie Tempest and garden designer George Carter, will be joined by people who may not have had an exhibition before.
At first the exhibition was planned as simply a get-together and chance for the artists to see each others’ work. Now it is creating such a buzz it could become an annual event.
“I used to be involved in the art world in London,” says Davina, “and I wanted to get back to it in Norfolk. It’s everyone who was part of the creative lunches, and then I approached a few people I knew.”
The exhibition will be held at West Lexham Barn, near King’s Lynn, which is part of West Lexham Manor, and has been converted to host events ranging from retreats to family gatherings, and includes self-catering cottages, treehouses and luxury tents. Owner Edmund Colville was part of the original lunch group and the farm buildings were converted with an emphasis on involving local craftspeople.
The Norfolk by Design exhibition will showcase the work of artists from across the county and includes textiles, woodwork, ceramics, illustrations, photography, sculpture, furniture and paintings.
“We feel that Norfolk’s landscape, colours, space and calm are an inspiration to artists of all walks – from potters to painters, photographers to furniture makers. So join us as we begin our inspired journey together!” says Davina.
Norfolk By Design begins with an evening private view and the exhibition is then open to the public from 10am to 4pm on Thursday, September 24 from 10am to 4pm.
VENUE: The Barn, West Lexham, near King’s Lynn, PE32 2QN
For Davina Barber, life in Norfolk has come full circle. As the daughter of a Norfolk landowner, she spent much of her youth on the county’s famous beaches and climbing the many trees that line the rural countryside. At the age of thirteen she went to school in Oxfordshire where she found her love for the arts through her History of Art teacher, who inspired her passion to study the subject at Bristol University.
Eager to shed her country wings, Davina finished her degree and headed to London, where she lived for nearly ten years, working for various art dealers. It was here that she decided to go it alone and launch her own company, Source, as a purveyor of fine arts.
It wasn’t until Davina and her husband Thomas started a family that they decided to move back to the county where he spent his childhood holidays, the place she calls ‘good for the soul’.
“We had a wonderful outdoors existence, that’s why I’m back here now, giving my children the same opportunity.”
After a brief hiatus, Davina reinvigorated Source from her home office in Norfolk. Rather than staying solely within the arts and paintings sector, Davina wanted to find a point of difference from all the other dealers out there. While decorating her own Norfolk home with classic Georgian pieces and restored Gustavian chairs, Davina quickly discovered that the furniture business was one within grasp.
With so many provincial antique dealers and places to acquire furniture on her doorstep in Norfolk and East Anglia, Source began to thrive. Davina now spends her days searching out rare and wonderful pieces for private clients, whether it’s a specific type of globe for a collector, or a made-to-measure lantern. She has painstakingly searched for the best in the business building up an extensive database of over 400 dealers, most of whom are based in the provinces.
“That is one of Source’s USPs. I try and bring pieces from provincial places, outside of London and outside of the expensive antiques or contemporary ware shops in the city.”
Davina knows the importance of local sourcing, with many British designers choosing quality materials made in England over imported goods. Carefully selecting locally produced pieces has become a real focus for her, as well as a requirement for many of her clients.
“I spent a lot of time last year finding local artisans, whether they were upholsterers, furniture makers or ironmongers; people who could produce bespoke pieces. Norfolk is full of that sort of person and that is something I really want to support.”
It’s not hard to see why so many creative people have chosen to settle in Norfolk, and not just because the rent is lower. Its flat landscapes are the perfect canvas for any painter, the endless empty barns provide workshops for sculptors and furniture makers alike, not to mention its iconic sunsets, likened by Davina to those seen on the exotic plains of Africa.
Norfolk is of growing interest to a younger set of artists and craftsman, who have chosen the serenity of green fields to the hustle and bustle of the big cities.
“You’ve got the sea here, the light and the space. It’s its own little place, not just on the way to somewhere and I think that appeals to creative people.”
With this growing artistic community in mind Davina, along with friend and interiors design Emma Deterding, of Kelling Designs, decided to create Norfolk by Design, a collective of artisans from the local area.
On Thursday 24th September in The Barn at West Lexham Manor, they are hosting a public show including range of local works, from ceramics and textiles to photography and sculpture.
“It’s going to be really eclectic and the setting is rustic. It’s not like a normal exhibition where you go in and the walls are all white and everything’s hung beautifully. I think that’s going to be part of its charm, and how it’s going to stand out from any old exhibition.”
Among the flint and brickwork of the old barn, visitors can peruse the works of artists such as Maria Pavledis who creates dream-like smoke art, or the ‘Sgraffito’ ceramics of Laura Huston. A few of Norfolk’s renowned artists will also be showing at Norfolk By Design’s viewing, including photographer Garlinda Birkbeck, painter Mary MacCarthy and garden designer George Carter, whose support for the event Davina said was ‘crucial’.
“It’s not so much a selling exhibition, it’s more like, ‘look what’s here, look what is in Norfolk’. It’s about getting these people out there and showing that there is such a range of creativity up here. It’s more than just water colourists.” She said with a grin.
To find out more about Norfolk by Design, visit the website: norfolk-by-design.com