Art of show
PUBLISHED: 06:05 26 May 2014
Twenty years ago husband and wife artists Joyce and Syd Davison invited visitors to see them at work, as part of Norfolk’s first Open Studios event. Two decades on, Joyce will once again be welcoming visitors to her Castle Acre studio – one of more than 550 artists taking part in the 20th Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios.
It is a chance to see artists painting landscapes and portraits, making jewellery and sculptures, wood turning and printing.
Over the years several groups of artists have got together to create trails between studios, with visitors encouraged to enjoy a morning, or an entire day, of pottering between potters and painters, weavers and watercolourists.
The open studios are part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival and festival artistic director William Galinsky says: “I am so proud that Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios is 20 years old, and proud to be working with so many talented artists in a part of the world that has long been an inspiration for artists. The richness of delights on offer this year shows that this is still very much the case.”
Joyce was a secretary and teacher before beginning to make pottery. “Open Studios gave me confidence in my own ability to produce work which was enjoyed by other people,” she says.
Now widowed, she says it also reduces the isolation of working alone at home, by bringing neighbouring artists together.
“Visitors can spend a whole day in the village and visit many studios – all different. I have given short, informal lessons to help inexperienced potters to cope with a problem that has perplexed them and there have been cases of individual visitors becoming potters after an Open Studios visit. Enthusiasm is infectious!”
When she and Syd first joined Open Studios, he had taken early retirement to concentrate on painting.
“I was much less experienced and made traditional items for everyday use such as mugs, jugs, bowls, plates, storage jars, tea-pots, etc,” says Joyce. She now works mainly in porcelain, creating crackle-glazed vases pigmented with copper.
Joyce has helped turn the Castle Acre Art Trail into one of the largest in the county and says there is much more to it than the chance to sell work. “If you reach out a little to people they will reach right back to you. Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios has given me the opportunity to do just that.”
Many of Norfolk’s artists will be inviting visitors into their workplaces between Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, June 8; www.nnopenstudios.org.uk