A Mother And Daughter Afternoon At The NUA Degree Shows.

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By Tina Hannay.

And then it just stopped. The constant arguing, the blistering anger that would ignite over the most unlikely things, the need to control every. single. thing; like a summer storm it blew over almost as swiftly as it arrived.

Well, maybe not entirely. Freya is still three, after all – and has a very definite opinion about when it’s appropriate to wear sandals (pretty much any day it’s raining).

Thankfully, while she remains feisty and opinionated, it mostly seems more measured (for now).

It’s better.

Definitely easier.

I can (sort of) understand where she’s coming from and wade through it rather than just (mentally) throwing my hands up, at a loss as to know how to help her but holding on for dear life anyway.

I’d go as far as to say that nearly four is my favourite age so far.

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Last week I wanted to visit the Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) degree shows and, as the only day I could do it was Friday, I decided to take Freya, as I thought she might like it too.

 

By Rebecca Goddard and Emily Willgress.

After lunch we hopped on a bus into the city and strolled down to the campus where we toured the various buildings looking at the work of some of this year’s 600 graduates.

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By Sean Hancock.

 

Works on display include “paintings and illustrations, fashion garments and textile patterns, architectural drawings and models, sculptures, photographs, short films and animations, portfolios of graphic design work and video game demos”.

I’ve listed links for all the work I’ve featured at the end, where I could find them, but there were so many I didn’t get chance to take photos of but were equally brilliant (and many more I didn’t get to see at all) so really you need to go and look for yourself, if possible.

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By Nancy Peart

Getting Freya’s take on things was entertaining (she was really engaged and inspired to create her own painting as soon as we got home). There were tiny brains, an animal skull which she was fascinated by and a work that included sand which she found particularly hard not to touch.

She thought the photo on the left (below) was the Northern Lights.

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By Faryal Waiz.

I also found it really inspiring – there are definitely some stars of the future just waiting to be discovered.

I was buzzing afterwards (as I treated Freya to a tub of Norfolk strawberry ice-cream in a nearby cafe) – and not just because I had given my brain what felt like an intense workout for the first time in ages but also because we both seemed to enjoy it as much as the other. So often we either do something for the pleasure of one (softplay) or the other (hunting for butterflies) or neither of us (supermarket shopping). I hope we can find more things we enjoy together.

This photo by Victoria Brooks is one of my favourites, I just found it arresting. Then there was an illustrated book by Lauren Phillips I was very taken with.

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By Victoria Brooks.

Freya really liked the textiles, including these models by Danielle Taylor but also the video games (particularly as she got to wear headphones and play with a controller).

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The degree shows are free to visit but you only have today and tomorrow left so get in quick! Please check the website for opening times. There’s also a shop, Unexpected Item In The Bagging Area, full of beautiful things to buy.

To find out more about the work I featured please click on the links below.

Tina Hannay

Emily Willgress

Victoria Brooks

Nancy Peart

Lauren Phillips

Sean Hancock

Rebecca Goddard

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Things To Do In Norfolk – Small Stories Exhibition.

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One of my happiest memories starts with entering the living room early on Christmas Day, when I was about six or seven, to find a present so large it had to be wrapped in a sheet.

When I pulled it off, with much fanfare, I discovered my dad had converted a bookcase into a fully furnished dolls’ house to rival any Barbie Dreamhouse, which was the must have toy of that year.

While he had been busy constructing this secret project in his shed, my mum had also been hard at work making a shoebox full of tiny new cloths for my dolls.

Best. Christmas. Ever.

It still makes me smile to think about it – and I’m sure nostalgia was part of the reason I was so excited about visiting the Small Stories: At Home In A Dolls’ House exhibition at Norwich Castle.

In a fun twist, the tales behind 12 of the V&A Museum of Childhood’s most treasured dolls’ houses are told by their tiny inhabitants.

Using audio and light, the houses come to life as we “journey through 300 years of the history of the home and listen to takes of marriages and parties, politics and crime”.

The chance to peek inside these beautiful treasures, from a country mansion to a high-rise apartment (as we live in a flat, I loved this one), is such a treat – as is learning more about how dolls’ houses came to be. One visit won’t be enough for me.

There was even some unexpected kitchen envy.

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Aimed at all the family, there are chances to shrink to doll size, dress up, and experience daily life in the 1840s and 1960s in room recreations.

The finale is Dream House 2017, featuring “magical, miniature rooms” specially created by Norfolk architects, artists, makers, students, and school groups.

* The exhibition at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery runs until June 25th. For more info about opening times and ticket prices please click here.

Exhibition: Olive Edis – Fishermen And Kings (Norwich).

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There is so much to admire about Olive Edis – and that’s before you even get to her photography.

Born in London in 1876, she had a thirst for life which saw her become an entrepreneur, an intrepid adventurer and a woman not just pushing but breaking through the boundaries of what was considered acceptable in her time.

The first comprehensive exhibition to celebrate her life and work has just kicked off at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery – and it’s a must see, in my opinion.

It is interesting, thought-provoking and inspiring. And, even though I was born 100 years after her, I felt a connection to her through her photographs.

Featuring more than 190 rare images (click here for some examples) taken by Olive between 1900 and 1955, they show the breadth and depth of her skills, with subjects ranging from characterful north Norfolk fishermen to royalty.

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Copyright: Norfolk Museums (Cromer Museum).

Alistair Murphy, curator, said: “Olive Edis was a remarkable woman. She was well-educated, forward thinking, a visionary, an astute business entrepreneur and most importantly a talented photographer with a natural affinity for her subjects – however grand or humble each was afforded respect and dignity. Like the many influential and inspirational women that she photographed, Edis was herself a “new woman”.”

One of the earliest examples of her work is a portrait of her cousin, Caroline (known as Carrie), taken in 1900.

Carrie is said to have given Olive her first camera and on the back of the picture is written: “My very first attempt at a portrait which turned my fate in 1900.”

While she grew up in London, Olive came to Norfolk with one of her sisters, Katherine, where they set up their first studio in Sheringham in 1905. It had a glass roof to allow the natural light which became Olive’s trademark style.

While Katherine married a few years later, Olive continued as a jobbing photographer and her reputation grew.

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In her long career she photographed a wide cross section of society, including well-known names such as Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, MR James and Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst.

In 1918 she was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum to photograph women’s war work in Europe – the first British woman to be commissioned as an official war photographer and only the fifth official British photographer to visit Europe to cover the first world war.

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So good I bought the book!

Some of those photographs are included in the exhibition, which is split into themes. There are also sections on her striking portraits and travel.

Initially working with platinum prints, Olive was one of the first photographers to work with autochrome and even patented her own design of viewer. (There is a wonderful section in the exhibition set up as a darkroom, which explains more about the processes involved.)

Despite advances in photography she continued to use a large plate camera until the 1950s, although did later own folding cameras which used film.

Olive died in 1955 at her London studio but her ashes are interred in Sheringham with the body of her husaband, Edwin, whom she married in 1928, when she was 52, and who died in 1947.

She left her estate of photographs, prints glass plate negatives and autochromes to her friend Cyril Nunn, who took the last known photograph of her in 1953/4. The collection was in turn offered to the Cromer Museum in 2008.

The exhibition, which runs until January 22, is part of an ongoing project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund aiming to boost awareness of Olive’s work.

It won’t be travelling but a smaller exhibition featuring different images will form part of a permanent display at Cromer Museum.

For more details please click here.