Reflections from Cley-next-the-Sea
It's been 18 months since I made the move from London to work from Cley-next-the-Sea. Moving my workshop to Made in Cley whilst still in the grip of lockdowns and restrictions was full of learning curves. I've loved every minute! My practice has gradually settled in to a rythm and as I take the next step of letting my London studio go it seems a good time to take a moment to reflect.
I hit the ground running in Spring/Summer 2021 as North Norfolk had one of it's busiest seasons ever - with travel restrictions in place we saw a huge rise in visitors in our local area. Stunning beaches and harbours, drenched in history, big skies and rare wildlife make North Norfolk a great place to holiday. Cley has so much to offer with it's iconic windmill, protected marshland and shingle beach. Add to this great local pubs and a flourishing art and craft community, it's no surprise that people return year after year. It's so good they made a programme about it - you can watch Ben Robinson on BBC I-player discover Cley's rich history here.
It was with this backdrop that I joined the well established studios of Made in Cley (read my post from last year about my connections to the pottery and Cley). I have had great support from the potters and all who keep Made in Cley running. People visit us every year to add to their pottery collections and have been incredibly supportive of the new jeweller in town!
Things have calmed down a bit this year as restrictions have eased. I've been focusing on new work in the Faraway Faces collection, currently on show at Studio Vault in an exhibition called Hereditary Pathways. This is the first time I've shown the collection outside of open studios and it feels great to have a new collection out.
Getting to know people in the area has been very important to me - I've joined a local community group and am slowly making connections with other creatives in the area. The new addition of Cromer Art Space a little further down the coast is creating a buzz, and we are in the season of craft fairs, one of the finest being North Norfolk Arts & Craft Fair this weekend.
I've continued visiting my London workshop at Cockpit Studios, taking part in the open studio events. This has given me an opportunity to gradually let my London clients know the direction I am heading as well as continue to benefit from the amazing facilities Cockpit offer makers. My business coaches have helped me transition my practice to the next stage. I have now made the decision to let my studio in London go - it is time to plant both feet in Norfolk and embrace countryside living. I have my last Open Studios at Cockpit 25th - 27th November. While I will miss the Cockpit community I am excited to begin a new phase in my practice and look forward to making new opportunities using all I have learnt.
I have a new website, new work and exhibition ideas, and much to work on for clients. I wouldn't say I have a slower pace of life - if anything I'm busier than ever! But being closer to family and friends and living in this beautiful landscape has done much for my quality of life.