What's in store in '24?

paint brushes in a jar viewed from above

Local creativity in all corners of The Forum.

The 2024 Norfolk Makers Festival invites you to explore four floors of The Forum, where you can enjoy new exhibitions, workshops, talks, demonstrations and, of course, free creative activities.

Where else but the Norfolk Makers Festival do you get to have a go, for FREE, at such a huge selection of arts and crafts, with materials and tuition provided?

Crafty inspiration wherever you look!

FREE CRAFTY SESSIONS

The free taster sessions include lino cut printing, spinning, embroidery, painting, crochet, quilting, lacemaking, woodcraft, illustration, design, and much, much more, all from 10am to 4pm each day.

As for the bookable workshops, you can learn how to sketch a portrait Renaissance style, paint with watercolours, use a spinning wheel, make your own jewellery, mix natural dyes, and master crochet.

The full programme of what's happening on each day of the programme, and the booking links for the workshops, will go live on this website on Friday 1 March.

We have a few highlights to tell you about in advance of 'going live'.

THIS WON'T HAPPEN AGAIN!

The Norfolk Makers Festival wouldn't be complete without 'Norfolk's Queen of Knitting'. To mark Margaret Seamans 95th birthday, in April, we present Margaret: The Complete Collection. In our Lower Gallery you will find ALL of her incredibly detailed, and huge hand-knitted installations, on display together for the first and last time.

Margaret's artwork has earned her many awards, including Oldie of the Year!

Marvel at the Knitted Sandringham, the Knitted Great Yarmouth, the NHS Knittingale, the Knitted Buckingham Palace, and other delightful pieces. Margaret won't be making any more large installations but she continues to raise money for local charities with her smaller items. Margaret will be in residence throughout the Festival and is looking forward to seeing you!

DOWNTON, BARBIE AND TAYLOR SWIFT

Local teenage crochet artist, Ellen Seigert, has made 'amigurumi minis' of her favourite characters from the world of entertainment and they are all on show in the Millennium Library.

Mrs Hughes and Mr Carson

It's incredible how just a few strands of yarn, and a talented artistic eye, can make each doll instantly recognisable. Each of Ellen's minis is guaranteed to make you smile.

THE PLEASURE AND PAIN OF FASHION

Step into the past in The Gallery and enjoy displays of costumes and fashions through the generations.

Corset on stand
Wince through a talk about the history of the corset.

The Costume and Textile Association of Norwich (C&TA) presents its 35th anniversary exhibition in The Gallery, focusing on historical costume, the use of stitch and clothing as a form of art, and as a means of protest, and featuring the work of a new generation of designers. A programme of talks and films runs alongside the C&TA exhibition.

STITCHING THE STARS

On loan from the Royal Astronomical Society, we have their bicentennial quilt of planets, galaxies, comets and satellites, created by a global team of stitchers.

Each planet, star and satellite was created by a different stitcher somewhere on this planet.

And from the Grenfell Tower community, the huge quilt they've created using the stitched contributions from visitors to last year's Norfolk Makers Festival.

COMMUNAL CARTOONING

The Makers Festival is an eclectic event and it's certainly not all about textiles. Join professional illustrator and cartoonist, David Shenton, to create a gigantic zine. He will also be hosting a men's knitting group and displaying a novel protest installation called Dark Lanterns.

Man holding large scale cartoon on roll of paper.
Help draw out a long, long story.

FANTASY WORLD BUILDING

Join the Wayward Adventurers Guild to draw and create fantasy worlds, Norwich University of the Arts to try out virtual reality painting, digital animation and games art, Stellabox to have a go at linocut printing, and The Garage to create art from found objects.

Smiling woman wearing a VR headset
Digital creativity and pushing boundaries

WOODLAND AND WILDLIFE

We're bringing rural crafts to the city centre, with a Strumpshaw Tree Fair taster, plus have a go at leather pressing, using acorns and coffee to create dye, wood whittling with the Woodland Haberdasher, and spinning with sheep fleece.

Whistle while you whittle

BE KIND TO THE PLANET AND YOURSELF

Discover novel ways of re-using, re-cycling and re-fashioning, with Re-Do Norfolk. Plus, ideas from Norfolk’s knitters, weavers, embroiders, quilters and others on how to bust that stash!

Self expression in a self portrait

And on display in the main Atrium, a collection of self-portraits, created in the past year, by people living in Norwich, exploring what they do and need to look after their brains and bodies.

A FEW EXTRAS

Don't miss open days at Dragon Hall, exploring the ancient wood crafting and stonemasonry, a drop in Sunday at Anteros Foundation's gallery where you can meet more artists and try your hand, talks on the politics of indigo production and Norman tapestries. Guidance on how you can make a living from the craft you love will be in our panel talk, From Craft to Career.

This is just a sneak peek of what's on at NMF24, the whole programme of free activities and workshops will be live on Friday 1 March!

Jayne Evans

Producer (and weaver, spinner, knitter and stitcher!)