Meet some of the Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios artists

PUBLISHED: 21:28 26 May 2017

NNOS17. Artist Mary Blue Brady. Photo: supplied by Kate Morfoot.

NNOS17. Artist Mary Blue Brady. Photo: supplied by Kate Morfoot.

supplied by Kate Morfoot

From sculptors to painters to textile-makers - more than 500 artists across Norfolk are taking part in a 16-day celebration of art which starts todayMay 27.

NNOS17 - Mary Blue Brady, Golden Green Gloaming. Image: Mary Blue Brady.NNOS17 - Mary Blue Brady, Golden Green Gloaming. Image: Mary Blue Brady.

Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios, which runs until June 11, is now in its 23rd year and throughout the next two weeks people will be able to enjoy visiting the array of artists taking part in more than 250 venues across the county.

Below are a few of the artists taking part.

Mary Blue Brady

Painter Mary Blue Brady, originally from America, has a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Pennsylvania and has

NNOS17. Sculptor Henry J Stephen. Photo: Kris Elliott.NNOS17. Sculptor Henry J Stephen. Photo: Kris Elliott.

taken up her love of painting the Norfolk countryside and coastal scenes since relocating from the USA in 2013.

In her paintings she layers words, textures, and colours, and weaves in bits of poetry.

Mary, who lives with her family in Kettlestone, has her artist studio in an old thrashing barn on Kettlestone Manor Farm.

She is taking part in NNOS on May 27 and 28 and June 3, 4, 10 and 11.

NNOS17. A work by sculptor Henry J Stephen. Photo: supplied by Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios.NNOS17. A work by sculptor Henry J Stephen. Photo: supplied by Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios.

Henry J Stephen

Metal work sculptor Henry J Stephen says that his work resonates with the wild surroundings of Norfolk.

“I love metal work! The raw energy and heat of its fluid transformation, there’s something transcendental about changing the material into a piece,” said Henry, who said his metal work had also helped him overcome mental health issues.

Henry uses welding, plasma cutting and a hammer and heat to bend and shape his work which among other things has included the creation of an impressive horse.

His work space is in an old stable and during NNOS people can see his work at Thornage Watermill from May 30 until June 11.

NNOS17 - Artist Abbey Stirling. Photo: Ben Zaven.NNOS17 - Artist Abbey Stirling. Photo: Ben Zaven.

Abbey Stirling

A writer by trade, Abbey Stirling developed her passion for being a painter and furniture upcycler when she started upcycling furniture for her first son’s nursery, and then her furniture became works of art and she began getting commissions.

“It gave me the confidence to start painting canvases again, and that’s definitely what I enjoy the most,” said Abbey, who is based in West Acre.

“I’ve always painted landscapes or objects, but I’m discovering a love for figures and faces. Now I can’t stop analysing people – everyone’s made up of shapes and shades.”

NNOS17. Birdcage lamp by Abbey Stirling. Photo: Ben Zaven Crane.NNOS17. Birdcage lamp by Abbey Stirling. Photo: Ben Zaven Crane.

Abbey’s studio is in a converted barn and people can see her work at Abbey Chic Studios, in West Acre, on May 27, 28 and 30, and June 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 11.

Yusuf Keten

Painter Yusuf Keten, who is based in Tharston, was inspired to create work by watching his eldest sister in Turkey working with ceramics, copper and other materials. Today, he creates abstract paintings, creating layers with the use of brushes, pallet knives and his fingers.

Yusuf said: “I create my work in a large, light conservatory which is virtually in my garden. This means that the seasons, and the sounds and smells that go with them, help relax my mind, letting my imagination work to its best ability. English is not my first language and I feel that I can express myself through my paintings and love the idea that other people take on my work and put their own interpretation on to it, and enjoy having conversations around this.”

NNOS17 - Painter Yusuf Keten. Photo: Donald John Kennedy.NNOS17 - Painter Yusuf Keten. Photo: Donald John Kennedy.

Yusuf is exhibiting his work at 9 Chequers Close, Tharston, on May 28 and 31 and June 3,4,7, 10 and 11.

Bill Botten

Painter and 3D artist Bill Botten is opening up his studio at his home in Norwich for NNOS.

He has designed and illustrated the jackets of some 240 hardback and 40 paperback books including James Bond titles, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Special Services and Icebreaker.

NNOS17 - Bill Botten in his studio. Photo: Bill Botten.NNOS17 - Bill Botten in his studio. Photo: Bill Botten.

“I have been an artist for over 60 years, and am lucky enough to have painted full time for the last 40,” he said.

“My whole house will be open every day with over 50 paintings and three-dimensional figures on display.”

Bill’s work is on show at 1 Aberdare Court, Hilary Avenue, Norwich every day until June 11.

Colin Palmer

NNOS17 - Bill Botten, The Spy Who Loved Me. Photo: Bill Botten.NNOS17 - Bill Botten, The Spy Who Loved Me. Photo: Bill Botten.

Retired solicitor-turned-painter Colin Palmer, from St Olaves, near Great Yarmouth, is participating in NNOS for the first time.

Since retiring in 2014, Colin has painted more than 50 pictures including portraits, landscapes and pets.

“It seems my work has improved with practice even though I don’t paint every day. I tried watercolour and pastels with some success but find the medium of oil so wonderfully versatile and expressive and well worth the mess one can be left in and with!” he said.

“This is my very first year participating and it has been a great experience meeting fellow artists. There are some

very beautiful pieces of art being quietly produced in this area by truly modest people with natural talent.”

NNOS17 - Colin Palmer. Photo: Mark Dyball.NNOS17 - Colin Palmer. Photo: Mark Dyball.

Colin’s work will be on show at Gladwood, 6 Herringfleet Road, St Olaves, Great Yarmouth, every day until June 11.

Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios runs from May 27 until June 11. The studios - which are open 10am-5pm unless otherwise stated - are free to visit and the whole event is organised in partnership with Norfolk artists and in association with Wex Photographic.

For more information about all the artists taking part, visit

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