New art gallery set to open in market town

Venetia’s Yarn Shop on Norwich Street in Fakenham.

Venetia’s Yarn Shop on Norwich Street in Fakenham. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

A Fakenham business owner is set to open a gallery at her shop - and hopes it will increase footfall in the town. 

Venetia Strangwayes-Booth, who runs Venetia’s Wool Shop in Norwich Street,  is set to unveil The Gallery Upstairs. 

Her first exhibition, entitled 'Image and Object', will open to the public on Monday, July 4 and run until September. 

Owner of Venetia‚ÄövÑv¥s Yarn Shop on Norwich Street in Fakenham, Venetia Strangwayes-Booth.

Owner of Venetia‚ÄövÑv¥s Yarn Shop on Norwich Street in Fakenham, Venetia Strangwayes-Booth. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

This showcase will feature colourful, expressive paintings by Norfolk artist Carole Ann Grace, as well as contemporary ceramic sculptures by Michel Ducos.

While accepting that visiting a gallery may not be the first thing on people's minds at the moment, Ms Strangwayes-Booth hopes to provide some respite from the stresses of everyday life. 

She said: "I don’t think it is vitally important. I suspect that, at the present time, many people are more concerned about the cost of living than feeding their souls.

“However, it is always a good thing to have an outlet for the arts in an area. It allows creative people to meet and it does lift spirits.

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"I also believe, and I hope, that it will increase footfall into Fakenham."

A retired lecturer in art and design, Carole Ann Grace has work displayed in galleries from the Outer Hebrides to Cornwall.

Her paintings have been shown in galleries in Norfolk and elsewhere for almost 50 years. 

Now based in both Rutland and Norfolk, she previously owned Snettisham Studio where she showed the work of Lincolnshire potter, Michel Ducos, whose sculptures can be seen together with her paintings.

Originally from France, Mr Ducos’ conceptual sculptures are mainly made of stoneware paper clay, and are sought after by keen collectors in his home nation, the UK and North America. 

Venetia’s Yarn Shop on Norwich Street in Fakenham, stocks local produces Norfolk wools. 

Venetia’s Yarn Shop on Norwich Street in Fakenham stocks local produces Norfolk wools. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

Ms Strangwayes-Booth admitted she did not initially plan on having a gallery at her business, which opened last year. 

But, having considered her first floor to be an ideal space, her artist sister fueled the idea when she insisted it was the perfect place for a gallery. 

With further backing from Ms Grace and Mr Ducos, Ms Strangwayes-Booth decided to take the plunge. 

She added: "I suspect I am taking on quite a lot of extra work, so I am nervous but excited at the same time."