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Local artists on show at new gallery

PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 January 2010 | UPDATED: 09:07 01 August 2010

ARTISTS in the Loddon area are being given the chance to show off their talents at a new community-minded art gallery.

Chet Valley Art Studio, next to Church Plain Stores, opened to rave reviews from art-lovers.

ARTISTS in the Loddon area are being given the chance to show off their talents at a new community-minded art gallery.

Chet Valley Art Studio, next to Church Plain Stores, opened to rave reviews from art-lovers.

At present there are 10 artists on display, all of whom live within a 10 to 15-mile radius of Loddon, and almost all of them are relatively unknown.

The work of one Norwich artist, Gemma Sergent, has been particularly well received. Miss Sergent, 25, uses recycled materials to make items such as necklaces, rings and bracelets.

She works primarily with copper, which she obtains from old electric wires given by her plasterer friend. She also uses buttons given to her by her nanny and beads she finds in charity shops.

Her work is inspired by her travels in South America, where people often used whatever they could find to make their jewellery. Miss Sergent started making jewellery about a year ago when she lost a pair of beloved earrings she had bought in Argentina and decided to try to replicate them as a replacement.

It is her first exhibition at a gallery, and she says: “I'm really enjoying it. I love the idea that people are buying my work; and it's good that it's all recycled.”

Other artists exhibiting include Diana McKenna,

from Bungay, and Carolyn Williams, of Burgh Castle. The gallery also invites established “guest artists”; work by Norwich's David Potter is now on display.

The studio is a not-for-profit organisation run by husband and wife Bernard and Janet Welland-Jones, who opened the gallery in December and kept it open until Christmas as a trial run. As feedback was posi-tive and sales were made from the very start, they decided to keep it going.

The idea to open a gallery permanently in the town came after an exhibition was held at Rosy Lee's tea room, in Bridge Street, showcasing the work of the couple's daughter, Amanda Hughes. Amanda was then asked to arrange a week-long exhibition to support the Chet Valley Festival for 2009. The event attracted 12 local artists, with 17 pieces sold. It was hailed as a success and prompted cries for a permanent gallery to open in Loddon.

Artists can exhibit free, and commission is claimed on sales to keep the studio running.

The gallery is open from Wednesday to Friday from 10am to 5pm and on

Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm. Hours will

be extended in the

summer.

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