Artists will go 'off limits' at nature reserve and former secret military site


Orford Ness will host a series of special art workshops this year - Credit: Mike Page

Artists will get the opportunity to capture one of Britain's most amazing wild landscapes as part of a new project on the Suffolk coast.

The unique landscape of Orford Ness, with its internationally important vegetated shingle, rare wildlife, and rich history of top-secret military testing has long provided an evocative setting.

Now thanks to a collaboration between the National Trust and leading artists, a series of workshops will be run based at the National Nature Reserve open to artists of all levels of experience.

The programme has been curated by the team at Orford Ness in partnership with three acclaimed locally-based artists and experienced tutors, Susan Barnet, Jane Watt and Caroline Wright. They will be joined by other leading artists to deliver a rich programme of events throughout 2022 to explore the varied landscape of Orford Ness in new ways.

Dr Susan Barnet, senior lecturer and fine art course leader at the University of Suffolk.

Dr Susan Barnet, senior lecturer and fine art course leader at the University of Suffolk - Credit: University of Suffolk

Highlights include the opportunity to turn off all digital devices in two workshops and experience the relaxation that creating art provides, a rare opportunity to spend the night on Orford Ness and capture sunrise over Suffolk’s secret coast on paper, as well as the opportunity to learn how to turn drawings into prints.

The events give participants the opportunity to experience Orford Ness in a new way, incorporating access to areas normally ‘off-limits’ to the general public. As well as tuition, participants will be able to learn about the rich history that makes this site so special.

For artist Caroline Wright, the landscape of Orford Ness is one that has influenced her own work. She said: “The unique terrain of Orford Ness, situated twixt the village of Orford and the sea and with its striking and evocative wartime architecture, suggests many narratives and visual imagery at every turn.

UCS fine art lecturer Jane Watt has curated a show at the Waterfront Gallery called East to East tha

Jane Watt is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Suffolk and has been commissioned to develop site-specific installations and commissions in rural and urban environments over the last twenty years. - Credit: Archant

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"It is a place I have been visiting for many years and one has influenced my art practice and current research into the eroding coast of Suffolk. I am looking forward very much to exploring the Ness with the public during the 2022 programme of workshops and capturing this fascinating site through a series of creative responses."

Glen Pearce, property operation manager for Orford Ness,  said: “We know that many artists find inspiration from the mix of landscape and human history here. This programme of art workshops will encourage artists of all levels of experience to be inspired by the Ness and we can’t wait to see what work they produce.”

Tickets for all events are strictly limited and full details of dates and prices can be found on the Orford Ness website