Saturday, 31 March 2018

Country and Eastern: the Kettle’s Yard of Norwich?

It might seem far-fetched, but in some ways Country and Eastern, a Norwich-based retailer of Indian objects, fabrics and clothes, as well as a museum of Indian applied art, plays a similar role to Kettle’s Yard. What? I hear you say. How can you compare a retailer to an art gallery? It’s very simple.

  • Both display in close proximity natural objects and created objects
  • Both show art created out of natural materials, that is as much about enjoying the material as the art created from it
  • Both have an arresting quality, teaching you to look at and to enjoy
  • Both create scenarios with arranged objects together, giving a satisfying and pleasurable sight
  • Both are happy to combine cheap, mass-produced objects with objects of considerable skill and rarity value.

  • Both are housed in an inspiring environment, reusing a space in an imaginative way. 

Country and Eastern is a model of how the art gallery shop should be. Instead of the art-going public buying feeble and inferior replicas of the art on display, at Country and Easter, you can buy the same vision – the same lovely colours, the same workmanship, the same art – and recreate it at home.

How could you fail to respond to such a rich array of lovely colours?  Just as Alfred Wallis can produce images as satisfying as those by an art-school trained painter, so can simple block prints of bright colours have as satisfying an effect as rich and elaborate (and highly skilled) metalwork.

And I can’t help feeling that buying things from Country and Eastern is far more likely to benefit local workers than anything on sale in the Fitzwilliam shop (or the Kettle’s Yard shop, for that matter).

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