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Exhibition inspired by Victorian 'jacket women' of Norfolk workhouses to be shown near Holt

PUBLISHED: 11:32 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:32 13 May 2019

Artist and printmaker Maria Pavledis working on an image using a 'smoke drawing' technique she has developed.
Photo: DAVID MORRIS

Artist and printmaker Maria Pavledis working on an image using a 'smoke drawing' technique she has developed. Photo: DAVID MORRIS

Archant

Artwork inspired by the plight of unmarried mothers forced to live in Norfolk's Victorian workhouses will be on show at Salthouse Church, near Holt, this month, as part of an exhibition by printmaker and former Cromer librarian Maria Pavledis.

Artist and printmaker Maria Pavledis working on an image using a 'smoke drawing' technique she has developed.
Photo: DAVID MORRISArtist and printmaker Maria Pavledis working on an image using a 'smoke drawing' technique she has developed. Photo: DAVID MORRIS

The former Norwich School of Art student, who went on to gain an MA in printmaking at Camberwell College of Art, south London, has also worked as a college lecturer, an adult education tutor and a hospital play specialist.

She produces images using a mixture of traditional and non-traditional methods, including etching, drypoint, monoprint and projection of drawings and prints.

One of the images featured in an exhibition by artist Maria Pavledis, who took inspiration from the plight of unmarried mothers sent to live at Gressenhall Workhouse in Victorian times.
Photo: submittedOne of the images featured in an exhibition by artist Maria Pavledis, who took inspiration from the plight of unmarried mothers sent to live at Gressenhall Workhouse in Victorian times. Photo: submitted

She also incorporates 'smoke drawing' into her work, a method by which an image is drawn onto a copper plate which has been blackened with a lighted wax taper.

Single mum-of-one Ms Pavledis, who now works as a librarian for the whole county and teaches etching as a member of Norwich printmaking collective Print to the People, said the idea for her latest exhibition grew out of a visit to Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, near Dereham.

One of the images featured in an exhibition by artist Maria Pavledis, who took inspiration from the plight of unmarried mothers sent to live at Gressenhall Workhouse in Victorian times.
Photo: submittedOne of the images featured in an exhibition by artist Maria Pavledis, who took inspiration from the plight of unmarried mothers sent to live at Gressenhall Workhouse in Victorian times. Photo: submitted

"As a single parent, I was very moved by the stigmatisation of unmarried mothers in the workhouse and the way in which the most vulnerable in society were categorised and processed," she said. "I wanted to express some of the stories and emotional lives of individuals in these situations and connect it with the treatment of those living in poverty today."

The Owl Sanctuary, by Maria Pavledis, whose latest exhibition was inspired by the plight of unmarried mothers sent to live at Gressenhall Workhouse in Victorian times.
Photo: submittedThe Owl Sanctuary, by Maria Pavledis, whose latest exhibition was inspired by the plight of unmarried mothers sent to live at Gressenhall Workhouse in Victorian times. Photo: submitted

Of particular interest were the 'jacket women' - 'fallen' women who were forced to wear a distinctive jacket as a mark of their disgrace - and the 'casuals', including tramps and homeless people.

"I called the exhibition Sudden Windows, which is about connecting what is inside with what is outside and creating a space to see through that wall," Ms Pavledis said.

Visitors to the show, which will feature a series of large-scale monoprints, as well as etchings and smoke drawings, will have a chance to see Ms Pavledis at work, and hear the stories of workhouse inmates.

Sudden Windows, by Maria Pavledis, runs at Salthouse Church, Grouts Lane, NR25 7XA, from May 25 - June 6. Opening times are 11am-5pm daily.

To see more of Maria's work, visit www.mariapavledis.com

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