In 2008, as part of the Pastons' Country project, writing and printmaking workshops have been exploring the world of the Paston letters and the landscape and buildings of Paston today. Resulting in a wonderful limited edition hand-made book.
The "amazing weekend" forecast for the Paston exhibition turned out to be exactly that, with the sun shining brightly throughout, and medieval characters to be found enjoying the unexpected warmth of the sun in the graveyard, as well as fulfilling such functions as scrivener and paper-maker inside. In the normally cold church the atmosphere was temperate, even for the Latin Compline on the Saturday evening, when fog paid a fleeting visit outside.
The Private View on the Friday evening was a big success, with a fascinating film of the project being followed by a poetry reading, in which InPrint poets Caroline Gilfillan, Lisa D'Onofrio and Tim Lenton took part.
The handmade, leather-bound book had centre stage, with InPrint's Annette Rolston turning the pages and explaining the background (see photo below). Prints and poems from the book were on display. Small facsimiles of the book were very popular at £10 a time, and two copies of the big book were ordered during the weekend.
On the Saturday Annette and Lisa offered a workshop, and bookbinder Judith Ellis from Aylsham demonstrated her skills. There were further poetry readings from the InPrint poets and from the other Paston poets – Dot Cobley, Kay Riggs, Rob Knee and Adrian Ward. Natural England organised a couple of visits to the Great Barn, which is rarely accessible. Visitors to the exhibition were augmented by a large party of ramblers who happened by and who found the whole project fascinating, especially Annette's description of the book's contents.
Sunday was dominated by the visit of medieval music interpreters Horses Brawl, who rehearsed during the afternoon and put on a concert of 18 songs in the evening, interspersed by readings from the Paston Letters. One of the pieces, sung by Jennie Cassidy, was from a manuscript found in the church in the 1920s and dating back to the time of the Pastons. It was believed to be the first time it had been heard since that time, and it was beautifully sung by Jennie.
InPrint were proud to be part of the project, which owed much of its sucess to Annette's determination to master the innovative non-toxic intaglio process and produce excellent prints. Lucy Care, from the Paston Heritage Society, had the vision for the whole thing and worked closely with Annette to bring it to fruition. Part of the exhibition later went on show at Nottingham, and at the North Norfolk District Council offices in Cromer. The book itself was on display in the Millennium Library in Norwich in the December, and more exhibitions followed. The Eastern Daily Press recognised the importance of the project by devoting two full page threes to it.