The international artists’ book fair Turn the Page will show an illuminated sculpture resembling May Savidge’s 15th-century house Ware Hall, which was moved beam by beam from Hertfordshire to Norfolk in the 1970s and ‘80s.
A book art sculpture called Ware Hall Paper House by Reepham-based artist Jules Allen has been created as a celebration of the life of the remarkable May Alice Savidge. The piece was made from book-binding materials and pages from the biography Miss Savidge Moves Her House by May’s niece Christine Adams.
During the fair, which will be held on 26 and 27 May at The Forum, Norwich, the multimedia sculpture will be accompanied by The Blue Lady, a song written by Mrs Allen and singer Marina Florance.
The song title refers to the caravan of the same name, in which Mrs Savidge lived while she built the house. The caravan made from paper will stand in an overgrown garden alongside the house.
Mrs Allen, founder and director of Turn the Page, said: “Ever since I first heard the story of May Savidge in 2013, I’ve been totally intrigued and inspired by it. She must have had such a fighting spirit and an unimaginable determination to undertake the moving and rebuilding of her home piece by piece in Norfolk.
“The saddest part is that she never lived to see the house completed. But her amazing niece Christine Adams has since dedicated over 20 years of her own life fulfilling May’s dying wish. I’m honoured to have had the privilege to pay homage to these two extraordinary women.”
This year’s Turn the Page will be the last that Mrs Allen is organising before handing over to artist and writer Rosie Sherwood.
“I believe Rosie will break new ground with the fair as she has lots of fresh, exciting plans for the future development of the event,” said Mrs Allen, who runs the Rushlight Gallery in Reepham. “I’m thrilled the fair will be staying in Norfolk for 2018 as it has become a very popular annual event for the county.”
International artist Anna Yevtukh will reveal the fair’s centrepiece, which is a leather-bound “Street of Books” that represents the artist’s interpretation of the quote “There’s no place like home”.
Meanwhile, German graphic artist Barbara Beisinghoff will show an installation of her hand-drawn watermarked papers and books at the event.
The ever-growing Norfolk Longbook – now 14 metres long – will also be on display. Turn the Page’s organisers started the community art project in 2013 and are aiming to create UK’s longest concertina book handmade by the public by 2018.