All Change!

The last time I wrote I was in Sweden which now seems like years ago! My main reason for not writing is that I’ve had a hugely busy year which was largely disrupted (in a good way!) by moving house and studio. After a few years of a travelling between Settle and Masham each weekend, my partner and I took the plunge and bought a house together in Horton-in-Ribblesdale. He moved in at Easter and I spent a month making the transition from my little rented cottage in Masham to our equally lovely new place. As a fellrunner this move is exciting (Horton is the starting point for the Yorkshire Three Peaks race and is surrounded by gorgeous fells) but as an artist, the fact that the house has a studio at the bottom of the garden and I can finally ‘go out to work’, it is even more so! I’m very attached to Masham, the place, the community and my friends there but I’ll be maintaining strong links with the Masham Gallery, who have championed my printmaking for 18 years, and ArtisOn Ltd who have been employing me to deliver printmaking workshops for the last three years. We’re already working on next year’s programme!

The move was pretty stressful and labour intensive mainly because I had various exhibition commitments that required me to be able to work right up to the last minute but looking back on it, it went surprisingly smoothly and I’m now settled in to my new studio and making lots of work. I’ve also got Harry the collie as a companion in the daytime!

Here are a few pictures that tell the story:

002

My Masham studio before I packed up…

018

and looking rather forlorn after I’d packed and been around with the filler and paint!

007

My lovely new workplace down the end of the garden

002

Before I turned it into a print studio…

008

and afterwards. I’ve since put up some prints and it gets cosier and more ‘arty’ every week. I’ve been talking to an electrician about getting a proper mains electricity supply to it (it is just on extension cables at the moment) and soon I’ll be able to plug things in and flick a switch for my daylight strip to come on so that I can work throughout winter. I’ll be making some heat shields so that I can use the stove and also putting in a small heater that will work on a thermostat so that it never goes below freezing (we’re quite high up here and snow is a regular occurrence in the winter).

I really enjoy working in there and am finding ways to make efficient use of the space. In my old house I used to stretch my prints on the back of the kitchen and pantry doors but now I have a selection of boards that I store in my plan chest for that purpose. I’m also adapting the paper soaking system that I used in Sweden as I am no longer able to soak my paper in the bath tub and transport it safely to the studio. I’ve found that I can spray the paper outside (or in the greenhouse in bad weather) and then stack it in polythene to keep it damp so that I have a supply on hand that just needs blotting when I’m ready to print.

After years of living on my own I’ve realised that I’m a bit of a workaholic but also a great procrastinator so I ended up making jobs last longer than I needed to, never really switching off unless I was out of the house and I regularly worked into the small hours. Now I am making far better use of my time and am limiting my evening and weekend work so that I at least have an hour or so to relax most days (although, artists never switch off, I’m always mulling over ideas!).

We live down a little lane that leads to fields and the Ribble so I can swim in the river and run in the hills straight from my house. The countryside is really wonderful and there are so many different species of bird. It is a constant source of inspiration. I love having a studio that is separate from the house and when I head down to it, it feels like I really mean business. I’m also enjoying the cups of tea that get brought out to me in the evening and have learned to ignore Harry barking at the logpile for me to throw sticks. He’s learning to get used to me disappearing out there and I’m getting used to rescuing his ball from the drain or pond so that he can carry on playing by himself until it is time for us to go out together. He still drops the occasional ball at my feet when I’m printing though 🙂

photo (3)

 

 

March Hares and Feathered Friends

As usual, blog posts from me tend to be a bit few and far between but I can report that I’ve been steadily getting back up to speed after my slow January and I’ve delivered work for two exhibitions that have just started. Both are bird themed shows. The first is at The Craft Centre and Design Gallery in Leeds and features my prints along with those of Janis Goodman, Pam Grimmond and Mike Smith. It is on until the 29th June 2013 so there is plenty of time to visit.

The second exhibition is at Cambridge Contemporary Art and is a group show with prints from Janis and Pam again and also Carry Ackroyd, Jane Ormes, Simon Griffiths and Fiona Watson to name but a few. ‘Feathered Friends’ continues until 1st April 2013 but both galleries have my work permanently in the browsers for anyone that misses these shows. I’m now finishing the preparations for my exhibition ‘Telling Tails’ with glass artist Jane Littlefield at Rural Arts in Thirsk. We both share a love of the natural landscape and  the stories and folklore that surround the wildlife that inhabit it. Jane creates beautiful three dimensional glass pieces such as this hare:

hare

The exhibition runs until the 31st May 2013. Incidentally, if anyone would like to attend the preview it is from 7-9pm at The Old Courthouse, Rural Arts in Thirsk, RSVP by email to hannah@ruralarts.org. I will have some brand new prints on display as well as a selection of recent collagraphs.

This is my new barn owl, ‘The Silent Sentinel’:

The Silent Sentinel

The exhibitions and events that I’m doing are mounting up for 2013 and will include North Yorkshire Open Studios, group shows at The Found Gallery in Dunbar and The Blue Tree Gallery in York, Art in the Pen at Skipton, The Harrogate Art Show and The Simplicity of Colour at The Gallery in Masham. I’ll post details as each show comes up.

My workshops are now coming up thick and fast. I’ve just finished my collagraph course at Number Six in Pateley Bridge (we’re already planning more for the autumn) and have started the beginners collagraph course at ArtisOn in Masham where I am also teaching ‘Printing without a Press’ next week on the 8th March and ‘Natural Forms in Linocut Printmaking’ on the 23rd March. Phew…that will do for now!

On an entirely different note, I’ve been doing some more hare watching when I’ve been out fell running. We’ve had plenty of snow and this is a lovely brown hare that I managed to find by following its footprints.

hare

The most exciting was my first ever sighting of mountain hares in their winter coats! I’ve just this weekend successfully completed the High Peak Marathon with my team mates ‘The High Peak Scuttlers’ and we ran a fabulous route from Edale which traverses the Derwent watershed. I’d been told that there were mountain hares living in the area and sure enough, I got my first glimpse of them at Bleak Low on a recce run a couple weeks ago.

winter hare

Amazingly, we actually saw lots of them and on the race itself, we were crossing Bleak Low again as the sun came up and we got a fleeting glimpse of a couple. In the space of just a couple weeks the hares are beginning to lose their white coats and are looking browner.

For all those intrigued by what I get up to when not in the studio, here is a photo that my boyfriend and fellow team member at The High Peak Marathon took. It was taken just after we had safely navigated the frozen bogs in moonlight and picked up the Pennine Way to the Snake Road crossing. It was as cold as it looked but the hot tea at the checkpoint soon revived us.

I’m off to continue work on my altered book for The Library of Lost Books now. More on that another day!