Valley Of Lights

At the beginning of December a lovely uplifting event - The Valley of Lights Parade - lit up the streets of Hebden Bridge. A celebration of the magic of light in the dark months and an affirmation of the spirit of our little town.

What you can't tell from these pictures is how very cold it was, which made it an effort to take photos as I just wanted to keep snuggled up with my hands in my pockets. I'm pleased with the results though - colourful and a bit surreal especially the second to last one with the building lanterns parked outside the hotel. And the moon and some stars looked on...

Janis Goodman - one printmaker and a boat

Last Saturday my friend and printmaker Janis Goodman who is based in Leeds held an exhibition in an unusual venue - a beautiful converted coal barge moored on the Rochdale canal in Hebden Bridge.

I felt fairly intrepid as I slithered along the frozen tow path and over the canal on a tiny bridge but could not have been made more welcome by Janis and Marion who has made her home in the barge for the past 2 years.

Wasn't sure which to drool over most, Janis's lovely etchings or Marion's gorgeous, warm, light filled barge. I know a lot of Janis's work, so its excellence was only to be expected but I had no idea a converted industrial boat could be that charming and bright.  For a brief moment I had a wild imagining of what it would be like to have it as my studio.

Thank you Janis, Marion and Roger who baked the delicious cheese straws and mulled the wine. My camera steamed up in the warmth so the photos are slightly dreamy. To see Janis's prints in all their glory visit her website - there's a link to it in the column on the right.

December Open Studios 2012 and my 150th Post

My studio group held our annual December Open Studios the other weekend.  I'm not wearing the scarf for religious reasons but to keep my brain warm as it was extremely cold weather and we only have portable heaters to try and warm a giant high-ceilinged space.

I would normally be wearing a huge fleece jacket in the studio but felt the need to look human whilst meeting the public.

I met loads of nice people, had some great conversations and sold quite a lot of my work as well as making a few gallons of the famous Brooklyn Studios mulled cider.

This is the 150th post on Tumbling Hills, I never imagined it would go on for so long. There are many times when I wonder why I do it and think about stopping but here I still am for the time being...

Perry Dip Pens

I love the packaging of these beautiful dip pen nibs I found at my parents house earlier this year.

And how lucky to find nearly a whole box full of shiny gold perfection.  I was especially pleased to note that Perry & Co. had a manufacturing base in Birmingham, my city of birth.  

There is an article about Perry pens on Wikipedia and another about the Birmingham pen trade which was for many years a world centre for steel pen and nib manufacture. As a lover of dip pens I feel sad that I wasn't aware of this previously - a whole fascinating industry that's been and gone largely, like so much else in Brum.

I've always liked drawing with a dip pen - the nib is so much more versatile and responsive than any kind of modern pen I've used, and more reliable and long lasting than a quill or reed pen though they are good to draw with too.  The little sketch book below was drawn entirely with a dip pen, recording impressions of a walk along the Vilaine estuary from Le Moustoir to Penlan.

You win some you lose some

The Watershed Landscape Project I was a resident artist for last year narrowly missed out on winning the National Lottery Award for best environment project. However, Watershed has won the 2012 UK Landscape Award and will now be submitted to the Council of Europe's European Landscape Award for 2013.

Good to know that our lovely uplands in the South Pennines are getting the credit they are due and proud to have been part of such a great project. For more info follow this link to the Watershed Landscape website where incidentally some of my woodcut images of reservoir water, cotton grass and moorland habitats are subtly displayed behind the main text and along the top banner.

Lots of exhibitions

I have a range of different works for sale at local and regional galleries including Terraces and Trees woodcuts at the Calder Gallery in Hebden Bridge. Its the first time I've shown at The Calder Gallery and I'm excited to be sharing wall space with printmakers I know and admire like Hannah Lawson and June Russell.

I have Artist Books at The Water Street Gallery in Todmorden, Bird woodcuts at The Platform Gallery in Clitheroe and Leeds Craft Centre And Design Gallery, Tree paintings at Earth Spirit in Hebden Bridge and Landscape woodcuts at Spirals also in Hebden Bridge.