Exhibitions, Public Art, Soul searching
blue edge

‘Blue’ in exhibition photo by Renate Forster.

November is over and so with it my writing challenge (#nanowrimo) and I’ve needed a bit of time to recover. What with writing and running the shop, and the boys, it was a relief to have the sculptor back from his ten-day trip to Munich. Everything that should have been straight forward whilst he was away was problematic but my mantra for that time was, “no problems only solutions”- one I have learnt from him. Being mindful not to feel ‘Blue.’

sketches look

Sketches and the sculptors hand by Renate Forster.

The photographer Renate Forster took some amazing images of which I have just selected a few to show. The sculptor gave her a brief of capturing art work and people with layers of focus and they have turned out brilliantly.

looking up

The Branch, and the sculptor in the background photo by Renate Forster.

I think this is one of my favourite shots, the focus of the lady looking up at the bird and the painting and sculptor in the background out of focus gives this image depth and detail. I love how she is glancing up at bird perched on the foot. The boys and i have been noticing the lack of birds during these heavy down pouring rainy days and when the weather breaks and gives a natural relief the birds flying is a peaceful sign.

Whilst the sculptor was away I was able to call upon my brother to hep me out of tricky situations when wrong toilets arrived. He was able to quickly jump in his car and go and collect. At the weekend he went off, with his car piled with items collected and donated by local people, to Calais to give some help at the ports. ‘Crazy, Interesting’ is all I heard so far with lots more nationalities than I had thought. I don’t want to highlight this to brag but to point out that in this present climate of almost despair and downward spiralling there are little glimmers of hope. There is some relief. As we plough on into December keep mindful of giving. Even a simple smile is a gift that can brighten up someone else’s day.

captured dancers

‘Body and Soul’, Munich 2015

The things we lost in the fire


It’s that time of year, it is cold, it is icy. We retreat inwards. Many people I have spoken to of late seem to be struggling with the tests that life brings. If we compare the seasons to the life cycle then this is the season of death. The trees have now finally lost their leaves. There has been a sparkly ice coating over everything and snow in some places. We light candles, people stay warm by the fire. Fire. The element of comfort and destruction. Last night the fire raged havoc over Damside Mill.

“Damside Mill is a furniture workshop,studio and gallery in Haworth. The last working part of the old Lees Mill, it has been brought back to life by Anthony and the Damside team as a place where high quality designer furniture is created, while upholstery and furnishing courses are run in the studio, with an evolving programme of contemporary art and design in the gallery. It is a growing marketing platform for associated artists to promote and sell their work, and just a great place to visit in Haworth.”

Anthony Hartley  and his partner Nel and the rest of the team had spent vast quantities of time, effort and finances developing the Mill, finally reaching an opening earlier in the year which I blogged about. This morning it stood charred with the internal damage the heat from the fire. In stark contrast to the cool and icy hills of Haworth behind it.

Most importantly no one was inside, so no one was hurt and ultimately that is the most important thing. However, all that effort, hard work has been turned to ash. Equipment has been damaged and a large skip has already been filled with the debris. A deathly and destructive force has swept through and taken everything.

It isn’t the first time we have lost work. We moved house and successfully moved a huge amount of clay sculptures. Then one evening we heard an almighty crash and the table which we had placed them all on broke and not one of them was left in tact. Today, my husband was unable to see the full extent of the damage as it was dark and they were all tinged shades of grey. They are not totally lost.

The ice will melt, the leaves will  grow back and spring follows and brings with it new hope, new creativity, new life. There is always someone else suffering, working through hardship, grieving a loss. Our perspective, attitude and outlook all greatly determine how we deal with the challenges life throws at us. I can easily go down the pessimistic, negative view-point. It is always in situations like this when I am not directly effected that I learn that others have such courage and strength. My Husband is always uncharacteristically calm and measured in these moments, he is very accepting of his fate, when situations are beyond his control. Nothing is lost. Courage and strength can overcome. Buildings, material objects, money can all be re-done, re-made, re-worked. Nobody was lost in the fire.

‘ My husband and sculptures in Damside Mill'

‘ My husband and sculptures in Damside Mill’