A Day Out in Hebden Bridge

This weekend I had a disgusting amount of work to do. And when there are too many jobs to even conceive of achieving, instead of worrying about it, I prefer to avoid thinking about it altogether and talk a few days off! (NB "day off" for me is doing about 5 hours work instead of 10-12: the difference being I work in only in the wee hours when everybody else would be sleeping and spend the core daytime being lazy. It's a good system!) On Saturday I took in a few shows from Manchester International Festival. Everything I have seen so far has been brilliant. My current favourite is The Old Woman, starring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe. It is cleverly poignant between sadness and humour. Check it out if it tours!

Sunday began with keen optimism, attempting to visit as many artists participating in Hebden Bridge Open Studios as we could fit in one day, as well as the regular delights of Hebden Bridge itself. I have never been before and, having heard so many lovely things about the place, I was super excited to visit. It did not disappoint! It is a beautiful place. Look at these views from the train station!

As we made our way into town we saw some lovely, creative windows displays, such as this one that celebrates the work of Alice Cullinane. Visit her blog here: http://alicecullinane.tumblr.com/ There is an excellent doodle entitled "Egyptian Prince" on the front page I am very fond of!

Next door there is a book shop which houses this mahoosive owl, who is made from book pages. I bought a bird book from this book shop, naturally.

I visited lots of people and places I follow on facebook or twitter, but my patented blend of shyness and social awkwardness prevented me from actually introducing myself to these good people. It was really exciting to visit all the same. First up was Heart Gallery, which welcomed us inside with bunting style washing lines of pink bras and knickers!

Highlights of this delightful gallery shop included Sue Bulmer, Clare Caulfield, Kate Lycett, Helen Russel and Fiona Cameron. Beautiful work, give them a google! You can visit Heart Gallery's website here: http://heartgallery.co.uk/

We also visited Radiance which is a really beautiful shop full of really exciting and innovative lights, lamp shades and even light switch stickers! It also has beautiful decorative items. The gallery is owned by Hannah Nunn, who makes spectacular paper lampshades. My barn owls and tufties are also stocked here, which is quite an honour given the standard of work on show here. I felt proud to see them in there!
Here's the website: http://www.radiancelighting.co.uk/

I took a sneaky photograph of my owls through the window. Hiya fellas!

We stopped off at a café next door called Mooch. It was splendid. And given I am any given café's worst nightmare (wheat intolerant vegetarian with various fruit allergies and an aversion to soup) that is high praise indeed. When I have choices at a restaurant I am impressed and there were ample here. Tasty too.

Next stop Kate Lycett's open studio. It was ace to see them up close. She also makes paper lanterns which as so very pretty. I am now lamenting I did not purchase one. I picked up this postcard- date for your diary!

When I visited she was wrapping up a very large painting! I do hope it went well for her this weekend.
Kate's website can be viewed here: http://www.katelycett.co.uk/

Julia Ogden's studio was next. Again we contemplated a purchase (beautiful poppy paintings and a characterful seaside couple). I could easily have bankrupted myself during the course of the day.
Julia's website is here: http://juliaogden.com/

A visit to Hat Therapy (where I did make a purchase! woo!) was great fun, trying on fancy hats. I was told I have a 1920s face, which might explain my fondness for cloches. I was also told I was to avoid wheat, which made me think perhaps the lady of the shop had psychic powers! Her ability to judge what would suit you in mere seconds was very impressive.
Her daughter Alice had her own art show in the garden outside. We purchased an original Alice King, which marked her current state of teeth lost and given to the tooth fairy. It was our only purchase that was gift wrapped; Alice made a good addition to the Open Studios!
Hat Therapy's website: http://www.hattherapy.co.uk/

Visiting Snug we fell in love with the Samantha Brian fairies on display, as well as seeing some Manchester Craft and Design Centre stalwarts showcased; Clinton Pilkington, &made, Linzi Ramsden. It was a beautifully displayed and curated gallery.
Snug's website: http://www.snug-gallery.com/

Ice lolly time in beautiful surroundings, by the canal.

Look at this dapper fella! Even the pigeons are posh here! Manchester's don't even have toes.

Always happy to take in a spot of birdwatching.

We visited Geckoman in his workshop. It felt like such a creative hub and it was lovely to see his miniature frogs and lizards in the flesh. Lots of people were there when we visited, hopefully a good sign of sales!

Brooklyn Studios was lovely. We loved Angie Rogers' folded books. It was also interesting to take a look at how larger group studios work. I fell in love with a Hannah Lawson print. This heron had to be mine!!

She also does prints on sea maps, they are very pretty. She was lovely too.
Hannah's website: www.hanlawson.co.uk

Artsmill Studios also had a lot of talent. It also seemed like a really nice building to work from. Here I bought some beautiful postcards of some boxing hares:

The last one we visited was Northlight Art Studios. Lisa Slater had some amazing donkey automatons made from rustic looking chunks of wood. They were both simple and elegantly made. We visited fairly late on in the day and she had pretty much sold out! woohoo!

Unfortunately we didn't make it around everywhere. I would have liked to have seen the artists in Todmorden too, particularly Shelley Burgoyne, a spectacular printmaker who used to be my tutor. She currently runs courses, I may well sign up for a refresher!



  1. What a gorgeous post. So glad you had a lovely time in good old HB. Shame you didn't make it to my studio. Thanks for the lovely words about radiance. Your birds fit right in :-)

  2. Alice will be delighted to see her art on line.! Thank you very much for including her.Glad you love your hat. X

  3. Thank you for including me in your lovely post, from a fellow bird enthusiast x

  4. thank you for the lovely comments ladies! I didn't think any of you lovely people would actually read my ramblings!


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