Roo Waterhouse

Spine[less]: Rebinding The Portico

Greetings! I am Roo Waterhouse, and I’m a Hebden Bridge artist specialising in bespoke ‘Shelf Portrait’ oil paintings of treasured and iconic books gathered together on shelves. My work brings together my love of books, my love of typography, and the joy of oil painting, to highlight and celebrate the importance and beauty of physical books and the stories/histories they hold.

I’d like to tell you about an exciting project I am working on in collaboration with the Portico Library in Manchester. When I first walked into the Portico Library I was immediately drawn to the most damaged books: the ‘spineless’ books in the collection, with their scuffed leather tones and fascinating array of under-papers, held together with cotton ribbons. These hidden under-layers, of the centenarian books standing exposed along the shelves: hand-written accounts ledgers; scraps from newspapers; advertisement flyers; lines of script; all assumed by the original book-binders to never see the light of day. Looking along the library shelves we get a glimpse into hidden histories…

I had gone in to the library originally to see if they might like to stock some of my art cards in their shop, but they were SO enthusiastic about my work and I was SO enthusiastic about their books, that our ideas grew into a painting project 🙂 This collaboration celebrates the importance of the Portico library as a home of literature, history and learning.

In my studio at the moment are the two Portico paintings: one of a shelfful of the exposed ‘spineless’ books, and another of a collection of ornately bound books from the Portico’s collection. It has been such a joy to delicately translate these ornate and battered spines into paint across the canvas, relishing all the little handwritten details and worn edges.

In September this year, and through to Spring 2024, the paintings will be exhibited in the library as part of a drive to raise awareness of the Portico’s Adopt-a-Book scheme, highlighting the importance of preservation, restoration and the need for rebinding books. Members of the library are invited to Adopt-a-Book and pay for it to be rebound: to be brought back into use: to be reborn! The finished paintings will be for sale,with 25% of the sale price going to the Portico Library 🙂

In progress in my studio at the moment are the two Portico paintings: one of a shelfful of the exposed ‘spineless’ books, and another of a collection of ornately bound books from the Portico’s collection. It is such a joy to delicately translate these ornate and battered spines into paint across the canvas, relishing all the little handwritten details and worn edges.

In September this year the paintings will be displayed in the library, and on September 14th there will be an evening event ‘Spine[less]: Rebinding The Portico’ where there will be presentations from the Portico’s Collections Manager and from myself 🙂

You can book tickets for the event here.

From Thursday 12th October 2023 – Friday 26th January 2024, the paintings will be part of an exhibition in the library promoting the Portico’s Adopt-a-Book scheme, highlighting the importance of preservation, restoration and the need for rebinding books. Members of the library are invited to Adopt-a-Book and pay for it to be rebound: to be brought back into use: to be reborn! The finished paintings will be for sale with 25% of the sale price going to the Portico Library 🙂

I can’t wait to unveil the finished, framed paintings at the library when we set up the display next week!!

Find out more about the Portico Library and their Adopt-a-Book scheme.

Visit Roo’s page for contact details and links.

Steve Gibson

Dancing Bear Ceramics

Some twenty five years ago when I was living in London I bought a book, just because I liked the picture on the cover. The book was about hand made ceramic tiles, and by the time I had read the book and looked at all the wonderful ceramic artworks that people had created I knew this was what I wanted to do for a living.

Apart from attending a ceramics evening class at a local college nothing much else happened for several years. I was in demand as a builder, I had no facilities of my own and I moved house several times, none of which were conducive to developing a new, and as it turned out, very technical business.

By 2014 I had lived in Hebden Bridge for eleven years, and finally I did something about fulfilling my ambition. I rented space in what is now known as the Big Tin Shed in Victoria Road and inside I built and equipped out my own studio. I still had to earn a living though, and continued to work as a builder, meaning that I was still time poor when it came to developing my ceramics. I continued developing my skills over the following years, spending what time I could in the studio.

Experimenting with different techniques and materials until I finally reached my current position. I am now offering a bespoke tile service for those who want something unique to adorn their kitchen, bathroom or shower. If you would like a bespoke ceramic mural designed, made and installed especially for you, or even if you’re just curious to see what I’m doing, then do get in touch or come to my studio.

Visit Steve’s page for contact details and links.

Photos of Steve by Lucy Cartwright

The Old Station Building

Old building, new venue

The station building in Mytholmroyd is opening its doors this summer. We’re delighted to kick off our summer events with Open Studios, Open Space 70 the following weekend, and creative workshops in August.

You may know the building from times old or new. Some may remember the cosy waiting rooms with roaring fires and an elegant ticket office. All of that amazing Victorian heritage is still there, but this splendid building has been closed since the early 80s.

In more recent times, our charity formed to bring the derelict building back into community use. Network Rail restored it in 2018/9, and since then we’ve been fundraising to make the building fit for purpose. We think we’re nearly there with the fundraising, and are working hard to get it open as soon as we can. Our plan is to create artists’ studios on the upper floors, rent from which will allow the ground floor to be used by the community, with local displays, art exhibitions and creative classes. We aim to provide a social space for home workers and an “everybody space” – a warm, welcoming space to meet people and have a chat.

So, although it’s not finished yet, we want to welcome the public through our doors. For Open Studios, we’re hosting Halifax Square Route Weavers, Hebden Bridge Portrait Club, and Katie Bates, a local ceramicist. We’ve gratefully received funding from Northern Trains to equip ourselves for hosting these public events.

Mytholmroyd is well worth visiting for Open Studios, with Dovetail joiners and 17 ceramicists at Brier Hey Pottery. Two minutes by train, 5 by bus, 30 on foot from Hebden Bridge.

See all the artists and makers open in Mytholmroyd for July’s Open Studios here.

Complete our survey to let us know what you think of our plans.

Follow The Old Station building on Instagram @the_local_motive_is

Rachel Mander

Sculptor, Printmaker and Artist

I am predominantly a sculptor yet printmaking, painting and doodling do feature heavily in my creative process. My studio is a place where I play and experiment with whatever materials take my fancy at the time. Rarely do I have a clear idea of what I am going to create before starting a piece I let the materials take charge.

My recent works have been created from random found objects and scrap metal. This process resulted in me producing a collection of very unique characters which I have nicknamed my ‘Army of Creatures’.

I am currently experimenting with cutting fluid shapes from scrap metal ducting with a plasma cutter. I then intend to bend the pieces and paint and doodle on them with an airbrush and spray gun.

I enjoy pushing the boundaries of what any given medium can offer, I like to alter its form and feel. My challenge is working out how to do that and what other materials I can bring into the mix to compliment it.

The way I would describe my work is spontaneous, colourful, playful and quirky, it can be humorous and it can be dark.

Last year I assisted in the building of my new studio at Big Tin Shed. This new space has really opened up lots of new possibilities in my work. I have returned to working with steel and using an arc welder which I had not done since 1993. I feel excited about my future creations and who knows what they will be.

Visit Rachel’s page for contact details and links.

Photos of Rachel by Lucy Cartwright

Dylan Howarth


The drive to be creative takes many forms. I paint because I have to, it’s the heart of me. I try to capture nature with all its beauty & devastation; it’s wildness and serenity.

Peak thoughts

By Dylan Howarth

I walked towards the sunsetting peaks,

Winter cracked puddles on footpaths steadfast grip,

A walk to reflect a clarity to seek,

No one for miles the gritstone secrets rip,

The muted palette of heathers and peat,

The white broken blanket of snow; perfect,

Over the roughly trodden footpaths neat,

Keep moving forwards a mind to dissect,

I imagine prehistoric creatures

Simply treading gritstone as architects,

So I walk on shoulders of giant teachers,

Years & years a million thoughts to recollect,

On top of one paths horizon I see,

Ultimately everything; the beauty of thee.


Visit Dylan’s page for contact details and links.

Photos of Dylan by Lucy Cartwright

Katie Bates


I love having my hands in clay. Recently I’ve really been indulging this predilection by sticking my hands in the ground on a hill above Mytholmroyd, at Forus Tree’s tree nursery, and digging out clay. It comes out a thick ochre colour, so pigmented with iron that it takes several hand scrubs to clean it off. When fired at low temperatures it’s the most vibrant terracotta; when fired high it’s a deep, West Ham maroon (I grew up in Essex).

If I knew more about geology I’d be able to say why this beautiful valley has great clay deposits, which enabled industrial pottery making years ago, but I do know it’s really good clay. I’d love to make a sort of map of the valley using the clay we stand on. If you’d like to join me, I’d be delighted to hear from you. It’s another means to understand our environment; for me, making is a great way to comprehend the world around us and have a deeper connection to it.

I make pots at Brier Hey Pottery, a reincarnation of David Constantine White’s original studio. David was a digger of clay himself, out of cash-strapped necessity at first, but also because he believed that knowing the clay from its origin is fundamental to making good pots. I’m starting to understand what he means, although I’m still partial to opening a bag of commercial clay, pulling a wire through it and not seeing any stones.

Another thing I’m partial to is making silly pots – creatures, characters, doleful faces – in sillier moments. As a fermenter and grower, i’m also developing functional ware based on my own experience of these crafts: fermenting crocks with weights, mushroom growing pots, kombucha vessels. Enjoyment in making is everything to me: my enjoyment in making, and the viewer’s enjoyment of my work, whether it’s earthy, functional or just plain silly.

Visit Katie’s page for contact details and links.

Photos of Katie by Lucy Cartwright

Julia Ogden

Open Studios

My first Open Studio in Hebden Bridge was in my house. It felt scary opening it up to the public. It was a trek for them too; the furthest end of Market Street, through a secret garden courtyard and up some stairs (passing my cat who did not like guests). But people visited and they were lovely! My neighbour’s little daughter did her own Open Studios in the garden and made a killing on her works of art.

Next time I was still at the end of Market Street in my neighbour’s beautiful shop; Hat Therapy. Some of the people that visited and bought my work there are still my customers now, but more than that they are my friends.

Then onto the golden era; Burlees House. I felt so very grateful to have a studio that was sunshine filled with birds and blossom outside my window and the most inspiring creatives; Sarah Mason Photography and Hannah Nunn just down the corridor. I had many, many lovely Open studios there.

After the studio fire there I couldn’t imagine having another space so perfect, but I have managed to make a place that I feel truly at home in. It goes without saying that I could not have picked myself back up without the amazing community and support in Hebden Bridge and beyond.

So Open Studios time has come round again; it is the 7th, 8th and 9th of July. I am really looking forward to welcoming you here. I will have a collection of original paintings for sale (which is pretty rare for me, but I have been carving out time to paint self-led pieces). As well as a BIG screen print sale, greetings cards, cushions, landscape prints, notebooks and the like!

It feels like quite a moment! I have put lots of work into the space and it feels very me.

I really hope to see you there.

Visit Julia’s page for contact details and links.

Photos of Julia by Lucy Cartwright

Benjamin Johnson

Magical colours

As a child I created a world with colourful rainbows, blue cows, and pink rabbits where ordinary objects could be magical. Inevitably, I grew up and that colourful magical world became just a distant memory, it was replaced by a monotone world of blacks and greys, and my artwork to some extent followed suit.

However, all that changed when I visited Latin America, there I saw vibrant colours in use everywhere from the natural world, to art, to clothing, to houses. The vivid combinations of colours used in ordinary objects gave the whole environment a magical atmosphere.

For me, someone accustomed to sandstone or red bricks used in the houses where I grew up, I was deeply impacted by the audacity, courage and talent Latin people had in combining colours in such a way and painting their houses with cheerful bright pinks, yellows and greens. There the streets looked like living rainbows and I finally began to be able to visualise the so-called ‘magic realism’ that writers such as Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez so well described in their stories set in latin cultures.

My inner child woke up and began to play and explore with colours again. I decided to leave behind the blacks and whites, to embrace the colourful world of magic realism. As an artist I feel happier with my work and I try to share this with others by using vivid colours in my prints.

My artwork now tries to present a more cheerful, magical and maybe outrageous world, by using vivid, high contrast colours, combined with bold textures layered on top of drawings of ordinary objects or familiar places, thus trying to recreate that world of blue cows and pink rabbits and hoping to bring a smile to people’s faces along the way.

Visit Ben’s page for contact details and links.

Photos of Ben by Lucy Cartwright

Harriet Quilty

Painter and Illustrator

I would describe my work as folksy, warm and joyful. I’m definitely inspired by naive art. I work in paints, mainly gouache. Sometimes I will use a photograph taken from my daily walks as a starting point or as references, but the rest is down to the imagination. The painting then becomes like an unfolding story. The canvas tells me what to do, like a puzzle I am decoding. There is often a dialogue going on, especially where animals and human animals are involved.

My brother once said my painting was a bit like Les Dawson when he played the piano badly. I took that as a compliment (and chuckled at the wit)! He has a point, I purposely paint with imperfections because it brings out something interesting and characterful.

When I get commissions it is mostly to paint people’s homes – with furry companions and little ones – but sometimes maps, gardens, vegetable plots, things like that. Don’t expect straight lines! I am happy to reimagine compositions for you, like the time I painted a customer’s garden in winter when she wanted the flower beds to be in full bloom! I am flexible too, this week I painted a mural for a customer on her large kitchen cupboard doors.

As a typical introvert, I love working on my own and my garret (I’m up in the eaves) is at home. Next year I’ll be spreading out into the room next door, creating a much needed stockroom. So much goes on here, painting, printing (I have a sub press for my illustrated gifts), plotting, packing, scanning, Photoshopping, singing, filming/editing and, most importantly, playing!

Visit Harriet’s page for contact details and links.

Frances Earnshaw

Sculptor and Printmaker

Hebden Bridge is abuzz with artists working towards Open Studios and I am enjoying seeing what is appearing on Instagram from my local friends.

This will be my first Open Studios for while and I am looking forward to engaging with visitors.

I am showing new work which will be a mix of small sculpture and print.

I have been busy at West Yorkshire Print Workshop, creating photoetching plates. The images are based on photos of foxes entering an interior space, implying tension and incongruity.

Fabric and fibre, weaving and knitting have become a part of my 3d work. The word sculpture doesn’t quite fit in describing this work, with its association of knifing away materials. My process in making a thing is quite different. Weaving, connecting, trying.

I am aware I do myself no favours by leaping from one medium to another. I have never been able to stay with a visual trope which identifies me. I am trying another new media, solar plate printmaking, turning my photographs into velvety dark images. This is where my voice goes. In any case, I am happy to have a part in the coming weekend and showing my new photoetching series, “Letting in Foxes”.

Frances Earnshaw is showing at The Making Mill July 7 – 9.

Visit Frances’s page for contact details and links.

Martha Breeze

A reflection on the meaning of art

A few years ago, I got in to a bit of a negative thought spiral because I’d summarised that the difference between art and craft is that craft has a purpose, and art doesn’t. To me, point of art was that it doesn’t have any point to it. I couldn’t find any counter argument that made sense alongside this and so I kept it as a belief for a long time, without even properly realising.

I’ve been looking at Maslow’s triangle of needs, and I realised that the lower tiers are more tangible, and they get more complex and personal as they go up.

I can see very clearly where people are working in roles that meet survival needs or more basic needs, but when it comes to creating art, it’s harder to grasp why it’s essential.

I have had many moments in life where I’ve felt I should be doing something better with more purpose, but I’m a maker and I always have been. Without truly understanding the value of this, I’ve kept a lot to myself.

I tend to value more tangible achievements (in an reflexive way, until I assess my thoughts), and I don’t know if that’s because I like ticking off a to do list, or if it’s something more general that many people share. When I summarised my personal work needs recently I saw that without inspiration, connection and play, I can’t get anything done and I don’t feel good, yet I don’t prioritise these things when I’m addressing goals.

When I’m excited, inspired, connected and spend time with people who have similar values to me, I feel like I can do anything, and I do it! Then I do more! When I work next to creative people, watch people who are passionate about what they do, go to galleries, shows, talks, buy artwork or handmade clothes or objects, draw in groups, make things in groups or just spend time doing things without goals or purpose, it fucking works!

That’s the point of art! The purpose is to fulfil the more complex needs of individuals. It’s not just the making of it, it’s not just the visceral pleasure of viewing it – it’s the opportunity to access inspiration, ability, and excitement for meeting needs that are not just merely survival.

Experiencing art is so individual, and that’s why the variety, bravery and commitment of artists is so important because we all have those complex needs met in such varying ways. I’m not saying I think everyone would have their needs met by experiencing art, for some people it’s just not for them, and that’s also my point. Like ants who work together in a team, we, as a generation, are working together to find new ways to ignite curiosity and excitement for meaning and purpose. Sometimes it doesn’t work, and sometimes it does, but we all have to keep trying and experimenting so we can all have the opportunity to feel alive, even when it’s hard to meet other basic needs.

Fine-art can so often be connected to the elite, the upper classes and privileged people. Some people are more likely to have their basic needs met, and so have more access to meeting more complex needs. Poverty and being less privileged in any way shouldn’t mean that anyone should have to accept just surviving. We should all be able to meet all our needs. Without this being recognised, it’s so easy to passively maintain a separation in terms of privilege and accessibility.

I’ve heard it a lot in terms of donating money. Many people don’t want to donate money if it’s not for food, shelter or medical expenses. It makes complete sense, nobody wants to be taken advantage of and give money only to find out it’s been used for something unnecessary. It’s just that sometimes, “unnecessary” is what makes people feel their lives are worth living.

Art is important. Artists are important. Especially artists who dedicate their lives to taking risks and producing work that the world isn’t ready for yet. So many people have made sacrifices to make work that pushes against boundaries most people can’t even see, and the outcome of their experimenting has been passed on to the next generations of artists without recognition or even being noticed. We have so many styles, designs, theories and techniques that only exist because someone spent time experimenting, and having a lot of failures.

I’m aware that this could conclude with a sales pitch, but this is a genuine moment of clarity and understanding. In time, or with conversation, I might change my opinions. For now though, I’m excited, even if I have to bypass some other needs for now to perch on the top triangle like a sparkly need hat with no legs.

Visit Martha’s page for contact details and links.

Photos of Martha by Lucy Cartwright

Annie Lewis

Modern Alchemy Jewellery

I am a jeweller based in Linden Mill, Hebden Bridge. I work predominantly in silver with the occasional gemstone thrown in. My journey into jewellery making began when my life took an unexpected turn, finding a course and learning this new skill was a silver lining in otherwise difficult circumstances. As soon as I made my first silver ring I fell in love with the alchemy of it all and my business grew from there.

As I studied History at university, jewellery making seemed like a random departure from my planned route into journalism. However growing up I was always drawn to both academic and creative subjects – I guess my creative side won out! As a child I collected treasures (often shiny things!) and I loved making things. My mum was also an artist so that influenced me greatly and it was my mum that suggested I try jewellery making.

My work is inspired by all sorts of things from Minimalism as an art movement to natural forms like the moon. My love of history has crept its way back in, in the form of my latest collection ‘Ancient Alchemy’. I studied the jewellery of ancient civilisations such as Egypt, Greece, Roman and Celt and noticed shared design elements such as twisted wire and decorative beads. Jewellery design then was not just about adornment but was often amuletic too. I have incorporated these elements in my own designs, hand making my own twisted wire. I also liked the idea of creating pieces that look like treasure that has recently been unearthed, so I sought to create an archaic feel to the silver.

I try to work as sustainably as possible, using recycled and recyclable packaging. Recently suppliers have moved to creating more bullion in recycled metal, so I would say 90% of my work is now made from recycled sterling silver.

Visit Annie’s page for contact details and links.

Anna Gibson


Painting makes me happy but it frustrates me too. One moment I know exactly what I’m doing, the next I’m lost. And that’s the joy of it, the shaky tightrope that I walk to get to the place where it just feels right.

Living on the hilltops above Hebden Bridge, my subject matter surrounds me. I do not have to go far to be excited by mist or a disappearing horizon. The trees, the light, the topography, the weather and the vegetation in all seasons are noticed. The lively wind is frequently present and the shifting conditions challenge me.

Mostly, the paintings are in acrylic or mixed media and include printed papers or fabric for texture/interest. I like to use a variety of surfaces: stretched canvas, braced boards and pre-prepared panels.

My studio is normally on the top floor of Linden Mill in Hebden Bridge but I have temporarily decamped onto the ground floor in the old Gallery. That’s where I’ll be for the next Open Studios event in December. I’m hoping that it won’t be too long before I can return to my old studio under the skylight windows on the top floor. The brightness and clarity of light up there is a delight.

Visit Anna’s page for contact details and links.

Photos of Anna by Lucy Cartwright

Keith Parkinson


There’s a particular moment of excitement, and sometimes trepidation, as I stand in front of my canvas, brush loaded and poised for that first mark. It might be in my studio, on a beach or up in the hills, that frisson is always there and manifests itself in the hover – the hanging over the canvas, bobbing the brush tip up and down like a snooker player lining up a shot – then the dart and sweep of the first marks.

I rarely start a painting with slow, measured marks, painstakingly plotting every line. I like to dive in, start big with the key lines and shapes, and get moving paint around as quickly as possible. Themes mostly relate to a sense of place; physically, in respect of landscape derived work; and in a more philosophical or spiritual sense in the way people and society interact with each other and the place.

One thing remains consistent. Authenticity. It has to be about a place that means something to me. Much of my work is about the Lancashire landscape. I lived for ten years on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal at Barrowford, which was a rich source of inspiration. I am often drawn to Pendle and the Bowland Fells, the subject of numerous paintings in recent years. Most recently, because of my circumstances caring for parents, ambitious painting projects have been difficult, so I have tended to do a lot of drawing. I sketch everywhere I go but now do more at home in my studio. I have made a range of ink drawings of birds on local maps which still adhere to the principles I’ve described.

I have been involved in using art as a tool for youth engagement, mental health support and tackling isolation, much of this has been with the Bowland Forest AONB. As a former Primary Headteacher I have a range of skills beyond the art which have helped me deliver successful school projects across the North of England.

Visit Keith’s page for contact details and links.

Heidi Vilkman

Illustrator and Designer

I am a Finnish born illustrator and designer, creating magical art inspired by nature, folk art and fairytales.

Nature has been my mentor and muse since I was little. My days were spent in the forest next to our house in Finland, where I created magical landscapes out of found objects and made up fantastical fairytale worlds in my mind. Now, whilst living in UK, I use those memories, as well as the beautiful landscape here, as my inspiration for my creations. My 9 year old daughter also loves drawing and we often create our illustrations together.

I am a child at heart and love experimenting. I have worked with many different art mediums in the past; from ceramics to jewellery to paper. I think as artists, we need to be able to play with many things, in order to grow creatively. These days I mainly make illustrations for paper crafts and stationery, as well logos and branding for companies. My latest love is creating repeating patterns for wallpaper and fabric, which enables me to convey a story in a completely different format. My first quilting fabric collection, with my illustrated star signs, is coming out by QT Fabrics in Summer 2023.

Even though I work a lot digitally, most of my designs start as hand-drawn lines, because I love the feel of organic materials. There is always an element of magic and enchantment present in my work, because the world for me is multifaceted and fascinating – it is a blessing to be able to convey the world’s beauty through artistic means.

Being brought up so close to nature, I am conscious of my part in making the world more sustainable. The printed products that I sell are as eco-friendly as possible. I also built an artistic natural cottage in Finland, which follows my design principles and my sustainable ethos.

Visit Heidi’s page for contact details and links.

Tessa Kerr

Two Islands Photography

As a self-taught photographer, I don’t really follow rules and I’ve been able to have the freedom to learn by doing it my own way – a bit of a cowboy, I have a relaxed style and like to ‘shoot from the hip’. People need to feel relaxed and forget about having a camera pointed at them to achieve natural shots.

Over the last 7 years or so I have been able to develop my skills enough to have a successful career, with both a studio and gallery base, doing child, family and commercial photography work, as well as working with landscapes featuring the stunning views of Todmorden and Hebden Bridge. These landscapes feature on many items that I then sell in the gallery as well as online.

It’s such a thrill when people buy to take or send to friends & family overseas, that know and love this area.

My jigsaws, tea towels and cushions are in residences in far-away places such as New Zealand and Australia, in France & Italy as well as Dubai, Canada and the Caribbean. So wonderful to be able to share such natural gorgeousness!

The name – Two Islands Photography – comes from having dual nationality of two islands – this larger one, and also of the much smaller Cayman Islands in the Caribbean where I proudly have citizenship and residency having spent many years living, working and raising a family there.

I am lucky enough to still spend quite a lot of time in Cayman and I also exhibit at the Ritz Carlton Gallery on Grand Cayman as well as sell items featuring Cayman views in various outlets on the island.

But it was the draw of the seasons, the hills and valleys and the lighting that comes with it, that drew me back to Yorkshire after 20 years away. Every day is different and there is nothing better for clearing a busy mind than a long walk with a camera over the hills or along the canal and it is these views that feature heavily in my landscape work.

Visit Tessa’s page for contact details and links.

Kath Baker

Wildlife inspired textile art

Hi, I’m Kath and I am a self taught textile artist based in Wainsgate Chapel, a beautiful, deconsecrated baptist chapel, in Old Town above Hebden Bridge.

All of my designs are inspired by my love of nature, stirred with a good dollop of childlike imagination. I make a wide range of brooches, accessories, homewares and original artwork featuring our native birds and creatures. Each one is lovingly hand cut, needle felted and free motion embroidered, to have its own unique character.

The majority of my fabrics are carefully sourced Scottish and English tweeds that come with their own stories of wool, looms, and skilled hands. Tweed runs in my family’s blood. My great Grand Uncles, Vernon and Aubrey manufactured fine wool tweeds at Clover Greaves Mill in Calverley, West Yorkshire. I like to use Yorkshire tweed in my work and imagine my grandma causing mischief around the looms that made it one hundred years ago.

Sourcing fabrics that are natural, sustainable or repurposed is a core value of Katfish Designs. My shopping and messenger bags are made from recycled organic cotton and plastic bottles and my collection of keyring are all backed with repurposed leather pieces that were my Grandad’s samples from his days in Leeds tannery in the 1960’s.

I share my studio space with a wonderful community of creatives, plus there is always excellent cake here. So come and say hello and meet my menagerie of colourful, characterful birds and creatures at this year’s Open Studios. It’s well worth a trip up t’hill.

Visit Kath’s page for contact details and links.

Photos of Kath by Lucy Cartwright

Joe Gregory

Willow weaving, basketry and sculpture

My willow work is influenced by the natural environment all around me. Using much of my own grown willow I create work that is often functional and connected to the land.

I love being able to create something from just a bunch of sticks. Willow is so flexible and strong it can be woven into almost anything only limited by my skill and imagination. I enjoy the physical nature of what I do, that along with the repetitiveness of weaving keeps me completely absorbed while I work and I am always reminded of the people and cultures all around the world that have their own weaving traditions.

I’m constantly inspired by the windswept landscapes of the Moors and the gentler valleys below. Willow grows along our waterways and on the hills in any sunny spots. I regularly walk and enjoy the interconnectivity between the trees, other plants, insects and birds. It really inspires my working practice. I feel very lucky to live and work in such an inspiring place and that I get to work with a material that has so many positive attributes.

Visit Joe’s page for contact details and links.

Photos of Joe by Lucy Cartwright

Tim Schofield


I enjoy painting landscapes and seascapes that play with form and formlessness. I aim to create scenes that feel half-remembered, at once familiar but also dream-like.

In my art I experiment with the boundaries between the real and the imagined, creating scenes that seem both familiar and yet distant.

While many of my paintings are inspired by real places I rarely paint specific locations, instead preferring intuitive and meditative painting methods to paint through pure, direct creative expression.

Some of the most rewarding and exciting feedback I’ve received from clients and visitors is that viewing a painting feels like grasping at a memory.

I take inspiration from my walks and camps in nature. Stormy weather and the Welsh coast as well as the hills and patchwork fields surrounding my home in West Yorkshire are particularly close to my heart.

I apply paints in some non-traditional ways using unconventional tools and thick watercolour paints with the goal of creating striking scenes that have movement, drama and mystery.

My process is never fixed and I’m always on the lookout for changes and additions that I can make through new tools, methods or mindsets. For that reason, I also enjoy documenting my art and enjoy making videos exploring the creative process through a lens of meditation and flow states.

Visit Tim’s page for contact details and links.

Photos of Tim by Lucy Cartwright

Josephine Gornall – Phinefibre

Fibre/mixed media artist and tutor

Inspiration for my fibre artwork comes from my wanderings of the land and wild seascapes, my love of vibrant colour, abstract expressionism, free flowing forms and textural surfaces.

I’ve always been a wanderer, exploring the moorlands, flora and fauna. I lived on a small farm in my childhood, drawing, creating, making imaginary worlds with whatever I could find both in and outdoors.

After my art degree, I worked as a designer, participatory artist and lecturer. I now love to create my fibre felted paintings, sculptural pieces and funky fun jewellery. I also do needle felted commissions of pets/animals and teach workshops in my lovely studio in Hebden Bridge.

I make all my felted artworks from wool and plant fibres including hemp, nettle, flax, bamboo and more. I mix and layer them together which helps create texture and lustre. Sometimes I embed fabrics into the felted surface and stitch in found objects, plant material or photographic images.

The transformation of the fibres, the unpredictability of felt making, the uncertainty of never being quite sure how the piece will turn out is all part of the wonderful magic for me.

Visit Josephine’s page for contact details and links.

photos of Josephine

Dorothy Ann Simister


I was initially inspired by reflections in a department store shop window in Peckham High Street when I was student at Camberwell School of Art. Peering at my own reflection a woman in a fur coat rushed by reflecting in the glass and captured my imagination. The reflections theme has kept me painting in various guises for over 40 years.

Over this time the paintings have changed in form, size and medium. They question and consolidate a momentary experience, recording a pinch of life at a particular time – a historical document. Shops and displays modify constantly, just as life moves, changes and disappears. The interaction between the reflected building, passing person or vehicle mixed with what is interestingly displayed in the shop window, provides a complex and befuddled picture. Colourful patterns in fabrics, paper and objects add to the exciting mix creating a new diverse scene. I frequently take photographs as reflections alter and disappear as quickly as the light changes. These are used to inform and capture the essence in my work.

I love the light, colour, shapes and patterns which are also caught in my landscape painting and sketches which are simple and less complex. I love to walk in the valley and mountains further afield; always carrying my sketch book, pencils and tiny paints to quickly record the colours and forms I observe. These are often turned into prints or paintings.

My fascination with gardening and seedpods forms provide another interest and inspiration. The variety of seed dispersal make each seed pod an enthralling structure. Each shape has a personality of its own. I have a vast collection of seed pods, loving the details in nature.
I love using a variety of mediums in all my work from watercolour, inks, pastels, acrylics and oil paints, choosing which ever takes my fancy or has a particular quality for a piece of work. I also make lino cuts particularly at Christmas time. I’m happy and open to suggestions from people and will take on commissions.

Visit Dorothy’s page for contact details and links.

Photos of Dorothy by Lucy Cartwright

Dan Morrison


My work draws on architecture, machines, and natural forms to produce unique lamps and clocks that combine a strong mechanical or structural aesthetic and a playful character.

All my work is designed to encourage interaction and introduce a sense of play into everyday activities; for example a kinetic element or simple mechanism to adjust the piece or to set it in motion.

The overall aesthetic draws on the beauty of industrial materials and the charm of simple machine assemblies, made using materials with a strong practical and decorative heritage.

Components are “over-engineered” to give an air of indestructible vulnerability and ensure they will last for generations.

All this happens in my workshop at home in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.

Visit Dan’s page for contact details and links.

Photos of Dan by Lucy Cartwright

Roo Waterhouse


In my paintings I celebrate our connection with treasured books and the way our bookshelves reflect the stories of our lives.

My work brings together my love of oil painting, books and typography and a fascination with how our bookshelves can hold on to our stories and reflect our lives. I specialise in carefully rendered, reverential Shelf Portrait oil paintings: collections of treasured books gathered together, resonating with the relationships they hold.

Local inspiration has come from Shibden Hall in my ‘Gentleman Jack’ Shelf Portrait, commissioned for Helena Whitbread, author and decoder of Anne Lister’s Secret Diaries. Also from the library shelves of Howarth Parsonage, with ‘Novels of the Sisters Bronte’ depicting editions from their collection.

I always have an eye out for pleasing groups of books wherever I am: browsing second-hand bookshops or inviting myself into the homes of strangers who sound like they have an intriguing collection on their shelves! Painting themes include Penguin paperbacks, classic literature, Wainwright, bird watching, cookery, natural history…

I produce a wide range of Bookshelf themed Limited Edition prints, notebooks, cards and mugs from my paintings. Visit my studio to have a browse, or find them in my website shop.

I especially enjoy working on bespoke commissions, where clients choose their most treasured books to be painted together. I love visiting people’s homes and chatting about their book choices, hearing the stories of their lives unfold before me on the shelf. As the painting comes together it builds up a portrait reflecting the client’s own tales and passions.

It’s a bit like Desert Island Discs!

Which books would you choose?…

Visit Roo’s page for contact details and links.

Photos of Roo by Lucy Cartwright

Hannah Nunn


From my sunny studio I make glowing paper-cut lighting, wallpaper, window film and a large collection of tiny laser cut treasures, all inspired by the exquisite details found in nature.

I’m always inspired and enthralled by the tiny details found in nature and I love living in this valley with its many woodlands paths, moorland and meadows. I walk often with my camera taking it all in and trying to figure out how to express what I see in my work.

My studio is home to my incredible laser-cutting machine, which I use to cut all the motifs for my lamps and other paper pieces. It is able to cut with such precision, which is wonderful because I love the details. I use the machine to cut silhouettes but also engrave texture and pattern. It can take the finest layer of paper away which allows me to play with the amount of light coming through and build up layers of light and shadow. I love switching on a lamp for the first time and watching the design come to life.

I design my wallpapers in house, using the same motifs and they are printed using traditional methods in one of the few remaining wallpaper factories in the UK. I have eight botanically inspired designs, with many colours to choose from. You can see sample books in the studio and I have A4 samples to take away.

My studio has wall to wall windows that display my window film designs so you can see what they look like in real life and see the magical shadows that they make.

Visit Hannah’s page for contact details and links.

Toby Cotterill


I create unique, articulated jewellery inspired by the natural world and the process of making. Growing up on a farm near the coast in West Wales I spent my childhood playing outside with my brothers, exploring rock pools, and making things. Most of my ideas stem from this early immersion in nature.

I completed an Arts Foundation course at Carmarthen College of Art, I studied Design Crafts at Staffordshire University, where I specialised in fine metal, growing to love the scale and personal connection of jewellery making. After graduation I continued to make and develop my skills, but worked as a support worker in care for 14 years, before being inextricably drawn back to making.

I use traditional silversmithing techniques, forging sheet silver over steel stakes and into wooden formers using hammers and punches. Three-dimensional forms are articulated, fused, and finished with enamels, oxides or gold to create lively, humorous pieces of wearable sculpture.

My work has been exhibited across the UK and abroad, including the Goldsmiths’ Centre in London and Velvet da Vinci Gallery in San Francisco. I was selected by the Crafts Council for the Hothouse program in 2016 and continue to represent them through workshops and as Talent Development Ambassador. More recently I’m delighted to have been selected to join Design-Nation, a collective of ‘highly skilled designer-makers whose works demonstrate authentic, exceptional craftsmanship and design ability’.

The Scarab Beetle brooch pictured is a recent piece and has been selected by the Association of Contemporary Jewellery for a touring exhibition, ‘Meanings and Messages’, which will be seen at numerous venues across the UK until 2023.

This month I’ve been doing some research at Blackburn Museum to document and sketch their amazing beetle collection. This research, which includes going behind-the-scenes to examine rare specimens, will inspire a new collection of work this year.

Visit Toby’s page for contact details and links.

The Friday Feature 2

Exquisite art & craft to explore this April

This month our tour of Calder Valley creativity continues with stops along the way to see some extraordinary articulated jewellery, exquisite nature inspired designs for the home, and ends up exploring a unique fusion of oil painting, books and typography.

Follow #hbosFridayFeature on social media or check out our blog on the following Fridays for the full length features:

April 8 – Toby Cotterill – Jewellery
April 15 – Hannah Nunn – Homeware and design
April 22 – Roo Waterhouse – Painting

All aboard! Tickets and passes please…


In March Toby Cotterill has been at Blackburn Museum to document and sketch their amazing beetle collection. This research, which includes going behind-the-scenes to examine rare specimens, will inspire a new collection of work this year. Not to be missed if you like interesting, sculptural jewellery.

Hannah Nunn is always inspired and enthralled by the tiny details found in nature and loves living in this valley with its many woodlands paths, moorland and meadows.

From her sunny studio she expresses that inspiration in her glowing paper-cut lighting, wallpaper, window film and a large collection of tiny laser cut treasures.

Roo Waterhouse’s oil paintings celebrate our connection with treasured books and the way our bookshelves reflect the stories of our lives.

Her Shelf Portraits are a kind of literary Desert Island Discs!

Which books would you choose?

Julia Ogden


Always a fan of a good story I studied illustration at Edinburgh College of Art, my passion for screen printing followed and I brought to life literary characters I loved in little hand printed books.

A move to Brighton gave me the opportunity to study a Masters in Sequential Illustration and to continue with making and printing.

A painting career then developed from showing a few tentative paintings in a pop up shop. I painted florals and landscapes and have been published nationally and internationally.

My love of the outdoors and surrounding nature continues and has been fuelled by a move back to my home of Yorkshire. Now I paint soft, dream like landscapes of places close to my heart from my studio in Hebden Bridge. I also love to paint whimsical birds and I hand print a range of screen printed products. Screen printing has opened the door for me to create not just art to hang on a wall but art in the form of cushions, brooches, mobiles and much more.

Everything I make is proudly handmade here in Yorkshire!

I make art that makes you smile; bright pictures to escape grey days.

Visit Julia’s page for contact details and links.

Lesley Lishman


I am a small batch potter working from my home studio in Hebden Bridge. I hand craft functional earthenware ceramics such as vases, mugs, jugs, plates and candleholders.

I use white earthenware clay to create my pieces and slab-building or hand-made moulds to create the shapes. I decorate my pieces with vintage lace, or simple bird, leaf or flower shaped paper templates.

Using quick, vibrant brush strokes I apply coloured slips to my ceramics and after they have been bisque fired I add more details with brush-on underglaze and pencil. I then apply a luscious clear glaze before firing.

Each piece is handmade from start to finish so every single one of my creations is truly one-of-a-kind. I love the entire process of hand building and there is always something new to learn. I still get a bit tense when opening the kiln after a firing, hoping everything is as expected, but, there are always a few surprises.

Visit Lesley’s page for contact details and links.

Kate Rhodes


I’m a jeweller based in Hebden Bridge. I love to use colour as a visual language through my jewellery and my work is inspired by the surrounding countryside, sculpture and patterns.

Colour from the metals used plays an important part in my work: cool silver, vibrant blues from titanium, and warm earthy tones from copper and brass. I craft fine details by piercing with a saw, soldering and inlaying contrasting metals, and I carve light, detailed patterns with a pendant drill.

Each of my pieces is hand-made, each piece is unique. Bold and dynamic, my Geometrics collection uses contrasting colours and shapes to create individual works of art. I am inspired by Miro and Barbara Hepworth as well as Lucienne Day’s textile designs and many things mid-century. Sculpture and colour sit together in this collection.

My Pebbles & Circles collection has an earthy feel, inspirations are naturally sourced, bringing together found objects, rocks,shapes from the sea, lakes and rivers. Returning to nature, seeking the outdoors and creating a space for calm, peace and quiet.

My Birds & Flowers collection comes from being in nature, every day gardening, walking, watching the emerging and passing of the seasons, buds, birds and flowers.

Visit Kate’s page for contact details and links.

The Friday Feature

A focus on three Open Studios’ artists

Every July the artists in Hebden Bridge and the Upper Calder Valley open their doors to their creative spaces. A map of hidden worlds to enrich and inspire.

Our Friday Feature opens a little window into these studios and workshops throughout the year, shining a light on three artists each time.

Follow #hbosFridayFeature on social media where we’ll showcase one artist every week, or if you’ve a bigger appetite for art, feast on all three in our monthly email or here in our blog.

Come with us on a journey through art and exquisitely made handcrafts. First stop; jewellery, ceramics and painting.

If you like what you see follow the links to the full feature on each artist. We’ll be back next month with three more visits to Hebden Bridge Open Studios’ hub of art and creativity.

Kate Rhodes


“I love to use colour as a visual language through my jewellery and my work is inspired by the surrounding countryside, sculpture and patterns.

Cool silver, vibrant blues from titanium, and warm earthy tones from copper and brass.”

Luxuriate in Kate’s exquisite jewellery

Lesley Lishman


“I hand craft functional earthenware ceramics; vases, mugs, jugs, plates and candleholders, slab-building or using hand-made moulds to create the shapes.

Each piece is handmade from start to finish so every single one of my creations is truly one-of-a-kind.”

Take delight in Lesley’s handmade pottery

Julia Ogden


“I paint soft, dream like landscapes of places close to my heart. I make art that makes you smile; bright pictures to escape grey days.

Screen printing has opened the door for me to create not just art to hang on a wall but art in the form of cushions, brooches, mobiles and much more. All proudly handmade here in Yorkshire!”

Add colour to your day with Julia’s paintings

Join our mailing list