Leeds hosted the beginning of the 2014 Tour de France which spent three days racing through Yorkshire and led to the legacy annual race of the Tour de Yorkshire. This year Leeds is playing host to another exciting sports event – a stage of the ITU World Triathlon. As a cyclist and a swimmer I’m very attracted to the idea of a triathlon but I just can’t run.. at all. So I am left filled with respect for those who can excel in all three of these activities. The world’s best male and female triathletes (including the Leeds based Brownlee brothers) will be competing and there will be around 6000 amateur triathletes competing at different levels on the same weekend. So if you haven’t already planned it Leeds will be the place to be on the weekend of June 11th and 12th.
To celebrate the event I decided to create a limited edition triathlon image which is now available as a boxed, numbered coaster and as a signed print. The coaster and print are available online and will shortly appear in the Leeds Craft and Design Centre.
I’ve had a wonderful few months visiting parts of Yorkshire that I knew nothing about like Middlesbrough and Doncaster and finding some lovely surprises like Anish Kapoor sculpture in Middlesbrough and the Mansion House and amazing markets in Doncaster. I learnt how the cyclists used to carry their bikes over the top of the Transport Bridge to avoid the toll charges and had an amazing windy and misty drive over the N. York Moors and Blakey Ridge – now on my to do cycling list. I spent a lovely day sampling the delight of beautiful Beverley and also revisited two of my favourite towns for cycling Settle and Knaresborough. Here are the results as coasters:
All these images and many more from the Tour de Yorkshire, Tour de France, Tour of Britain and Eroica Britannia are available as prints, coasters and greeting cards in my online shop. You can also find a selection of my work in shops and galleries around the region.
My postal address says Hebden Bridge and I describe myself as a Hebden Bridge artist but in actual fact I live in a small village outside Hebden Bridge called Mytholmroyd. I was in Mytholmroyd on Boxing Day. We had planned to visit friends on the other side of the main road through the village but instead we stood on our side of the valley watching, in shock as the river water rose, spilled on to the road and became one with the canal on the other side to create an enormous fast flowing river. We watched it rise above the post box that was painted silver when Karen Darke won her Olympic medal, we watched it pour in to the Dusty Miller pub where we had recently celebrated the end of the Mytholmroyd Festival, we watched it rise above the door of the shops on the valley road, flood a primary school, community centre, our churches and pubs and many other businesses and homes in the valley. Distressed we returned home.
We were among the lucky ones impacted only by a power cut, the inconvenience of losing all local services and our distress. The following day the water had gone and we joined the army of volunteers who descended on our valley wanting to help. The response has been incredible and you realise at a time like this how important community is and how overwhelming the generosity of strangers can be.
It is going to take time for our valley to rebuild (but it will!). Some businesses are managing to provide a limited service or pop-up shops. Many homes, businesses and community buildings will take months to be usable again, many people lost everything, many were not insured – unable to get or afford insurance after previous floods. The community is trying to raise funds to help. The Government will match any funds raised before the 5th February. To this end rather than have my planned January sale I am offering you a small 10% discount for anything bought from my online shop between now and 1st February and donating 20% of sale price to the relief fund. To make a purchase use the code FLOODSALE at checkout. Visit my shop
I am delighted and very proud to share that one of my images – the picture of the Tour de France passing through Skipton has been used as a the cover image for Rod Ismay’s book, Bells and Bikes, published today. I was lucky enough to read an early version of the book which tells of Rods, obsession with both bell ringing and bikes and his involvement in ensuring that the Tour de France’s passage through Yorkshire was accompanied by the sound of over 70 church bells ringing. The book is very funny, very Yorkshire and a real gem for all cyclists and probably bell ringers too ( can’t comment on this not being a bell ringer). You can find it here. https://www.v-publishing.co.uk/books/categories/cycling/bells-and-bikes.html
Yorkshire’s Holme Moss is one of the more famous hills from the Tour de France Yorkshire route and features regularly in British cycling races. I was recently commissioned to create one of my “cyclist on a hill” sculptures featuring Holme Moss.
I began by using mapping software to sketch out the contours of the hill and to make a paper template. I then translated this in to glass.
One of the joys and frustrations of handmade work is that every item is a tiny bit different. Occasionally too different! For every kiln full of coasters I make there is always one that does not obey the rules and ends up a strange colour, with small marks or bits missing at the edges. These are my “seconds”. Over the last year I’ve collected quite a few and am planning to sell them over the next week.
The plan is that over the next week I will post images of my seconds coasters on Facebook. I will do my best to photograph them accurately. It is up to you to zoom in and see the flaws. All coasters will sell for £5 each. For orders £10 or over postage is free. If you want a coaster simply write “sold” underneath its image. At the end of the week I will add together any coasters you have ordered and send you an invoice.
I also have a few too many of some of my prints – I got a bit over enthusiastic with orders in preparation for events I was selling at. These prints are available online for the reduced price of £25 each rather than the usual price of £45.
I have crossed the border to Lancashire and one of my favourite cycling areas for my latest Tour of Britain collection. This set of four coasters depicts the second stage of the race which starts this Sunday (6th September) in Wales. Stage 2 takes on some of the challenging hills around Pendle and the Trough of Bowland, fab cycling country. My four new images are Clitheroe (the start of stage two), Whalley, Dunsop Bridge (centre of UK) and Pendle Hill.
I am officially launching all four images today as coasters and prints at the WI Centennial in Harrogate. They are also available in the Platform Gallery, Clitheroe, Puddleducks in Dunsop Bridge and via my online shop.
One of the things I love about my work is when I’m invited to work collaboratively with other businesses, shops, galleries, universities, schools to create a new piece of work. One recent example was when I was approached by Val and Nigel of Because I Like It Gallery and Tea room to create a collection based on the Eroica Britannia, an annual ride and festival of cycling taking place in Bakewell and the Peak District.
Last February my partner and I took our bikes to the Peak District and cycled parts of the route to be taken by a host of vintage bicycles. It’s not an area I know well and I was delighted to discover some great new cycling routes. Armed with a camera full of photographs we headed to the Because I Like it café for some amazing soup and a chat about the collection.
The four images below with penny farthings will be available exclusively at the Eroica Britannia this weekend and through Because I Like it in the future. Other images without the penny farthings will be available through me at a later date. All four images are available as coasters, cards and prints.
as any glass artist will know, photographing glass is a nightmare. So many reflections! I was approached recently by Richard from Forever Creative Photographic Design a photographer who was trying to expand his product photography portfolio. He offered to photograph some of my coasters for free as a sample of his work. These are the results. I’m delighted. What do you think? Which background do you prefer?
I am delighted that my new work has been featured in the Yorkshire edition of Living North magazine as part of a write up of artists response to Tour de Yorkshire. Lovely to see the work of other artists with the same inspiration too. Read the article here.