It was certainly not what I’d expected to see. A pair of beautiful, whimsical monoprints by an artist called Caroline Uff.
On the other hand, you could say that is exactly what you would expect to find at Holmfirth artWeek.
This is after all, the week when the Holme Valley town turns itself into the biggest art gallery around.
In fact, it’s not just one gallery but dozens of them with paintings, ceramics, photographs, textiles, woodwork, glass – well virtually any art or craft you could mention – jostling for the limelight.
I made my first trip to this year’s arts extravaganza, barely a couple of hours after arriving home from a trip away.
After a 380-plus mile journey, I was ready for feet up and a cuppa. But an invitation to the artWeek preview was telling me to forget the hours of driving in the most blazing sunshine I’d seen all week, get back in the car and head for Holmfirth.
And oh was it worth it. I edged my way into the bustling Civic Hall and within minutes my eye was caught by Caroline’s prints.
The detail is exquisite and the playful style was enough to put a smile on the face of the weariest traveller. Well it did it for me.
What made the grin even sillier was that having driven all the way up from Cornwall, my first find of the night was something that had made the self-same journey.
Caroline is based in Falmouth. Earlier in the week, I’d had a gallery-going day there too. Doesn’t art travel well?
In Holmfirth there were treats in store in every direction. Roger Simpson’s paintings have only travelled from Liversedge to the Holme Valley but their sense of movement speaks of a very different sort of journey.
Racehorses edge towards the start, their energy giving even those at the far distant end of the line a sense of barely contained power.
In a companion piece we see what happens with a fall at the first. A journey interrupted in the most dramatic of ways.
Watercolour seems an unlikely medium in which to portray the fluidity of such extraordinary animals. But that delicacy only adds to the feeling of vibrancy which floods off the canvas.
Textiles are something this area rightly prides itself in and Tanya Palmer’s lovely sewn pictures of buildings in and around Holmfirth are fresh and very collectable. A talent to watch.
When I spotted the huddles of people I thought of two names. Joseph O’Reilly and Ali White.
How different could you get but how fascinating in their own way.
I’ve waxed lyrical about Joseph’s still life paintings before. If you’d been there you'd have heard me sigh. White gladioli for me. If only!
Ali White’s photographic view of Huddersfield Unplugged was causing almost as much debate as last year’s piece which focussed Holmfirth.
Look closely and you’ll see someone else off on a journey. Is that what Lord Wilson does at night? Steps off that plinth and wanders around the town he made his own? I wonder.
Katherine Greenwell is a potter and ceramic designer with a yearning for the sea. At least that’s what it looks like with her collection of wall plaques in sea blues and greens mapping out all those places I remember from the shipping forecasts. Lundy, Rockall, Faroes and Forties.
A taste of the coast, our naval heritage and all from a potter on our doorstep. Katherine’s based in Holmfirth.
Don’t miss Norman Gath’s Wood Turned Grass Pot or Keith Mountain’s beautifully detailed Heath series, or, or, or.
I made a return trip later in the week and I could hit the triple tonight or tomorrow. So many reminders that artWeeek offers a huge journey, right on our doorstep. Don’t miss it.