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17 February 12

Friday Folks: Olivia Pilling

Olivia Pilling in her studio

This Friday, we’re really pleased to be featuring local artist, Olivia Pilling. We first saw her gorgeous, colourful paintings in Todmorden Fine Art. Owner, Dave Gunning was excitedly enthusing about this new and extremely talented young artist that he had just started representing. About a year later, we went for dinner at the Todmorden Vintner and saw two large paintings on their walls… unmistakeably Olivia’s work. When we said to the owners how lovely they were and if they were in fact done by Olivia, they said yes, she’s their niece! Since then we’ve been to the restaurant to attend an exhibition opening of her work - and she’s invited us to another one happening next week - we’re really looking forward to it!

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painting of a viaduct by Olivia Pilling

Who are you & what do you do?
My name is Olivia Pilling. I’m am artist, more specifically a painter. I work in acrylics. I’m 26 years old, and have recently moved to Manchester from Todmorden.

painting of canal barges by Olivia Pilling

How did you get into the business?
It was by accident to some extent. I was doing my Fine Art degree at the time in Nottingham but over the long summer holidays I’d have small exhibitions at the Todmorden Vintner restaurant back home. I needed to get two paintings framed, so went down into Todmorden Fine Art gallery to get them framed. The paintings were just placed on the floor (apparently lent against the wall of the gallery to one side) when one customer came in and took a shine to them and offered £250 for them, then another customer came in and offered £500, then another came in and offered £750! As a skint 19-year-old student, I was ecstatic when I heard! Since then, I’ve been selling my work through the gallery mentioned and have gone on to sell with four others in the North West and the Midlands.

painting of houses by Olivia Pilling

Who or what inspires you?
I don’t have to go far before I feel totally inspired to paint. I love to walk, and try to do everyday. When I lived in Todmorden on the hilltops, I’d walk to the end of the hill and be surrounded by rugged moorland, patchwork fields, steep cliffs and be able to look down to Todmorden in the valley to my left and Cornholme on my right. Cornholme especially is a feast for my eye, the train-line runs straight through it squeezing through the valley walls. Dotted around are rows of terraces, mills chimneys and zig zagged shaped factories. It’s like a little toy town, it looks very sweet and quaint. The shapes, angles of the architecture really appeal, it allows me to create wonderfully simple fresh planes of colour with one brushstroke but still with a decorative element. I’m unashamedly a sucker for aesthetics and colour. I try to squeeze as much colour as I can into my paintings, and in parts, sections of my work will look abstract as I put brushstrokes of rich colour anywhere I can.

painting of cows in a field by Olivia Pilling

Travelling inspires me, especially exotic colourful places. I was lucky enough to go to India last year, and visited Jaipur known as the pink city and Jodhpur know as the blue city, I was in heaven with the colours and decorative jewellery and clothing, and architecture. I’m planning a trip to Jordan next year. It appears to be an absolutely fascinating place. David Bomberg’s paintings of Jerusalem and Petra are a real inspiration to me, he handles paint amazingly and creates such beautiful paintings.

I love the work of the Fauvist painters, specifically Jawlensky, Vlaminck and Kandinsky. Russian folk art is also an influence - the heavy use of black in the motifs and drawings, help to make the colour pop and this is something I try to do with my own work. I like to play around with light sources in my work. Having light coming from different directions can give a sense of isolation, and confusion, Russian folk art does this very well. It makes the image look quite enchanting and mysterious.

painting of canal barges by Olivia Pilling

What has been your greatest success?
I think simply my greatest success is just being able to do what I do for a living. Sounds cheesy I know, but I forget how lucky I am to to able to do something that I love on a daily basis. I came straight out of university and more or less started to sell work immediately. To have someone like your work is great, to have someone love your work is fab, but to have someone actually want to spend their hard earned cash on my work, that’s unbelievable - the feeling never gets old.

painting of a train on a viaduct by Olivia Pilling

Have you got any advice for someone wanting to break into the business?
I’m not quite sure I have some advice about how to actually get into the business, as the circumstances about how I got involved were quite accidental. The obvious thing to say would be to approach galleries and see if they are interested in your work.
I would say though that if painting is a real passion then you just have to stick at it, and be clear that it is what you really want to do. Sometimes you’re up, sometime you’re down, and sometimes you’ll get knock backs, that’s just the way it is but if you’re passionate about it, then the rest will hopefully fall in to place!

18 June 11

What a Show!

Gordon Rigg Garden Centre floral display at the Todmorden Agricultural show

Regular readers will know that we’re based in the Pennine market town of Todmorden, and today was the town’s annual agricultural show.

View of the Todmorden Agricultural Show through the trees

It was held in the lovely setting of Centre Vale Park - surrounded by trees.

Incredible Edible display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

There was all manner of stuff to see - a funfair and brass bands playing in the bandstand.

food stalls at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

lots of local food produce - pies, preserves, meats, fruit, vegetables, honey and cheese…

Pextenement Cheese stall at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

…and stalls selling outdoor wear & country attire…

outdoor clothing stall at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

There was some great vintage farm machinery on display.

vintage tractor on display at the Todmorden Agricultural show

red vintage tractors on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

The stars of the show, of course, were the animals!

horses on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

horses on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

Some were being judged, some were racing…

ram on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

sheep on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

goats on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

…and some were there simply to be petted or appreciated for their beauty…

pigs on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

…horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, birds of prey and bees.

various birds of prey on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

bird of prey on display at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

There was a really good crowd - young & old.

bulls on parade at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

There were some dark clouds and drizzle  in the morning and a few worried looks, but it brightened up nicely.

bull on parade at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

bull on parade at the Todmorden Agricultural Show

It was a really enjoyable afternoon - thoroughly recommended if you’re in the area this time next year!

30 June 10

Growing our own

flat leaf parsley and coriander growing on a windowsill

This year we decided to grow more of our own - and we’ve got no excuse, as Todmorden's the home of Incredible Edible.

strawberries growing in a vintage terracotta strawberry pot

We have a variety of crops to look forward to in the coming weeks.

homegrown beetroot in vintage enamel breadbinhomegrown peashoots grown in vintage metal bucket

Most of them are growing in containers as much of our garden is paved with stone cobbles. It also makes protecting them from the ubiquitous slugs & snails much easier.

tomato plants growing in a vintage mini greenhouse

We use lots of the old galvanised metal ‘dolly tubs’, buckets and bins.

courgette flowers in a vintage metal dolly tub

The plants seem to like it!

potato plants overflowing from a vintage metal dolly tub just outside the kitchen doorpink stems of rhubarb growing out of a vintage metal dolly tub

Potatoes, beetroot, carrots, tomatoes, rhubarb, strawberries, broccoli, courgettes, squash, peashoots, salad leaves, a variety of herbs - and yes, those are figs.

tiny fruits growing on a fig tree

There’s still a little room for some flowers.

lilac coloured osteospermum growing in a vintage metal bucket

pink lupins growing in a vintage dolly tubpink lupins growing in a vintage dolly tub

Perennials like the hostas, astilbes and lupins return each year like old friends. Although this year’s harsh winter saw a few losses.

purple lobelia growing in a vintage metal bucket

red geraniums just about ready to flower

To these we add a few annuals - osteospermums,  lobelia and the like.

hosta leaves

pink fox glove about to flower growing next to a giant ribbed terracotta urnyoung purple shoots of astilbe plants

We’ve enjoyed working in the garden this year. We don’t think self-sufficiency is here just yet - but hopefully we’ll reap some rewards!

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9 March 10

Northern Lights

Northern Lights banner

Radiance lighting shop on Market Street in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire

One of our favourite shops has moved.

strings of colourful bauble fairy lights in the window of Radiance lighting shop on Hebden Bridge

detail of handmade patchwork lampshade available at Radiance lighting shop in Hebden Bridge

Radiance, owned & run by Hannah Nunn re-opened in new premises at the weekend.

people at the 'shop-warming' of the new Radiance lighting shop in Hebden Bridge

We went to the ‘shop-warming’ on Saturday afternoon.

strings of colourful bauble fairy lights in the window of Radiance lighting shop in Hebden Bridge

She’s not moved far… about 200 yards in fact… but whether it’s 200 yards or 200 miles, moving a shop is a big job.

selection of items from various designer/makers available at Radiance lighting shop in Hebden Bridge

The new shop’s a bit closer to Hebden Bridge town centre - next door to Mooch café-bar on Market Street.

Exterior view of Radience lighting shop in Hebden Bridge next door to Mooch cafe

A few stone steps lead up to the enticing shop space - filled with her trademark handmade lighting…

Collection of Hannah Nunn's lamps at the 2009 Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair at Spinningfields, Manchester

…along with a fabulous selection of household goodies by other designer/makers.

collection of hanging lampshades available at Radiance in Hebden Bridge

collection of items by various designer/makers available from Radiance lighting shop in Hebden Bridge

collection of items by various designer/makers available at Radiance lighting shop in Hebden Bridge

To the rear of the shop is an improved workspace for Hannah, with a wood-burning stove for chilly days.  She even has a loo and somewhere to make a cup of tea - something she had to cope without in the last shop!

Blossom Bill homewares available from Radiance in Hebden Bridge

fairy lights wrapped around willow and butterfly decorated pebbles

Detail of a colourful tissue paper bird, one of six along a string of fairy lights

For those of you unfamiliar with Hebden Bridge - and within reach - it’s well worth a visit. It’s one of our next-door neighbours town-wise, about 4 miles from Todmorden. It’s a pretty place, full of small independent shops and cafés - perfect for a day trip.

BLOG UPDATE: For more great pix and info about the new launch check out Hannah’s own blog!

1 January 10

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland banner

footprints across a snowy field

Hope you all had a great Christmas.

close up of snow-covered red berriesclose up of snow-covered black berries

We’ve had picturesque, snowy landscapes in these parts…

cottage on Todmorden Edge in the snow

farm on Todmorden Edge in the snow

looking down on the railway line with grass in the foreground

…this meant lovely walks throughout the holidays…

flock of sheep in a snowy landscape

flock of sheep in a snowy landscape

..with crackling fires, hot tea & mulled wine on our returns home.

Statue of a bird and fir trees in a snowy landscape

It made this year’s Christmas very special.

snow-covered branches

snow-covered trees in Centre Vale Park, Todmorden

We remembered to take our camera out with us quite a lot and captured some of the stunning scenery…

Todmorden Town centre in the snow

snow-covered gravestones in Todmorden Unitarian churchyard

…and we even have a bit of action footage to share with you!!

Thanks for all your support & encouragement throughout 2009.

snow covered seed head and trees in the background

Wishing you all the very best for the year (and decade) ahead.

29 June 08

M is for…

M is for... Market

Todmorden Market stall

We live in Todmorden - and run our website from here too.

It’s a small market town in the Pennine hills on the border between Lancashire & Yorkshire. The market is one of its major assets.

Olives for sale on Todmorden outdoor market

Thursday is flea market day, with a mix of regular traders & one off stall holders having a clear out or raising money for charity.

Free cakes with the bric-a-brac on Todmorden Outside Market

We try to get there most weeks, trawling stalls for potential H is for Home stock. We’ve picked up all manner of things over the years - from 200 year old chairs to 1960s lamps.

Bric-a-brac for sale on Todmorden Flea Market

Some traders know what we like now and draw our attention to things they’ve got or will soon be getting hold of.

Bric-a-brac for sale on Todmorden Flea Market

After the secondhand stalls have been scoured, there’s a great place to stop for coffee - it has an unbelievable choice of teas & coffees all on display on their shelves… with homemade cakes and doughnuts to boot!

Exchange Coffee

Florist on Todmorden Indoor Market

Jam for sale on Todmorden Indoor Market

Also on the inside market are a florist, greengrocer, cheese stall, biscuit seller, haberdasher, butchers, bakers, but alas, no candlestick maker! Having said that, there’s Dawson’s - a great, traditional hardware stall that never fails to have that little brush or screw that no one else seems to stock. They, no doubt, have candlesticks… and the candles that go in them too!

Dawson\'s Hardware

The market has at least 4 different butchers - everyone has their own regular or favourite. Ours is Paul Standsfield whose stall greets you as you enter through the main doors. He is Fudge’s firm favourite too as he’ll always throw in a big, tasty beef or venison bone for him.

Standsfield Butchers on Todmorden Market

On other days of the week, the outside market has the usual range of food, clothing and homeware stalls.

Todmorden Outside Market

Cheese for sale on Todmorden Flea Market

Fruit & veg for sale on Todmorden Flea Market

Special mention has to go to Alexander Gourmet Med, a Mediterranean food specialist who’s usually there on a Saturday. The owner is extremely passionate & knowledgeable about everything he sells. He knows where it was made, which family made it, the methods they used and what makes it unique. We buy great olives & other antipasti, honey, chocolate, coffee, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. He’s an endless source of birthday & Christmas presents!

Alexander Gourmet Med Mediterranean stall on Todmorden outside Market

We hope you get the chance to visit one day!

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Themed by Hunson. Originally by Josh