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Angela Harding at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

December 5, 2016


It was five years ago that I first talked about the work of Angela Harding. Her work was more painterly back then, and since, an illustrative, defined and more distinct style has blossomed. I went to Yorkshire Sculpture Park this week to view her current exhibition “Flights of Memory”, which is on until Feb 26th next year. Just look at the display in the foyer.


Here’s Angela working in her studio, what an inspiring view !


As usual with photographing works of art behind glass, the lighting and reflections obscure the work slightly, so apologies for this. I’m certain, however, that you can still appreciate the beauty in Angela’s work.


There’s a whole alphabet of birds to choose from.


I love the aerial perspective of this Curlew flying over the town.


I took a few close ups so that you can see the detail for yourselves… wow!


The snowy scenes below are also available here as advent calendars, what a great idea.


I’m always excited to see how other artists work, their tools of the trade, how they use their sketchbooks etc. So lovely to view this display case, full of woodblocks and cutting tools.


Oooo and sketchbooks too !


Of course with Angela owning dogs of her own, I knew a few Whippets or Lurchers wouldn’t be too far away : )



So many designs I admired, such an obvious love for nature and their simplistic colourations, all work so well for me.



As soon as I got home, I went onto Angela’s website and purchased these two keepsakes. Now I can think about her every time I wash up lol.



Do visit and see Angela’s wonderful exhibition, on until Feb 26th next year.

Part two from Yorkshire Sculpture Park next Monday.









Fantastic Beasts and where to find them.

December 4, 2016


By a strange twist of fate last night, I ended up going to see the new film from Harry Potter author J.K Rowling , called ‘Fantastic Beasts and where to find them”.


Played by the lead actor Eddie Redmayne and based on a character called Newt Scamander (who is mentioned in the first of the Potter films), it’s a story of magical mischief set some 70 years before Harry Potter even started reading his school books. The year is 1926, and Newt has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.


Stunning visuals and creative creatures.


Dark arts magic and mayhem too.


Amazing to see what CGI can achieve these days, and some stunning New York visuals from all perspectives of the city. There is said to be a further four films coming our way in the next few years about Newt! Great to loose myself in a little Christmas magic for a couple of hours.


There’s more info in this review from the Guardian newspaper here.




Sale Arts Trail 2016 Christmas Bazaar

November 28, 2016

Christmas came early yesterday as I took part in the Sale Arts Trail Bazaar.


Over 40 designers took part including a few new friends like knitwear designer

Q&A Knitwear Designer Clare Wright

top left and organiser Sophie Nixon top right. The rooms had been wonderfully decorated and felt warm and festive.


There was a good steady flow of visitors. Sadly, I only had a brief chance to literally whiz around the other stands, but I did admire the work of furniture designer  Neb Abbott. His lighting display had some wonderfully patterned structures to them.


This was my Fishink stand, great to have a bit extra wall space (thank you Sophie) to really show off my larger pieces. Thanks to a couple of friendly, regular clients, giving me new commissions to make for them, I had a good show. If anyone else would like something special making for their walls do drop me a line. Craig @ Fishink . co . uk


A couple more familiar faces here and there, and a cleverly co-ordinated stand from Bronwen Simpson who works from Marketplace Studios, Stockport and makes beautifully steamed, ladies felt hats and pure wool scarves. She looked very dapper with her pheasant-feathered hat !


Thanks to the organisors/exhibitors for their company and support yesterday, and to everyone who came (including Craig and Annette) and purchased something to help support local small businesses …what a pleasure to work within such a great designer community.




Rena Gardiner at MMU Special Collections

November 21, 2016

Just a quick reminder that if you are in the Manchester area next Sunday then come and have a look around the Sale

Exhibitors Christmas Bazaar 2016


Look forward to seeing you there.  For the regular followers you may recall that I’ve spoken on Fishink Blog about

Rena Gardiner Artist and Printmaker

before, also here

Rena Gardiner A lifetime spent Illustrating the English Landscape

For those of you who managed to get to see the (now ended) exhibition at the MMU Library, Special Collections Gallery that ran for just over two months, you’ll know what a joy it was to see some of Rena’s work, ‘up close and personal’. I was lucky to find the time to pop into Manchester last wet Wednesday, especially to see it, and was very thankful that I had.  Sadly it’s very difficult to get decent images with everything being behind glass, but I hope you can see just how beautiful Rena’s illustrations, water colours, lithographs and lino-cuts really are.


Rena Gardiner found a way to reconcile a one-woman industry with mass production without compromising her artistic integrity. She adopted elements of commercial printing but bent them to her purpose, crafting everything herself. She treated a commercial press like a hand press and produced books and prints that were in every sense handmade.

Her work exemplifies the printing process known as autolithography, where the artist draws directly onto the lithographic stone or plate with no intervention of another hand or photography. Rena’s particular contribution to the art was the way she used the commercial press as a creative tool to develop and explore her images and not simply as a means to produce an existing image. It was most unusual for an artist to take on every aspect of organisation and production.


The highlight of the exhibition for me was seeing Rena’s sketchbook and this wonderful collection of holiday paintings.


I would have loved to have seen more inside this sketchpad (above).


Rena’s passion for history, buildings and the landscape emerged early on in her work, and she would pursue these themes for the rest of her life. After completing her studies at Kingston Art School and gaining her teacher’s diploma, her first post was in Leamington Spa. In 1954 she moved to Wareham in Dorset to teach at the Bournemouth School for Girls. She fell in love with the country, which became her home for the rest of her life.

She saw herself as an artist expressing herself primarily through the medium of printmaking. She experimented with book illustration and the craft of making books, and also began to travel abroad where she was influenced by the vibrant colour and architecture of Venice and Rome. This early period saw the maturing of her skill and talent for drawing, painting and printmaking and, in particular, her very personal approach to lithography.


Such attention to detail and a keen eye for the accuracy of what she is drawing too.


It was the generation of artists who had been establishing their reputation before the War that inspired Rena. Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden, John Piper, and Barnett Freedman, all of whom made lithographs. Rena visited exhibitions organised by the Recording Britain Scheme initiated by Sir Kenneth Clark as an extension of the Official War Artists Scheme. This featured such artists as Kenneth Rountree, Thomas Hennell, Rowland Hilder, Enid Marx and Barbara Jones. Rena was an avid reader of John Betjeman’s and John Piper’s Shell Guides as well. However she also admired the work of topographical artists of the past such as Thomas Girtin, John Sell Cotman and Thomas Shotter Boys, and the technique of the great lithographers such as Honore Daumier.

Rena was also familiar with the Puffin Picture Books published by Penguin and edited by Noel Carrington, and recognised the influence they had on her own work. Full of brightly coloured and freely drawn illustrations which relied on autolithography for their vitality and economy, they introduced Rena to another group of artists such as Clarke Hutton, Hilary Stebbing, Kathleen Hale and in particular S.R. Badmin.


In 1965, Rena moved into a cottage at Tarrant Monkton, near Blandford Forum, where there was sufficient space to install a commercial printing press. Her book production began to flourish. She established her relationships with the National Trust, Salisbury Cathedral and other clients and by 1970, she was making enough money from the books to give up teaching and concentrate on book production.

She still found time to produce paintings, pastels and drawings of England and abroad. The paintings from France show her particular interest in Romanesque architecture and sculpture. During this period she produced many of her most successful books and mastered her illustrative technique, exemplified by three large-format books on Dorset and the books about Cornwall, starting with Cotehele in 1973.



By the time she was in her sixties, Rena found the pressure of book production an increasing burden, and her last new book was produced in 1996. She still worked on reprints and editions of existing books, but wanted to slow down. Rena returned to the art of printmaking and revived her interest in lino cutting. Her subject was her beloved Dorset and she took the opportunity to travel abroad and make prints of Italy and France. In the late 1990’s she spent time in the beautiful surroundings of Cotehele in Corwall and produced a collection of 35 linocuts.



So pleased I finally got to see this exhibition before it ended. Hope those of you who didn’t get there, enjoyed it through my images too.

fishinkblog-10282-rena-gardiner-13 fishinkblog-10281-rena-gardiner-12

Thanks to Martin Andrews for some of the information used in this post.











Fishink in Autumn

November 14, 2016

Once again I’ve fallen in love… with Autumn ! The colours have been tremendous lately and if you take a few moments out of your busy day to notice these things, they will surely make you smile too.


These ‘beauty berries’ (Callicarpa bodinieri Profusion) looked almost unreal in someone’s local garden, and the carpet of leaves are still wonderfully scrunchie and colourful too.


Even Boo (my lurcher), seems to be admiring the views (or is she looking for squirrels?).


BOO.. are you paying attention ? ….. or just doing your best to blend in with your environment… you autumnal dog!


Talk about Where’s Wally ? …. we often play ‘Spot the Boo’ !

Did I mention that she’s also got her own instagram account called adognamed_boo , so you can now follow her exploits too. Oh for goodness sake !

Also in a couple of weeks time I’m taking part in an exciting and not so bizarre Bazaar in Sale, Manchester.


I’ve not been to The Claremont Centre before so it will be great to have a look around and display work with the 40 other exhibitors who will be present on the day…. exciting times. Do pop the date in your diary / tablet /phone and call in, call your friends, spread the word, it’s even free entry !

I’ll have a selection of the following goodies with me on the day.. hope to see you there.





More work on my website here.








Fishink in Edinburgh Part 2

November 7, 2016

Hi everyone, I’m back here with part 2 of my recent trip to Edinburgh and begin with a morning spent enjoying the Botanics.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh was established in 1670 and during the 20th century acquired three other Regional Gardens – the mountainous Benmore in Argyll; Dawyck in the wooded hills of the Scottish Borders and Logan on the Gulf Stream-warmed southern peninsula of Dumfries & Galloway. Together they represent one of the world’s largest living collections of plants.

I would highly recommend a visit here, if you have an interest in plants or just like large spacious garden areas and it’s free to enter and wander in most areas.


Plants always fascinate me. I’m completely enthralled by their variety, complexity, shape and colour. I’m never disappointed by what I find inside the green houses.


The shapes often inspire designs, here’s a couple of quick ones I made using the images above.


Inside one of the glasshouses there was a glass exhibition based on the subject of cell structures.


How fab to gaze through the jumbled layers of leaves and see shadows and shapes, all over the place.


Great contrasts in tone and shape don’t you think.


Berries, fronds, flowers and frenzy.


There is even a small Aquarium, with a rather lonely looking Red Mexican Tarantula.  Small aquariums always remind me of being a child , when I used to visit the one in Liverpool Museum. I thought it rather curious that all those creatures lived in a room at the museum, also it was probably the first time I had ever seen live seahorse, one of my favourite tanks to visit.


The Botanic Cottage originally stood at the entrance to a long lost incarnation of the Botanics, across the city on Leith Walk. It was built in 1764-5, and designed by the renowned architects John Adam and James Craig. Not only was it the home of the principal gardener, it was also the main entrance to the Garden, and contained a classroom where every medical student was taught botany during the height of the Scottish Enlightenment. After the Garden moved to Inverleith in the early 1820’s, the cottage became a private home, then later offices and a van rental shop. Over the years the street level was raised in front of it, the lime render on its exterior was lost, and by the mid-2000s it had been abandoned and set on fire. Fortunately, a community campaign, working with the Botanics, saved the cottage. It was moved stone by stone across Edinburgh, and rebuilt in our Demonstration Garden, where schools, students and community groups have plots. It was rebuilt with all of the stones and timbers going back in the correct places, and finished so that it looks as good as it did 250 years ago.

I was very impressed as it’s a beautiful building…. both outside and in.


The gardens around it are filled with all manner of flowers and vegetables. As wonderful to photograph as they are to walk around.


Again being lucky with the sunny weather in October was a huge help.


I was surprised just how much late colour was still around.



This poppy flower really caught my designers eye.


I think it makes a lovely repeat pattern !


Inside the Botanic Cottage was an exhibition of some of the many varieties of apple with a Scottish association. Colour, shape, smell and tastes all to compare.


Here’s a small sample of the work currently in the exhibiton at Inverleith House, (apologies, I didn’t capture the artists details).


I did think these were quite fun.


A quick mention that the Mark Hearld solo exhibition was on last month over at the Scottish Gallery. Sadly not whilst I was there.

Some great illustrations as usual.




I hope you enjoyed visiting Edinburgh with me : ) Where have you been inspired by lately ?













Fishink in Edinburgh Part 1

October 31, 2016


A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend a long weekend in Edinburgh, I didn’t need to think twice as to whether to go or not. It’s a beautiful city, and I was lucky to see it in such amazing light too. Here we are, standing high on Calton Hill, with views out over the Firth of Forth, Scottish Parliament and Arthur’s Seat.  What views!


As you can see it’s popular with the tourists, who clamber all over the National Monument of Scotland.


In 1724 the Town Council of Edinburgh purchased Calton Hill, making it one of Britain’s first public parks. The monuments and buildings  date from the 1760’s to the 1820’s and relate to a period known as the ‘Scottish Enlightenment’, a time of great artistic, literary and scientific advances.


One of the leading figures of the Enlightenment was the philosopher David Hume, who was responsible for lobbying the Town Council to build ‘public walks or roads for the health and amusement of the inhabitants’ on Calton Hill. You can still stroll along Hume Walk, there, named in his honour.


Wonderful for views over the city and up to Edinburgh Castle too.


There is some beautiful architecture around the city, often with quirky details.


The Fruitmarket Gallery had an exhibition on by Mexican artist Damián Ortega, with a couple of interesting clay hangings.


Over the road in the City Art Centre, I noticed a great mural in their cafe.


The current exhibition, featuring the work of William George Gillies and John Maxwell, sadly finished on October 23rd.


I couldn’t believe how wonderful the weather was for the start of October. Even saw this artist (reliably informed it is Michael McVeigh) drawing outside in the Princes Street Gardens.



Next week I’ll show you part 2 of my trip with more images from the Botanical Gardens.