For the past 38 years we have been championing contemporary craft in the vibrant city of Leeds to shine a spotlight on independent makers and their small businesses from across Yorkshire and the rest of the UK. Through an exciting seasonal exhibition programme we highlight the skills behind handmade and share their inspiring stories. Bringing these amazing collections of contemporary craft together under one roof has created a haven for many visitors to escape the stresses of daily life & create mindful experiences. Please help us keep the gallery and the hundreds of small businesses we support alive by donating what you can so we can continue to keep bringing the very best of contemporary craft to you and help us and these creative industries thrive.
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Currently showcasing his work here in Leeds in his first ever solo Ceramic Showcase with us, Paul Jackson shares his early influences in his creative career. Links with Yorkshire sculptor Henry Moore reveal an exciting past.
“In 1966 I moved with my family to the nearby village of Much Hadham, be it somewhat on the outskirts. Enjoying the rural idle of pony riding and dog walking, I ventured regularly across the deserted gravel pits opposite the family home. Sand martins had taken over the pits, as had the local council. Broken cars and all kinds of domestic detritus became a rubbish store for early ventures in to making. On the far side lay the sheep fields and high on an overlooking ridge were the sculptures of Henry Moore’s King and Queen. They were in fact full sized polystyrene maquettes; inspiring, incongruous, vulnerable. To my younger self they invited a less than reverent response.
Later on I was to meet the assistant sculptors and I also met fellow
artists that predated his move to Hertfordshire in the 30s when it was as rural as moving to Cornwall ,as I did in the 70s. In particular an old friend of Henry Moore's, Michael O'Connell became a real mentor. A leading textile designer in his day, working for Heals, Michael had developed Batik techniques for heavy Fabric. He made his own bricks for his house as he did concrete garden pots and statuary. These were men who lived and breathed their art. So different form the London commuting professionals I grew up amongst. They became the foundation stones of my own creative life; one which I am still exploring.”
Henry Moore was born in Castleford, the son of
a coal miner. He became well-known through his carved marble and larger-scale abstract cast bronze sculptures, and was instrumental in introducing a particular form of modernism to the United Kingdom.
You can see Paul's ceramics here on display until 24th October.