Terry Brett to raise funds for St Leonard’s Hospice at book event at Pyramid Gallery

Terry Brett at the counter at the Pyramid Gallery

YORK gallery curator Terry Brett will mark the publication of his third volume of cartoon rabbit tributes to celebrities and remarkable individuals at a charity event at Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, on Friday (8/3/2024).

Publishing costs are met by the gallery, enabling copies to be given away from there, but voluntary donations to www.justgiving.com/page/terry-brett will be encouraged in aid of St Leonard’s Hospice, in memory of Terry’s father, who died of prostate cancer.

Terry will be on hand to sign copies from 5.30pm to 7pm outside the gallery, with the books displayed on a table. Inside, visitors can enjoy a glass of wine and buy the original drawings.

Terry Brett puts his stamp on his valedictory to Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II. Cartoon: Bertt deBaldock

The 108-page third compendium of death notices, entitled Good Rabbits Gone Volume Three 4 Equality, spans September 2021 to December 2022 with a fourth volume covering the fallen of 2023 on its way.

Among those featured are Queen Elizabeth II (Delivered: 21 April 1926, Post: 8 September 2022); Leslie Phillips (‘Hello-o-o’: 20 April 1924, ‘Ding Dong!’: 7 November 2022); Terry Hall (Special : 19 March 1959, Much Too Young : 18 December 2022), and Kathleen Booth, British computer scientist and mathematician, (Ticking: 9 July 1922, Ticker stopped: 29 September 2022).

The cartoon drawings by “the Scribbler” Bertt deBaldock, the nom d’art of the Pyramid Gallery owner, colour-blind artist, ukulele player and long-ago chartered surveyor, are each drawn in response to an individual’s death and then assembled in a book with Terry’s own witty tributes or poignant memories.

Terry Brett launches third volume of Good Rabbits Gone cartoon tributes with Refugee Action York event at Pyramid

The cover artwork for Good Rabbits Gone 3: cartoons by Bertt deBaldock, words by Terry Brett

TERRY Brett launches his third volume of cartoon rabbit tributes to celebrities and remarkable individuals at a charity event at Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, tomorrow (16/1/204).

Publishing costs are met by the gallery, enabling copies to be given away from there, but voluntary donations are encouraged in aid of Refugee Action York at the 4.30pm to 7pm event, where Terry/artist Bertt deBaldock will sign copies.

“From my experience with the first and second volumes, people enjoy being given the book,” says Terry. “Most of those people have then offered a donation, which can be done through the Just Giving website,  www.justgiving.com/page/terry-brett.”

RIP Lee Scratch Perry: Bertt deBaldock’s cartoon valedictory to the innovative Jamaican record producer and composer

The 108-page third compendium of death notices, entitled Good Rabbits Gone Volume Three 4 Equality, spans September 2021 to December 2022 with a fourth volume covering the fallen of 2023 on its way.

Among those featured are Queen Elizabeth II (Delivered: 21 April 1926, Post: 8 September 2022); Leslie Phillips (‘Hello-o-o’: 20 April 1924, ‘Ding Dong!’: 7 November 2022); June Brown (Year Dot : 16 February 1927, Bless Her Cotton Socks: 3 April 2022); Ruth Madoc (Hi-de-Hi! : 16 April 1943, Bye-de-bye: 9 December 2022); Terry Hall (Special : 19 March 1959, Much Too Young : 18 December 2022), and Kathleen Booth, British computer scientist and mathematician, (Ticking: 9 July 1922, Ticker stopped: 29 September 2022).

The cartoon drawings by “the Scribbler” Bertt deBaldock, the nom d’art of Pyramid Gallery owner, colour-blind artist, ukulele player and long-ago chartered surveyor Terry Brett, are each drawn in response to an individual’s death and then assembled in a book with Terry’s own witty tributes or poignant memories.

The qualifications for inclusion have changed for Volume Three’s memorial works. “The first volume was just about musicians, actors and comedians who had made an impact on my life,” says Terry.

“The second featured more scientists because I’m fascinated with technology and science. For the third one, I became interested in people who had made a difference with respect to social matters.

“The work celebrates a period in which prejudice and inequality has not only been challenged, but also has been noticed and the individuals rewarded,” says Terry Brett of Good Rabbits Gone 3

“I realised there was a social record evolving that is interesting to me because the order in which a narrative unfolds is dictated purely by the date on which a person died.

“But their story tells much about society in decades that have gone past. So I got interested in individuals who had made some sort of impact on society in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.”

Gradually, a collective theme for the latest volume emerged, hence the title of Good Rabbits Gone Volume Three 4 Equality. “It came to me as I was collecting names,” says Terry. “I noticed that many of the individuals chosen for the book were noted for their involvement with campaigns that fought against inequality or prejudice or misogyny.

“I didn’t go looking for these subjects but found them when listening to the BBC Radio 4 programme Last Words, which has given much quality airtime to great, quiet people who have decided to stand up to prejudice or do some good. These individuals are not massively wealthy, not famous as a media personality, but had perhaps been awarded a CBE or OBE for their campaigning activities.

Bertt deBaldock’s rabbit cartoon tribute to The Ronettes’ Ronnie Spector

“A good example is Ma Smith, who was awarded the Pride of Britain award for setting up a soup kitchen in Oxford. and another is Avtar Singh Jouhl, who was made an OBE for fighting racial inequality in Birmingham. Jouhl had persuaded Malcolm X to visit the factory in Smethwick just a few days before he was assassinated.”

Such dedicated individuals, numbering 18 “if we include women who have excelled in careers that used to be dominated by men”, add interest and substance to the book, says Terry.

“In this way, the work celebrates a period in which prejudice and inequality has not only been challenged, but also has been noticed and the individuals rewarded. Though many would say that there is still some way to go!

“I think the media now gives more coverage relating to the #metoo movement and the horrible Windrush scandal, whereby the Government pushed forward a policy of deliberately being cruel to immigrants and also legitimate citizens who had come to Britain on the Windrush ship from the Caribbean, to the point of extraditing some of them back to the West Indies, even though they may have been born in the UK. 

Farewell fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, from Good Rabbits Gone 3

“Many great women feature in this book after battling against prejudice in the workplace, just getting on with their jobs, and at last they’re being recognised for what they did.”

The broader focus has had an impact on the creative process too. “The pictures are not drawn straight away anymore and there’s a huge backlog,” says Terry. “It’s become quite time consuming. Much of the work has been done with me sitting in a beach hut in Goa for eight weeks in January 2023 and three more last October. It’s the only way I can find enough time to do them.”

A theme is yet to strike Terry for the next volume. “But looking through the list, there are so many actors, musicians and television personalities to consider, as well as footballers,” he says. “I will search for more designers and artists to join Mary Quant, Paco Rabanne and Phylida Barlow and cartoonist Bill Tidy.

“I’m also keen to include icons such as Barry Humphries, Paul O’Grady, Mike Yarwood, Len Goodman and writers Benjamin Zephaniah, Martin Amis, Fay Wheldon and Burt Bacharach. So many big names that reflect the impact of television in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. Two of my favourite scribbles so far are those of David Crosby and Tina Turner, both very pleasing to draw.”

Queen Final: Bertt deBaldock’s drawing to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II

Explaining the latest book’s support for Refugee Action York, Terry says: “I started fundraising for them when asked to draw a rabbit for Jean Moss, who was involved with the charity before she died in 2020. Donations for the second volume raised £2,400 for Refugee Action York in memory of Jean.

“They provide support to refugees by giving advice, helping fill out forms and providing necessities such as school uniforms. They aim to change the narrative about refugees and help them become useful members of society.

“Refugee Action York assists refugees and asylum seekers by means of a weekly meeting every Wednesday at York St John’s University and a monthly Sunday meeting, called The Hub, at Clifton Green Primary School.

A second charity event will be held at Pyramid Gallery on March 9 from 4.30pm to 7pm, when donations will go to St Leonard’s Hospice, in memory of Terry’s father, who died of prostate cancer.

Terry Brett/Bertt deBaldock’s first Good Rabbit Gone: David Bowie, January 10 2016

Terry’s Good Rabbits Gone series began on January 10 2016. “Upset that David Bowie had suddenly left us, I decided to draw him as a rabbit, using a shape that I’d first drawn on stencils for wall hangings and a comic-style Christmas card in 1994.

More rabbits followed (Terry Wogan, Glen Campbell Ken Dodd, Keith Flint, Judith Kerr) and deaths of loved celebrities became an obsession, first publishing them on Twitter and Facebook at #GoodRabbitsGone,” he says.

“During a spell of Covid confinement in 2020, I put them into a book, Good Rabbits Gone and made the decision to offer the books only for donations to charity. As of July 1 2023, charitable donations of the books and other means of collecting money in Pyramid Gallery have amounted to £8,000 for St Leonard’s Hospice as well as £2,400 for Refugee Action York.”

Why depict rabbits, Terry? “It might seem weird to be creating memorials to people by representing them as a rabbit, but I don’t see the need to question it too much,” he says. “I find the act of drawing helps relieve the sense of loss and my own anxiety about mortality. The process of reading about the individual’s life and trying to capture a tiny segment of their character in a simple drawing is a little bit cathartic. 

Terry Brett, as depicted by alter ego Bertt deBaldock, when compiling the first volume of Good Rabbits Gone under the Covid cloud

“The rabbit body and ears create a limitation in the final drawing, preventing each portrait from being too complicated or serious. All the individuals become united by the addition of rabbit ears!”

Or, in a nutshell…? “There’s a long-held belief in the Bertt/Brett household that if you have lived a good life, well, let’s say a mostly good life, i.e. if you have been nice or have achieved something for the benefit of others, then when you die you will become a rabbit.”

Contemplating what gravestone humour may lie in store for Terry himself, he suggests: “He was hoppiest when scribbling a rabbit”.

Terry Brett/Bertt deBaldock launches Good Rabbits Gone Volume Three 4 Equality at Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, tomorrow (16/1/2024) with a book-signing session and charity fundraiser for Refugee Action York from 4.30pm to 7pm.

Why use the name Bertt deBaldock?

Terry Brett/Bertt deBaldock at Pyramid Gallery, York

“A PARTICULAR friend in my youth always called me ‘Bertt’ and I was born in Baldock, well, a mile away in a tiny hamlet called Bygrave, in north Hertfordshire,” explains Terry.

“I use the French preposition ‘de’ in the same way that it is used in the name ‘DeBrett’s’, which is basically a list of the most influential people, many of whom are deceased or about to be.”

More Things To Do in York and beyond as the summer of love arrives early. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 21 for 2023, from The Press

A study of people studying People We Love’s digital portraits in the Chapel at Castle Howard. Picture: Charlotte Graham

LOVE lost and found is all around in Charles Hutchinson’s picks from the shelf marked culture.

Goin’ to the chapel of love: People We Love, Castle Howard, near York, until October 15, 10am to 4pm

AFTER gracing York Minster twice, Pittsburgh, USA, Viborg, Denmark, and Selby Abbey, North Yorkshire, KMA’s latest contemplative digital art installation takes over the Chapel at Castle Howard, a setting that provides a contrast between portraiture old and new. Produced by York-based Mediale and designed by Kit Monkman, People We Love explores “the invisible transaction between a person, a piece of art and the emotion which bonds us all: love”.

A quintet of high-definition screens display portraits of estate staff and volunteers, Castle Howard visitors and Ryedale residents, filmed in March, as they gaze at a picture of someone they love. A picture you never see, but you will feel each unspoken story as the faces tell the tale of a person they love.

Alexandra Mather’s Adina, left, in York Opera’s The Elixir Of Love

Opera of the weekend: York Opera in The Elixir Of Love, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, today at 7.30pm

WILL Nemorino, a simple village farm lad, ever find love without the help of a magic potion? Discover the answer in Donizetti’s comic opera L’Elisere d’Amore, packed with light-hearted music sung in an English translation by Ruth and Thomas Martin with orchestral accompaniment.

Under the direction of Chris Charlton-Mathews, principal roles go to Hamish Brown as the lovelorn, lovable Nemorino; stalwart Ian Thompson-Smith as opportunistic Doctor Dulcamara; David Valsamidies as the boastful Belcore; Alexandra Mather as the intelligent, beautiful Adina and Emma Burke in her York Opera debut as the flirtatious Giannetta. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Harvey Badger, Eddie Ahrens, Hannah Baker and Rachel Hammond in Mikron Theatre Company’s Twitchers

Bird song of the week: Mikron Theatre Company in Twitchers, Scarcroft Allotments, Scarcroft Road, York, Sunday (21/5/2023), 2pm, and on tour until October 21

IN Mikron Theatre Company’s premiere of Poppy Hollman’s Twitchers, Springwatch is coming to RSPB Shrikewing nature reserve, home to raucous rooks and booming bitterns.

Can Jess take inspiration from the RSPB’s tenacious female founders and draw on its history of campaigning to save them? Can she find her own voice to raise a rallying cry for nature in Mikron’s flight through RSPB and birdwatching history, feathered with bird song and humour. No reserved seating or tickets are required, and instead a ‘pay what you feel’ collection will be taken after the show.

Kate Rusby: On song at Harrogate Royal Hall on Monday

Folk gig of the week: Kate Rusby, Harrogate Royal Hall, Monday, 7.30pm

BARNSLEY folk nightingale Kate Rusby rounds off a year of 30th anniversary celebrations with an 18-date spring tour, in the wake of releasing her 30: Happy Returns compendium last May to acknowledge three decades as a professional musician.

Coming later this year will be Kate’s Established 1973 Christmas Tour, visiting York Barbican on December 7, three days after she turns 50: a landmark she will mark with her sixth album of South Yorkshire pub carols and winter songs. Box office: Harrogate, 01423 502116 or harrogatetheatre.co.uk; York, yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Beware the Green Fingers: Fladam’s Flo Poskitt and Adam Sowter launch their debut children’s show at York Theatre Royal

Children’s show of the week: Fladam, Green Fingers, TakeOver Festival, York Theatre Royal, May 27, 3pm

GREEN Fingers is a work-in-progress performance to test out madcap York musical comedy double act Fladam’s first foray into family theatre ahead of its full debut at this summer’s Edinburgh Fringe.

Flo Poskitt and Adam Sowter present a deliciously Roald Dahl-style musical storytelling show for children aged five to 12 about a boy born with bright green hands. Is he really rotten or just misunderstood? Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Amy May Ellis: Back at The Band Room

Homeward bound: Amy May Ellis, The Band Room, Low Mill, Farndale, May 27, 7.30pm

BEWITCHING ambient Yorkshire rose folkster Amy May Ellis makes an overdue return to her “local” moorland venue, where she has opened for Hiss Golden Messenger, Willy Mason, Michael Chapman, Ryley Walker and Howe Gelb since teen days…and always brought the house down.

This time she is touring her debut album, Over Ling And Bell, released on Isle of Eigg’s cult Lost Map Records, home of Pictish Trail and one-time Lost Map Sessions singer and songwriter James Yorkston, with whom Amy has toured. Wanderland and Nessy Williamson support. Box office: thebandroom.co.uk.

Awaiting his coat of many colours: Jonathan Wells in rehearsal for his title role in York Musical Theatre Company’s Joseph And The Technicolor Dreamcoat

Musical of the week: York Musical Theatre Company in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

KATHRYN Addison directs York Musical Theatre Company in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s 1968 debut musical: the biblical journey of Joseph, son of Jacob and one of 12 brothers, and his coat of many colours.

From the book of Genesis to the musical’s genesis as a cantata written for a school choir, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has grown into an iconic musical theatre staple. Here husband and wife Jonathan Wells and Jennie Wogan-Wells lead the cast as Joseph and the Narrator. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Richard E Grant: Reflecting on love and loss at the Grand Opera House, York

Talk show of the week: An Evening With Richard E Grant, Grand Opera House, York, Friday, 7.30pm

ACTOR Richard E Grant tells stories from his life, entwining tales from his glittering career with uplifting reflections on love and loss, as told in last September’s memoir, A Pocketful Of Happiness.

Grant will be considering the inspiration behind the book – how, when his beloved wife Joan died in 2021 after almost 40 years together, she set him a challenge of finding a pocketful of happiness in every day. The book and now the tour show honour that challenge. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Leon Francois Dumont’s Ring Of Fire: Not one of the “life drawings” but featuring in the Donderdag Collective exhibition nonetheless at Pyramid Gallery, York

York exhibition launch of the week: The Donderdag Collective, Artists And The Human Form, Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, York, today, from 11am, until June 25

FOUNDED in 2011 by a group of artists in York, The Donderdag Collective members – both professionals and keen amateurs – meet at St Olave’s Church Hall, in Marygate Lane, on Thursday evenings to sketch or paint from a life model (‘Donderdag’ being Dutch for ‘Thursday’).

Taking part in this resulting show are: Julie Mitchell; Rory Barke; Bertt deBaldock; Diane Cobbold; Carolyn Coles; Leon Francois Dumont; Jeanne Godfrey; Anna Harding; Adele Karmazyn; Michelle Galloway; Andrian Melka; Kate Pettitt; Swea Sayers; Barbara Shaw and Donna Maria Taylor.

Dame Joan Collins: Going Behind The Shoulder Pads at the Grand Opera House in October

Show announcement of the week: Dame Joan Collins, Behind The Shoulder Pads, Grand Opera House, York, October 2, 7.30pm

TO coincide with the release of her memoir Behind The Shoulder Pads, Hollywood legend, author, producer, humanitarian and entrepreneur Dame Joan Collins, who will turn 90 on May 23, will embark on a tour with husband Percy Gibson by her side.

Returning to the Grand Opera House, where they presented Unscripted in February 2019, they will field audience questions and tell seldom-told tales and enchanting anecdotes, accompanied by rare footage from Dame Joan’s seven decades in showbusiness. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Project: Thursday life drawing classes at St Olave’s Church Hall. Result: Donderdag Collective exhibition at Pyramid Gallery

Tranquillity, chalk and charcoal, by Diane Cobbold

THE Donderdag Collective will be exhibiting at Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York from Saturday to June 25.

Founded in 2011 by a group of artists in York, they meet at St Olave’s Church Hall, in Marygate Lane, on Thursday evenings to sketch or paint from a life model (‘Donderdag’ being Dutch for ‘Thursday’).

The group comprises both professional artists and keen amateurs who want to hone their technique or explore new ideas by working freely with a life model.

Comfortable In Your Own Skin, life drawing artwork, by Donderdag Collective member Carolyn Coles

“This exhibition is a celebration of the art of life drawing and an opportunity for the collective to show together the art that they make for pleasure or as a means of earning a living,” says Pyramid Gallery owner and curator Terry Brett.

Fifteen members will feature in the Artists And The Human Form show, exhibiting both life drawings made during the Thursday sessions and other artworks for sale.

Away, charcoal, by Kate Pettitt

Taking part will be: Julie Mitchell; Rory Barke; Bertt deBaldock (aka Terry Brett);  Diane Cobbold; Carolyn Coles; Leon Francois Dumont; Jeanne Godfrey; Anna Harding; Adele Karmazyn; Michelle Galloway; Andrian Melka; Kate Pettitt; Swea Sayers; Barbara Shaw and Donna Maria Taylor.

The artists will attend Saturday’s official opening from 11am to 2.30pm, when wine, soft drinks and nibbles will be served. Gallery opening hours are 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday; closed Sundays.

Ring Of Fire, oil, by Leon Francois Dumont

Contemporary Glass Society marks 25 years at Pyramid Gallery with Bedazzled

Monette Larsen: Exhibiting in the Contemporary Glass Society’s Bedazzled show at Pyramid Gallery: Picture: Valerie Bernadini

THE Contemporary Glass Society will celebrate its 25th anniversary of exhibiting at Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, with the Bedazzled show.

Sixty glass works will be on show from September 10 to October 30 as part of the gallery’s 40th anniversary programme.

Pyramid Gallery and the Contemporary Glass Society have been working together since 2008, promoting the society’s membership of 800 glass artists.

Contemporary Glass Society member Morag Reekie at work in her studio

For this landmark exhibition, the society wanted a theme that suggested celebratory glitz for its silver anniversary and duly came up with the title Bedazzled.

Between gallery owner Terry Brett and the society’s selectors, 25 artists were chosen, their styles and techniques spanning engraving, blowing, fusing, slumping, casting, cane and murine work, flame working, cutting, polishing, brush painting and metal leaf decoration.

“I’m expecting visitors and collectors to be amazed at the range of different types of ‘glass art’ and the quality of the work on display,” says Terry, who has acquired a passion for studio glass since taking on the business in 1994.

Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett holding a sculpture by David Reekie, surrounded by glass works from the Bedazzled exhibition

“There are so many different ways to create a work of art using glass and we have some really stunning and imaginatively made glass treasures in this show.”

A second exhibition, named Razzle Dazzle by the Contemporary Glass Society, will include small pieces that measure no more than five by five inches by 60 makers, some of whom were selected for the Bedazzled exhibition.

Gallery opening times are 10am until 5pm, Monday to Saturday. “The exhibition can be viewed online on the gallery website at www.pyramidgallery.com, but the only way to fully appreciate the display is to visit the gallery from 11am on September 10 onwards,” says Terry.

The poster for the Bedazzled exhibition at Pyramid Gallery, York

More Things To Do in York and beyond when a circus of dreams and cricket skipper pitch up. List No. 95, courtesy of The Press

Rootsy rockin’ psychedelia: The Slambovian Circus Of Dreams at The Crescent

THIS is the holiday season, but not everyone is away, as Charles Hutchinson keeps one eye on August attractions, the other on autumn additions.

Woodstock vibe of the week: The Slambovian Circus Of Dreams, supported by Stan, The Crescent, York, Wednesday (17/8/2022), doors, 7.15pm

THE Slambovian Circus Of Dreams, purveyors of rootsy rockin’ psychedelia from Sleepy Hollow, New York, stretch the borders of Americana folk rock with their fantastic stories and performances.

Often described as “the Hillbilly Pink Floyd”, they visit The Crescent for the first time in support of their sixth album, A Very Unusual Head, released last January. Elements of Bob Dylan, David Bowie, The Incredible String Band, Syd Barrett and The Waterboys flavour their psychedelic sound. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.

York River Art Market: Arts and crafts by the riverside this weekend

Art event of the weekend: York River Art Market, Dame Judi Dench Walk, by Lendal Bridge, River Ouse, York, today (13/8/2022) and tomorrow (14/8/2022), 10am to 5.30pm

YORK River Art Market’s seventh summer season is heading for a sunny finale by the Ouse as York’s answer to the Parisian Left Bank welcomes up to 30 artists and makers on both days this weekend. This open-air market provides the chance to browse and buy directly from those showcasing their creative wares along the riverside railings; entry is free.

Look out for paintings, prints, jewellery, textiles, glass work and ceramics. Among today’s artists will be regular participant Richard Smith with his Point Paper Art; tomorrow, Here Be Monsteras ceramicist Kayti Peschki and Cuban artist Leo Morey, who moved to York in 2018.

Phil Toms and his band: Performing Tubular Bells note for note at the JoRo

Tribute show of the week: Tubular Bells Live! with Phil Toms, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, tonight (13/8/2022), 7.30pm

PHIL Toms and his 12-piece band perform music from Mike Oldfield’s landmark 1973 record Tubular Bells – the one that launched Richard Branson’s Virgin Records label – complemented by highlights from his 50-year career, such as Moonlight Shadow, To France and Guilty.

Enjoy selections from Oldfield’s instrumental albums too, including Ommadawn, Return To Ommadawn, Islands, The Songs Of Distant Earth and Tubular Bells 2 and 3. Ticket update: limited availability on 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

The poster for Mychael Barratt’s print exhibition at Pyramid Gallery, York

AS part of Pyramid Gallery’s 40th anniversary celebrations, curator Terry Brett made his regular trip to the Clink Press duo Mychael Barratt and Trevor Price’s studio, near Rotherhithe, London, returning north in a car filled with Barratt’s Beyond Bruegel and Price’s Bottles, Pots, Dots series of original prints. All works are for sale.

Fully Fest: Live music galore at The Fulford Arms

York festival of the week: Fully Fest 2022, The Fulford Arms, Fulford Road, York, August 20, 2pm (doors) to 11pm

THE Fully Fest welcomes Captain Starlet, The Rosemaries, Everything After Midnight, Tommyrot, City Snakes, The Rosettas, The Wreck Liners, Percy, Heartsink and Pat Butcher for a full-on day and night of live music at the Fulford Arms. Box office: thefulfordarms.com.

Derren Brown: “Remembering what’s important” in Showman at Leeds Grand Theatre

Mind games of the month: Derren Brown: Showman, Leeds Grand Theatre, August 23 to 27, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

DERREN Brown, master of mind control and psychological illusion, is on tour with his first new theatre show in six years, Showman, in the wake of his Broadway debut.

The content remains a closely guarded secret, but Brown says: “The heart of the show is about remembering what’s important. Like how the very things that we find most isolating in life – our fears and difficulties – actually connect us. Framed with what I think will be some extraordinary demonstrations of my voodoo.” Box office: leedsheritagetheatres.com.

Gretchen Peters: Sharing stories and songs at Leeds City Varieties

Americana gig of the month: Gretchen Peters, Leeds City Varieties Music Hall, August 29, 7.30pm

2022 marks the 25th anniversary of Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Gretchen Peters first setting foot on a British stage. To honour this landmark, she returns this month with long-time musical partner and special guest Kim Richey in tow. 

Coinciding with the August 19 release of her live album The Show: Live From The UK – recorded in 2019 with a Scottish female string quartet – Peters will be sharing stories and songs from her early touring days in the UK, complemented by favourites from later works. Box office: leedsheritagetheatres.com.

Aggers & Cook: An evening of cricket chat with the correspondent and the captain

Cricketing double act: An Evening With Aggers & Cook, Grand Opera House, York, October 3, 7.30pm

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew teams up with former England captain, record run-scorer, Test Match Special summariser and farmer Sir Alastair Cook for a night of willow-on-leather chat in in aid of the Professional Cricketers’ Association.

Aggers, who has partnered Sir Geoffrey Boycott, Phil Tufnell and Michael Vaughan in past chat shows, will encourage Cook to lift the lid on life in the England dressing room. Audience members can tweet the pair with questions for the second half. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.

Hitting their stride: John Smith and Katherine Priddy will tour together for the first time this autumn

Autumn fruitfulness at the double: John Smith & Katherine Priddy, Selby Town Hall, November 3, 8pm

SONGWRITERS John Smith and Katherine Priddy will hit the road together for the first time in a November collaboration after a fortuitous encounter in a Kansas City hotel lobby earlier this year.

Since then, Devonian Smith and Birmingham-born Priddy have been testing the musical waters together in a galvanising new venture set to bloom on tour, when they will perform a mix of their own original songs. Box office: selbytownhall.co.uk.

Ben Arnup’s ‘slightly eccentric’ new ceramics launched at Pyramid Gallery tomorrow in Christmas Collection show

Barn, box-form ceramic, by Ben Arnup

YORK ceramist Ben Arnup opens the Christmas Collection exhibition at Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, tomorrow at 11am.

On show until January 20 will be new work comprising 24 small and medium pots that feature trompe l’oeil effects with his flattened box forms and a new departure in his style wih vase and beaker forms.

“Collectors of his work will be surprised to hear that an eminent ceramic artist who has built his career on the basis of trying to trick the eye has this year progressed into the realm of vessels that are not compressed to an almost flat form,” says Pyramid Gallery curator and owner Terry Brett.

“But they will also be pleased that nothing in Arnup’s world is regular and that each vessel here in this show succeeds in being slightly eccentric.

“Ben has always experimented with surface decoration, using micro-thin layers of coloured clay to create a marble effect or applying textured coloured slips to differentiate different sides to a cube. The new work incorporates both of these techniques to pleasing effect.”

Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett holding ceramics by Ben Arnup. Behind him are paintings by Mick Leach

Arnup’s interest in ceramics started at home. Blessed with a sculptor and a potter as parents, he grew up learning ceramics skills and technology.

Originally trained as a landscape architect, he worked in the industry until 1984 when he returned to making pots, heavily influenced by the design process. Previously working in Ross Moor and with his father near Holtby, he now lives and works in York.

From the beginning of his career as a potter, his pieces were always shallow, with trompe l’oeil illusions. For the first 15 years, his work was high-fired stoneware in an oil reduction kiln; now this fellow of the Craft Potters Association fires to an oxidised stoneware in an electric kiln to achieve cleaner, brighter colours.

“In order to create a colourful fluid field for the trompe l’oeil image I laminate a porcelain veneer onto a stronger clay body,” he says. “The drawn illusion is complemented by the colourful rhythm in the base clay.

Barn, box-form ceramic, by Ben Arnup

“The pots are an exploration of the way we see. The onlooker will be well aware of the frail illusion and the contradiction between what is suggested and what is tangible. I like to play a game: setting the prosaic nature of clay against the unlikely structures of the drawings.”

Arnup will be at Pyramid Gallery between 11 am and 2.30pm tomorrow to greet collectors and explain his making methods and inspirations for the work. Wine and refreshments will be served.

On the walls are paintings by York artist Mick Leach and work by Scottish artists Ian MacIntyre (paintings) and Hilke MacIntyre (ceramic reliefs and linocut prints), while an array of many different types of 3D art is provided by sculptor Jennie McCall, glass maker Catherine Shilling and potters Dylan Bowen and Katie Pruden.

As always, the window and cabinets on the ground floor are filled with hand-made jewellery by more than 50 British jewellery designer/makers.

Gallery opening hours are 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, and 11am to 4.30pm on Sundays. Much of the work can be seen and bought via the gallery website at pyramidgallery.com.    

Dreams come true for mudlarking jewellery designer Ruth Claydon at Time and Tide exhibition debut at Pyramid Gallery

York jewellery designer Ruth Claydon mudlarking for treasure on the River Thames in London

MUDLARK Ruth Claydon’s Time and Tide collection of upcycled jewellery from treasure-seeking trips to London are on show at Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York.

A mudlark is defined as “someone who fearlessly embraces the hunt for treasure on the banks of the river Thames. Come low tide, you might spot a solitary figure armed with nothing but a pair of tweezers and a small pot, kneeling by the water’s edge as the tide ebbs out”.

York jewellery designer Ruth first chanced on this pastime a few years ago when crossing Waterloo Bridge, from where she espied people milling about on the riverbanks. “As soon as I saw them, I had to check it out, dragging my poor patient friends with me down to a strangely sandy spot,” she recalls.

On discovering that the Thames is Britain’s largest archaeological site, and that all that was needed was a permit, combined with patience and tenacity, Ruth wholeheartedly embraced her desire to trawl for trash turned treasure by time.

Upcycled jewellery designed by Ruth Claydon from her mudlarking finds

“It’s hard to exactly explain the strange lure of the river, but it’s something about the tranquillity I find there,” she says.

“The new layer of history being uncovered by each tide; the joy of holding something lost for 500 years; the unexpected thrill of a rough garnet beneath the rubble; the inevitable poignancy of all that goodness being quickly submerged once again by the incoming tide; the slight sense of danger; the closeness to nature; seeing London from a unique angle, and not least the fascinating characters I encounter down on the foreshore.”

Ruth designs jewellery under the label of Moth and Magpie, the magpie being known for its habit of bringing shiny bits and bobs back to its nest. “She loves incorporating her mudlarking finds into her designs, which she has been doing gradually, but this is the first exhibition where she’s devoted the entire collection to her obsession,” says Pyramid Gallery owner and curator Terry Brett.

“It’s an obvious progression from her signature use of salvaged and ancient materials used in her previous work, where each piece is made from preloved jewellery merged with ancient treasures and heirloom finds.”

“It’s hard to exactly explain the strange lure of the river, but it’s something about the tranquillity I find there,” says Ruth Claydon, pictured on one of her riverbank mudlarking sessions in London

Ruth says: “Planning a special exhibition incorporating mudlarked treasures for Pyramid Gallery is pretty much a dream come true. There are few established galleries that would take a risk with such niche designs, but then Pyramid does enjoy delighting customers with the unexpected.”

Terry Brett, a visionary gallerist who is unafraid to take risks, has embraced Ruth’s quirky work, championing her by not only giving her this first show and launching her career with a special exhibition, but also by being a mentor.

“I’d never have thought of tea staining my labels to match my jewellery. That was a brainwave of Terry’s,” she says. “It’s that level of attention to detail that makes all the difference.”

Fiona MacFarlane, who manages Pyramid Gallery, equally has played a huge part in nurturing Ruth’s practice. “Not only did I have the privilege of working alongside her for many years, but Fiona’s input has been invaluable,” says Ruth. “She’s always giving me ideas about what to make next and displaying my pieces in the most artful ways.

“It’s newer ground for me that makes my heart beat faster,” says Ruth Claydon of her Time and Tide jewellery-designs, crafted from her mudlarking discoveries

“I’ve called this show Time and Tide, after the two original craftsmen for this body of work, using pieces that in themselves are worth nothing, like fragments of copper, which I’ve formed into beads and soldered with real gold solder. I love the high-low contrast and the patina that the river has created on the ancient metal.”

Expect the unexpected, she advises. Such as? Rough garnets from the Thames set amid 100 per cent recycled sterling silver; distressed metal patinated to perfection by time and tide, then shaped into unique beads; salvaged copper wire crafted into rustic bangles. 

“I’ve been making under the name Moth and Magpie for years. The name is descriptive of the style of jewellery I love to craft, all bohemian and intricate, but this new collection is something differently. A coming of age, if you will,” says Ruth.

“Melted and mended metal, fire and gold and silver, a rustic, simple and edgy aesthetic. It’s newer ground for me that makes my heart beat faster, pieces I’m loathe to part with because I want them for myself. It’s my hope that authenticity and excitement shines through in every piece.” 

Ruth Claydon at work creating her jewellery

Summing up Ruth’s work and artistic progression, Terry says: “I’ve known Ruth since 2008, at which point she was an artist making handmade cards, small pictures, and was experimenting with turning found objects into art and jewellery.

“To me, she was a natural artist with a great sense of humour and style that was a mix of pre-Raphaelite and slightly gothic. All she needed at that time was an outlet and some encouragement. So, she came to work in the gallery and got involved with displaying and selling. I knew that the gallery would gain much if we could harness her natural talent and her quirky and flamboyant style.”

Terry continues: “Every piece of jewellery she makes has a name that reflects the origins of the ‘found’ elements or just her own imagination that is informed by something historical or exotic. The words that she types out onto information cards, using an old typewriter, are almost as important to the customer as the item of jewellery that she is describing.

“The ‘mudlarking’ was a natural progression for Ruth. She is now incorporating artefacts that you simply wouldn’t find at a car-boot sale. Somehow, she makes old corroded bits of metal into precious artefacts and tells or gives them a story.”

Ruth Claydon’s Time and Tide exhibition will run until “at least the end of October”.

Finders, keepers, or not in the case of Ruth Claydon, who makes jewellery pieces “I’m loathe to part with because I want them for myself”, she says, but part with them she must at her Time and Tide exhibition at Pyramid Gallery, York

Berrt DeBaldock launches second volume of Good Rabbits memorials with fundraiser for Refugee Action York at Pyramid Gallery

Author and artist Berrt deBaldock, alias Terry Brett, with his Good Rabbits Gone 2 book at Pyramid Gallery, York

BERRT deBaldock will be raising funds for Refugee Action York from his second volume of cartoon-rabbit tributes to celebrities and remarkable individuals.

Under his nom d’art, the 92-page book is the work of Pyramid gallery owner and curator Terry Brett, who draws the rabbit memorials at the time of the individual’s death, compiling them for his charity project with his tributes or memories of the person.

“Good Rabbits Gone Volume Two To Infinity covers February 2020 and August 2021, which happens to be the period of the start and possible ‘end’ of the pandemic. Hence the book has a subtitle, The Covid Years,” says Terry, who will hold a charity launch at his gallery in Stonegate, York, on Wednesday, October 6 from 6pm to 8.30pm.

“It looks like a strange diary of the pandemic. We have tributes to luminaries such as Terry Jones of Monty Python, rock’n’roll pioneer Little Richard and television and radio personality Tim Brooke-Taylor, Forces’ sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn and Bond Girls Honor Blackman and Dame Diana Rigg, alongside the most venerable Bond, Sir Sean Connery.

“But also we have a visual list of several pandemic crises such as ‘lockdown’, ‘beer going down the drain’ and the ‘demise of the office’. All portrayed as rabbits.”

Bertt deBaldock will sign copies of Good Rabbits Gone 2 at the launch, where donations are invited to Refugee Action York, with proceeds going towards the charity’s work in helping refugees settle into life in Great Britain.

Refugee Action York (RAY) was founded in 2002 to challenge myths and misconceptions about refugees and asylum seekers and to raise awareness of the contribution that refugees and asylum seekers make to our society.

RAY works with refugees, asylum seekers and migrants from within and around the City of York, providing a safe meeting point where people can seek information and support, learn new skills and languages and form lasting friendships. Through providing this support, RAY hopes to empower individuals to assist them in rebuilding their lives.

In addition to the sessions and services offered by the charity, RAY campaigns on behalf of local asylum-seeking families and their relatives who are under threat of detention and/or deportation.

RAY participates in the annual Refugee Week in York as part of a national and international awareness-raising campaign.

Author Berrt says: “I wanted to do a tribute to a friend and fellow musician and artist, Jean Moss, who died in July aged just 73. Philip, her husband, had been actively supporting Refugee Action York and Jean was a supporter of the charity.

“So I’ve decided to split the proceeds between St Leonard’s Hospice and Refugee Action York. The book will be launched at the event for RAY on October 6 and then there will be another event for St. Leonard’s in November.

“I feel good about supporting RAY, always having been one to welcome migrants from other cultures into our community. With so many negative vibes about migrants into the UK – mostly associated with Brexit – I think it’s now vital that we welcome all refugees, demonstrate that we care and help them to integrate.”

The book itself, paid for by Terry’s business Pyramid Gallery, is being given away. Donations are voluntary. 

“From my experience with the first volume, released last November, people enjoy being given the book. Most of those people have then offered a donation, sometimes via the website JustGiving.co.uk.

“The fundraising page for St Leonard’s is listed as Terry-Brett6 and the fundraising page for RAY is Terry-Brett7, so people can choose which they prefer.”