When can you meet glassmaking grandee Peter Layton at Pyramid Gallery? Thursday!

London Glassblowing founder Peter Layton, holding a Gito vase, and Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett

PETER Layton, London Glassblowing workshop founder and British studio glass movement grandee, will make an appearance at Pyramid Gallery on Thursday from 4.30pm to 6.15pm to herald the York art emporium’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

Gallery owner Terry Brett says: “In that period, Peter has taken part in many exhibitions of glass here and for at least 30 years he has been represented by the gallery, as have many associates of his workshop in Bermondsey Street, London.

“To mark 40 years of promoting British studio glass, we’re displaying 40 pieces of art glass that have a connection to London Glassblowing, which is itself celebrating an important anniversary: 45 years. Please join Peter for a glass of wine or a soft drink and a chat.”

Amber Glacier, by Peter Layton, at Pyramid Gallery, York

Peter is presenting 18 glass works from various ranges in the 40 Pieces Of Glass anniversary show, exhibiting alongside Bruce Marks, Layne Rowe, Anthony Scala, Sila Yucel, Cathryn Shilling and Sarah Wiberley, complemented by William Watson West’s exhibition of abstract acrylic paintings, A New Normal.

Peter trained in the 1960s as a ceramicist, but while teaching at Iowa University he experimented with glass and soon adopted it as his preferred medium. On returning to Britain, he became one of the pioneers of the British studio glass movement in London, establishing the London Glassblowing workshop in Rotherhithe in 1976.

When Terry took over Pyramid Gallery in 1994, Peter was already well established with the gallery, having supplied founder Robert Feather with glass in the early 1980s.

“I recall selling a piece of Peter’s glass on my first day of opening on May 31 1994,” says Terry. “A German glass collector came into the shop and immediately went to a tall white glass bottle that was in a cabinet.

Ice-Cap Pyramid, blown and cast glass, cut and polished, by Peter Layton

“It took no longer than five minutes for him to make a decision and purchase the object, that I now know was a Peter Layton ‘Floral’ flacon. It seemed a lot of money to me, who knew nothing about studio glass.

“I was shaking inside as I took the payment and wrapped the object in a box, but I knew it was a watershed moment for me and I have adored glass ever since.”

Since that day, at least 30 more glass artists from London Glassblowing have exhibited at Pyramid, along with 270 other glassmakers whose work has sold through the gallery in Stonegate.

40 Pieces Of Glass will run until September 24; after July, it will become part of a mixed show with other artists. Exhibition pieces can be viewed at both the gallery and online at pyramidgallery.com.  

Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett, holding a glass form by Peter Layton. On display too are a glass ring by Colin Reid, a yellow sculpture by Bruno Romanelli, a plate by Barry Stedman and pictures by Hilke Macintyre and Mick Leach

Don Lodge’s Impressions Of The Rally In York painting sale aids York City of Sanctuary’s support for Ukrainian refugees

Purchaser Paul Martin and Pyramid Gallery owner with Don Lodge’s fundraising painting Impressions Of The Rally In York

YORK resident Paul Martin has bought Don Lodge’s painting Impressions Of The Rally In York. All proceeds will go to York City of Sanctuary to support refugees arriving from Ukraine.

The £500 oil on canvas captures a scene from a Ukraine rally held in York in March. All key individuals in the painting have given their consent for their images to be used for publicity for this cause. More details on York City of Sanctuary can be found at york.cos.org.uk.

Mr Martin is pictured, left, with Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett surrounded by paintings from Danny Barbour’s Unearthed exhibition, on show at the Stonegate gallery until April 24.

Westside story as York artists gather for Into The Blue exhibition at Pyramid Gallery

Adele Karmazyn’s show poster for Westside Artists’ Into The Blue

INTO The Blue, an exhibition of paintings, sculptures and prints by York’s Westside Artists, is running at Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, until March 13.

“This is an eclectic show of work by this collaboration of artists from the West of York,” says gallery owner Terry Brett. “In Pyramid’s 40th year in York, we’re keen to celebrate the wealth of talent here in our city, starting the year off with this beautiful show.”

Jane Dignum’s poster for Westside Artists’ Into The Blue exhibition

“Each artist has created new work to portray their personal interpretation and concept of the exhibition title, Into The Blue. With so many diverse disciplines, the exhibition really is a sight to behold.”

Taking part are Adele Karmazyn (digital photomontage); Carolyn Coles (painting); Donna Marie Taylor (mixed media); Ealish Wilson (mixed media and sculpture); Fran Brammer (textiles) and Jane Dignum (printmaking).

Photographer Simon Palmour’s poster

So to are Jill Tattersall (mixed-media collage); Kate Akrill (ceramics); Lucie Wake (painting); Mark Druery (printmaking); Richard Rhodes (ceramics); Sharon McDonagh (mixed media) and Simon Palmour (photography).

Pyramid Gallery is open from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, but closed on Sundays at present.  

Wake-up call: Lucie Wake’s poster to attract visitors to Into The Blue

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.    

Bertt deBaldock launches Covid-era second volume of Good Rabbits Gone tributes in aid of St Leonard’s Hospice

The artist behind the mask: Terry Brett in his nom d’art guise as The Scribbler, memorial tribute cartoonist Bertt deBaldock

YORK cartoonist Bertt deBaldock’s new volume of rabbit valedictories to celebrities and remarkable individuals covers February 2020 to July 2021.

“That happens to be the period of the start and possible end of the pandemic,” says Terry Brett, the Pyramid Gallery owner and artist behind “The Scribbler” Bertt’s memorial works.

“Hence Good Rabbits Gone 2 has a subtitle, The Covid Years, and the book looks like a strange diary of the pandemic,” he reflects ahead of Saturday’s launch.

The 92 pages contain tributes to luminaries such as Terry Jones of Monty Python, rock’n’roll pioneer Little Richard, World Cup winners Nobby Stiles and Diego Maradona, 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 there’s 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,” says Terry.

Bertt deBaldock’s first Good Rabbits Gone tribute: David Bowie with his Aladdin Sane sash

First prompted by the exit stage left of David Bowie on January 10 2016 – the day the music died in a year when it died again and again and again [Prince, Leonard Cohen, George Michael on Christmas Day] – Terry set about drawing cartoons “in a rush” at the time of the “unique individual’s” passing and publishing them on Twitter and Facebook at #GoodRabbitsGone.

He then assembled 64 celebrities, accompanied by his own tributes or memories, in Good Rabbits Gone, Volume One In A Million, published in November 2020 in a Covid Lockdown project where he gave away 200 limited-edition copies and raised £1,700 for St Leonard’s Hospice from donations.

This Saturday, Good Rabbits Gone 2, Volume Two To Infinity will be launched at Pyramid Gallery, in Stonegate, between 11am and 3pm, when Bertt deBaldock will be on hand to sign copies.

Funded by the gallery, the new book again will be given away, and once more voluntary donations to the charity are invited. “From my experience with the first volume, people enjoy being given the book,” says Terry. “Most of those people have then offered a donation, at the gallery or via justgiving.com/fundraising/Terry-Brett6.”

Pyramid Gallery owner and curator Terry Brett with his second volume of Good Rabbit Gone valedictories

Here, Terry answers CharlesHutchPress’s questions on rabbits, death notices, the balance between imagery and wording, the impact of Covid on Good Rabbits Gone and the choice of charity for donations.

For those new to Good Rabbits, why did you choose rabbits as the motif for your valedictory tributes, Terry?

“When my daughters were ten and seven, they had a pet rabbit, which I looked after. We were making a family wall-hanging using stencils. This rabbit appeared as I was cutting a shape in card using scissors. I’ve now been drawing it on Christmas cards for 26 years.

“When David Bowie died, I felt a great sadness. It just seemed natural to me to draw a rabbit for him. Then, three weeks later Terry Wogan. Gradually I started to add facial features to the drawings. After four years, I had 64 drawings and the pandemic lockdown gave me some time to put them in a book.

“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. 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. 

“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!”

Rock’n’roll over and out: Bertt deBaldock’s farewell to Little Richard

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.”

How do the newly RIP VIPs quality for a Bertt deBaldock tribute? Has that changed at all for Volume Two?

“Well, most names who hit the headlines qualify on the basis that they have done something amazing in their life. I can’t really tell whether or not they have actually been a good human being, though with many people there’s so much written about them, that there’s no closet in which to hide the skeletons. 

“I was disappointed not to be able include Motown producer Phil Spector, ruled out on the basis that he was found guilty of second-degree murder. There are many others that I could have included, lots of actors and actresses, but I like to find some other attribute in their make-up that goes beyond acting.

Honor Blackman: Wartime despatch rider, judo black belt and Bond Girl

“Honor Blackman, for instance, was a Second World War despatch rider and a judo blackbelt before she became an actress. Reading about iconic individuals fascinates me.”

Do you consider the wording to be as important as the imagery, with much greater scope than on a gravestone?

“I want to make the page entertaining or give the impression that the individual was a person of substance. Some people’s faces, or eccentric dress, say most of what needs to be said, but the addition of a quotation can put across something of great importance to that individual.

“For Albert Roux, I merely added his quote ‘Don’t let love interfere with your appetite’, which says all you need to know about a man who holds food up above all other human needs.

“But I enjoyed adding a bit of humour to that with the dates of his birth and death: Hors D’oeuvres 8 Octobre 1935, Digestif 4 Janvier 2021. As well as being amusing, it tells the reader that he was both a chef and French. 

Bertt deBaldock’s food for thought on Albert Roux OBE

“Sometimes, I like to add an anecdote about myself or my family. Some people have said that these are their favourite pages! For the astronaut Michael Collins, I say only a little about him as Apollo Command Module pilot and the moonwalk by Neil Armstrong, but a lot about me delivering newspapers in the rain, while they were at the crux of their mission. It brings things down to earth a little.”

This set of tributes covers the Covid period: how much does that cast a shadow over the memorials,  even prompting the subtitle and your reflection that it “looks like a strange diary of the pandemic”?

“The whole world was in a state of panicked confusion. Some of these great people died of Covid.  I was really shocked that Tim Brooke-Taylor was an early victim. I felt that if he can’t be saved, then we are all very vulnerable.

“The book would have been incomplete without some acknowledgement of the pandemic, and I wanted to record some poignant moments, such as the Thursday night applause we gave to the NHS and essential workers.

“I drew the hands clapping in rainbow colours, with the hands gradually becoming rabbits. This is a subtle dig at the Government. If they think that saying thank-you to NHS is enough, then they don’t understand what the public is feeling about the years of under-funding the NHS.

“Sometimes, I like to add an anecdote about myself or my family. Some people have said that these are their favourite pages!” says Terry Brett, with reference to his Michael Collins memorial

“If all we can do is applaud the NHS for the sacrifices made, then the NHS itself will become a [Bertt] rabbit. Other European nations were better prepared for the crisis than the UK, more ventilators, more nurses and better provision of PPE. It was right to clap for the NHS but they need more funds and better planning. 

“I didn’t set out to make points about the politics, but it just couldn’t be ignored. There was also a lot of humour put out on social media about Covid. I think it helps us all get through.”

How have you responded to Covid in the broader subject matter for (with reference to ‘Lockdown’, ‘Beer Going Down The Drain’, ‘Freedom – Italy’ and ‘The Demise Of The Office’)?

“The Demise Of The Office was added in right at the end. It was difficult to find a tag that would be amusing. It’s just a boring subject that I needed to find some humour in.

“I was looking for something to say about the Minke whale that died after swimming up the Thames, which was too upsetting to turn into humour. Once I decided to put these two stories together, it became very poignant. The empty streets tempted the Minke Whale to move in! It’s one of my favourite pages.

Freedom – Italy, March 2020, by Bertt deBaldock

“To keep it light-hearted, I also gave an office block some rabbit ears, as if the building itself has died. The page about ‘Beer’ was fun, though the knowledge that 50 million pints went down the drains was a catastrophe that could have been avoided.”

Usually, your tributes raise a nostalgic smile, but do Covid-related tributes have to be more serious?

“There are only four people featured here that I know for sure died from Covid – Dr  Li Wenliang, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Alexander Thynn and Captain Tom Moore – but I suspect that many others have had Covid but it’s just not been mentioned to the press as a cause of death. 

“Four Covid cases out of a total 72 people is probably about a third of the proportion of Covid deaths to non-Covid deaths for the whole population, so we should have expected the number in this book to be about 12. 

“I had considered including the first nurse and the first bus driver etc who died, but I don’t feel it would be appropriate to make entertainment out of such tragedy. Which makes me question why it seems appropriate to pay tribute in a humorous manner to celebrities. I do wonder if it is appropriate and whether or not they would choose to be included or not, but I can only guess at what their response might be.

The fundraising Yorkshireman, Captain Sir Tom Moore, who walked and walked and walked towards his 100th birthday in aid of the NHS

“So, in answer to this question, I think the cause of death makes no difference as to the way I would represent the individual, except perhaps in the case of Dr Li Wenliang, whose demise was especially sad, unjust for political reasons, premature and included here to make a point about the gross ineptitude of the authorities and leaders in China, who could have mitigated the effects of the virus by making different decisions.

“In a broader sense, I hope that most of the individuals here, if they could make a comment, would like what I have done or at least find it mildly amusing, though some of the scribbled portraits might not really do the person justice!

“I would love to know what the Queen would think of my tribute to Prince Philip, but I’m not expecting a knighthood for it. We are very fortunate to live in a culture that allows freedom of expression without fear for our lives!”

Why will donations be going to St Leonard’s Hospice from the charity launch night?

“My father died of prostate cancer at the too early age of 76. Partly because he wasn’t diagnosed. I asked him if was angry about the disease and he told me to go and get a test. I felt sorry for him because he was in denial about his predicament.

Bertt deBaldock’s cartoon drawing to mark the passing of Prince Philip. “I would love to know what the Queen would think of my tribute, but I’m not expecting a knighthood for it,” says Bertt

“He simply carried on life as if there was nothing to concern himself about, but when the time came, he booked himself into a hospice and died the next day. I think the existence of the hospice allowed him to take control and make that decision. You cannot just book yourself into a hospital and who would want to?

“The hospice doctor simply chatted to him and asked him what he wanted, to which he answered, ‘ice cream’. He was dead two hours later. I’m proud of him for that. And I want to tell everyone that dying can be dignified and that the hospice movement do this very well.

“I have supported St Leonard’s Hospice ever since that day. The hospice is largely funded by donations from individuals, as well as government grants. I feel the hospice needs to have independence.”

Bertt deBaldock/Terry Brett launches Good Rabbits Gone 2 at Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, on Saturday (16/10/2021) with a book-signing session and charity fundraiser for St Leonard’s Hospice from 11am to 3pm.

Vaccine Day, by Bertt deBaldock

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.”

Pyramid Gallery to launch three exhibitions at once by Emur Aamir, Debbie Loane and Linda Combi in triple celebration of nature

Father Of The Flowers, York artist Linda Combi’s memorial tribute to Abu Waad, The Last Gardener Of Aleppo

ERUM Aamir, Debbie Loane and Linda Combi form the suitably triangular structure of Pyramid Gallery’s summer show in York.

Not one, but three exhibitions will run in two rooms at the Stonegate gallery from Friday (9/7/2021) to September 5.

For Celestial Garden, Manchester ceramic artist Erum Aamir has made intricate porcelain sculptures that fuse her scientific research and artistic imaginations.

“Nature is a source of inspiration for me,” says Manchester ceramic artist and scientific researcher Erum Aamir

Erum was awarded first place for excellence at the 2020 British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate by Pyramid proprietor Terry Brett, winning a solo show at Pyramid as the prize.

“I’m a ceramic artist and nature is a source of inspiration for me,” she says. “I enthuse by the details in depth, therefore I explore through the eye of a microscope. Sometimes the compositions found in the microscopic study and my imagination’s interpretation bypasses what is found in nature.

“This blurred line between reality and created reality intrigues my practice. If only for a moment, one might lose oneself in the curiosity of the composition, perhaps creating a personal narrative with the piece.

Pyramid Gallery’s poster for Erum Aamir’s exhibition, Celestial Garden

“This process of creation and exploration forms a shared experience between us. In my work, there’s always a repetition of single or more than one element which mimics the process of growth by repetition. I like this repetitive action – it’s not a thoughtless activity but is meditative.

“Moreover, the repetitive nature of bringing together many components creates a rhythm and facilitates an active trance of intention.”

Seascape and landscape paintings in assorted sizes by Easingwold artist Debbie Loane will complement Erum’s intricate sculptures in Pyramid’s upstairs front room under the title of The Peace Of Wild Places.

Easingwold artist Debbie Loane at work on the North York Moors

“As a painter, I’ve always sought out wild expanses, the vast open moorlands of the North York Moors or dramatic coastlines of the North for artistic inspiration,” says Debbie, who works from a farm home and studio in Alne Lane, just outside the market town of Easingwold.

“Over the past 18 months, when all our freedoms have been restricted, like so many I found myself seeking solace in the wild places I could find on my doorstep: a morning coffee taken on the doorstep in the morning sun watching a spider methodically weaving its web between a plant pot full of neglect and a wellie boot.

“The spider was completely at one with its environment knowing at once in that moment what it was supposed to be doing. How that spider taught me a lesson!”

Pyramid Gallery’s poster for Debbie Loane’s exhibition, The Peace Of Wild Places. Ignore the closing date: it WILL be September 5, not September 3!

During the past lockdown when home-schooling and simply staying afloat financially became Debbie’s priorities, her creative endeavours shifted to focus on wider things. Such as? “Tree planting 1,400 new native trees on our land; sowing seeds; teaching myself new things to do with my hands, like crochet (maddeningly); making paints with natural materials and running for many miles through the landscape, both around my home and on my beloved North York Moors,” she says.

“Consequently, my relationship with nature has deepened, as has my understanding of why I paint and what I’m painting. That spider has taught me to trust my creative instincts, to pause when I need to, to explore when it is calling. Most importantly of all, I have discovered the landscapes and wildness that I need are as much within me as out there.”

In 2005, Debbie established Lund Gallery in converted farm buildings next to her studio. “To give me time to concentrate on my own practice, the gallery no longer has regular opening hours; it opens for pop-up exhibitions and events,” she says. To keep up with her gallery news, sign up to her mailing list via mailchi.mp/648cd8024ee3/debbieloane.

Linda Combi in her York studio

York artist Linda Combi will complete the trio of exhibitions with The Last Gardener Of Aleppo , a series of original collages and mixed-media artworks and giclee prints that form a moving tribute to Abu Waad in a charitable show in aid of The Lemon Tree Trust and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

In 2016 Krishnan Guru-Murthy presented a Channel 4 News story about “The Last Gardener of Aleppo” that introduced viewers to Abu Waad, whose name means “The Father of the Flowers”.

“This genial Syrian ran the last garden centre in the besieged city of Aleppo, assisted by his 13-year-old son Ibrahim,” says Linda, who first exhibited these works in a Covid-curtailed run at the Angel On The Green, Bishopthorpe Road. “Abu Waad told us of his love of flowers and plants; about how their fragrance, beauty, and resilience were life affirming and joyful.

Linda Combi’s poster for The Last Gardener Of Aleppo fund-raising exhibition for The Lemon Tree Trust and the UNHCR

“We watched his large hands gently planting seedlings, pruning trees and making bouquets of roses for his customers. Despite the on-going bombardment, the growth and renewal within Abu Waad’s garden made it a ‘small oasis of colour and life’ amid the death and destruction.”

The Channel 4 film portrayed the bond between Ibrahim and Abu Waad as they worked together in the garden centre. “We see the father stretched out on an old settee during a tea break laughing with his son; a picture of relaxed contentment. But one can also detect fear and stress in the eyes of both of them,” says Linda.

The story closed with the death of Abu Waad, killed by a barrel bomb that landed near the garden centre. “His oasis is now closed, and Ibrahim is left without a father, lost and tearful as he visits his father’s grave,” says Linda.

“It is a devastating end, and so it felt important to me to celebrate Abu Waad and Ibrahim and their work in the oasis they created. I’ve illustrated the words of Abu Waad, which so perfectly describe the joy that plants and flowers can bring to us all.

Blue Flower, from Linda Combi’s series of collages, mixed-media artworks and giclee prints

“However, hope returned earlier this year when I was contacted with news that Abu Waad’s son, Ibrahim, had been found and is living with his sister and an uncle in Syria.”

Ibrahim hopes to continue his father’s work as a gardener. “So far we’ve helped him buy a solar energy system,” says Linda. “The Lemon Tree Trust is aiming to help Ibrahim with seeds and equipment for his life as a gardener. My piece, Ibrahim’s Hope was made after receiving this good news.”

A percentage of proceeds from picture and card sales will be divided between the UNHCR [the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees agency mandated to aid and protect refugees] and the Lemon Tree Trust charity that helps refugees create gardens in migrant camps.

Pyramid Gallery’s opening hours are: Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm; Saturdays, 10am to 5.30pm; Sundays, 12.30pm to 4.30pm, but please check by texting Terry Brett on 07805 029254 to check a specific Sunday opening.

‘If you know anyone with REALLY big walls,’ Corrina Rothwell’s cacophonous abstract paintings await upstairs at Pyramid Gallery

Subterranea Nostalgia: “Really big walls” will be needed by whoever buys Corrina Rothwell’s large abstract painting at Pyramid Gallery, York

CORRINA Rothwell’s abstract work Subterranea Nostalgia is the largest ever painting to be exhibited at Pyramid Gallery in curator Terry Brett’s near-30 years in York.

“It measures 1600mm by 1600mm. That was fun, getting it upstairs!” says Terry, whose gallery is housed in a National Trust-owned 15th century building in Stonegate. “The painting has a real impact. If you know anyone with REALLY big walls, it would be perfect for them!”

Nottingham artist Corrina favours mixed media and acrylic on canvas for the abstract paintings assembled under the title of The Cacophony Of Ages, both on the first floor and stairs at Pyramid and online until July 1.

Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett stands by Corrina Rothwell’s painting Subterranea Nostalgia. In the foreground is Eoghan Bridge‘s sculpture Selby – The Art Of Balance

In her words, Corrina’s works are “expressive, evocative abstract landscape paintings with a sense of yearning, balancing chaos with order, light with dark, the hidden with the visible, history with modernity and beauty with decay”.

“Corrina has been practising art for more than 25 years,” says Terry. “Brought up by artist parents, she worked in digital illustration and design and before that she was a textile artist, selling machine-embroidered artworks.

“That explains the dress patterns that appear in her artwork, juxtaposed with industrial and derelict buildings from her childhood growing up in Lancashire and then Nottingham.

Undertow, by Corrina Rothwell

“These dramatic, bold paintings with handwriting, dress patterns, urban photos and the occasional splash of gold leaf would be perfect for any space.”

Corrina has been an artist for most of her adult life. “An aborted attempt at academia saw me leaving my European Studies degree in my second year at Hull University in 1989, and I never did get round to doing an art qualification,” she says.

“However, I was raised by artist parents, so art was pretty much instilled in me from a very early age. Until recently, I was working as a digital illustrator, designing and publishing my own successful greeting cards range. Before this, I practised for 14 years as a textile artist, exhibiting and selling machine-embroidered artworks nationally and internationally.”

Drama And Doggerel, by Corrina Rothwell

Corrina has always loved using paint. “I’ve dipped and out of it over the years, but never pursued it with any consistency, but I believe now that painting is my true calling,” she says.

“I feel more at home and more myself creatively than I have done for a long time. Ultimately, I’m a ‘hands on’ kind of artist, and while I enjoyed digital illustration, the desire to get my hands dirty was too great to ignore in the end.”

Over the past few years, her work has evolved rapidly as she figured out what she wanted to say as a painter. “Initially I was essentially painting illustrations, which didn’t work,” she says. “I moved away from figurative work and began focusing on abstract shape and colour, which felt quite uncomfortable and alien to me, having always worked with a narrative.

“I’m particularly drawn to old factories and urban industrial landscapes,” says abstract artist Corrina Rothwell

“Still, I continued to trust my intuition and gradually became more at ease with producing artwork without a story. Ultimately, however, that lack of narrative has proved itself to be something – subconsciously – I couldn’t ignore.”

So much so, without intent, buildings have started to appear in Corrina’s work. “I say without intent because I didn’t plan to use them. I just answered an urge to put them there,” she explains.

“I’m particularly drawn to old factories and urban industrial landscapes and, given that I grew up in the cotton-mill county of Lancashire, it doesn’t take a genius to work out where this attraction comes from.

Blueprint For The Future, by Corrina Rothwell

“I’m becoming more involved in this concept of history and narrative, which has emerged out of my subconscious and into my artwork, and it’s leading to paintings which I feel good about in my soul, which satisfy me on a deep level. It’s a rich seam to mine, and the exciting thing is that I’ve only just begun!”

Don’t forget, Corrina’s “contemporary, nostalgic and thought provoking” paintings in The Cacophony Of Ages can be viewed online too at pyramidgallery.com .

“This exciting collection flows beautifully both online and at the gallery,” says Terry. “It’s such a formidable show.” 

Pyramid Gallery is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm; Saturdays, 10am to 5.30pm; Sundays, 12.30m to 4.30pm, but first text Tery Brett on 07805 029 254 to check a specific Sunday opening.

Built On Soil And Stories, by Corrina Rothwell

Christmas Collection and “Free Stuff” at Pyramid Gallery keep Terry Brett busy

Paintings by Anita Klein and ceramic vessels by Barry Stedman in the Christmas Collection at Pyramid Gallery

THE Christmas Collection exhibition is under way at Pyramid Gallery, York, initially online but with plans for the gallery to reopen on December 3, subject to this week’s upcoming tier-ful Government guidance.

The main feature of the festive show is a collection of linocut prints and acrylic paintings by Australian-born Anita Klein, complemented by ceramic sculpture by Blandine Anderson, glass by David Reekie, Cara Wassenberg and Layne Rowe, bronze elephants by German sculptor Eckhard Wahning and a Lockdown Dragon fest by Morag Reekie.

Look out too for collagraphs by York artist Sally Clarke, screenprints by Mychael Barratt, abstract collages by Danny Barbour, a ceramic elephant parade by Ann-Marie Fieber and ceramic vessels by Barry Stedman, plus new jewellery by 50 British designer makers.

The Christmas Collection show will continue until January 20 and everything will be available online at http://www.pyramidgallery.com

A second show, The Glass Collection, will be opening on December 7, presenting work by Dreya Bennett; Fiaz Elson; Hannah Gibson; Jon Lewis; Yoshiko Okada; David Reekie; Morag Reekie; Layne Rowe; Will Shakspeare; Helen Slater; Cara Wassenberg and Darren Weed.

Again running until January 20, it also will feature art glass for sale in the permanent Pyramid Collection by Colin Reid, Bruno Romanelli, Peter Layton, Anthony Scala, Bruce Marks and Joseph Harrington.

During Lockdown 2, Terry has placed a table outside the shop with copies of his cartoon memorials book, Good Rabbits Gone, on display to raise money for St Leonard’s Hospice with a target of £3,000 from donations to justgiving.com/fundraising/terry-brett5 or in the cans on the table.

Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett with a selection of “Free Stuff” on the table outside his shop in Stonegate, York, during Lockdown 2

In addition, he is giving away “Free Stuff”. “Some people are intrigued as to why I’m doing this,” says Terry. “I decided I needed a ‘Feel Good’ project and a way to interact with people during Lockdown.

“Sitting in a shop all day that is closed is not very stimulating, but this has been a very positive and uplifting experience for me. It has cost me nothing as everything I’m giving away has been paid for a long time ago – some items over 20 years ago – and it’s felt very cleansing. The stock-room shelves are looking tidier!

“There are over 60 magnetic bracelets that have been sitting in boxes on shelves ever since we decided not to sell them anymore about six years ago. These are leather bracelets made by Antonio Chimol in Barcelona. Nicely made. I sold hundreds of them in 2008 to 2014 and they served the business well at a time when it had been affected by the financial crash.

“I still wear these bracelets…but they were a nuisance. Some customers would spend up to an hour with bracelets all over the counter, trying to choose one. Sometimes they would be purchased as a gift and then returned for a different size. So, we simply put them away in the stock room.”

Terry has a further £2,000 to raise yet. “Please come and say hello if you are in York, pick up a book and put a few coins in the cans. The table will be outside the gallery from about 11am every day, except Sunday, until December2.”

Should Pyramid Gallery reopen on December 3, the shop will accommodate two groups at a time, with a maximum of six people.

The book cover for Good Rabbits Gone, Terry Brett’s compendium of cartoon farewells, “scribbled” under the name of Bertt deBaldock and now published to raise funds for St Leonard’s Hospice, York

“We will have an extended-hours booking system on the front page of our website at pyramidgallery.com. Private viewings for one or two groups of two may be booked early on each day.” says Terry.

“Or, after normal hours between 10am and 5pm, customers will be able to enter the shop with a maximum of two groups or a total of six people in at any one time. You will be able to book a half-hour slot, so that you can browse at leisure in the gallery.”

In the meantime, Terry is offering a Click and Collect service, “Or you can just collect if you don’t like to click,” he says. “For this, please phone on 01904 641187 or 07805 029254, to let me know what you are interested in, and I will gather items together to show you at the door. We can manage a selection and purchase without you needing to actually come in!”

Reflecting on a running a gallery in a year in the grip of the Coronavirus pandemic, Terry says: “Pyramid reopened to the public at the end of June. During June, the website worked well for us and July and August were reasonably good with sales over the counter, but about 20 per cent below normal.

“I took half the staff out of furlough in September and October and this meant that we really needed to be back to normal sales level. We achieved that in October and sales have continued to meet normal targets since.

“Even with the new lockdown, the gallery closed and all staff back in furlough, I seem to be getting enough online sales to keep afloat.”

However, Terry paints a grim portrait of the impact of Covid lockdowns. “I think that York will see a lot of businesses close due to this current lockdown. Nevertheless, because I’m able to work the business completely on my own, I can reduce overheads to a minimum and still survive. The only real problem is that I’m working 12 hours a day!

“I look forward to having my staff back on December 3, but if lockdown measures were to be extended beyond December 2, then I’m not sure if any city-centre shops could survive. We normally have sales in the three weeks up to Christmas that are equivalent to June, July and August sales combined.”

Thankfully, the Government is on the brink of announcing when “”non-essential” shops can re-open.

NEWSFLASH

Pyramid Gallery WILL reopen on December 3 at 10am.