AFTER opening his new shop for one day only before Lockdown 2 clocked on, York wildlife artist Gerard Hobson is looking forward to re-opening for rather longer from tomorrow (2/12/2020).
Gerard Hobson Printmaker had taken up residence in the old Bulmers building just beyond the corner where Monk Bar turns into Lord Mayor’s Walk, but he was rudely interrupted by Lockdown’s killjoy claw tapping on his shoulder.
The lights illuminating his lampshades have remained on, however: a window-shopping beacon to the boxing hares in this former zoologist’s beautifully decorated window display and the walls beyond with their abundant bursts of wildlife and fauna in myriad forms: prints; cut-outs; mugs; tea towels; cushions; cards and more.
“Now I’m looking at opening from 10.30am to 4pm, Wednesdays through to Saturdays (closed Mondays, Tuesdays and Sundays), with late-night opening until 7.30pm on Thursdays,” says linocut artist Gerard. “If things get really busy, I might open on Mondays and Tuesdays in the run-up to Christmas.”
Online sales and a click-and-collect service on Saturdays have been the order of the day in Lockdown 2. “I’ve been very busy with online orders, which has been great but requires quite a lot of organisational skills, so I’m very much looking forward to meeting people face to face and them buying in-store,” says Gerard, whose Clifton home studio will feature once again in York Open Studios next spring.
“Everything for sale in the new shop has my designs on it. Limited-edition hand-coloured prints; bird, animal, tree and mushroom cut-outs; cards; mugs; cushions; coasters; chopping boards; lampshades; tea towels; notepads and wrapping paper.
“There are even some handmade candles made locally. I didn’t make them but I did the logo on the box. Something for everyone, I hope.”
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.
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.
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.
“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, andI 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.
Pyramid Gallery WILL reopen on December 3 at 10am.