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Sheffield day trip

Went off to Sheffield to meet up and interview an old friend, Saskia Palmer, to interview for my essay. I was also intending to question a local potter while I was there but, after initially agreeing to seeing me, she didn't seem to have the time after all.

Anyway, I had a brilliant time looking around this vibrant northern city full of artists and opportunities. Puts Preston to shame!

First, I had a look around Saskia's bijou studio, which is situated on the top floor of The Albyn Works, a converted Victorian factory in Neepsend, Sheffield.

Saskia does lino printing and portrait painting. She works in her studio but also runs short printing workshops here. Not only was it great catching up on the latest news but I could question her about her experiences as an independent artist. She is really mixed up with local art scene, which gets her lots of contacts and opportunities. Very interesting!

After having lunch at The Depot Bakery we headed across town to the Cupola Gallery in Hillsborough. This is a small privately run art gallery that specialises in contemporary art and some crafts. They have monthly changing exhibitions both themed group but also solo exhibitions.

We looked at the recently opened Perception exhibition, which showed work by various artist working in all sorts of different media from textiles, artists book on and other works involving paper, bronze casts, paintings, prints, woven metal installations to copper plate etchings. No pottery was represented its way into this exhibition. However, there was plenty of pottery otherwise in the shop's other show rooms and it was of good quality. Unfortunately, it was raining so hard that we didn't feel like getting drowned while looking around their small courtyard, which was full of sculptures and stuff.

Because the owner, Karen, welcomed us so warmly with cups of tea and an invitation to sit and chat on the sofa in the top room it was a real good experience.

From here we headed back into the centre of town. It was a shame that the gallery in APG Works was closed for changing exhibitions. So, we had a quick look around the Tim Etchells & Vlatka Horvat: What Can Be Seen exhibition in the Millennium Gallery. These two artist mostly curated and put together various bits found in the collection of the Millennium Gallery. It was more fun than really useful to me.

Just around the corner however is the Sheffield Makers shop through which Saskia sells her work. This is a real success story. All makers, who sell their stuff in this shop, are encouraged to also work in the shop for two or three days a month. Instead of being paid the commission fees that are charged on their sales is significantly reduced. The shoppers like meeting the makers this way and the makers get to meet their customers and the shop is saving on expensive sales staff and can afford charging less commission. Not a bad idea.

Thanks, Saskia, for a great, informative and inspirational day out in Sheffield.

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