Wednesday, 14 November 2007

our featured artists...

a short introduction to some of the artists exhibiting their work at


born in newcastle and brought up in leeds, malcolm moved to london to become a press photographer in the mid-80’s. a job transfer saw him move back up north and he's lived in stockport since 1991. sadly, a serious road accident brought malcolm's photograhic career to an end, but painting has given him new inspiration. "largely self taught, i like to use bold outlines and strong colours in my work. above all I like to see the texture of the paint and the marks that the brush makes. increasingly i find i’m drawn to the more mundane of landscapes; motorways and overgrown riverbanks, railway stations and rusty gasometers. i also like to paint still lives of eclectic groups of objects.

after several years of painting in the spare room at home I have just moved into a studio at vernon mill in stockport, a collective of over 40 painters, sculptors and ceramicists, and am greatly enjoying the company of so many like-minded and creative people."


"frailloop is my description of the world in which we all live. if you take more out than you put back, you break the loop, and it will all come crashing down. we should all try to recycle and reuse as much as possible. this is part of my effort. i cannot claim to be perfect, but I hope to do my bit. if i can make a difference for the good, i’ll feel better about myself...i use metal off-cuts and scrap and give them a second chance at life. sometimes things go well and those results are for sale..."


"i produce cityscapes, nightscenes and landscapes in mixed-media, oils and watercolour. my aim is always to convey atmosphere." ian completed a foundation course at warrington college of art & design, followed by an honours degree in graphic design and illustration at leicester polytechnic. he spent over twenty years in the graphics industry before concentrating on building his own style using mixed media.

ian's work is highly regarded and has been exhibited in galleries across the country. he works out of the longden gallery in macclesfield, which is run by ian and several other established artists.


It was in her late thirties when Nicola finally summoned the courage to embark on a career as an artist. Previously, she had worked as a traditional hand embroiderer, teaching and making samples for an extensive client list in the British Fashion Industry. Tired of working to other people's specifications, she started a degree course in Fine Art Printmaking at Manchester Metropolitan University, using drawings and photographs of objects from her childhood home to experiment with various printmaking methods. As a child, Nicola was taught to make things with her hands and this appreciation of the hand-crafted - especially cooking and embroidery - is very evident in her work.

The ceramics featured in the prints exhibited at thewhitegallery are heirlooms and souvenirs belonging to her mother and grandmother, and embody the powerful female influence that helped to shape Nicola's personal culture.


emma is a local artist living, working and exhibiting in bollington and surrounding areas, as well as a lecturer of art in a south manchester college. she graduated from the university of northumbria in 1996 with a ba hons in contemporary art practice, majoring in painting. after a year of voluntary work she trained as an art teacher in secondary education.

'field' is part of a series of paintings originally shown at the arts centre in bollington, and was inspired by the colours and textures of local landscapes...


cheryl lives and works in buxton, derbyshire. she studied for both a ba and ma in fine are and is a qualified homeopathic practitioner. she says: "the work on display at the white gallery is the beginning of a new body of work exloring the idea of surface. surface in the sense of our outward appearance and the history that leads us to be who we are. the work is process based and arises through the intuitive exploration of materials. the starting point may be a fragment of old lace, a piece of wallpaper or a token from the past. then, through a process of addition and subtraction, an image emerges which maps the totality of it's existence through the traces it leaves behind."


"i work in the photographic medium," says jack, "using digital techniques. compositions are created from multiple images with the intention of conveying a sense of the area. my artwork documents how people use the environment and the marks they leave behind. i walk around the area i intend to photograph and try to capture the many elements, sounds,smells and visual rhythms present. i have never felt that any one shot alone will convey the complete reality of a scene..."

jack's original work for the white gallery offers a unique perspective of the village. as an artist based in manchester, he views things from the outside, presenting bollington in a completely new light.

the idea for the passage light evolved from a commission liz did for bristol children’s hospital, where she was asked to make a series of miniature theatre sets inspired by typical fairytale motifs such as ‘the dark forest’ and ‘the labyrinth’. these were set into niches in the wall along the main hospital staircase. each passage light is individually made by liz out of stoneware clay and fired to 1220 deg C. although she uses moulds to make up component parts, most of the work is involved in building up the complex interior by hand.

"i make ceramic vessels for the contemporary home. they can be seen as decorative objects, grouped together in small collections or used as individual functional bowls, plates cups etc. .although they are simple forms the vessels start as drawn ideas in a sketchbook before making begins. most of my work is thrown on a potters wheel using a porcelain clay body that fires to a temperature of 1260 degrees centigrade. occasionally i use liquid clay and casting as a process to make more complex forms. i then add hand built elements like spouts and handles.

i am particularly interested in the glazed surface of my pieces. i apply high fired glazes that have their origins in the ceramics of ancient china. these glazes are mixed using natural minerals derived from finely ground felspathic rocks, china clays, wood ashes and metallic oxides. to achieve the qualities of surface and colour, the vessels are fired in a kiln heated by gas and in an atmosphere where the availability of oxygen is restricted. the kiln is fired slowly at first, over an eight hour period, to the required temperature and then left to cool for a further eight hours before the doors can be opened. the individuality of the pieces comes not only from the making process itself but also from the firing process. vessels placed in different parts of the kiln can vary in colour and glaze quality, thickness of glaze can dramatically change the fired result. one of the pleasures of making simple vessel forms in this way is the opening of the kiln and the discovery of a collection of unique pieces, not always successful but always part of a never ending process of learning."

a page from john's sketch book

the gallery opens...

what a fantastic start. we opened our doors at ten o'clock and i didn't sit down for the rest of the day. dan coloured an open and closed sign and helped me to put out the trees. at two minutes past ten our good friends craig and judith arrived from levenshulme, and from then on a steady stream of friends and local people wishing us well, kept us busy. some of the artists too, joined us to celebrate and by five o'clock we'd sold several paintings and a buddle of cards. john's pottery was popular too.

on monday (even though we're closed) some new friends asked if they could buy a few last minute gifts. not a problem - one of the joys of living on the property. individual viewings are definitely something we want to promote, as we realise our school-friendly hours won't suit everyone. we're also going to open extra days in the run up to christmas.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

a cup and saucer, by john webber...

the art...

the first pictures have arrived and i am surprised by how emotional i feel. when malcolm croft delivered his oils on thursday, we propped a couple of the larger canvases on the sofa and just stood for a while, looking at them. the white room suddenly seemed alive with colour...i saw malcolm's work for the first time a couple of weeks ago when i went to an open exhibiton at vernon mill in stockport. his brother and mum where there, obviously so proud. i was immediately taken by a portrait of a young boy, who turned out to be malcolm's son. i also loved his 'kippers' on a plate. the next morning - unable to shake those kippers from my head - i emailed him to see if he'd like to hang in the gallery. fortunately he said yes.

jack lloyd (whose team at the creative recycling gallery in chorlton, will be providing the framing service for the gallery) arrived yesturday with his photographs, and also mine. when i saw the one i call ''the sound of music' (a blue tinged picture of my daughter carrie in the spainish mountains with my brother's dog in the foreground) i actually cried! ridiculous i know, but testament perhaps to the effect a photography can have on you - that holiday was one of the loveliest we've shared as a family.

jack has done some really unusual photo-montages of the village which are going to look great on the walls and in the window and will hopefully make people stop and look. another artist, cheryl lewis, has dropped off her ceramics - big beautiful pots with discs of porcelain that hang around the neck.

the biggest challenge now will be hanging the pictures - who knows how the walls will behave! hopefully better than our old house in levenshulme, which spat out the nails we hammered in, like a child refusing calpol.