New Sculpture Lounge Studios, Holmbridge Mill, Holmfirth

Just back from a fabulous three-day course with  James Oughtibridge in Holmbridge Mill. Brainchild of animal sculptor Brendan Hesmondhalgh, the Holmbridge Mill is in the process of converted into a wonderful creative space.  Workshops have been built downstairs, and upstairs there’s a classroom and there will be more workshops, and a gallery space.

Brendan was kept busy organising work on the mill all weekend.

Brendan Hesmondhalgh

We began the first day with a tour of the mill, meeting some of the resident artists.  First, metal sculptor, Mick Kirby-Geddes.

Mick uses reclaimed and scrap metal for his quirky creations, as well as teaching courses in metal craft.

On to Martin Norman, who is a sculptor in his own right, but his main income is from mould making and casting in resin.  While we were there he was casting a limited edition run of large pigs for Brendan Hesmondalgh, as well as editions for several other artists.

A bit smelly in there, but not as smelly as our next visit to Doug of Here Be Monsters Brewery, who had just put on his first brew.  The aroma of malt filled the corridors, changing to hops later in the day.


Finally, James’s new inspiring workshop,with sound of the river flowing past his windows.

In the afternoon Rebecca Appleby arrived.  She has moved from a miniscule unit in Leeds to her spacious new workshop.  I love her work.  We saw it first in the shop at York Art Gallery, which had the Urban Palimpsest series.

I haven’t seen her other work before – inspired by Gordon Baldwin.  Sort-of ‘Gordon with attitude’.  She slab builds, but in a different way to James – ‘messy’ she called it.  She builds the basic form then alters it to bring out the planes, and may add to it.  Surface decoration is important to her.

She draws and paints, then applies it to the forms.  She says she has to be careful she doesn’t overdo it because what is good in 2D can be too much in 3D. She was working hard, like James, getting ready for London Central Saint Martin’s show at the end of the month.


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