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North Yorkshire

Hot on the heels of my hastily written review of Art In The Pen Thirsk I hope some of you managed to get to its sister event, Art In The Pen Skipton.

It was a fabulous day for a gorgeous drive across the Dales from Wetherby (where I was staying) to Skipton.  Over 200 artists and craftspeople; from painters and potters to jewellers and woodworkers – and everything in between, there was so much of it to see.  AND ALL OF IT ORIGINAL WORK!  Nothing is mass produced at these fairs.  Why buy something anyone can have when, you can buy something original often on a similar budget? 

The purpose of this blog is to help put people in touch with what is available in their area, or just an internet skip away.  Though you’ve missed Art In The Pen for this year, why not put it in your calendar for next?

Art in the Pen is an unusual venue for an art and crafts exhibition, which makes it even more interesting.

The art  pens, which are usually reserved for livestock, have been transformed into very unusual gallery space and the auction ring has become a venue for live art theatre. There was also a fantastic art shop with the most amazing deals on easels and other art materials.

There were over 200 exhibitors at Skipton this year.  I am showing you just a few here to whet your appetitie. 

After reading a bit about them see whether you can pick out their work from the collage at the end of the blog.   Hover over the photo for the answer.

You can find out about all of their exhibitors on their brilliant website.  Click here to find out more.

Kate Rhodes

Many years ago I purchased a gorgeous pair of earrings made by Kate Rhodes from Pyramid Gallery in York.  Ever since then her name pops up here and there. Most recently I saw her work at Danby Visitor Centre.  I was thrilled to find her in person at Skipton Art In The Pen.  Even though she didn’t know me from Adam she is so personable we had such a great conversation I felt I knew her – and now of course I do!   

Love her work!!  All unique and original!!


If you saw my last blog on Art In The Pen Thirsk you will remember that I hoped to see Gosha of Goshart at Skipton.  Unfortunately with so many exhibitors to see I’m afraid I missed her this time, but apparently she had a great event.  What an unusual present one of these illustrations would make for the sport enthusiast who thinks they might have everything!  Find out more about her by clicking here.


I first saw Zoe’s amazing felted animal sculptures at Thirsk Art In The Pen.  Unfortunately I lost her card so could not put her name to the thumbmail image I put at the bottom of that blog.  Thankfully, here she is!  Her worked proved to be very popular. When  saw her someone was buying a badger on skates with an eye on a hare!  Find out more by clicking here.


It was great to see already established artists I already know of at this event.  Paul Smith is one of those.  I first saw him at Pyramid Gallery, York, where I used to help out from time to time.  It’s a fabulous gallery on Stonegate with frequent exhibitions of new art and an eclectic mix of contemporary jewellery, ceramics and glass hand chosen by the owener and proprietor Terry Brett.   Paul’s humorous and evocative work is very popular so it was no surprise to also find his work at largest selling gallery in the UK, The Biscuit Factory, Ouseburn, Newcastle.


What a great surprise to turn a corner and see Ailsa at Art In The Pen Skipton!  She is usually to be found at Tynemouth Station Craft Fair or at her studio at The Biscuit Factory.  

I adore sea glass.  I like the idea of the history behind every piece of glass before ending up washed ashore after perhaps years of rolling around in the ocean.  Once upon a time each piece of sea glass was created for a very different purpose, then broken, discarded, and reborn as a piece of beautiful unique jewellery. 

Check out her website by clicking this link to find out more about seaglass.


Many of us have a particular fondness for owls, and I am no exception.  I enjoy learning about the exploits of the owl family at the barn at holwick when I am staying there.  (It’s a lovely self catering converted barn in Upper Teesdale.)

David Cooke’s work is gorgeous.  His work has that certain something for me that strikes a chord.  I especially like the pensive expression on the ape sculpture below as it ponders the cup, as we, in a cyclical moment, simultaneously observe and think about the sculpture.


It was an absolute delight to find this young and very gifted woodturning artist at the fair. Ralph’s work is amazing.  What appears to be layers of beautiful wood all crafted from one piece!  I find the forms very peaceful, and extremely arty!  I especially like the iron oxide centre he uses to decorate some of his pieces.  Gorgeous!   Definitely one to watch!  Take a look at his website to find out more.


I almost didn’t find Sheryl as I was burnt out before I managed to get to her stand.  However, after recharging my batteries with a delicious ice cream I was ready for more.  So glad I did.

Sheryl’s work is amazing.  I’ve been having a bit of a trough so far as my own art is concerned but Sheryl has inspired me to try a new technique.  I paid a visit to the art shop on site and purchased more paint!  Thanks Sheryl. It really was great talking to you.  Love your work!!

Find out more about her by clicking this link.


I didn’t get to meet David at the fair but couldn’t resist showcasing him here  as I am really impressed by his work.  This picture needs some perspective – these outdoor sculptures are taller than me!  When you think of what you could pay for an ordinary, mass produced planter in a garden centre these pieces are amazingly priced – and unique!   Buy somdething AMAZING!  Find him by clicking here


I was very pleased to see one of my favourite local artists Clare Dean at Art In The Pen Skipton.  I’ve seen her gorgeous work exhibited in open studios before; most recently at Artists Around Wetherby which you can see in an earlier blog.

zoe stainton hare
Clare Dean Sunflowers
David Cooke pensive ape
kate rhodes earrings
Paul Smith Bird What Bird
Ellul Ceramics
ralph shuttleworth sculptured bowl
Heartfelt Dogs Dressed to Thrill


If you would like to showcase your work on my website then please contact me.  Only £25 PER ANNUM and NO COMMISSION ON SALES! Why so cheap? My main interest is in putting ordinary people in touch with extraordinary art!

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