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From the Edge: Ebor Studio Members

Ebor Studio

18 May – 3 July

During the pandemic, Ebor Studio was fortunate enough to receive a business support fund from the Government. They decided that the most productive and supportive way to use the money was to offer the Ebor Studio members a commission; a small gesture to compensate for all the work lost in 2020 and in a bid to maintain the cultural offer in the area.

In February this year we were planning on showcasing the commissions in Gallery One at Touchstones, but sadly our plans were thwarted by the lockdown. Undeterred, Ebor staged the exhibition in their own project space (Gallery FRANK) and documented it so we could at least share it online.

Ebor Studio

The Studio is a space in Littleborough, Rochdale, for professional artists and designers to think, make, research, and show their work. It aims to support the practice of members and to contribute to the cultural life of the community by providing a programme of high quality contemporary exhibitions and events as well as opportunities for participation such as workshops and classes.

Find out more:

Ebor Studio Group

The Group consists of seventeen professional artists and designers who make up the creative community at the Studio. They are a varied group of practitioners ranging from painters, sculptors, sound artists, dress designers, furniture makers, video artists, ceramicists, glass makers, performers and photographers.

Natalie Sharp

‘Touch me here’ is a new work-in-progress exhibition by Natalie about what happens underneath the soil, exploring the mycelium networks and slime mould intelligence through the process of tambour and tufting. She was imagining herself as the non-human working out how the slime mould and mycelium might network itself around the canvas. A total of eighty-six hours were spent on the hand-made networks.

For more information about the artist:

Karen Lyons

In 2020 Karen produced 4 series of drawings – each one responding to current events as they unfolded throughout, what turned out to be, a monumental year. The commission enabled her to frame and exhibit the work at Ebor in October.

As Karen explains:

‘Series one was made in January whilst watching with horror the devastation caused to wildlife during the fires in Australia. I was struck by the contradiction of the destructive power and beauty of nature, and its resilience represented by the animals and their determination to survive.

Series two entitled Drollerie played with abstract and decorative elements inspired the doodles (or drolleries) produced by painters of illuminated manuscripts. They reference mythological creatures and other more contemporary and current motifs such as the ascending American eagle.

Series three was a light-hearted attempt to address one of the more absurd aspects of COVID-19 – that of ritualised handwashing. A mere tweak – an inversion of the use of colour/ground relationship allowed a more poignant comment on the meanings we ascribe to washing – here applied in response to the George Floyd killing and the ensuing Black Lives Matter campaign.’

For more information about the artist:

Jack-Victor Westerdale

Jack wanted to use the commission to give something back to the Studio’s artists, all of whom have had to adapt in their own ways during COVID-19. With this in mind, he focused on the Community Garden at Ebor, as a place for everyone to meet, relax and catch up once restrictions ease.

The freshly laid patio provided an excellent starting point for a seated area. Within the constraints of the budget, the idea evolved for a simple design based on a repeating pattern. The components are from a local timber merchant, cut up, orientated, and sanded, with a careful yet liberal coating of a waterproof finish. Jack hopes they will be used this summer for festivities and events.

For more informaiton about the artist:

Rahela Khan

Rahela was born in the UK and brought up by her immigrant parents from the Bengal region of the Indian sub-continent. During her undergraduate days at art school, almost twenty years ago, she was considered the outsider. She is still considered the outsider. Different.

While at art school, she lived and studied abroad in Portugal for almost six months. The whole experience was profound, and geography features heavily in her artwork. This experience led her to embrace that she was different from her peers and she went through a transformation and reconnected on the path to Islam.

Rahela is interested in female Muslim identity in diaspora communities, and she takes a special interest in pattern and colour within her art practice. This interest in colour and pattern derives from a young age, drawing on memories and influences from her cultural heritage. She draws on this and looks to cover subjects of emotional intimacy and distance. She seeks to make contemporary artwork which adheres to the tenets of the Islamic faith, which is aesthetically pleasing yet using non-figurative imagery.

Her work is an amalgamation and celebration of female Muslim identity with her own multicultural heritage, against the culture of misconceptions portrayed in western media. Her objective is for ethnic minorities, particularly Muslim women, to have representation in the art field.

Most of the art pieces relate to travel and the use of the geography, heavily featuring doors and architecture. These doorways signify gender inequality, especially for Muslim women.

Rahela’s artwork comprises of the experiential and decorative imaginings of travel portrayed in different visual art forms, such as documenting, printmaking, and ceramics. Her work can be summed up as transformational in many guises, opening up avenues for much needed conversations to begin.

The artwork and subject matter evolves, focusing heavily on Rochdale’s mosque architecture and relate to experiences of the pandemic where isolation and restrictions were placed, the aspect of worship and with very limited local travel.

Her artwork comprises of the experiences from memory, emotional intimacy and distance with her late parents, different visual art forms, such as documenting, printmaking, and ceramics. Her work is a hybrid of cultures, some which are subtle and ambiguous and others more explicit.

For more information about the artist:

Maryanne Royle

Wrap the rough edges,
And the texture of time,
In grass
The rolling hills of England,
It is a green and pleasant land

‘Plastic Grass’ is an exhibition in progress that Maryanne will be showing later in 2021. It contains an imagined past; an absurd and fanciful dream inspired by speculative fiction and a brass quintet. She has been thinking about how a person could become captivated by the idea and eventually invite it into their home.

For more information about the artist:

Angela Tait

Untitled (Work in Progress), 2021
Commercially produced plates, high firing pigment

Angela is interested in the temporal relationship between creative practice and domesticity. Her research project, ‘Things which go ‘round’ is an extended investigation into the cyclical nature of both household chores and ceramics production. On this occasion she exposes these similarities via the rotation of the washing machine and the potter’s wheel.

For more information about the artist:

Images: Ian Clegg

Sophie Cooper

About her commission Sophie writes:

‘Hello! This is a lathe cut 7 inch release that has two tracks, one on each side.

The first track is called A Chance and the lyrics were inspired by a late night tale told to me many moons ago by my dear friend Alannah Chance.

The second track is called Struck which was originally commissioned by the BBC for a show called ‘Unclassified’ where I was asked to place the words of Helen Mort to music.

This release sounds like a lathe cut, e.g. dead lo-fi but with that gorgeous lathey warmth. Hope you enjoy. The lathe comes with a DL.

Self-released on my fake label: Tina Turner Tapes with kind support from Ebor Studios in Littleborough.’

A Chance has additional synth made chord progressions provided by David Colohan.

For more information about the artist:

Cheryl Beswick

For her commission Cheryl took over Gallery FRANK for a week to get creative. As she explains:

‘During the summer of 2020 when I put my ideas together I was envious of others having a void of time to create like never before, and it gave me the idea to lockdown in the gallery to ensure I made real time for creativity. Since graduating I have worked in education and social care to subsidise my practice. I do find it takes the majority of my energy and time, during the pandemic even more so. It has stirred up my want to build on my creative business. When I proposed the work, I never imagined that we would still be in this life of lockdowns looking for new ways to reach our audience. I’m making a short film about the process of creating my mixed media canvases (shown below). A short film will be launched in the early summer so look out for it.’

For more information about the artist:

Ivan Haywood

With no printing facilities at the Studio, Ivon decided to make a press. It had to be compact but big enough for A3 paper. It also had to be strong enough to be versatile, capable of printing, veneering and gluing. Ivon used 18mm birch ply as the main body of the press. He then doubled up the thickness resulting in an incredibly strong frame to hold the single acme-thread screw that produces the driving force for the pressing motion.

The idea of using pressure on an inked surface resting upon a print medium has existed since 1440 AD. This method of creating repeat patterns was revolutionary at the time, both for the visual arts but more broadly for the advancement of society, enabling people to share knowledge more quickly and widely.

For more information about the artist: