Visit to #VernonMill thoughts on #WoodendMill and memories of The #LanternGallery #TheNailMaker'sHouse #Worsley
Yesterday, we needed to go to Stockport to visit a garage and on the way, we passed Vernon Mill. We had been meaning to visit the mill for ages but the last time we tried everywhere was closed.
After going to the garage, we drove to the mill; parking is not easy outside so we drove across the road to park.
On entering, we followed the signs for the third floor, where we found the work on display from the wide range of artists who have studios there. Being a quiet day, not many of the artists were there at the time, although we did get chance to play 'throw and fetch' with one of the artist's dog. It took an instant liking to Sue, who spent a few moments throwing a soft toy teddy bear for the dog to fetch!
A fascinating place with lots of superb art work on show. Unfortunately, like many of these old mills its in need of some work, as it is starting to show it's age. Also several of the studios that were open didn't have heating so the large spaces were quite cold, although a couple of artists working on the day were well wrapped up.
Over the last few years, we have also visited Woodend Mill in Mossley, where there are several floors of artist's studios. A couple of artists, I know, have studios there. Again, it's great to see where the work is produced and there is always a wide range of styles to appreciate. There is also quite a nice atmosphere on open days. These studios are a lot smaller and seem in better repair and certainly warmer. There is also a nice garden centre café in the grounds.
I have sometimes wondered what it would be like to have a studio in one of these places. Would you work more not having other distractions or would you be constantly chatting with other artists?
I actually had a small taste of this when I joined with four other artists in the early 80's and we ran a studio in what as the old Nail Maker's cottage in Worsley. It was called The Lantern gallery and overlooked the Bridgewater canal.
One artist was a wood carver, another did sewing and painting, one did Pyrography and the other specialised in watercolours.
Looking back, this was an enjoyable experience in many ways. We shared manning the studio and mainly opened weekends. We were on the middle floor, upstairs had been another exhibition space and on the bottom floor was a local photographer.
The setting in Worsley was stunning and we had a steady flow of visitors. To pay for the rent I needed to sell one painting a month, which was quite achievable but I did finish up having to paint a lot of local scenes, particularly the Packet House, a local landmark. This did become a little tedious.
Unfortunately, the landlord decided to double the rent after a year and this made the venture not cost effective. We had enjoyed the experience and even looked for a new venue but these were all too expensive and we drifted into different areas.
Below are three pictures from that time. The first one is of Ernest Duffield, the superb woodcarver, who was part of the group. The second one is a small painting I did for a Christmas card and the last one is a poor quality image of a Winter scene of the area.
It's always interesting to visit the mills etc to see the work on show, particularly when I follow some of the artist on Facebook. I am lucky to have a studio in my house and am able to interact with other artists at my local art Club, so have the best of both worlds.
I have sent paintings through the post before, but mainly in the UK. When a client asked could he arrange for one to go to Australia there didn't seem to be any problems. He was paying for the packaging and the company to collect and deliver the painting.
I arranged with a local hardware store, on Irlams o' th' Height, to make a suitable container and the painting was encased in bubble wrap and then placed in a large plywood box and delivered to my house.
The delivery company sent me the paperwork to be completed at my end, all five sheets of it, and shortly afterwards collected the box.
Then, in mid-November, they rang with the first small problem. Apparently, I had not given them certain information, which, when I checked the form, there was no mention that this information was needed. I explained this to the company that if I hadn't been asked for it, how could I have given it. This seemed to be too much for the agent I spoke to but needless to say, it was eventually sorted and a new form with the relevant information was sent.
About two to three weeks later, I was pleased to hear that the box had arrived in Australia. Here, the client just needed to sort out a couple of things before delivery, which, after several emails was also arranged.
The last week in December we had a short break in Iceland. Whilst we were away, a card was pushed through the door about a parcel not being able to be delivered. Being Christmas we had ordered several presents and this was not a surprise, so I rang up and arranged to collect it.
The next day, a van arrived and as I looked out, the driver was trying to deliver a large box which looked exactly like the one I had sent only a few weeks ago! He told me that this had been sent to me from Australia!
I then had to tell him that I had sent it to Australia and that was where it was meant to be. He spoke to someone in the office .
I wondered if it was the confused agent I had spoken to previously. However,he agreed to take it back to the depot.
Several phone calls later and having to explain the mix-up to different people each time, I hoped something had been sorted. Talking to the client, he was obviously upset, as he had emails from the Australian branch of the company, saying that everything had been resolved.
Next, to my surprise, I got an invoice from the UK company asking me to pay an import duty for the painting sent from Australia. You can imagine my disbelief! A few more telephone calls land eventually, they agreed to look into this.
Then, not having heared anything for a few days, I got a text from the client saying that the painting had eventually been delivered to him.
The funny thing about all this, is that when I looked at the tracking, I noticed that the first time it travelled to Australia, it took a couple of weeks to get there, yet only three days to come back!
This was certainly a learning process and I'm glad to say that at least the UK company have cancelled my invoice for it's arrival back here. I know one of the men who works at the Hardware store, who made the box for the painting and keeping him updated, has kept his workmates amused with the on going saga.
Hopefully, the client and his family like the painting, after all the trouble it has caused, and can enjoy it as they sit at the dining table. A nice reminder of England as they enjoy the warmth.
As for me, I think that it looks good1