Made in Herefordshire

PUBLISHED: 11:39 12 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:35 20 February 2013

Picture courtesy of David Williams

Picture courtesy of David Williams

Sponsored by Herefordshire Life, Made in Herefordshire appeared at The Courtyard Centre for the Arts in Hereford on October 31st to November 29th. The display brought together an exciting range of the best local talents, with work from Herefo...

Over 200,000 people visited The Courtyard in 2007, many of them to enjoy the wonderful visual art on display in the gallery spaces on the first and second floor. But how are exhibitions chosen, and what goes on 'behind the scenes' to make them happen?

The process starts with an artists' call-out inviting artists to submit their work for consideration. Artists rarely send actual work at this stage, instead using photographs or copies, and increasingly, digital images. The submissions are then viewed, discussed and considered by The Courtyard's visual arts panel, which meets twice a year. The panel includes The Courtyard chief executive, Martyn Green, sales and marketing manager, Vanessa Winters, visual arts co-ordinator, Beth Smallwood, and also a Herefordshire-based practising artist. For the Made In Herefordshire exhibition, the panel included artist Sue Maude and Herefordshire Life editor, Hilary Engel, who enjoyed a 'sneaky peak' at the panel in action!

Having viewed and debated the submissions, the visual arts co-ordinator then contacts the selected artists to agree the scope of their exhibition, and the gallery spaces that will be used. As the exhibition opening draws nearer, arrangements are made for the private view, guest lists are agreed and invitations printed. With a couple of days to go, the artists deliver their work to The Courtyard, and help the gallery technician to fit out the spaces and hang the work.

Hugely popular last time around, Made in Herefordshire was once again a fantastic showcase of the best that Herefordshire has to offer. We are delighted now to introduce some of the artists whose work appeared in the show.

The private view was on Thursday October 30th

9 J G Hutchins

Waiting at the Lych Gate

Featuring Brampton Abbots Church near Ross-on-Wye where I spent much of my childhood.

Artistic career

I worked for a number of years in advertising, followed by 13 years as force artist for the West Mercia Police Authority. I prefer pastels, but also work in oil, and pen and ink, and cover a wide spectrum of subject matter including portraiture, landscape and still life.

How does living in Herefordshire inspire you?

With the Forest of Dean to the East, the Welsh mountains and valleys to the West, the Malvern Hills to the north and the Wye Valley to the south, how on earth could you not be inspired ?


10 Nisa Kiley

Inquisitive Seal

A spring stroll along the Pembrokeshire coast was interrupted by the sudden appearance of a large seal which promptly fixed me with an inquisitive gaze. Here I've tried to capture the turbulence of the surrounding sea with the smooth head of the seal.

Cowslips at Wessington

A profusion of cowslips at Wessington nature reserve near Fownhope transported me back to the flower-filled fields of my childhood. I love the soft shapes of the cowslips contrasting with the strong verticals of the grasses, all above the decaying vegetation of previous years.


Mad March hares gambolling in spring. Magical creatures of myth and legend suitably equipped with lithe and muscular bodies with which to lope around the wide-open spaces of their territory. Usually seen singly, the males come together in spring to 'box'.


One of the first flying insects to appear on earth, and what a survivor! Their transformation from a grotesque larval form to the breathtaking beauty of an adult is something I witness each summer in my own back garden. My very own fairies.


Present in large numbers around Herefordshire. Wonderfully adorned, the brightly coloured cocks are at their most noticeable in spring. Here I've tried to show the subtle nuances of its plumage merging in with the background.

Artistic career

As a first-time exhibitor these wall hangings are a new venture for me. Self-taught, I have been working at home for the past 25 years as a textile artist in the fashion industry whilst raising four children. The garments I have embellished have appeared on stars of stage and screen as well as featuring in well-known celeb magazines.

How does living in Herefordshire inspire you?

I feel privileged to have lived in this beautiful and peaceful county for over fifty years. Geographically diverse, Herefordshire offers an ever-changing visual feast of flora and fauna radiating in every direction which cannot fail to inspire me.

11 Sue King

The four paintings displayed in Made in Herefordshire are linked through the elements of nature: Earth, Water, Fire and Air. As with all of my work, they attempt to show the strong link between the human form and Mother Nature. From the continual decay and rebirth of the earth all around us, the continual circling of the seas, the strength and destructive power of fire, to the infinity of the universe ....... is it coincidence that these elements, often in the form of gods and goddesses, have been strongly worshipped down the years, across differing cultures and continents? But always these four elements ....... the strength of Mother Nature!

Artistic career

I am in the main a self-taught artist who, after a career in psychiatric nursing, was fortunate enough during the mid-1990s to be able to open up my own art studio and successfully pass on my enthusiasm and experience to both beginners and improvers during weekly art classes and workshops. During this time I had the time and space to be able to experiment with a variety of mediums, one of which was silk paint. This, combined with my continuing theme of the human form in conjunction with Mother Nature, led me to the silk paintings I now concentrate on producing.

How does living in Herefordshire inspire you?

The wide sweeping landscapes, the big skies, the ancient orchards, the tales and folklore .... this is Mother Nature speaking loud and clear!

12 Sarah Lane

My work is of an abstract nature, combining ideas of light and shadow, transience and existence, and of what falls in between. It explores that non-physical realm which questions the relationship between vision and knowledge. Every moment ever photographed has passed and is gone for ever. The photograph becomes a memorial to our transient states of being, constantly changing through time. A representation of memory, but also of loss, human fallibility and or mortality. All that remains is the fixed image of the moment isolated from the continuum. Our past echoes become an unreal reality, a hidden world confined to our memory, but resurrected by the photograph.

Artistic career

I graduated from Hereford College of Arts in 2005 with a BA (Hons) degree in photography. Since then I have pursued opportunities to work as a fine art photographic artist. I have worked with organisations such as Creative Alliance and Rhubarb-Rhubarb, exhibited in London and Birmingham, sold work through Hereford Art Market and most recently attended professional development seminars and portfolio reviews at London College of Communication.

How does living in Herefordshire inspire you?

I live in a land of extremes. From the modernised town to the rural hamlet. From the traffic choked streets to far reaching landscapes, and wide open spaces. Where sound meets stillness. Where darkness meets the light. Between these extremes lies a and founded on tradition, of nature and nurture, where the past is marked by generations of folk tales and ritual. And where old collides with new.

13 Dick Ray

(Caption: St Giles Church, Goodrich)

This is my favourite view of the spire of St Giles, near my home, standing sharply against the backdrop of Coppett Hill with Symonds Yat in the distance. I am attracted by the subtle, soft colours of winter, when the sky effects imply the chilly, damp atmosphere.

Artistic career

I have enjoyed occasional sketching throughout my life, and retirement has enabled this hobby to flourish into a passion for painting in oils and pastel, tackling a wide subject range including portraiture, still life and landscape. I work and exhibit with the Wye Valley Art Society, and have exhibited in Ross-on-Wye and Hereford with a colleague for the past three years.

How does living in Herefordshire inspire you?

My wife and I share a love of being out and about in this beautiful, exciting border country that has been our home for the past twenty years. Sketches and photos made during these rambles provide the reference material for working on paintings in which arresting shapes and tone are important in trying to convey my feeling for the landscape.

14 Susan Mary Will

When I moved to my current address, I found a huge garden brown and wet in February. The river was almost up to the bottom of the garden, and I could foresee myself beating a hasty retreat by boat.

By March, the water had dropped, and a million flowers burst out of the ground. By the end of June, I was exhausted, painting the huge, vivid, glorious flowers which sprang from everywhere. I painted big - it was the only way to record the exuberance of everything, not to mention the colour, the form.

Artistic career

I have been a lot of things in my life: dancer, pin-up model, fisherman, theme-park designer, antiques dealer, teacher, cook - but I have always been an artist. My paid work is mainly portraits, and some commercial - Gwatkins Cider labels, locally. The flowers are something I do for the fun of it, a compulsion, I can't resist.

How does living in Herefordshire inspire you?

I moved here from the south-east, and found the England which everybody dreams about. Gorgeous landscapes. Rushing rivers. Miles and miles of walking. And on every roadside, wonderful gardens full of yet more stunning flowers.

In Hereford I found the kind of society I always wanted to belong to. People are supportive, sociable, and when you break down on the road someone will stop and help. This is the way people should live, integrated and part of a well-functioning whole.

15 Alexandra Williams

I am fascinated with creating new and novel viewpoints on familiar, mundane and often overlooked subjects.

In the work included in Made in Herefordshire I seek to infuse shops with a personality and life from which people are largely absent, concentrating instead on the details and character that make a subject unique. I hope to emphasise the delicate individuality and fragility of unnoticed spaces and objects, encouraging the viewer to look more closely, both at the work itself and at the often overlooked beauty, humour and pathos inherent in their everyday surroundings. Through this tension between straight realism and a sentimental nostalgia I hope to engage people in a way that speaks directly to their own experiences and their everyday lives.

Artistic career

I graduated last year from Aberystwyth University where I studied Fine Art and History of Art. Since returning to my home town of Hereford my work has largely focussed on architectural studies of local buildings. I have exhibited my work at a number of venues in the region and have recently been exploring new directions, utilising collage and embroidery techniques. Alongside my gallery work I have organised and facilitated a number of community based art events and workshops.

How does living in Herefordshire inspire you?

I find that Hereford possesses many of the exciting and interesting qualities of a city whilst at the same time retaining many of its small town qualities and individuality. The many unique and idiosyncratic characteristics motivate me greatly and through my work I hope to preserve some of these qualities and remind people of a sense of community and place.

16 David Williams

Lone figure, Hay Bluff

Making my way up a little-used track towards Hay Bluff early one

morning I saw an old-fashioned figure standing on the ridge.

Getting there as quickly as possible, because I was curious that this was no ordinary hill walker, I was amazed to discover the figure had just disappeared.

Coastal Towels

These are British holiday-makers placing their towels on a beach before everything else. Even competing with the sea !

Girl in Meadow

We are fortunate enough to have a wild meadow at the back of our house which inspired this painting of the girl staring out in pensive mood.

At Play, Pendine

Since I was a small boy I have know this long, balmy stretch of sea and sand at Pendine in West Wales. In certain lights the sand, sea and sky conspire, giving the impression that the bathers are floating.

Forgotten Pool, Kington, Herefordshire

This is a memory painting of an old trout lake in Kington. In the height of summer it gets choked with algae and weeds. It is cleared but nature is always at work. The light is just fantastic. It's a mystical place.


I love the border country scenery and from high up one can see the definitive change in the landscape as rural Herefordshire joins Wales. I got this rather moody view when walking between storm clouds and sunshine last year.

Artistic career

I have been painting longer than I care to remember and am chiefly self-taught. I moved to Herefordshire twelve years ago and have had the opportunity to meet some very fine local artists who have encouraged and inspired me. More recently, I have been fortunate enough to be introduced to a Royal Academy exhibitor and painter, who has guided me from his studio in the shadow of the Black Mountains.

I am currently painting in a garden studio in Llanigon loaned to me by a friend. It's a very bohemian affair with a leaky roof and no insulation. It's freezing in the winter because it has glass windows everywhere but the views are spectacular. More of my work will be exhibited at the Oriel Gallery in Hay-on-Wye later in the year.

How does living in Herefordshire inspire you?

Hereford as a county sits in the lap of God. So I sit with the security one had as a child in this splendid, rather old fashioned place where people still say good morning and enjoy one of the last truly magnificent rural locations in the whole of the kingdom. The desire to paint comes easily as a consequence because the scene is bursting with ever-changing artistic potential.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Herefordshire Life