A brand-new exhibition, celebrating the work of the talented members of Henshaws Arts and Crafts Centre in Knaresborough, has opened at the Sunny Bank Mills Gallery in Farsley near Leeds.

The exhibition, artmaker, features more than 20 artists from the Henshaws charity, which provides support, advice and training to anyone affected by sight loss and other disabilities.

The exhibition has been organised by Natalie Kolowiecki and Sonia Moran of the gallery in conjunction with Shaeron Caton Rose and Sharon Hockin of Henshaws.

Natalie commented: “This is the perfect exhibition for Christmas. It is positive, uplifting, stimulating and visually stunning. When we first saw the work of the Henshaws’ artists and makers, we were blown away. The standard is exceptional.

“People who are differently abled and neurodiverse have many ways of communicating what they think and feel about the world. Through the works in .artmaker we experience the joy and beauty that this diversity brings. It is a privilege to showcase the work of Henshaws.

Sonia continued: “The Art Makers are at the core of this exhibition, with more than 20 artists with different disabilities. Their work is as unique and diverse as they are. The Gallery is now filled with bright colours, expressive shapes and intricate details with pieces ranging from a rainbow 3D robot to colourful paintings to delicate layered collages.”

She added: “This exhibition aims to dispel myths, challenge stereotypes, share stories and celebrate creativity. Much of the magnificent work in this exhibition is for sale at prices that are very reasonable, starting from £30 and peaking at £220. So this is a great opportunity to start or to build on your art collection; in doing so you will be supporting a wonderful organisation.”

Shaeron Caton Rose commented: “We are so very excited about this opportunity to showcase our wonderful artmakers and to make the artists’ work more accessible to the general public. Sunny Bank is so well placed to bring a diverse and new audience to the art works and we can’t wait to see how it is received over the next few weeks.

“We hope this leads to further collaborations with Sunny Bank and with other gallery spaces around Yorkshire and further afield. I have been consistently impressed by the curatorial team at Sunny Bank. Every show I have seen has been sensitively displayed and pulled together so I knew we were in good hands.”

Sharon Hockin added: “I have no words to describe how fantastic it is to see the work in such a beautiful contemporary gallery space. The exhibition is truly joyful. The art makers themselves are excited and we are sharing information and media posts but travelling over for many of them is not possible due to funding and finance issues. Artists like Jenna Foster, Andrew Copley and Oliver Fawcett want their art work seen - this is why they are more than happy to be delivering workshops to members of the public.”
The Art Makers featured are Ann Swift, Andrew Morrison, Simon Haw, Andrew Copley, Graham Borkett, Julie H, Abbey Northers, Clare Sapherson, Celeste Rowe, Holly Fiddes, Jenna Foster, Abbie Dyer, Jacob Pulman, Jess Parkinson, Andy Hall, Vicky Pinder, Mark Wilson, Wesley Moffatt, Paul Fowler, Oliver Fawcett, Adam Flanagan, Natasha Garland and Dolly.

Andrew Copley, who has been attending Henshaws for the past 15 years, said: “I particularly love painting and drawing but I have also worked with ceramics, papier mache sculpture and mosaic. I am inspired by all that I see, but particularly nature. I draw from my imagination recalling places, wildlife, monuments and memories. Many people comment that they can see I love life and find humour in my colourful work. My love of colour also spills over into my mosaic work as well.”

The exhibition runs until Friday December 23.
For further information about this exhibition, please visit www.sunnybankmills.co.uk