Buying a piece of original art for your home, whether it’s a painting, sculpture, wall hanging, glass or pottery, is a hundred times more pleasurable than purchasing a mass-produced item.
It’s a virtuous buy. It has provenance and knowing that you have supported an artist/maker, along with their local economy, is immensely satisfying.
The item will certainly add interest and then there’s the way it makes your property feel. A friend once described this as “bringing soul to a home”, and she’s right. Original art makes a home feel good and every time you look at it you get a warm glow.
Fortunately, finding it is not difficult these days, thanks to a boom in art and crafts over the last decade. There are lots of events, including the open studios in York, Hebden Bridge and Sheffield. The new York Ceramics Fair is on October 6 and 7 at The Hospitium in the Museum Gardens. Crafted by Hand in Masham and the Sheffield Print Fair are perennially popular and are both in November.
One of the most remarkable events is the Great North Art Show in Ripon, which runs from September 1 to 23. It combines art and architecture in a breathtakingly beautiful setting and entry is free.
Hundreds of artworks by some of the best contemporary artists based in the north will adorn the aisles of the cathedral and they are all for sale. A highlight this year will be work by artist ad printmaker Mark Hearld.
Galleries are obvious hunting grounds and you should not be afraid of them. Most are not the snooty places of old.
The best are run by enthusiasts who are delighted if you buy but just as happy if you want to browse – and maybe buy a card. See details of the Just a Card campaign below.
You can combine a trip to a gallery with a day out. The Bils and Rye gallery is in Kirkbymoorside on the edge of the North York Moors National Park. It is unpretentious and has a fantastic and eclectic mix of sculpture, ceramics and fine art.
The Heart Gallery in Hebden Bridge is another gorgeous but down-to-earth independent place filled with treasures as are Hawksby’s in Haworth and The Yorkshire Gallery at the new-look Piece Hall in Halifax.
If you prefer something more intimate there are galleries based in homes. The Kentmere Gallery and Corner Gallery in Bishopthorpe, York, are just a few doors apart and well worth a visit, as is the Silson Contemporary Art Gallery in Harrogate.
As for what to buy. Forget investment, though it may turn out to be a great one, and buy what you love. It’s that simple.
* The Just a Card campaign aims to encourage people to buy from artists, makers and independent galleries and shops by reinforcing the message that all purchases, however small, that even “just a card” is vital to the survival of small businesses.
The campaign came about when artist Sarah Hamilton saw the quote: “If everyone who had complimented our beautiful gallery had bought “just a card” we’d still be open.”
For more details visit www.justacard.org.