Rachel Red Builds Bridges!

Rachel Red is joining Mytholmroyd Arts Festival this year to provide a series of print workshops.

If you live in the Calder Valley – you’ve probably seen Rachel’s work, whether it’s a colourful poster for an event somewhere or one of her gorgeous products adorned with woodland animals. Rachel has also done a lot of printing workshops. She really enjoys developing an atmosphere where people get quite meditative as they’re printing – leaving all their troubles at the door.

Rachel is going to be running the MAF print workshops at the Mytton Arts Trust. She says all you’ll need to bring are some clothes you don’t mind getting inky and a willingness to be creative. She’s going to be teaching a technique called collograph – which is a hybrid of collage and printing. Each participant will be able to come along to two workshops. At the first workshop they’ll be building the printing plate using collage techniques. At the end of the first workshop, these prints will be varnished with shellac. During the second workshop the participants will use the plates to make prints, using all the special technology at Myttom.

Navigating our valley with words

In 2019, Mytholmroyd Arts Festival will feature a night of poetry. On Saturday 12th October, we’ll be launching ‘The Valley Press Anthology of Prose Poetry’ and there’ll be open mic slots for anyone who wants to get up and speak. Our guide for the evening will be local poet, Winston Plowes.

Winston says all you need to come along to the evening is a pair of ears and an open mind. He says ‘It’s going to be a less experimental, more accessible night of Poetry and Prose’ and that the audience ‘will have moments when words speak to them. They will hear stories that make them smile, empathise or question’.

The evening will have a very local flavour. Winston believes that living in the Calder Valley affects our emotions profoundly: ‘There is something we benefit from that changes depending upon your altitude. You meet different weather systems, feel different emotions if you’re in the valley bottom or on the tops, every one of the senses has a different experience but all within a handful of miles. You never stop finding new pathways.’

Build a bridge!

This photo of The Shoulder Of Mutton Mytholmroyd is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The theme of the 2019 Mytholmroyd Arts Festival is Building Bridges. One of our workshops is taking this theme very literally. We at MAF HQ put on our high vis jackets to investigate……

Matthew Helbert is a local potter who’s got hold of the type of clay normally used to make bricks. If you go along to his workshop, you’ll be using some clay techniques to make the building blocks for a new bridge. The completed bridge will be on display during the festival. Don’t expect to use it to make any river crossings – the bridge is going to be less than a meter across.

If you go to this workshop you can expect to get your hands a bit muddy and find out about using clay to make sculptures. The workshops are open to everyone over 16.

Matthew says ‘’The unique thing about the Mytholmroyd Arts Festival is that everyone can get involved. You can try your hand at something you’ve never done before or exhibit in the Mytholmroyd Open.”

Details of all the MAF19 workshops and how to sign up will be available in the next few days. Check our Facebook page for up to date information about the Mytholmroyd Arts Festival or sign up for our newsletter via the link on our homepage!

Pizza and Story Telling at Redacre

A new event at Mytholmroyd Arts Festival 2019 will be an afternoon of story telling and pizza at the Redacre Growing Project. To find out more, we at MAF HQ put on our wellies for a walk round the site with Redacre member Leon Hampson.

During the afternoon event there’ll be storytelling, pizzas and bonfire. The pizza oven has just been built and Leon explained that ‘’Redacre will supply the dough and ingredients and the participants can design and make their own pizzas. We’ll cook the pizzas – they can be done in thirty seconds!’’. Redacre have been holding similar events for the last 2 years: ‘’When there are a few people gathered round the fire and the pizza oven there’s a great atmosphere’’.

Redacre felt like a semi tropical haven on the August evening I was there. Bees were buzzing and scent filled the air. There were grapes growing outdoors and huge globe artichokes, almost ready for harvesting. Redcare has raised beds, a pond and lots of fruit trees. Leon told me ‘’We have an apple press and in early October we have a tradition of members coming along to fill demijohns with juice’’.

Leon explained how being part of Redacre benefits both physical and mental health: “You see people coming along and just forgetting all their troubles’’.

Redacre is run cooperatively and there are nearly 90 members registered at the moment. For a £5 annual subscription, you can join as a Friend of Redacre and use the space, pick fruit from the community orchard and join in regular Community Days.

Redacre has links with other community groups too. For example, they’ve worked with We Grow Together and Calder Primary have their own allotment. Getting involved with Mytholmroyd Arts Festival felt like a very natural fit for Redacre.

Watch this space for more details of the MAF event at Redacre…….


For the first time, Mytholmroyd Arts Festival 2019 will be running printmaking workshops with the kind help of the Mytton Trust. There hasn’t been tradition of printmaking in the valley.  Mytton Arts Trust are printing pioneers and provide a friendly  team, fantastic equipment and a beautiful venue in Mytholmroyd.

We can guarantee that if you join our workshop you will have a lot of fun! You don’t need to bring any experience of drawing or print making. You’ll leave with a piece of printed work, which may be the first piece of art you’ve made since school! Your work can also go on display during the festival exhibition.

Since leaving art school, Kathy Mytton had a long term interest in etching and decided to set up Mytton Trust as a community based charity in Mytholmroyd. Andy Bolton was appointed to run the workshop. Andy had never done any printing before but now provides excellent technical support.  Andy confessed to MAF HQ that the first time he did any printing, he was so chuffed with the results, he burst into tears!

There will be two workshops each for over 60s and under 60s. The workshops will be led by a local artist specialising in print, with Andy providing the technical help. Participants will be using different printing techniques for the workshops.

Expect – fun, friendliness, inspiration!

And don’t forget: You can now submit your 2D work to the Mytholmroyd Open Art Exhibition.  There are now only 4 weeks left to submit your work.

Craftivism comes back to Calderdale

Craftism has been around a long, long time. 100 years ago hand made banners played a huge part in the Peterloo rebellion. You can see some examples of this type of craftism in the People’s History Museum in Manchester.

Us at Mytholmroyd Arts Festival HQ remember with fondness and sadness the AIDS Quilt of the 1980s, where each panel celebrated the life of someone who had died of AIDS, but also served as a focus of protest.

In the last few years, the number of people doing crafts has surged and Craftivism has become a big deal again, according to a report in Sunday’s Observer. The article contains some great stories of the impact Craftism has had – for example persuading bosses at M&S to adopt a minimum wage policy.

Fabric and sewing have always had an important part to play in Calderdale. We love a good bit of cross stitch, here at MAF HQ, and one of the workshops at the 2019 festival is going to be devoted to Craftivism. So if we have raised your interest, look out for information about our workshop programme which will be available soon.  Watch this space…

MAF 2019

Calling  all you Cake Slicers, Card Carvers and Clay Cutters. Mytholmroyd Arts Festival is coming on the 18th – 20 October! Do Do you want to sharpen- up  your skills at a workshop? Open your studio to the public? Or just come along for some sheer enjoyment? There’ll be more info on this website in the next few weeks.

Get printing!

The folks at MAF HQ have made some new friends. Mytton Arts Trust is a fantastic new facility for people who want to have a go at printmaking. The Mytton Arts Trust has a beautiful new studio in Mytholmroyd where they offer training and some brilliant facilities. More info here. MAF and Mytton are hatching some plans on how we can collaborate in the 2019 festival.

Clogging On – over 60s tell it like it is!

Mytholmroyd Arts collaborated with the University of Manchester this year to look at what makes the Calder Valley Age Friendly.  Thirteen people over 60 took part in a photography project which gave them an opportunity to capture images of what they though about living in the valley as an older person.  We will be producing an illustrated report of the findings of the project. If you would like a copy, contact us at arts@mytholmroydarts.org.uk

Some of the photographs have also been shown in exhibitions in Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall and will be exhibited in Manchester on 19th December at a seminar about the project. If you would like to attend the seminar, book a place using this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/age-friendly-rural-areas-tickets-49887716503

Here are a few of the photos taken by participants.