Snug is one of my favourite words. It sounds just like what it means….. is that onomatopoeia? It also rhymes with trug. We all know I love a trug.
No surprise then that one of the best establishments to visit in our little town of Hebden Bridge is Snug Gallery – a place where the most tasteful of contemporary objects are displayed in perfect warm light and where the owner Ed Chadwick brings trugs (not just any old trug but the kind made of steam-bent ash, walnut and cherry wood no less) full of flowers from his allotment every week to bring life and scent to this oasis of calm.
I try and call in every week, often just to chat and gaze around at the cornucopia of contemporary ceramic, glass, wood and photographic art. Molly understands the rules – sit very quietly, don’t move a paw, and expect the wrapping process of anything – be it Rakes Progress magazine or large bowl – to take time, as layer upon layer of tissue are added and secured with extreme precision. Where Mrs B has ‘standards’, Mr Snug does too.
We try not to dwell upon the devastation caused here by the floods in the Christmas of 2015, but I was in awe of the way that many of our local businesses fought to restore their premises, and, for some, their homes too. The resilience shown by Ed and his partner Jill Shaddock (the ceramicist who I mention quite a lot) after flooding at the gallery, at home, and down at their beloved allotment is fairly typical of folk round here, and struck a chord with us because, as you know, we like to ‘keep on keeping on’ wherever possible. Out of many a storm comes opportunity, or whatever the Murakami phrase is, and, in the days post-flood, whilst planting up tulips in huge temporary (rubber not walnut) trugs with Jill (tulips kindly donated by www.peternyssen.co.uk to replace the ones that drowned), I realised that she loves flowers possibly as much, maybe even more, than I do. Since then I’ve spent time here with Jill just watching her ‘do the flowers’ and be transported into another place. She’s the other person in the garden on our ‘film’ – it seemed entirely right that summer to capture her snipping sweet peas.
Collaborations often just happen. You find the right people to work with, people who are on your wavelength and you work out what skills you all have and out of that comes an idea like: Simply Snug. What could be better than a day of escapism to the small corner, creating works of art with flowers in the most beautiful vessels, feasting on fine food, learning more about how to run a creative small business, and being given tips on how to take great photographs with ease?
Above flowers by A Curious Arrangement
That is the very simple idea behind a series of workshops we ran last year, and are repeating again this May. A small group of flower lovers (or potential flower lovers, because no previous experience is needed) come here to our Yorkshire hillside. From the smorgasbord of seasonal flowers in the workshop and garden we create floral designs with colours, shapes and textures that reflect you the ‘artist’ and that work in harmony with a handmade, silky smooth, perfectly formed, contemporary ceramic vessel lovingly crafted especially for that day’s class by Jill Shaddock.
Above flowers clockwise from top left – Owl House Flowers; Lucy MacNicoll Floral Design; Becky Crowley; Grace Alexander Flowers; Fig and Fern Floral; Painterly and Blooms
Where the Dutch Masters took weeks, even months, to paint their still life scenes, we take moments, to create a vignette and to capture it on camera, or using Ed’s favourite tool the iPhone, so that within minutes it can be shared around the world. Advice is offered, and conversations are started, about running a small business and using social media to help promote it. Most importantly, there’s a feast, a veritable banquet by Mrs B, in which she does not get to use the sacred pomegranate 😉.
Above flowers clockwise from top left – me!; Creative Glutton; Wolds Way Flowers; The Flower Mill Cornwall
Above flowers styled by Lucy Hunter
Photographs by Ed Chadwick of www.snug-gallery.com; wooden trug by Jane Crisp via Snug Gallery; vessels by Jill Shaddock www.jillshaddock.co.uk