There are many excellent reasons to return home to the UK - my favourite arty reason however, has to be going on art adventures with my Uncle Tom.
This time was no different.
We set off in his trusty old campervan, Uncle Tom assuring me of it's road worthiness due to a recent MOT test. I got more than an art trip to his studio based in Houldsworth Mill, Reddish, I also received a fascinating commentary through the streets of Manchester. I was surprised to realise how little I knew about the City of my birth.
We arrived at the Mill, my uncle explaining how he'd nicknamed the area where his studio was housed: Desolation Row. The concept of the mill as a shared art space was excellent, the execution of the idea sadly didn't match. This quickly became apparent as we walked the long corridors past Bert and Ernies Fish shop and the mostly unused studio spaces. Although they weren't supposed to, several of the tenants stored furniture along the walls of the corridors (before gong AWAL) giving it a flea market/junky appearance.
Uncle Tom's neighbour Harry however proved to be a welcoming and cheery soul who was happily
re-covering a chair that'd been in a family for years. Despite the itchy fabric (suspected dust mites) he gave us a fascinating run down of his life as a maker. After a quick look at his website Wrarity Homestyle
I was in no doubt he would do an excellent job with the old chair.
And then we came to the studio. My Uncle paints and sketches and like any artist, there's a story behind each piece. If you want to know what they are, I filmed him!
I adore my Uncle Tom and his art, I love how it seeps into all aspects of his life from his attic down to the old cellar in his large Victorian home which I have the pleasure in staying in when I visit. I love that he's always challenging himself as an artist not simply content to plateau, but to continue to explore and discover new ways to producing art.
My Uncle Tom. Artist.