Kathryn had the day off work today — so I took time off from web design to do something” with my wife. We decided to visit the local art gallery, The Mercer. There was a retrospective for a deceased artist, who I had not really heard of at all — to find out that it was a textile artist … well, I cannot name another textile artist … her name was Shiela Bownas.

Shiela Bownas, I believe, was based up near Skipton for the majority of her years and she was somewhat a bit of an invisible’ designer. In that: if you described her as a lost’ designer you would imply that she was once well known. Unfortunately, Bownas did not get much credit for her art during her lifetime having sold on her designs to Liberty of London and Crown Wallpaper.

The collection that was housed in The Mercer stretched from the 1950-70’s. My personal favourite was the very colourful post-war years. I have a glicée print of one of her designs from that era as a souvenir. It was purchased on my first scouting of the exhibition to see if Kathryn would like it. We returned – Kathryn loved it! The glicée print is framed having been with a picture framers for a week.

I believe the collection is the personal property of a Chelsea Cefai — who bought a collection of textile drawings at auction to decorate the house she had just renovated.

As ever, the staff at The Mercer were welcoming and polite and the exhibition exceeded expectations. We then hot footed out of the gallery into the autumnal weather — it has been a bit of a funny autumn but still pub.

Kathryn went to Oxfam and I head over to Major Tom’s Social for a pint. I quickly set up a tab and Kat joined me — she was drinking a fruit beer that was a collaboration between Wylam Brewery and Brew York // I was on the Stonecutter Pale.

Both Pints seemed good — Kat stuck with half and I went and had a few. Pizzas were ordered and we pegged it through the rain, with my trousers gradually slipping off my hip, into the night.

It is rare that Kathryn and I get to do stuff together — it is either my health or prior commitments that stall progress. We must make the best of our time together before anything happens — seize the day and all that.

And, today — we seized it with both hands.


Andrew Backhouse is a Yorkshire-based artist working with time-based media and digital collage. He is a self-confessed radio geek and he hopes to share his wonder. He also wants to share his naivety and enthusiasm for finding something interesting. Henri Chopin, AGF, and RuPaul influence Andrew’s artistic enquiry. Documenting “The new shiny thing,” Andrew tries to share his excitement for it. But, he also asks about its authenticity and worth.

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