Last week, I set out on a beautiful cross-country route through County Durham to The Hearth Art Centre & Cafe in Horsley, Northumberland, in order to meet up with textile artist Mandy Pattullo. The Hearth is a former manse which has been sympathetically converted into artists’ studios, with a cafe located in two ground-floor rooms. You can see the adjoining church in the photo below. The large church hall is behind these buildings; it was being used by a group of touring cyclists when I visited. The weather was beautiful – it’s hard to believe that these pictures really were taken in February!There are ten artists at The Hearth altogether. Several of the artists were in their studios when I was shown round by Mandy. The skills represented include: Textiles, Feltmaking, Printmaking, Watercolour painting, Ceramics, Illustration and Jewellery.
Mandy has a sunlit studio at the front on the first floor, with a lovely view out over the surrounding countryside. Mandy and I were contemporaries on the Textiles and Surface Pattern course at Cleveland College of Art and Design in Hartlepool and we shared lifts over the five years of completing the part-time degree course option. So it was good to catch up with what Mandy has been doing since then.Since our college days, Mandy has become increasingly involved in printmaking – running alongside her work in textiles – and conveniently, there is a print studio at The Hearth. In baskets round her own studio are many examples of her prints and also of the fabric collages she makes and embroiders, using recycled and vintage fabric including old quilts. Round the walls hang some attractive garments, including a skirt, a jacket and a small child’s coat, embellished with these techniques. You can see examples of Mandy’s work by going to her blog ‘Thread and Thrift’ which shows examples of her work and gives insights to things that inspire her (click here) .
Each year, Mandy teaches courses at The Hearth and elsewhere in the country. She has also been overseas to teach. Her classes are listed on her website (click here).
The Hearth artists are not always ‘at home’ on any given day, but The Hearth has Open Studios in May and November, and you can get full details from their website by clicking here.