Return to Ritherdon work exhibited in ‘Each Toward the Other’, an exhibition featuring the work of Nicola Ellis, Joe Hancock and Hannah Leighton-Boyce at Bury Sculpture centre. 20 July – 9 November 2019


‘Soot, stairlifts, shelves, steel, powder coating, ladders and glass are gathered together in sculpture by Nicola Ellis, Joe Hancock and Hannah Leighton-Boyce. The works explore spatial and visual degrees of freedom by leaning, hanging, turning, standing, dwelling, pinning, resting and sitting.’



Info: Mild steel sheets and re-appropriated hooks covered in ‘dead’ powder’ (a collection of waste powder cleaned from the powder coating booth after every colour job). Each panel measures 230 x 115 x 0.5 cm. Installation at Bury Sculpture Centre 2019. Images by Jules Lister.

Follow the link below to red Derek Horton’s review of the exhibition on Corridor8:





Each Toward The Other: In Conversation & Performance event


An in-conversation event with artists Nicola Ellis, Joe Hancock and Hannah Leighton-Boyce at Bury Sculpture Centre on Saturday 28th September 2019.

Led by curator and arts writer Derek Horton, the artists will discuss their work in the exhibition ‘Each Toward The Other’ and expand on their working methods and wider artistic practice.

Joe Hancock will also be performing ‘How to put up a shelf (VI)’ in the Sculpture Centre. This is part of an ongoing series of investigations into ‘the process by which a utilitarian, ubiquitous object comes into being and is understood.’


Images by Ligia the Ritherdon Marketing overlord.


Friday is usually a half day at Ritherdon, so Matt and I put our surprisingly refined ‘unorthodox’ approach to powder coating to the test last Friday on 5 large panels destined for exhibition in the summer.

Giving the ‘dead powder’ a second chance to make it to the oven, it was applied to the metal in lashings. Surfaces were thick, heavy, matte, gloss and everything in between. As the dead powder is a collection of every colour used at the factory over an extended period of time, the exact colour codes used for the beautiful and precises regular powder coating jobs at Ritherdon are a distant memory. Instead we get a deeply unsettling range of intense greys, fluctuating thanks to the odd bit of anti graffiti and leatherette finish powder. The heavy textures also cause a kind of surface subsidence, pulling down and drawing out each coloured particle in the peaks and troughs.

This phenomena gives me a real thrill (nerd alert???). The powder does melt to become a liquid surface covering, but each particle retains its individual tiny spec of colour.

The aftermath.

DISCLAIMER: we totally disrupted the usual pristine Ritherdon paint shop for the afternoon. This is not usual factory practice!






I am looking forward to discussing Return To Ritherdon and my experience of my residency at the factory so far to contribute to two round-table discussions at The national festival of Making this weekend.


The first will be on Fri, 14 June 2019

15:00 – 16:30 BST at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery


Ideas emerging from the intersection of the arts, making, manufacturing and technology.
Roundtable discussion in association with Creative Lancashire

The work happening at the intersection of the arts, making, manufacturing and new technologies has the ability to transform manufacturing and associated industries.

The Art in Manufacturing (AIM) programme, a National Festival of Making highlight co-commissioned by SuperSlowWay, features ground-breaking collaborative commissions created by makers and artists paired with global manufacturers based in Lancashire. The relationships formed between manufacturer, workers and artists are rich and deep, resulting in high quality works and mutual benefits. The results are equally staggering and unexpected.

This discussion will consider the exciting ideas emerging from the likes of AIM, similar artistic interventions and other Createch’ endeavors, where technology connects with creativity to produce new activities and products.

We bring together creatives, technologists, industrialists, academics and thought leaders to discuss the possibilities inherent in connecting making, creativity, technical and digital capabilities, for Lancashire and beyond. We highlight the individuals and their ideas that often begin with artistic investigation; to how they are frequently appropriated into manufacturing processes.
Contributors include:

  • Dave Kirkwood (HOST)
  • Adele Orcajada (MaterialDriven)
  • Amy Pennington (AIM Artist)
  • Anna Ray (AIM Artist)
  • Charles Hadcock (Artist)
  • Dan Edwards (AIM Artist)
  • Jon Wilson (Darwen Terracotta)
  • Nicola Ellis (AIM Artist)
  • Oli Clarke (The Senator Group)

Book here for free tickets to the event:




The second discussion will be the Art in Manufacturing – Artist Panel
Taking place on Sunday 16 June 2019

14:30 – 15:30 BST at Blackburn Cathedral

Hosted by Jamie Holman, in association with Creative Lancashire.
Art in Manufacturing (AIM) is a co-commissioned collaboration between the National Festival of Making and Super Slow Way. It pairs artists and makers with manufacturers and domestic artisans, giving the artists access to specialist machinery and heritage craft techniques, to create work that forms an integral part of the National Festival of Making.

Over the festival weekend we offer opportunities to hear more about the works created for the 2019 AIM showcase, through in-situ talks, panels and interviews with the artists, commissioners and host manufacturers involved with the current and previous exhibits.
Panel Participants include:

  • Amy Pennington (2019 Artist)
  • Anna Ray (2019 AIM Artist)
  • Anthony Green (Blackburn Yarn Dyers)
  • Daksha Patel (2019 AIM Artist)
  • Dawinder Bansal (2018 AIM Artist)
  • Jamie Holman (Artist & Non-Exec Director of NFM)
  • Jon Wilson (Darwen Terracotta)
  • Liz Wilson (2019 AIM Artist)
  • Martyn Ware (Musician, 2018 AIM Artist)
  • Nicola Ellis (2018 AIM Artist)

This event is FREE to attend. Spaces are limited on the day, so please book your place in advance.

Jamie Holman is the host for this event. He is an artist, writer and lecturer who achieved critical acclaim after exhibiting in Bloomberg New Contemporaries 1996 at Tate Gallery Liverpool and Camden Arts Centre London. Holman worked in moving image and performance before developing a broader multi-disciplinary practice that included photography and sculpture.

Book here for free tickets:




I am very pleased to have new work from the Return to Ritherdon project exhibited in MAJOR Conversations: the industrial narrative exhibition at Platform A Gallery, Middlesbrough UK

Bobby Benjamin
Connor Sheilds
Craig Oldham
Faye Hadfield
Hannah Leighton Boyce
Helen Pailing
Kraig Wilson
Mary Griffiths
Nicola Ellis
Theodore Major

As heavy industry declines in the North of England, an understanding of areas with strong industrial heritage and identity have often been distorted by a ‘fog’ of political discourse and ideology; a rhetoric that has often obfuscated much of the personality and You atmosphere within its regions.

This exhibition contributes to the discussion through creative endeavour and viewpoints that may augment, or even subvert, a widely accepted narrative. Being an artist born in, or practicing, within these areas will inevitably prompt a reference to industrial heritage, albeit very often subconsciously.

The artists selected for ‘Major Conversations’ are connected to the North East and North West regions. They uncover a social reality and a lived experience within their work that runs alongside many other creative, intellectual, political or philosophical concerns.
Art and Industry have historically suffered an uneasy relationship since the Industrial Revolution due to the anxiety of certain eminent writers on art. John Ruskin famously feared that the ‘drawing styles encountered by workers were all industry and no art, dreamt up and imposed from without by enemies of creativity’. His opinion that art should draw upon the beauty of nature rather than the ugliness of industry is subtly countered here in ‘Major Conversations’.

Some artists in this exhibition may well explore the notion of amalgamating both artistic and industrial environments, but essentially it is a sense of place, emotionally ingrained into the artists’ sensibilities, that emerges naturally within their creations: a cultural legacy that has inexorably embedded itself into their consciousness and subconsciously informed many artworks.

These contemporary artists are explored within the context of a 19th Century artist, Theodore Major; a Wigan painter whose practice concerned the social & visual impact of heavy industry at that time. By juxtaposing Major’s violent industrial dystopias with contemporary work, the exhibition aims to explore reciprocal narratives and inter-generational connections that increase our understanding of the relationship between industrial heritage and art practice.

The exhibition is the first stage of a touring project that will expand the number of artists involved when it travels from the North East to the North West of the U.K. to test and broaden the narrative. Conversations and experiences surrounding both the exhibition and the arranged seminar will enrich the next part of the project; an exhibition that will take place at the Turnpike Gallery in Leigh in Feb-March 2020.

This exhibition is a collaboration between curator Mark Parham and Platform A Gallery.