Town’s a snug place but it’s opened up a world of arts

ART is all around in Hebden Bridge – and there’s plenty of talented people to talk about it.

Wednesday, 7th September 2011, 2:32 pm

Meet Ed Chadwick. He escaped city life in Manchester, moving to the Calder Valley in 2010, and set up his shop, Snug, in Market Street, Hebden Bridge.

The walls are full of creative treats, many hailing from talented local folk.

From local girl Hannah Greenwood with her gorgeous papercuts pieces and Todmorden-based Loretta Carney-Venters with screenprints, and there’s plenty to see. There’s also woodturner Ian Clarkson, who has a studio just down the road.

For Ed, Hebden Bridge was the natural choice to set up shop. “It’s just got a nice creative vibe about it. There’s a lot of artist’s studios in town and they’re all doing their own thing but it’s a little hub of creativity. There’s some really great work going on.”

In Market Street alone, there’s an abundance of artists championing their own, and others’, work.

“Between us we try to show different types of work. There’s enough room because we’re all featuring different artists,” said Ed.

Ed used to have a gallery in Manchester but, like many of its residents, when the time came to get out of the city, he decamped to Hebden Bridge.

Now he has built up a whole cross-section of customers.

“There’s people who come from further afield who are into our kind of stuff but we have a lot of local people too.”

Plans for expansion are coming along nicely too for Snug.

He’s now making “The snug at Snug” – a room at the back of the store where people can sit down and peruse the items at leisure.

Further down the road is long-term friend and another creative type Hannah Nunn.

Hannah opened Radiance in 2005 – in the shop Ed now runs. She not only sells her own work, but also that of 40 other artists, including goods from across Europe and America.

“When my children were tiny, I knew I wanted to do something. It started off making homemade cards and I was always holding them up against the lights. Then, thanks to an Arts Council grant, we had the money to research the idea and we put it into practice,” she said.

Hannah has seen Market Street change plenty over the last six years. “When I first moved here it was nothing. There was hardly anything on it and now there are so many independent shops and we all help to pull the customers in from further afield.

“People in Hebden Bridge are quite arty and independently minded,” said Hannah.

Her lamps each take varying amounts to craft.

Some are laser cut and take a matter of hours (although, they have taken Hannah years to perfect) whereas others take days to craft.”

Both Hannah and Ed are part of the Hebden Twitterati. Like many of the individual shopkeepers they use social networking to reach their customers, and chat to each other.

“It’s really nice,” said Hannah. “It’s a great way of getting to know people and knowing what they’re up to,” she said.

There’s plenty of art to explore in Hebden, with galleries and artists a-plenty they will continue to find find inspiration and inspire their customers.