Kirkstall Art Trail – ‘Walk and Create’ and ‘Abbey Flowers’

Blog, Community, Events, Exhibition, Kirkstall Arts, Walking Art, Workshops

Walk an Create



As part of Kirkstall Art Trail

We shall meet at 11am outside the Gatehouse Cafe, Abbey House Museum, Abbey Road.
Bring your sketch pads, pens, cameras*, and above all your imagination.

We will be walking around the grounds of the Abbey, visiting the gardens, looking at some of the exhibitions and chatting with the artists on the art trail.

During our meander we will sketch, write, take photos, about our experiences. We will finish off our work back at the visitor centre. There will be some paper, pens, scissors, glue etc available at the centre.

All work will be shown on the Sunday of the art trail in the visitors centre – so you will part of your very own exhibition.

*any camera, phone cameras are perfect!

Abbey Flowers

SATURDAY 21st JULY – Gatehouse Cafe (11am-4pm)
SUNDAY 22nd JULY – Abbey House Walled Garden (11pm-4pm)

As part of Kirkstall Art Trail , I will be showing a collection of flowers, plants and bugs taken during walks with my dog, all shot with my handy iPhone.
All plants were found in the gardens next to Abbey House Museum


Kirkstall Stories – Family Workshop

Arts Events, Community, Events, Exhibition, Kirkstall Arts, Workshops

This weekend was the 3rd annual Kirkstall Arts Trail. This year  I opted to run a family workshop for Abbey House Museum (Leeds Museums). I’ve been running quite a few story based workshops, and thought a Kirkstall Stories inspired workshop would be great.
We were moved over to the Abbey’s Visitor Centre, which was a great idea, as we were based alongside the main KAT hub, and tea and biscuits on tap!

The day has been very warm, and we were visited by lots of people; sharing the space with a face painter was brilliant, even parents joined in, I haven’t seen many butterflies around recently, but saw plenty today. We worked well together, whilst waiting to have their faces painted, children could take part in the Stories workshop.

Some of the little storybooks the children created were inspired by their time in the Abbey, what they had seen on the trail, or they were just inspired by brilliant imaginations (they all had brilliant imaginations). I am a great fan of using different materials to illustrate with, and we had a variety materials, coloured paper, glittery bits, sticky eyes, coloured pens and pencils, and plenty of different fabrics to use (kindly donated by my friend Kim Searle). I find if someone isn’t fond of drawing, then collage with materials is often a good choice. I also had my trusted story cubes, and photobooks of things mostly photographed in Kirkstall as inspiration.

I really enjoyed the workshop, and sitting with families listening to what they had been up to on the trail, it’s wonderful that Leeds has so much to offer families that is free to participate in.

I didn’t see much of the trail sadly this year (due to illness), so I look forward to seeing all the photos of the weekend being posted online.

Please click on the images and scroll through them, they give insight into the book creation and tell more about the stories the participants were illustrating.

All photos taken on iPhone and edited in Lightroom


Spring in Colour

Diary, Kirkstall Arts, Nature

One of my favourite things is walking with my dog. Taking my camera phone with me, I find myself taking photos of nature, whilst he is sniffing amongst the roots. Spring always pleases me, I never tire of looking at the plants and watching them go from bare branches into blossom, fascinated by the process. I love this time of year, and discovering the names of the plants – with my mum as my tutor; finding tiny guests sitting on petals; the gorgeous burst of colour. Spring must brighten even the darkest winter hardened soul.
All these photographs were taken with my iPhone in the Kirkstall Abbey parklands and Abbey House museum walled garden.

You can also do your own bit for Bluebell Watch and, log your findings for the Woodland Trust.

Find plants, and tips and advice about gardening on the Royal Horticultural Society website.

Yellow Alyssum

Green Alkanet




White bluebell (without any pigment)

Clematis Montana

Clematis Montana


Cherry Blossom





Cuckoo Flower

Japonica Mahonia

Japonica Mahonia

Wild Cherry



Ramsoms (wild garlic)






White Heather

Ornamental grass

Red Valarian

Large Periwinkle (vinca major)

Tufted Vetch 

Kirkstall Arts Trail – 18th July 2015

Arts Events, Community, Events, Exhibition, Kirkstall Arts

Myself and fellow photographer, Mat Dale, finally got to exhibit our work – images taken from out Neighbours Project – which we produced especially for the Kirkstall Art Trail.

Below are the images we displayed in our garden:

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Lauren and her most treasured possession. Maya the cat.

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Sarah, Rob and Huxley. Rob chose his synthesiser (a classic old school model), we convinced him that Huxley should be included, so we had an impromptu session with Huxley choosing the sounds! We’d also like to thank him for the beetroot he gave us from his allotment.

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Lauren and Tom. He chose the guitar his Father gave to him when he was just six years old.

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Andy, who’s helped me and Mat out with some of plants in our garden. The devastating story behind his most treasured possession, will bring a tear to even the coldest heart. He is holding a photograph of his son Daniel, who sadly passed away only days old. He would have been 22 now.

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Jim and Miriam, a recently married couple, who have since moved away into a new home. The box contains messages from the guests at their wedding and they continue to add to it, writing things they are thankful to God for.

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Rob and Nikki. Rob chose his bike as his passion is cycling.

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Mindy and Mat. Well, it wouldn’t seem right if we didn’t pick our cameras! Here you can see Mat’s 35mm film and medium format. But I had to be different and show off my museum of cameras that just won’t work anymore (they don’t make the film for them). Included is my first ever camera, the Halina 110; a disc camera (I’m pretty sure my Aunty took the last undeveloped films on this camera); a Polaroid Land camera (which uses single shot film); and my prized possession, the TLR that my late father owend, his pride and joy. I cleaned it up when I inherited it, and finally got it to work again.

On the day of the exhibition:

We had over 130 visitors to our garden, with some amazing feedback from the people we met. Some telling us it was one of their favourite stops on the trail; how wonderful it was to get involved with our neighbours (I even met our neighbours from the street behind us); what a brilliant way to open up to the community. Local Councillor Fiona Venner gave us high praise indeed, stating that ours and Mandy Long’s sculptures (which I have to agree are fabulous) and our garden exhibition was her favourites by far. I think I may have blushed.

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Kirkstall Art Trail 2016? Maybe we will discover all the little social clubs, sports and leisure….

Additional photography by Mat Dale

Kirkstall Arts Trail 3

Arts Events, Community, Events, Exhibition, Kirkstall Arts

Kirkstall Arts trail is not far away now – Saturday 18th July. My housemate and photographic collaborator, and myself have been meeting with our neighbours, and getting to know their story.
It’s been a wonderful experience, excuses to pop round and say hello to neighbours are very few. Neighbourhoods are not as cohesive in this area due to the migrating population of young professionals and graduated students. We know of a couple of long term residents, who can tell us about how the street has changed, but the warmth that they exude is very encouraging, it makes a neighbourhood feel homely, comfortable and an attractive place to live. We hope this project and the connections we have made, lasts long into our time on the street.

These are some of the shots that we have taken. I focus on the details, the precious and most prized possessions. The portraits are taken by Mat, as his style is more involved with people.

Image below by Mat Dale.


A map of the trail can be viewed here.