…and why you should too!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sometimes it does take an outsiders perspective to see what is so great about where you live! As an outsider to Huddersfield myself (well I’ve lived here for 8 years, so I’d like to think I’m well on my way to Honorary Huddersfieldian Status) I must say Huddersfield is GREAT! I like to think my little shop goes some way to adding to and celebrating the rich vibrant nature and art scene of the town. All the photographs, paintings and artwork featured in this post are available in Crafty Praxis and the majority are by Huddersfield based artists.
I moved to Huddersfield to study at the University, (much to my mother’s annoyance) The University of Huddersfield was originally my ‘wild card’, as it was furthest away from home, just to fill out space on my UCAS application. After visiting for an open day I fell in love with the town (and the course/uni but mostly the town!) and my path was set! Since the first day of moving here Huddersfield has felt very much like my home and, like many of the people I met at Uni, I doubt I’ll ever leave!
Stepping out of the Train Station, which is one of the first things many visitors to Huddersfield will do, you could be forgiven for thinking that the building is the clock tower from Back To The Future (incidentally my favourite film(s)!). It has been described by Nicholas Crane, presenter of BBC’s programme Town, as “more of a palace than a station, a kind of stately home with trains in” I remember after Town was broadcast, the buzz among the people of Huddersfield lasted for weeks! Everyone you spoke to was proud to be from Huddersfield. Keeping on the topic of the Station, which itself has featured in much local artwork, I must also talk about Felix. Felix is the Train Station cat who I’ve drawn myself and blogged about before. She has quite the fanbase and has a selection of fan art all of her own!
If you drive to Huddersfield, even via the motorway, though the country roads are more exciting, you can’t help but be blown away by the scenic views and atmospheric skies that greet you the closer you get. The moody skies often feature in artwork based on Huddersfield and it’s landmarks, take the above painting of Huddersfield Train Station by artist John Williams and the below paintings of Castle Hill by local artists David Coldwell and Rachael Gorton, the photograph by Noel Bennett or the pointillism art by local Duncan Osbourne. I know when I’m on my way back to Huddersfield after even just a day away, I feel I’ve arrived home once I can see Castle Hill!
Huddersfield has a rich textile history which has inspired many professional artists and students alike, take these postcards by local artist Kim Searle, she made them while a student but their quirky imagery and interesting compositions make them popular today!
It’s been a number of years since the Town documentary I mentioned earlier in this post and the people of Huddersfield have become more pessimistic about the town. Like many towns and cities across the country is full of £1 shops, bookies and fast food outlets. Scratch the surface however and you’ll find Huddersfield does have a vibrant independent shop scene, with several shops, cafes and bars throughout the town centre and not to mention the arcades!
As many of you may have noticed, I’m always trying to promote the Byram Arcade through the monthly fairs etc. as I really do think that it is a hidden gem. I also think that by virtue of being full of business that are purely ‘of Huddersfield’ Byram is now the heart of the town. It may not be in the centre of the centre but all the businesses are indi, local and not chains and even the coffee in The Blue Rooms is Bean Brothers (roasted in Bates Mill in Huddersfield)!
I meet a lot of people by virtue of running my own shop and it is interesting to see just how many Huddersfield locals have forgotten completely about Byram and how many new arrivals, and day trippers to the town are taken in by it’s stunning architecture and quirky shops. As I have been writing this a lovely couple of ladies from Hull popped in who had been visiting to see the architecture and are most impressed by what we as a town have to offer as both shops and buildings!
That’s only just touched on what makes art love Huddersfield, I’ll write more about Huddersfield art’s scene, including Holmfirth Art Week and other local events, in future blog posts so keep checking back for more!