Art inspires across the generations

THREE generations of printmaking focusing on the Yorkshire Dales were represented at a workshop at Wensleydale School, funded by The Arts Society Wensleydale (TASW). Renowned local printmaker, Hester Cox, introduced year 11 pupils to both the wood engravings of Marie Hartley MBE (1905-2006) and her own relief collography. Collography involves collaging materials and textiles directly onto a plate prior to printing.

The students examined Marie’s prints, book illustrations and related woodblocks, expressing amazement at the high level of detail. They were inspired to produce their own plates and prints and were delighted with their collective results.

Marie’s wood engravings were made to illustrate iconic books on Swaledale, Wensleydale and Wharfedale, written by Ella Pontefract in the 1930s. Following Ella’s death in 1945, Marie collaborated with Joan Ingleby, publishing a total of 40 books on Yorkshire, which stand as an important social record of a passing way of life.

In 1979, Marie and Joan’s extensive archive of stories, photos and artefacts formed the core of the Dales Countryside Museum.

The museum’s manager, Fiona Rosher, commissioned Hester to handprint Marie’s blocks in sessions open to the public and to undertake her own work, inspired by both the Dales fells and Marie’s engravings. Hester’s fascinating blog is at The project will culminate in an eagerly awaited exhibition and further print workshops at the Museum from July to November 2020.

Louise Webb, Head of Art at Wensleydale School, said: “It was wonderful to see our students responding so positively to Marie’s work and Hester’s inspirational teaching. They gained a real insight into the creative possibilities of collographic printing from this workshop which they will take forward to their GCSE portfolio.”

Jenny Haywood, Young Arts representative for TASW, said: “This is the third year that we have supported print workshops at Wensleydale School. The excellent results show the power of art to inspire across the generations.”