THE 14th annual Art in the Pen took place at Skipton Auction Mart, writes Claire Hamilton.

Visitors weren’t put off by the dismal weather as thousands of people flocked to discover artwork and artists from across the country. The event welcomed art in all shapes and sizes, from statement metal sculptures to delicate jewellery, there was something for everyone.

Visitors and exhibitors alike commented on how the space of the auction mart lends itself well to the art on display.

Many of the 200 plus artists expressed how the natural world inspires their work, therefore to exhibit in stalls which hold livestock strengthens the intertwining atmosphere of nature and art at this event.

Artist Kath Bonson, hailing from West Yorkshire, voiced her appreciation for the Yorkshire countryside. Her ceramics are particularly inspired by the “landscape of big skies, open moors, dry stone walls, stone-built villages, hidden wooded valleys and everywhere, traces and reminders of the industrial past.”

Of course, the auction mart comes with its own quirky features, its largely open to the elements, with flittering swallows overhead.

Veteran exhibitor Leigh Shepherd, who has been displaying at the event for at least five years, heralded the benefits of covering her display at night with plastic sheeting – a recommendation for any budding artists who are thinking of attending next year.

The bustling aisles were jam-packed with visitors dodging dawdling children, curious dogs as well as prams and ceiling drips. Amidst this was Silsden based Jo Whitehead, of Artprimitif, who had created a pocket of calm with her vibrant artwork showcasing beautiful illustrations of local and exotic birds. A recording tape of birdsong added to this atmosphere, drowning out the sound of rain pounding on the roof – languid summer in an auction mart pen.

A real triumph of this year’s event were the interactive aspects, specifically the art shop, workshop and live art theatre. These areas encouraged creative exploration in which visitors could ask experts questions, get advice and watch demonstrations. Even the exhibitors themselves were passing the time by drawing, painting and sculpting in their pens. Clitheroe based painter Dermod Ruddock, who was in the middle of painting a radiant scene in Scotland, was particularly warm and welcoming to questions about his artistic process. Art in the pen, with its enthusiastic artists and atmosphere of collective creativity, instils inspiration upon its visitors. Organisers were delighted with the turn out and they are looking forward to next year.