Cornholme once had more than 50 shops and one of them has sprung back into life this month, showcasing beautiful solid wood pieces by artist Paul Croft in the building which used to house the village’s co-op store.
It is a pop-up gallery comeback for the Paul Croft Studio, Burnley Road, Cornholme, specifically selling work completed by Paul in the 1980s and 90s but previously unseen, encouraged by fellow Todmorden artist Anna Demkowicz.
Paul was first there circa 1981, when the building was partly derelict, later opening his studio until about the Millennium when, having studied art further at Todmorden Community College, the focus of his work began to change. Paul said: “It’s probably been around 15 years. My work has changed - I am doing a lot of photography now. This is entirely old work at a pop-up gallery especially for Christmas.
“I am still proud of it although I have moved on to different things, and looks at its best in a nicer setting.
“It’s very nice seeing the studio back in use because I had been using it for storage. We have painted it up and the main thing is people saying it’s nice to see something going on in Cornholme.”
Anna said she had been loved Paul’s work for a long time and having seen the rediscovered work worked with Paul to make it available again, helping ready the studio from September.
Anna said: “Forty years ago someone gave me one of Paul’s works for my 21st birthday but we only met more recently. We are both artists, so we have known each other for about a dozen years. This is all pre-2000 work, in perfect condition.
“Many of the pieces are taken from Paul’s lifelong interest in the mills and canals of the local landscape.
“Each one is beautifully realised in glowing satin colours, cut, stained and sealed.
“They speak of the part played by Todmorden in the world of a bygone industry and era, with locks and chimneys faithfully reproduced to capture our significant past as world leaders in the textile trade.
“Other pieces are purely imaginative, realised as mirrors, clocks, chessboards and decorative panels to grace any home. They too reflect our local landscape, or the old themes of house and hearth.”
The studio is open this week for the final time this year up to and including Sunday, noon to 6pm, but could return in the future. “That’s more likely to be as a one-off at a certain time of year, but people have also suggested making it available as a gallery for hire,” said Paul.