How art developed in the Calder Valley

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Alan Holt: Following Wallace’s Passion

Spotlight Gallery, Dean Clough, Halifax until January 26.

A simple request to renovate a hand-carved ‘salt box’ set Halifax-based sculptor and relief carver Alan Holt on a journey of discovery, which can now be seen as an exhibition in Dean Clough Mill’s Spotlight Gallery. The salt box belonged to Pam Jordan and had been created by her grandfather Wallace Farrar (1877-1954, see portrait). But it formed only a part of a fascinating story of the mill worker and his exceptional artistic ability and also of the development of art within the Calder Valley as a whole. The exhibition, created by Alan with the help of both Pam and her sister Val, reveals a practitioner at ease with many facets of art from still-life drawing (the picture at the top of the page being a stand-out example of his work and understanding of light and dark shade as too is the one opposite) to intricate wood carving. Farrar studied for several years at Fielden School of Art in Todmorden, walking there nightly from his job in Mytholmroyd and eventually teaching others. Wallace’s work sits alongside examples of Alan’s own art. A wonderful brochure explains all. Alan’s website is www.reliefsculpture.co.uk