An insider's view: Hester Cox, print-maker
Can you tell us a little about your job and how you came to be doing it?
I’m an artist specializing in printmaking. I studied for a BA (Hons) Illustration at Harrow School of Art & Design but realised in my final term that printmaking was what I really loved. I now design and print limited edition collagraphs that I sell in galleries and I teach printmaking workshops.
What aspect of your job and the place where you work makes you feel happiest?
I feel at my happiest when I open my studio door in the morning and know that I have a full day of uninterrupted printing to look forward to. In the winter I will light the stove and put some coffee on and admire the view to Penyghent whilst preparing the inks for the first print. In the summer, I have the door open and I can hear the curlews and swallows and the sounds of the sheep.
What makes your business different?
I’ve spent the last twenty years experimenting and pushing my printmaking forward. Everything I make has been created by hand and by myself at every stage. I hope that I draw attention to the small details of nature and the landscape
If some one is feeling a little down and perhaps in need of a boost, where in the Yorkshire Dales do you suggest they should visit?
You can’t beat standing on top of a hill with the wind in your hair and the feeling that all your worries and cobwebs are being blown away. I would recommend a walk up Penyghent to liven the spirits.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I am a keen fellrunner and so is my fiancé. We spend most of our spare time running up and down hills with our dogs. The feeling of freedom and being at one with nature is exhilarating. When I’m not doing that, I’ll be enjoying coffee & cake at a local tea shop, supping a pint in a local pub or visiting a gallery.
If a visitor was coming here for two days what would you recommend they should try to do? Any particular places to eat or drink you'd like to recommend?
One day should be spent climbing a big hill and you can’t beat one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks for a decent view and a sense of achievement. If you walk up Whernside you also get a great view of the Ribblehead viaduct and perhaps catch a steam train passing by. That should be followed by a good feed at a lovely café. I particularly like Elaine’s Tearooms at Feizor, The Three Peaks Café in Horton-in-Ribblesdale (if you’ve done the full three peaks you can refuel and get your clock card stamped) or Ye Olde Naked Man Café in Settle. The following day should be more relaxing so I’d go to The Courtyard just outside Settle to see an exhibition at the Lime Gallery or to the Gavagan Gallery in Settle. I’d then drive over to Malham via the lovely road from Stainforth and stroll to the cove where you might catch a glimpse of the peregrine falcons. I’d follow that with a lazy pint and some tasty food at The Lister Arms. Dogs and muddy boots are welcome and the food is delicious.
Is there anywhere in the Yorkshire Dales that you feel sudden swooping joy?
Oxenber Woods on a spring day is hard to beat. We often go up there in the evening to look at the bluebells, primroses, cowslips and orchids. It is a magical place and it always makes me sigh with happiness to live in such a beautiful part of the country.
Is there a happy detail in everyday life that you enjoy but many of us miss?
I tend to take pleasure in very simple things and I’m an avid collector of natural objects. What many overlook I’ll treasure such as the broken shell of a skylark’s egg, a feather from a curlew, an old disused dunnock’s nest. When I’m walking or running I love looking for evidence of the animals and birds that live here and these finds feel like magical artefacts.
Where's your favourite place to just sit and look?
I walk a stretch of the Ribble almost every day and I often stop on the bridge whilst the dogs play in the water and I watch the dippers, grey wagtails and sandpipers. If you look in one direction you get a great view of Penyghent and if you look the other way you sometimes see the steam trains pass by on the railway line above. Every day is different and the water makes me feel relaxed.
Is a local person who you think embodies the Yorkshire Dales spirit - and why?
I’m only just getting to know people in Horton but I always make time to talk to my neighbours and the local farmers and they combine friendliness with a typical Yorkshire sense of humour.
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