Welcome to The Tin Shed's Spotlight On.
This is where you can get up close and personal with our guest artists and makers, see their latest work and catch up with their news and updates.
The Tin Shed's latest visitors are Teesside textile designer Jean Haste who's using an ancient artform to update everyday household items and television presenter Ian Payne, whose lockdowns led him to discover new artistic talents.
We've also been meeting artist Peter Hallam, who reveals more about his latest exhibition .
Our other Spotlight On guests are Northumberland artist Peter Podmore and Edinburgh-based Wendy Helliwell.
Scroll down to see more.
Silk painting is an ancient tradition used widely throughout China and other parts of Asia before the invention of paper two thousand years ago.
Paper was a cheaper alternative, leading to the demise of silk painting, which was kept alive by local artisans.
In the 1930's their work was spotted at an exhibition in Paris and silk painting underwent a fashion revival. It's popularity and uses have continued to grow...who'd have thought it would end up decorating kitchen splashbacks and perspex screens.
In fact textile designer Jean Haste, is always thinking of new ways to apply her silk painting.
Jean, from Stockton-on-Tees, is a member of the Guild of Silk Painters, fell in love with silk painting because of the intensity of the colour it can produce. She also likes the element of surprise, because the artist only has limited control over the end result, in what is quite a complex process.
Methods vary, but the art involves stretching 100% white silk fabric in a frame after pre-washing it, then applying resists (if you want a more defined image) then textile paints or dyes. The painting then has to be fixed with steam or heat, so it becomes permanent., then it's all washed again.
Jean explains that this complex process usually takes place in her kitchen, where she uses a massive vegetable steamer, or two, on top of her stove to fix the artwork.
At the moment her main range includes silk scarves, jewellery and purses, though she has used silk to create lamps and lampshades. She also fuses the silk onto glass bowls and vases. Recently she was commissioned to created silk covered perspex screens and glass kitchen splashback. (Pictured below).
Jean says the main challenges of these large pieces were getting a big enough frame to stretch the silk and making sure it didn't get any air bubbles in it when it was laid out.
Visit Jean in The Tin Shed's online artists' studios and email Jean for more info at
Ian is best known as the main anchor of ITV's North East Tonight news programme and before that as a sports' presenter. What he isn't known for is painting. In fact, until recently even Ian didn't know he had such artistic ability.
Always interested in art, his wife Tessa gave him a ‘starter set’ of acrylic paints for his birthday at the beginning of 2020.
"I think she (correctly) thought I could do with something to help me switch off and relax my mind occasionally," he says.
However it was only during lockdown a couple of months later, that he started following some YouTube beginner tutorials and then had a go at copying a couple of favourite photographs, one of Filby Broad in Norfolk (below) a special place for him and his parents another is the forest at Close House in Northumberland.
When Ian's local pub landlord heard about his new found skills, he challenged him to paint a picture of Sycamore Gap for him. The painting now has pride of place in the pub at Heddon-on-the-Wall.
"I’m flattered and a little embarrassed to see it there" says Ian. "I’m definitely still a beginner!! "
Ian says one of his recent guilty pleasures has been to watch Sky's Portrait Artist of the Week.
"I was hooked on it! The artists are all so talented. I’ve joined their Facebook Live sessions on Sunday mornings. It’s a paint-along with a different artist and sitter each week".
He says more than a thousand people join in from across the world, creating a lovely community feeling with a really supportive vibe.
"In these uncertain times of worrying lockdowns and disturbing divisions, I feel I’ve stumbled upon a relaxing & heartwarming way of socialising with kindred spirits across the globe - all of us starting with our own blank canvases." Here's a selection of Ian's work, including his "commission" of that famous tree.
When you see Peter Hallam's work, not only is it instantly recognisable, but will probably stop you in your tracks and make you ask, "who are these colourful characters".
It's fair to say that they are all individuals, each with their own character and story. Peter admits they're often based on real people he's met throughout his life...but they can take on many forms before he's happy with the final piece.
He explains "People are so interesting and diverse. There's a massive range of characters. Painting people seemed to develop naturally, and there is never ending scope...every face is different".
This one, Bird Girls Go to Heaven, is his personal favourite.
"It's the depth in the eyes and it has a bird like quality. Growing up looking after birds and animals has influenced my work."
Peter grew up in rural Nottinghamshire with his parents and a menagerie of animals, including a crow called Albert.
He had a passion for art from a young age and was encouraged to pursue this and attend art school. However he left after just two days and remains largely self-taught.
Now living in the Scottish Borders, Peter has been a professional artist for more than 20 years. He has explored and refined his surrealist style and specialising in abstract landscapes and portraiture. His preferred subject is people and his latest collection of oil paintings showcase his unmistakable technique and use of colour.
Peter has exhibited throughout the UK and USA, including the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. In 2006 he won The Cravens Art Prize for his painting ‘Don’t Feed The Animals’, inspired by Celebrity Big Brother.
He regularly has sell out shows at the Biscuit Factory in Newcastle and his work is becoming increasingly collectable.
Peter is part of this year's current Winter Exhibition at The Biscuit Factory.
To get a taste of the exhibition, head over to The Tin Shed's online gallery, where you can see his new work.
More of Peter's work can be seen at:
Artist Peter Podmore's life and work changed dramatically in the early 1990's all thanks to a passing cloud while walking in the Cheviots.
After leaving art college 17 years earlier he'd always worked in abstract format, but that day he noticed how a valley bathed in sunlight could be suddenly transformed by a passing cloud into a dark, cavernous fold.
"It was something I'd noticed before, but it had never made such a strong impression on me," says Peter.
"The idea that light can change shape, form and sensation was something I'd tried to explore in my abstract work, but I suddenly felt the need to investigate more by going out into the landscape itself, by drawing in the open air.
"I was becoming involved in the work in a completely different way and in a way I enjoyed."
Peter moved from Newcastle to Westnewton in 1995, where he still lives and works from a nearby studio.
He is now recognised for his sea and landscape work which reflects the beautiful and restless land and seascapes of North Northumberland.
Here is a selection of this work, which is mainly in pastel, a medium he prefers because it enables him to work quickly and freely in the open air.
Visit Peter's website to see more:
Edinburgh artist Wendy Helliwell is as passionate about recycling as she is about her work.
In fact it often IS clothes, pages from glossy magazines and thrown away items in her statement pieces.
She says the evolution of her Erwin Blumenfed-inspired works took an unplanned turn when she received a beloved piece of clothing that was too special to throw away.
Instead, she transformed it into one of her 3D artworks.
It's also led to a new project, Lipfill Not Landfill.
Wendy is quick to explain that this is nothing do with cosmestic procedures, but layering recycled clothes to create her sculptural pouts.
Wendy is also well-known for her colourful Quirky Queues, often created from the same issue of a magazine to capture the mood of the time. She says these pieces are a perfect platform to showcase her love of fashion and highlight today's culture of consumerism, excess and waste. Many feature shopping trips, VIP parties, ladies who lunch and designer handbags.
Wendy creates the ghost-like faces of her characters with just a flick of nail varnish. They could be the very fashion editors and models from the pages of the magazines used to create them.
Last year Wendy's sculpture for the Oor Wullie BIG Bucket Trail helped raise over £5,000 for the charity when it was auctioned off.
Aff Yir Rocker paid homage to Scottish music and the importance of recycling. It was created using clothing donated to the charity by some of the country's greatest musicians including Midge Ure, Shirley Manson and Jim Kerr
It also features performers' signatures such as Lewis Capaldi, seen here.
After being on public display at Waverley Station, Aff Yir Rocker was bought by the owner of the Edinburgh Corn Exchange where it is now displayed
Wendy's work can be seen in a number of Scottish galleries and she's a regular at art fairs in Edinburgh and the Borders.
Or visit her site at https://www.wendyh.com/