A cuppa with…Jaki Darlington and Caroline Hewitt from Pentimento Ceramics and Print

Glossop Creates caught up with creative duo,Jaki and Caroline from Pentimento, about their business, aspirations and their three favourite indie businesses in the town…

Tell us about your business or venture?  

We set up our business six years ago, after taking voluntary redundancy from long term jobs in education that were slowly destroying our souls. It was a blessing that we were given the opportunity when we did, and we now work from our studio (and kitchen) in Glossop. We make illustrated ceramic tiles, hand built animal and bird sculptures. We may be known more locally for our blue elephants and have been fondly referred to as  Tile Lady and Elephant Woman in the past. It’s only when the studio has been spring cleaned of clay dust that we are able to spend any time printing. Last August, we opened The Artful Pigeon Gallery with Kath from Silvermagic Jewellery, and we are members of the High Peak Artists who exhibit at Gallery in the Gardens, Buxton. 

What makes you stand out from the crowd?  

99.9% of what we make is hand built and decorated and is a unique one-off piece. Every now and then we use a mould to slip cast a product, but this is very rare. We like to explore humour in our work and so our  Elephants are often featured on roller-skates or are created with mice ‘friends’, contrary to the idea that Elephants are scared of them. All our ceramic animals are given names, personalising them so we like to think that they are being adopted when customers take them home.  

What inspires you about Glossop?  

We’re right on the edge of the Peak District and so, when we’re not working, we like to walk. We’ve lived in Glossop for 16 years and it’s only since we stopped the daily commute that we’ve really managed to explore the surrounding area on foot. After 10 years of spending so little time in the town where we live, we eventually discovered that there is a large creative network in Glossop, which we are now proud to be a part of. We are lucky to have such a range of independent shops, cafes and restaurants in Glossop, which provide lots of choice. Now we are part of a local business, we’ve learnt that customers are very loyal and enjoy shopping in our town and that’s a wonderful thing. 

Any exciting news to share with us/ forthcoming plans?  

We have recently been approached by a gallery in Haworth, Yorkshire,  to produce some work for them. We don’t have an outlet in Yorkshire so this is exciting news. Jaki is currently working on a series of sheep in jumpers for their newly acquired glass cases. We’re also in the process of  completing a very large kitchen tile commission and will be pleased when we finally see the tiles in situ. From 18th May to 18th June, we have an exhibition planned in the window of the Gallery called Wild Thing. The  exhibition includes some artists that have not exhibited in Glossop before, 

so we’re eager to see how well their work is received. This will coincide  with Glossop’s Victorian and Heritage weekend, Derbyshire Open Arts Festival, the Platinum Jubilee Bank holiday and hopefully some warmer weather!

What would you like to see in Glossop in the future?  

The traffic to and from Glossop is a real drag and does put a lot of people  off visiting the town, so a bypass that actually decongests the town of unnecessary traffic would be really helpful. The redevelopment of Victoria Hall as an Arts and Music venue is a very exciting prospect and could be  quite central to the continuing prosperity of Glossop. Attracting visitors to Glossop is good for local businesses and would benefit the town as a whole. Having a venue suitable for hosting regular exhibitions, events,  festivals, gigs and concerts on our doorstep would also be fantastic for  local residents.  

Tell us your three favourite local businesses in the town – and why!  Considering what has happened over the last two years, it is remarkable that we have so many new businesses in Glossop, so we’re spoilt for choice. Shelley and Owen are doing a fine job at The Bottle Store on George Street and they are very knowledgeable about their stock. They offer a wide range of unusual and locally sourced drinks that you can’t buy  in supermarkets. If you are after an interesting bottle, something alcohol  free or cocktail ingredients, it’s definitely worth a visit. As vegetarians, we both love Shepley’s Cafe in Old Glossop. It’s situated by the river with a  gorgeous outdoor seating area and the food is all wonderful. Finally, (and rather obviously) at The Artful Pigeon Gallery we represent over 40 artists and makers. We sell a very wide selection of handmade and original art for all budgets. We get so many compliments from enthusiastic customers  about the quality of work we choose to sell in our gallery. People comment  about knowing that they will always be able to find the right gift, so we  must be doing something right.