I only tend to venture into Headingley if I really must. It’s not you, Headingley, it’s me. It is pure laziness on my part and, as I’m sure most Hyde Park inhabitants will agree, it just seems like a long way. This may all sound a little over the top, but I know friendships that have been broken by the distance. As a Bodington fresher, Headingley was only a short bus ride down the road and it had pretty much everything a student could need. Yet, now, I somehow never seem to be able to muster up the energy to pull on some shoes and plod along Otley Road.
This week I found myself pulling on said shoes and making the pilgrimage in a bid to stretch my legs after spending Wednesday staring out of my window at the rain and to make the most of the good weather. Whilst I was there I got a little curious and decided to head out past the limitations of Arndale Centre to The Bowery. This is a place I had heard of but never actually been to, so off I went with the intention of ogling the annual celebratory exhibit of work by GIRLS WHO DRAW; a collective of female illustrators. Their exhibition entitled ‘Masquerade’ is to commemorate their latest limited edition book of postcards. Each artist was left to interpret the theme as they wished and the result is a quaint little gallery in the upstairs of The Bowery full of brightly coloured prints, wooden pieces, illustrations and hanging trees. The gallery space is perfectly nice and very inviting but generally smaller than I’d imagined and I was a little disappointed. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled recently with vast white cube style spaces. In a general sense, the work on display was a little too quaint for my taste, although‘Tommy Cooper’ by Beth Morrison is the kind of thing I’d snap up without thinking if I had the money and the Bulgarian folk work by Karoline Rerrie was undeniably eye catching.
I liked the idea in general of an exhibition of illustrators as I don’t see very many, however, unfortunately it didn’t pack quite enough of a punch to make me want to rush over here and try to convince you to go.
I also spent so long walking to Headingley that I didn’t even have time for coffee and a little time to reflect before I had to sprint in the opposite direction towards campus. I did manage to catch a promising sign on my way out- if you’re into making a little art now and again they do run workshops upstairs too. All things said, if you’re a) living in Headingley or b) more motivated than myself and you’re looking for somewhere other than your bedroom to work in, the cafe underneath the gallery seems like a relatively unspoiled place to set yourself up for the day. Also, I hear that their coffee is ridiculously good, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. Oh, and nip upstairs to the exhibition too- it’s free.