CREATIVITY is being encouraged in the Dales with a series of workshops designed to improve awareness of local art industries.

Throughout November, events run by the Pop Up Gallery, with Richmondshire District Council funding, will give residents and visitors the chance to learn a new skill from some of the region’s most talented artists.

The project also aims to improve and enhance the awareness of Richmondshire’s creative and cultural industries, and to develop their success.

Sue Dewhurst from the Pop Up Gallery and organiser of the Dales Festival of Art, which takes place in late spring, said the event is a taster for the main festival next year.

She said: “It is really exciting that we can bring all these workshops to people at massively subsidised rates so they are much cheaper than they would normally be.

“These are professional artists so I’m thrilled we can put this on for people – I’m really excited about it.

“It is good to bring the art community together too – sometimes it can be quite isolating if you work alone and do not normally see your customers and other artists.”

The sessions take place on Saturday, November 16, 23 and 30 – kicking off at the Old School House Arts centre in Leyburn with felt-maker, Emma Fountain.

The morning session, from 10am to 1pm will explore needle-felting techniques to make Christmas decorations, and costs £4.50 per person.

It is followed from 2pm until 5pm by a wet-felting workshop to produce a picture, costing £7 per person. Places for this event are limited so booking is essential, there is an age restriction of 10 years and all children must be accompanied by an adult.

On Saturday, November 23 the workshop moves to Hawes as part of the Dales Countryside Museum’s craft show.

Chain-saw sculptor Andris Berg will be creating sculptures; story-teller Irene Lofthouse will be weaving stories and taking creative writing drop-in sessions; and the old-time skill of corn dolly making with be showcased by expert, Lynn Watkinson.

Redmire Village Hall is the base on Saturday, November 30 where there will be drop in workshops with a festive theme from 10am until 3pm.

Jeweller Stella Wardale –who has designed jewellery for Marks and Spencer - will be creating baubles and snowflakes using Swarovski crystals, beads and wire.

Willow weaver Josie East will be sharing her skills, to produce decorated green wreathes.

All workshops are funded by the Rural Development Programme for England Leader programme which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union.

The project has been match funded by Richmondshire District Council’s communities opportunity fund.

For information call Sue Dewhurst on 01748-810097.