Made in Colchester Art Exhibition

We are very pleased to be hosting an exhibition of work from ‘Made in Colchester’, a collective of artists and creative crafters living and working in the area. The works exhibited provide an insight into the wide range and diverse styles of this talented group of artists.

On the afternoon of Saturday 21st October there will be an opportunity to meet the artists behind this wonderful collection. Come along to the shop between 2.30 and 5 pm and find out more about the collective.

Made In Colchester are a collective of artists, makers and designers who are based within the Colchester area.

We are a diverse group with a common thread of Colchester, quality and innovation. We spread the work and message of the collective through shows, workshops, talks, exhibitions and fairs. We also aim to to promote the wealth of creative talent and skills that can be found within the Colchester art scene.

The exhibition continues until Friday November 11th.

Street Hunt: Explore Colchester, have fun, win money!

Get the book, check the clues and start hunting!

Win up to £10,000! Street Hunt is a kind of visual crossword puzzle, a treasure hunt where the riches are road names, a story emerging from the page: and your chance to win up to £10,000!

The treasure hunt book project has been put together by Colchester Arts Centre working with artist, Joshua Sofaer. A poem has been written with words from Colchester road names. A book of photographs shows the street signs and their surroundings but with the names removed. You have to work out what the streets are, using the emerging story of the poem to help you. The first person to submit a correctly completed book with all the right answers wins. The prize is the total cash fund of the amalgamated book sales with a guaranteed minimum of £1,000 and a maximum of £10,000 if all the books printed are sold. The more money we receive the bigger the prize pot gets. Books are available from midday on Saturday 16th September 2017 at Red Lion Books, 125 High Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1SZ. Find out more here.  

Picture Books Exhibition: a project by artist Lee Thomas

What is your favourite book title?

Our November/December art exhibition will feature book themed paintings, and artist Lee Thomas is looking for you to inspire him!

We would like to hear from you with book related suggestions….titles, characters, favourite quotes, scenes, even locations from stories, which Lee will turn into individual paintings or drawings. The resulting body of work will then be shown in the Picture Books exhibition and be available to buy as a unique booky Christmas present.

You can send your suggestions in by email or drop them into the shop. If your suggestion is picked your name can be displayed alogside the work and you will receive a free print from the artist. The final date for suggestions is Saturday 7th October.



Stitched Harbours – an exhibition of textile art







The exciting new exhibition showcases the talents  of two local textile art groups, ‘stitchers inc’ and ‘Lost the Thread, showing together for the first time. The two groups have been exploring textile arts for several years (stitchers inc. celebrated its first major exhibition in Aug 2016) and draw members from all over the north of Essex and south Suffolk. They come together enjoying the boundless inspiration and expert guidance provided by Little Tey-based artist and tutor, Alex Waylett.

The harbour theme, chosen for this exhibition, is one which resonates strongly with many of the group and places pictures range from  loved local views – such as Wivenhoe and Maldon, through equally loved but more distant scenes from our own lives, to ones which have strong family connections both current and ancestral.


The exhibition runs through to the end of September



A look ahead at some new books published in September

Here is a section of titles that caught Sarah’s eye while browsing the Autumn catalogues. They are all scheduled to hit the shelves during September.

 Air Force Blue   by  Patrick Bishop

A very readable history of the RAF. Patrick Bishop tells the stories of individual pilots, through their letters and diaries and interviews. It is more than the air force history in WW2. It is the story from the Chief of the Air Staff, the pilots, engineers. The story of the battles, the tactics, the Spitfires and the Bombers. The triumphs and disasters and the terrible cost borne by the young pilots.

HarperCollins Hardback price £20.00.

Books That Changed History

A selection of 75 books dating from 3000BCE to the present day. The books, the stories behind them, and why are they so important? Are we in the swansong of books, I hope not? Or will the physical books continue to change the world?


Dorling Kindersley Hardback,  price £20.00.

Little Big Things  by Henry Fraser

On a holiday with his friends 17 year old Henry Fraser dived into the sea. He never walked again, he was paralysed from shoulder down. His remarkable account of how he is living his life now with optimism and enjoyment. An inspirational and hugely impressive young man. He leads his life determined that ‘every day is a good day’.

Orion Hardback, £12.99


Entitled by  Chris Bryant

How did a bunch of greedy, powerful, corrupt, arrogant bunch of aristocrats end up owning most of our nation? A fascinating and entertaining history of the British aristocracy.


Doubleday Hardback, £25.00


 Inkspired  by  Betty Soldi

‘Home-made’ is on increasingly popular, and now ‘home written’ is given a fresh make-over. This book gives techniques to make even the most unsure to have confidence to put pen to paper. The results could surprise. ‘It all starts with ink’.


Kyle Books, paperback, £16.99

Legacy of Spies by John Le Carre

A new Smiley spy story.

What a fantastic prospect.


Viking hardback, £20.00


 RHS Encyclopedia of Garden Design  by  Chris Young

New and expanded edition of this classic. For any aspiring gardener, this is the way to transform your outdoors. Plenty inspirational ideas and a lot of hard work. But it should be worth it.


Dorling Kindersley hardback, £30.00


Seagull by Ann Cleaves

Vera, the scruffy Yorkshire detective, meets an old adversary. He opens up a whole can of worms. The past comes to bump into the present with bodies turning up. Vera has her work cut out to disentangle all the threads.


Pan Macmillan hardback, £16.99

Spook Street  by Mick Herron

Mike Herron’s group of dysfunctional spies contain some memorable characters chiefly their boss, Jackson Lamb. Shot through with humour and cynicism and also manages to tell a fast-moving complex spy story. Jackson Lamb and his bunch of misfits are one step ahead as the story develops.


John Murray paperback, £7.99





Exhibition of Paintings by Debbie Ayles


We are particularly pleased to be showing an exhibition of paintings by Debbie Ayles in the shop’s gallery space for the month of August.

Debbie who lives locally is interested primarily in lines, patterns and spaces. She uses architecture as her main subject matter as it offers a limitless variety of opportunities to create work based on these elements. She pains in watercolour and acrylic on paper and canvas often choosing buildings encased in scaffolding and reflections in glass office blocks.

For the last ten years she has exhibited regularly and widely in London and throughout East Anglia


Of  this series of paintings Debbie says……..

Architectural forms invite the viewer to look at the patterns that have appeared by accident of light on, within and behind a structure in a city or landscape.  The painting charts a new territory or investigation as conventional vision is subverted by the artist and re-presented according to her rules.  The question is asked repeatedly, where does one feature end and another begin.  Lines appear between shapes that wobble and wave which are disconcerting as they unsteady the scene;  these lines weave you in and out of the painting, shift your focus  and take you on a journey, though often leading you in deeper but with no exit route on offer.  Inside and outside blurs, shadows and reflections take on a new importance and become solid forms.  A ghostly off-white city of paint is created where it is hard to decipher background from foreground and skews perspective.


Stripping down the landscape to pure shapes glimpsed and recorded asks the viewer to look again and challenge the meaning.  The hustle and bustle of a busy street scene or a building site is frozen and stilled for a moment in time by the use of near white acrylic paint.

Behind this fortress of shapes there is a burst of massed colours, blues, purples, greens and oranges, that are stroked, dripped and splashed across the surface, hidden here, exposed there.  They can seem joyful one moment or menacing the next as if the pressures of the ‘scape are trying to break and boil through the apparently calm surface.  The drama within the final composition becomes a meeting of abstraction and realism.