Happy 2017! New Year for me always involves the gift to myself of new stationery and a generous allowance of time to consider my goals for the year ahead. Planning 2016 was high-octane as just a few days before I had found out I was going have my first solo show and the burning question was: would I achieve all the work needed in the limited time? I am glad to say I did and I still can't believe how good that party was! 2017 is going to be entirely different - a slow burn development year. I am also delighted to be able to announce that it also involves the public start of a formal new partnership with artist Leah Higgins. Leah has been on fire in 2016 - her successes have included her work in Fine Art Masters and Quilt National and her first big sale. Her work has urban themes of decay with her Hidden Message and Ruins series just as mine has that underlying graffiti inspiration. We also have the same - and to our partnership, vitally important - love of strategic planning, busy professional lives and a fierce commitment to making a second career out of art. We met in a textile group in Manchester, which we both agreed was too much a starter group for us. We went on to form the Etcetera group and have successful exhibitions with them. That group will, I believe continue, and will have our support should they need it, but it became clear that Leah and I had goals and aspirations that were taking us in different direction. Announcing the departure was a hard task and we are grateful for the generosity of the group in their supportive and gracious response. Leah and I are delighted to have been granted the sizeable main gallery upstairs at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery for an exhibition in 2018 entitled Fragments. This will present us with opportunity to make huge (really huge!) statement art as well as smaller pieces for sale. We are just waiting written confirmation of an oral granting of another large and modern gallery for a different 2018 show. And that's just for starters - there's other stuff in the pipeline I cannot yet announce! The fact that galleries work so far in advance - we put our proposals in some months ago and waited to announce until we knew we had a gallery plan - means that we have the luxury of a year or so of development time to really make our best work for 2018. Leah's blog is the place to go to find out what she is up to - I can tell you know it will involve lots of precise scientifically minded experimentation and immaculate stitching of parallel lines and trying in of loose ends into her quilts. Meanwhile I will be taking the more improvisational approach of collaging and am moving towards more mixed media work and acrylic painting alongside my painted and printed textiles. My Dad has also just made me a fantastic encaustic hot palette which will enable me to experiment in that media during 2017. I also plan to consolidate my offering with the Dot-Art Gallery in Liverpool with both prints and original works available there. We hope you will follow along with us for 2017 as we both intend to document on our blogs and social media and via our studio newsletters the long-range preparations and thoughts that go into building a body of work for a large show. Meanwhile, we will not be so busy beavering away in our studios that we will not be taking to take breaks to read your blogs/ social media. we want to know what is going on in the art world beyond our own print benches. So please, add you blog or media feed links to the comments below to make sure that we have them and can check in on you in 2017 and so other readers can find you too. Lets make 2017 the Year Of Art!