VAC Winter Open Exhibition

Visual Arts Cheshire Winter Open Exhibition
Fri 18 October - Sat 16 November
VAC Gallery, 93 Brunner Court, Witton St, Northwich. Cheshire CW9 5DR
Open Monday - Saturday (closed Wednesday) from 10.30am - 4.00pm
Free Entry

Click here to see a full list of Winter Open Entries

People's Choice Vote
Voting is now closed - 200 voting slips were returned! Congratulations to Bernice Tackley whose 'Weaver Cargo' came out top of the poll. The painting depicts an industrial scene from the Anderton Basin in the 1930s and was created especially for the VAC Winter Open. The Top Ten exhibits have all been labelled, so call in and see whether your taste is in line with the popular vote. The exhibition finishes on Sat 16th Nov.

1st - Weaver Cargo - Bernice Tackley

2nd - Winter in the Pennines - Ian Barnett

3rd - Resist - Sam Houston

Entry Details

What is eligible? Paintings, prints, textiles, ceramics, photography and sculpture are all eligible. Work must be original and produced by the entrant.

Submission dates for ENTRIES – Thurs 10th to Mon 14th Oct (from 10:30am to 4:30pm – excluding Sun 13th Oct). There is a charge of £4 per item, payable with your entry. This is a non-returnable admin fee. All entries to be delivered to Visual Art Cheshire Gallery (near Northwich Library). You will be informed by telephone, text message or email whether your pieces have been selected or not.

UNSELECTED WORK to be collected on Wed 16th or Thurs 17st Oct (between 11:00am and 6:00pm).

COLLECTION DATES - All exhibited work to be collected on Mon 18th or Tues 19th Nov (between 11:00am and 4:00pm). Later collection is possible through arrangement with VAC Gallery

PRIVATE VIEW EVENING – Friday 18th Oct at 7pm (for exhibitors and guests)


  • 3 submissions max per person - at least 1 of which must be for sale. 
  • Exhibits must be covered by your own insurance. 
  • A luggage label must be attached to the back of your submission by string. The label must show your name, your artwork's title, medium and selling price (if applicable). Please also write your name onto a sticky label attached to the back of your work. 
  • VAC will charge 25% commission for each sold item. Please bear this in mind when pricing your exhibit. 
  • Mirror plates must be attached to your framed work - no clip frames, string, wires or hooks will be allowed. Please discuss with gallery staff if unsure. 
  • Secure cabinets are available for small and medium sized artwork. 
  • We have several plinths - contact us if you think you will need one. For large pieces (over 1 meter square) check with us for space availability. 
  • The exhibits selected for display will be chosen by a selection panel. 
  • Please contact us with any queries or special requests.-

Click here to download or print the entry form, or collect from the VAC Gallery.

Northwich Poems by
Charlotte Peters Rock

Four poems about Northwich by Charlotte Peters Rock.

A Silence of Coffins and Salt 

The coffins – the ponies – the men on the walk
From Northwich to Macclesfield all through the night
Are moving the money by moving the salt
Away from the tax man – so nobody talk
And silence will serve us alright
A silence of coffins and salt

Little Castle by the Arches 

The little castle – just beside the river
Below the pink stone arches meant to lift
The trains – is modest – set behind its railings
Seven windows staring round it – eyes adrift

A red brick circle crowned by castellations
A band of sandstone where the teeth begin
White painted stonework tops and tails the windows
And somewhere – there’s a door to let us in

Inside – the treasure – guarded by the castle
In gleaming metal – panels red and green
The engines and the pumps to shift the sewage
To clear the typhus – polio and unseen

Diseases which would kill the population
Were pumped away efficiently – and yet
There’s little now to show – except this treasure
Ingenious working by the arches set

The little castle – just beside the river
The treasure more important far than gold
Should not be overlooked – its work was clever
It brought us life - and every thing we hold

Don’t think – oh please don’t think it’s unimportant
This strong foundation for the public health
Was one small step to serve a healthy nation
Look back – and see the reason for your wealth

Mean - an The Poor 

Well the paupers in the workowse
They ave nuthin left to live for
They separate the children
An the usban from iz wife
An they set im breakin stones up
An they set er pickin oakum
An they do it all as punishment
Its not a pretty life

An the masters in the Boardroom
They don’t want to elp the pauper
Nor elp the pauper’s children
Nor the usban nor the wife
An their meanness from their riches
Is an evil in the Parish
They do wat they’re told by Government
Its not a pretty life

All the workers payin taxes
Tryin ard to shut the fear out
They mark the pauper children
An the usban an the wife
As ‘people we could never be’
We’re all workin ard an decent
An the paupers ways are indigent
Its not a pretty life

Yet there before em weep the poor
An the Grace of God as left um
Its taken out on children
An the usban an the wife
Their charity is cold an ard
The proffered and is withered
An there’s nuthin of democracy
Its not a pretty life

Northwich House 

The frame’s alright
Oh yes – I know
The frame was quite
Alright – as you can see

But still er toppled
Er toppled back
An threw uz out a bed

An those strong fellows
Barrered out
Our goods – in case
The whole thing went

They came an brought their jacks
An over days
Oh, several days or so
They set it straight

We moved back in
Yet I can’t sleep
What if another hole below
Just opened up

Just opened up
An took us down
The dog an all the kiddies
Down to hell

The preacher’s sermon
Spoke of hell
An I’m afraid of that
So I don’t sleep

You can see more poems and songs by Charlotte on her blog.

Poems are © Charlotte Peters Rock.

VAC Gallery Workshops

Saturday 5 October
Drawing with Wire
10am - 3pm - £20
Click here to book

Saturday 12 October
Watercolour Gift Tags and Cards
10am - 3pm - £20
Click here to book

Wednesday 16 October
Needlefelted Dolly
10am - 3pm - £20
Click here to book

The workshops take place at the 
VAC Gallery, 93 Brunner Court, Northwich.
Qualified tutors will run the workshops, and all materials are supplied.

To book your place, email: or call 01606 41597 or book online.

Previous Nuno Felt Scarf Workshop on Wednesday 25 September

Watercolour Tags workshops with Rebecca Yoxall on Saturday 12 October4, with visit from the Mayor of Northwich, Clr. Bob Robinson.

Needlefelt Doll Workshop on Wednesday 16 October

"Miceterpiece" in Print and Paint and Quadrotina: The Sixties Illustrator

Saturday 28 September - Saturday 12 October
Open 10.30am - 4.00pm - Admission Free
Closed Wednesday and Sunday
VAC Gallery, 93 Brunner Court, Northwich CW9 5DR

Free children's colouring sheets and quiz, with a chance to win a copy of one of the books.

"Miceterpiece" in Print and Paint

Original illustrations from the Beauty Bank books by Michael Beddard (author) and Rebecca Yoxall (illustrator).

Lost in the Snow

Tells the story of three small field mice called Rachel, Jack and Uncle Olivier and the adventures they have when they shelter from a storm in a village theatre. It is the first book in the series called Tales from Beauty Bank – all inspired by the places and wildlife of Cheshire, England and all reminding us of the good which comes from helping others and repaying kindness.

The Parcel

An important package is missing. Can the mice and their little friends find it, and return it, in time to save a very important day in the life of Beauty Bank?

The stories can be enjoyed by all ages, to read alone or to share.
The books can be purchased during the Exhibition or online here.

Quadrotina: The Sixties Illustrator

Illustrations by Tina Freeman.

Tina Freeman has been a professional illustrator for over 20 years now and has an extensive portfolio of work.

Tina’s client list includes Manchester United, The Royal Mail, BHS, Manchester Airport, Bourne Leisure and the Health & Safety Executive.

Tina has illustrated fourteen children’s and baby books, produced watercolour maps, created individual and group portraits and has also worked for prestigious advertising and design agencies such as BDH, MAP, Pavilion Designs, McCann Erickson and Tequila.

Click here for Tina's website.

The VAC Gallery also has a small shop area, selling a selection of cards, ceramics, prints and textiles by local artists.

Private View

Griffiths Park Sculptures

Three sculptures at Griffiths Park, Rudheath, plus signage. Access to the park is next to the Co-op on Middlewich Road.

Breaking the Mould

Gene Pod

Spider in Time

Millifolium (Vandalised and Removed)

Information Sheet A Download

Information Sheet B Download