AN Ilkley-based author, a local artist and a well loved town-centre business are among those who have teamed up with the Sanctuary to share a heart-warming story with the whole community.

The Sanctuary’s shop front at 6 Church Street has hosted lots of different art installations and 3D story displays over the last few years, from underwater anchors, beaches and perpetually falling blossom through to giant Yorkshire tea-pots and even a huge dry-stone wall.

But it’s never been a potter’s studio before - until now! The Sanctuary’s latest window display features an original short story by Ilkley-based author, Liz Baddaley, called The Little Clay Bird. Passers by can enjoy looking at a key moment from the story that’s been created in the window and take away a free copy of the story from the dispenser mounted on it.

Local artist Barbara Macnish created the window’s featured artwork by part-sculpting a little clay bird and then photographing him being ‘made' as the story follows his perspective on the shaping process he is going through under the potter’s hands. But to really bring the story to life and to create the sense that the fictional potter’s studio had sprung up on the A65, it really needed something more. Thankfully in Ilkley, neighbours are often happy to help out – especially if it’s to make the wider community smile. And the Sanctuary found that helping the little clay bird feel at home and surrounded by more items of the same substance was going to be more than possible with a little help from their friends.

Create Café, in the Victorian Arcade in Ilkley, are lending all the necessary unpainted pottery items to help create the potter’s studio in the Sanctuary’s window. Everything white that’s featured (except the little clay bird himself) is in the range of items they order in for customers to enjoy painting in their studio, so the Sanctuary are hopeful that any one who wants to say thank you for the story will do so by popping along to do some painting at Create.

Liz said: “It’s been great fun working with others to bring The Little Clay Bird to life. Stories are written to be shared and so as a writer, it’s always an exciting moment when they take flight in any way they can reach and move more people – whether they’re being published as a conventional book… or shared through a shop front! The bird in the story is a beautifully winsome character who seems to have a special way of capturing reader’s hearts in the same way he did mine whilst I was telling his story. And I hope this will be the case for every one who encounters him and the potter for the first time over the next few weeks.”

Copies of the story are available to take away from a dispenser at 6 Church Street until Tuesday, July 19 or to download at