FOUR years ago a discarded scratch card floating in a puddle of water by the road caught the attention of James Owen Thomas.

The sunlight seemed to make its colours glisten.

“For something most people would consider unpleasant rubbish, I decided to pick it up, clean it and keep it safe in a plastic container,” explained James, whose exhibition Much More Than Meets The Eye! is running at Farfield Mill Arts and Heritage Centre at Sedbergh, until April 28.

“From that moment I noticed how many scratch cards were to be seen littering our streets, parks and hedgerows. I had to do something about it and started picking them all up, building quite a collection and decided to use some of the colourful parts and symbols of the scratch cards to create pictures. This is how my interest in making mosaic-style collages with torn or cut pieces of scratch cards began. I don’t use any paint in my collages but select the colours that I need from the cards. When finished I then apply an acrylic varnish to protect the collage."

Seventeen year old James has been doing his scratch card artwork since he was 14 and has had various exhibitions with the National Trust, Durham World Heritage Centre, Bradford Industrial Museum, the National Coal Mining Museum, Yorkshire Dales National Park and others. As a result of his work being at the National Coal Mining Museum, he was recently commissioned to create four pieces for Pontefract Racecourse.

James' Farfield exhibition features 40 amazing and carefully crafted images cleverly created by the gifted Pateley Bridge-based artist from discarded scratch cards that depict a range of scenes, including the countryside and good luck symbols, such as horse shoes. He added: “Nowadays, many of the used scratch cards that I need are donated by people I know and also some shops which are good enough to save them for me.”

Telephone 015396-21958.