Tony Cragg (and others) at the YSP

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We went to a family wedding near Sleaford. Splendid affair, lots of catching up, lovely grub, a bit of a dance, oh….and a wedding. Marvellous.

On our way home on the Sunday we stopped off at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. We might have done this anyway, the YSP is a favourite day out for us, but this post over on Down by the Dougie definitely swung the decision: the latest Tony Cragg exhibition was something we wanted to see.

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First off, however, we wandered over to the old Chapel…

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Iron Tree by Ai Weiwei

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There were several art works on display in the Chapel, but two particularly caught our attention. This large ‘wall’, ostensibly made of bricks, which are actually wax and have been partially melted….

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And Neither From nor Towards by Cornelia Parker….

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….made from bricks from a row of houses which have slipped over a cliff onto a beach.

This…

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…is an Andy Goldsworthy sheepfold which B fell off during a previous visit.

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71 Steps by David Nash.

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On the way home in the car we each went through our top 5 ‘things’ of the day – the bluebells in the woods featured on everybody’s list.

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One of three Andy Goldsworthy Hanging Tree.

Although we’ve visited the YSP several times before, we’ve never been over to the Longside gallery. Sometimes it has been closed, or we haven’t had time, or it has been too far to walk with the kids. Anyway, this time we put that right. It’s a very pleasant walk over.

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There was an exhibition there of 1960’s British Art. I can’t remember who this was by, but I liked it.

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This, I’m pretty sure, is by Bridget Riley, I think I might have seen it somewhere before. I always enjoy her very geometric paintings, maybe it’s my mathematical brain.

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We walked back over for a very late and enjoyable lunch in the cafe and then finally made it to the Underground Gallery to see some more Tony Cragg sculpture.

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I wish I could articulate what it is I like so much about these sculptures, but I don’t know even where to begin.

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A and I took a lot of photos. Choosing a selection for this post has been difficult.

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I watched an absorbing documentary about both the creative process and then the fairly industrialised realisation of the sculptures. You can see part of it here – it’s in German, although Tony Cragg is English he has lived in Germany for a long time.

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It’s apparent from the film that many of these ostensively abstract sculptures are inspired by shapes from nature or elsewhere. You can see that here: this small piece, clearly the viscera of some alien species…

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Is, in point of fact…

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….a Church!

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Outside, there were several bigger sculptures.

The boys weren’t very impressed by all of this, but this…

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…was a hit. They loved the distorted reflections it gave.

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Our time was almost up. In our whirlwind tour we hadn’t found time to see any of the sculptures by Anthony Caro, or Barbara Hepworth, or Anthony Gormley, or any of the many Henry Moore’s dotted around the park…

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Well, not properly anyway.

The kids insisted on one final visit: to James Turrell’s Deer Shelter Skyspace…

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I like every bit as much as they do, and I certainly enjoy staring at the sky, but maybe we should come again when the sky is a bit less monotone…

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Tony Cragg (and others) at the YSP

Barrow Dock Museum

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We’ve been intending to check out the Dock Museum in Barrow for quite some time and, last week, finally got around to it.

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It’s a small museum, but it has model boats, which are pretty irresistible,

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…and The Furness Hoard, found locally in 2011 and including Viking, Saxon and Arab coins plus fragments of arm-rings and bracelets, not dissimilar in fact from The Silverdale Hoard.

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Having examined the area’s Viking treasures, you may want to dress the part…

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There are also axe-heads and arrowheads of Langdale stone which were apparently brought to the Barrow area for finishing and polishing.

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A big surprise for me, and a great discovery, was this furniture by the late Tim Stead.

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I’ve not been aware of his work before, but shall be looking out for it in the future. He was one of the artists who built the Millennium Clock, now housed by the National Museum of Scotland, and definitely added to my ‘too see’ list.

Whilst the boys hared around the playground in the museum grounds, I took a quick look at the docks themselves.

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Our trip to the museum was intended to be a precursor to a trip to the Wildlife Trust reserve at the southern end of Walney Island, somewhere I’ve long wanted to visit, much like Foulney Island in fact. But, having had my sutures removed early that morning, I now discovered that everything was not quite going to plan, and we spent the next three hours, or thereabouts, sitting around in A&E at Barrow Infirmary waiting to see what was to be done. Not much, it eventually transpired. Patience is the order of the day apparently. Ho-hum.

Barrow Dock Museum

A Busy Day in the Dale

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Every Saturday morning in Silverdale, almost without exception, there is a charity coffee morning. This Saturday’s wasn’t in the usual venue, the Gaskell Hall, but in the Church Rooms instead…

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And was a Scout fund-raiser. I’d cried-off helping with a Rugby tournament which S was playing in, and sent TBH in my stead, but now felt well enough to help here by selling tickets for the raffle.

The reason the Gaskell Hall (named for Elizabeth Gaskell who holidayed in the village and whose daughters lived here)…

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…wasn’t used was because it was being filled with exhibits…

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…for the Spring show…

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A Hellebore? Cousin to the wild ones growing by Holgates caravan park?

There are classes for photographs and craft items as well as flowers and we usually submit several entries between us, but this year only Little S entered, in the Cubs craft-class which he won. (Being the sole competitor – he was very happy.)

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Later, we popped across the road to the Methodist Chapel where there was an Art Exhibition. Sadly, once we got inside I was too busy looking at the exhibits and forgot to take any pictures. TBH bought a vase. You can see the work of three of the artists by visiting:

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and

Threlfalls Art Studio

Given our recent adventure, it was particularly enjoyable to see a number of paintings and prints featuring Striding Edge.

As you can see, the weather was very fine and I was champing at the bit to get out for a walk. Which is what I did next…

A Busy Day in the Dale

Ulverston Lantern Festival

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Last year we stumbled upon the Ulverston Lantern Festival when we tried to stop in Ulverston for fish and chips on the way home from a walk across the sands to Piel Island, found that all of the roads into the town centre were closed and chose to park on the outskirts and investigate.

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This year we did much the same thing, this time on the way home from our trip to Roa Island.

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I think that there’s more to it than this, but the part of the Festival we’ve seen is a huge parade through the town with people displaying their amazing lantern creations, accompanied by marching bands of drummers.

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Some of the lanterns are amazing – witness the enormous Gruffalo above – but what I really like about it is the sheer number of people who are involved: it seems to be a superb community event.

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Last year’s theme seemed to be toys, this year I think it must have been woodland creatures. I took lots of photos, thinking that they were coming out sharply despite the darkness. Oddly, the camera’s video function seems to have coped rather better with the light conditions:

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Edit: WordPress doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge that this is a video. Click on it and a new tab will open in flickr where you will be able to watch it. (It’s only 15 seconds and you can hear one of the marching bands into the bargain.)

Ulverston Lantern Festival

Minimum Monument

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“Minimum Monument is a poignant and moving display featuring thousands of figures made out of frozen water by the artist, her team of technicians and volunteers – a public intervention artwork which is a powerful reminder of the fragility of our planet and the communities it supports.”

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“Néle Azevedo has be working from a temporary studio in K Village with volunteers and her creative team to make over 3,000 200mm tall icemen.”

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“We’ve been working on the moulds for the past two weeks – getting them filled and frozen, then the sculptures were de-moulded and fettled by hand before being stored in freezers and the process starts over again. ”

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“The icemen and women will be transported to Kendal Castle on Sunday morning.”

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“On Sunday Azevedo will invite members of the public to place the beautifully crafted sculptures on the ruins of Kendal Castle where they can watch as these tiny ice figures melt and return to rain water.”

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I’m not sure if this art is the kind of thing which Michael Gove recently derided as ‘modish crap’. Probably.

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“Is this = to Turner, Ruskin, even Holman Hunt – of course not.”

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Which limited frame of reference suggests that the underlying questions is: is this art Victorian?

Of course, Turner’s own art was controversial in it’s day. Had Twitter existed then, no doubt some self-publisizing, narcissistic, failed politician would have been using it to rail against Turner’s non-conventional vision.

(In a politically bleak year a lone high-spot was watching Gove skewer himself with his own back-stabbing machinations.)

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Anyway, we enjoyed Minimum Monument immensely and there were a lot of other people there who also seemed to be thoroughly engaged and appreciative.

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Naturally, I took a preposterous number of photos.

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It was interesting to see how people had chosen to group the figures.

Almost all of the sculptures were placed on the walls, facing in to the castle. This couple…

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…being a rare exception.

Eventually, we dragged ourselves away and walked down into Kendal…

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…where there were numerous other activities on offer.

We added to a large clay sculpture…

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…donned goggles for a 3D virtual reality flight over the Lake District, watched a three handed show (a mime I seem to remember) and visited St. Thomas’s Church to see this…

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…enormous model of the moon by Luke Jerram.

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A highly enjoyable day!

(The quotes at the top of the post are from the Lakes Alive website.)

Minimum Monument

Barcelona – The Miro Foundation

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Any visitor to Barcelona will inevitably eventually confront the cities three famous artistic giants: Picasso, Gaudi and Miro. The Miro Foundation, a gallery which mainly, but not exclusively, features Miro’s art, is conveniently situated on the hillside below Montjuic. It was high on my list of places to visit during our stay.

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TBH and I have visited a Miro exhibition before, at the wonderful Yorkshire Sculpture Park.      That was mostly sculpture, as you might expect at the YSP, whereas at the Foundation Miro’s paintings are more to the fore.

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I think we all enjoyed it, I know that I did, apart that is from Little S who was infuriated.

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“It’s kiddy scribbles, Dad.”

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He was particularly incensed by two very large white canvases. One with a single small blue dot slightly off centre, and the other with a single line across it. (A scribble in S’s view.)

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Even S must have enjoyed the view from the roof terrace though.

Barcelona – The Miro Foundation

Liverpool: Dazzle Ships

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Everybody Razzle Dazzle by Peter Blake (otherwise the Mersey ferry Snowdrop)

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Dazzle Ship by Carlos Cruz-Diez

Dazzle painting played a vital role in the protection of British naval and trade vessels during The First World War when it was introduced in late 1914 as a system for camouflaging ships. This dazzle camouflage was employed to optically distort the appearance of British ships in order to confuse the German submarines who were threatening to cut off Britain’s trade and supplies. The optical illusion imposed by the ‘dazzling’ was intended to make the direction the ship was travelling in difficult for enemy submarines to identify. This would in turn lead to a difficulty in calculating an accurate angle of attack.

More here.

Liverpool: Dazzle Ships