Monthly Archives: December 2011

Bristol North Arts Trail

I recently visited a friend who has been living in Bristol for the past eighteen months. This was my first visit and the choice of weekend came down to the cheapest train tickets available, so it was by chance that the 10th North Bristol Arts Trail was on that weekend.

Interested in all things art related this was a priority for the weekend.  The trail consisted of 47 stops and although they were all in the same area, we opted to visit smaller clusters within the trail. Our first port of call was Fig run by six women who joined forces in 2010 to sell their own contemporary art and crafts.

Artemis, also a contemporary craft gallery, was the second stop a few doors up.  Housing an array of ceramics, jewellery, glassware and textiles it was hard not to buy anything especially with Christmas just around the corner.  Next door was an empty shop which had been papered with various thoughts and quotes by the artist, Pat Jamieson.

The black and white quotes stood out bold and strong against the orange paintwork.  The artist herself was kind enough to give us some the artwork she had prepared for her exhibition but hadn’t used.  At this point we were unaware that artwork would not be only thing we would be given that day.

Our trail continued to Horfield Baptist church, exhibiting work from five artists, an arts and crafts area for children and tea and cake. Although tempted to stop we pressed on and in doing so were offered a free slice of pizza by a girl from the Italian restaurant next door.

The next part of the trail took us into artists’ houses, where front rooms had been transformed into exhibition spaces, this was fascinating to see. The ability to just walk into strangers’ homes without knocking and be greeted by their fluffy cats, open fires and warm spiced apple juice was by far the most interesting part of the trail, not forgetting the artwork of course! The work on display ranged from prints and paintings to jewellery, ceramics and textiles – all unique in their homely settings.

Some work you could buy with some offering the facility to pay by card – these people were clearly not new to this set up! Three hours into the trail we had only managed about a fifth – it soon became clear that the whole weekend was required and most importantly an       early start!!

We decided to work our way back to car as we had afternoon tea booked at Lahloo Tea  in Clifton Village, a short car ride. Our journey back to the car was not disappointing though. A stonemason’s workshop housed a further exhibition mainly photography and of course stone carvings. Along the way to our final stop we passed a number of local food shops including a fishmongers who were selling the strangest item of ‘food to go’ you could ever buy on a street – Oysters! £1.20 bought you one oyster which you gulped down on the spot before heading on your way!

Our last stop took us round the back of a house to man’s shed that he had recently cleared out. The objects that he had left were bizarre to say the least and really gave you a feel for this man’s personality and hobbies. A little table was home to a selection of items that were free to a good home. I came away with some candles and my friend, a small notebook.

We then headed on our way to reflect on the last few hours over rosebud and smoky tea alongside our delicious and extremely filling afternoon tea goodies.

Author: Rebecca Fitton

You can find out more about the North Bristol Art Trail here. Have you ever visited the North Bristol Art Trail? If you know of anything similar that is more local, then please comment below.

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Over the wiley and windy moors…to the Hebden Bridge Picture House.

This was my first opportunity to see director Andrea Arnold’s new film of ‘Wuthering Heights’.  After a wiley, wuthering journey across the Long Causeway from Burnley and then down the hillsides into Hebden Bridge lay the delight of a mug of steaming tea in the Hebden Bridge Picture House.

This is like no other film or televised version of Emily Brontë’s novel!

The casting of a black actor is perfect in capturing the Heathcliff from the novel who is an outcast as soon as he arrives in Yorkshire.  Picked up in a Christian act of charity from the streets of Liverpool the young Heathcliff suffers immediately a brutal racist response from the members of the family he joins as a brother to Cathy and Hindley Earnshaw. Resented as an intruder, he is treated like one of the beasts on the small holding.

Yet; the boy Heathcliff and his ‘sister’ Cathy run wild together on the moorland which surrounds the house. There is clearly a love, a elemental passion exposed between the two of them as they feel at one with the wind, the rain, the heather and the very ground they pound together.  Their freedom of spirit is reflected in the high flying hen-harrier and the call of the lapwing across the wilderness of the peat moors.

This is no sentimental reading of the novel.  The reality of the savagery of nature is confronted head on. You see Heathcliff cut the throat of a sheep, break the neck of a rabbit, hang a dog by its collar…. This is no tourist board Yorkshire. It is a tough, unremitting landscape: cold, bleak, repeatedly drenched in heavy rain; you hear the mud of the sucking peat bogs. If you have ever walked over Black Hill or White Moss in rain on the Pennine Way you will know exactly what I mean. It is a landscape of terrible beauty. There is little to choose at times, between this family scraping a living on the land and the animals living amongst them. It is a story full of anger, pain and passion; possibly the most passionate love affair in literature.

Strangely there is little dialogue.  What there is, is sometimes heavy, clumsy. But the film is full of sound: the sound of the wind, of birds overhead, of rain, of squelching mud.  A huge emphasis is on images, images of the land, rocks, the movement of heather in the wind, peat bogs, beetles, birds and sky; a huge, huge sky.

The structure of the film is broken by the decision of the director to have different actors to play the young and older Cathy and Heathcliff. For me the transition is just a little too strong. But this is a film true to the spirit of the book – the first time I’ve seen a Heathcliff dig up Cathy from her grave!  A long way from Cliff Richard’s interpretation!!!!

Andrea Arnold gave an after show talk for a showing in Brighton.  “What was your inspiration for the film?” asked one film buff.

“I read the book….” answered Andrea.

“Where did you get the ideas of so much wind and rain?” asked another.

“From the book,” answered Andrea with saintly patience.

It’s an uncomfortable journey but a great film experience – you might even want to read the book again!

Author: David Smith

You can view a trailer for the film here

Have you seen Wuthering Heights or any other of Andrea Arnolds films?

Let us know your thoughts!

Much Loved Accrington Park gets ‘New’ Entrance.

The people of Accrington hold a great love for the spectacular natural beauty of Peel Park and the Coppice. It is used heavily for walking, sports, children’s play, picnics and bird watching, as well as by allotments holders. The now, stained and graffitied entrance, with its unsightly barbed wire and railings, is getting a dramatic facelift.

This new gateway will link with other recent improvements in the park to create an exciting entrance. It will also raise the profile of future developments within the park. Sculptor Michael Scheuermann has been commissioned by Mid Pennine Arts to redevelop the entrance. His design was chosen from a number of proposals submitted as it utilised the structure and materials that were already in place. Michael will carve into the existing columns and add a metal arch intertwined with detail. There will also be a symmetrical metal design on either side of the updated entrance.

Clay Workshops

Michael has linked up with Peel Park primary school as part of the project. He has given a talk to the children on stonemasonry and they have joined him on site to draw and watch him at work. This has inspired their own designs, which have been realised through clay workshops also run by Michael. Some of the designs will be carved into the columns of the new entrance.

Michael Scheuermann is on site until December 11th to complete the carving of the columns. Metal work will be fitted in February, followed by localised landscaping to compliment the new entrance. The project, which is supported by Lancashire County Council’s Arts Development and former REMADE scheme, Hyndburn Borough Council and Arts Council England, will be finished by Spring 2012.

Helen Yates, Mid Pennine Arts Community and Projects Officer said, ‘We are helping make Peel Park a more inviting space with an entrance to match. We aim to leave a lasting legacy for the park and the people of Accrington.’

Author: Rebecca Fitton

Terrific achievements at Marsden Heights, Pendle

Sleet and snow meant roads in Nelson were chaotic this morning, but MPA were warm and dry in Marsden Heights Community College’s Year Ten Assembly. It was with enormous pleasure that we presented Arts Award certificates to young women involved in Project Pride, Nelson. We hope that having their photograph taken for the local newspaper will make up for the girls’ extreme embarrassment when we showed the Project Pride film to their year group. Good luck in the future girls and thanks for the lovely gifts and chocolate.
Steph and Lucy

Author: Steph Hawke