Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Last Few Days at SSG

Part of the Hope's Whisper exhibition is coming to a close this weekend so if you haven't been you'd better get along to South Square Gallery by Sunday 29th July. You'll get the chance to see some Bronte Parsonage rain i collected in April and May this year. Not finding a container large enough i have displayed some of the rain in a glass measuring thingy.
It's come in handy in the exhibition space with all the drips coming in through the ceiling and down the beams. When i go and take the exhibition apart next week i'll check to see if the level has gone up.

I still have a jam jar of rain collected from the Parsonage on my desk that has developed a lovely green bloom suspended through the middle of it and has bits of insects wings and bodies floating in it. Strange Yorkshire rain that is.

If you don't manage to get to South Square Gallery the main part of Hope's Whisper continues at the Bronte Parsonage Museum until September 5th. Plenty of time.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

In Conversation with Alexandra Harris

There's an event this thursday night (26th July) at the Bronte Parsonage Museum - i'm going to be in conversation with writer and critic Alexandra Harris and we'll be talking about the weather and the Brontes and the cultural significance of weather.
Alexandra wrote Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper and she is currently writing a book about the cultural history of weather.
I'm excited to meet her and for us to discuss the Brontes' use of weather and putting their work into context.

I'm pretty sure the event is sold out - but you can visit the what's on bit of the Bronte Parsonage Museum website to check:

The image above is from a walk up Parlick on saturday when the sun finally managed to come out...

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Getting There Eventually

I managed to get to the Bronte Parsonage Museum on wednesday last week (see blog post below) and i was able to put my little table together so the Weather Archive could be put on show and i tinkered with the sculpture outside so all the bells lined up properly. The solar rotor needed a flick to get it going and the funnel needed a few leaves removed, but other than that it seems to have weathered the conditions this summer has thrown at it.

It was going back through Hebden Bridge that was a shocking and sad part to the journey. I knew that there had been floods in the town a couple of weeks ago (the same day i was travelling back from Bradford from the school workshop and passengers weren't allowed off the train at Hebden Bridge because of the floods caused by torrential rain). Lots of the little shops were closed because of the damage and there were sandbags at most shop doors. One estate agent had all the office contents on the street - filing cabinets, furniture, framed pictures from the walls etc and in the town there a number of skips full of the contents of the houses. It was a bit weird walking around as it was a calm, sunny afternoon and some shops were open with people shopping or sat out on the street having tea - so there was a strange mix of normality interwoven with destruction.

Seeing how the weather has affected residents in Hebden Bridge made me see the real devastation a few changes in conditions can have on people. This summer has been terrible and i've moaned at how it's stopped me going to the allotment; we have a leak in the ceiling that the landlord is reluctant to get fixed; and i have a new skirt i haven't had chance to wear... but going through Hebden Bridge made me feel so badly for the people who have experienced real destruction from the weather.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Failed Trip to BPM

I was supposed to be at the Bronte Parsonage Museum today and i set off this morning at 8.30
I had quite a bit of stuff with me - i had my laptop, packed lunch, and the components of a small display table with accompanying tools (to put it back together when i got there) so i was fairly laden down.
However, the bus from Hebden Bridge Station to Keighley was cancelled as there was a road block and the diversion wasn't big enough for a bus (apparently). It was suggested that i catch a bus up to the top of the village, then walk for approximately 30 - 40 mins to a remote turning circle up on the moors where, by all accounts, the bus would come once an hour to pick passengers up. As convenient as this option sounded, i decided to catch the train home - it was beginning to rain and i know there isn't a shelter at the turning circle and the thought of trailing up the hill with all my stuff only to have to wait in the rain for 55 mins (because lets face it i would miss the hourly bus by 5 mins...) wasn't too tempting.

So, i was home by midday - having gone on a pointless journey. At least i had my squashed sandwiches to look forward to for lunch.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Thornton Primary School Workshop

I was over in Thornton on monday to do a day of workshops with students of year 5 at Thornton Primary School (same village as South Square Gallery).

The day started with 15 students coming to the gallery for a talk and quick tour around the exhibition, then we did a practical workshop making paper windmills. We went out into the little sculpture garden at the back of the gallery, but as luck would have it the wind had completely dropped, so none of the windmills turned round unless we blew on them until we felt slightly dizzy.

The afternoon was spent with 30 students making a total mess of the classroom, having fun doing cutting and sticking. So much glue was used on some of the works that it was physically impossible to lift the final images off the desks.

Some spectacular works were created and i really enjoyed meeting the kids. With it taking nearly 6 hours of travel there and back it was a shame the teacher couldn't make it to either morning or afternoon session though.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

South Square Gallery Opening Night

It was the opening of Hope's Whisper at South Square Gallery on Friday night - and typically it poured down all day leading up to it - and during the evening too. There was two other shows opening on the same night - so lots of people battled the elements and came along to the gallery.

I had arrived at lunch time during the day as i still had to install the 9m long drawing on one of the walls. I had visions of it being really tricky, but as it goes it went really well. Being an old building the gallery walls are all uneven and everything is on a lean - but getting it level and straight turned out to go ok - and after i'd marked everything out it took three of us to get it up on the wall.

The drawing shows contemporary weather records - temperature, air pressure and rainfall records collected at the Bronte Parsonage Museum from Oct 2011 - April 2012. Over the top of the graph is a temperature line gathered by Abraham Shackleton from Oct 1848 - April 1849.
Underneath the graph are some of the weather cards from all my weather collectors - showing their thoughts and comments on various days during the period the graph covers.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Exhibition at South Square Gallery

The new artworks i've made for Hope's Whisper are split between two venues. The opening at the Bronte Parsonage Museum was two weeks ago and the second part is held at South Square Gallery in Thornton, which happens to be the birth place of the Bronte sisters.
I was there all day yesterday setting up the exhibition as it's due to open tomorrow night.
We got most of the work up, but are yet to tackle the 9m long drawing showing 6 months of weather records collected at the Parsonage Museum from October 2011 - April 2012.
There is also a temperature data line on the graph from Abraham Shackleton's records from October 1848 - April 1849.

There's a tiny gap in the data in the Shackleton line - 2012 was a leap year so i was able to get records for 29th February, but it wasn't a leap year in 1849 - so the records stop for a day right in the middle of the drawing.

Also on show are a couple of letters by Charlotte and Anne Bronte and a poem by Emily Bronte. Plus my three death prints and two smaller graphs (A1 size).

The image above shows the piece of work where i have taken a letter by Charlotte Bronte and used marker pen to highlight the quote about the weather.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Anne Bronte's Grave

"You say May is a trying month, and so say others. The earlier part is often cold enough i acknowledge, but, according to my experience, we are almost certain of some fine warm days in the latter half when the laburnams and lilacs are in bloom; whereas June is often cold and July generally wet. But i have a more serious reason than this for my impatience of delay: the doctors say that a change of air or removal to a better climate would hardly ever fail of success in consumptive cases if 'the remedy were' taken in time, but the reason why there are so many disappointments is, that it is generally deferred till it is too late."

Written by Anne Bronte in a letter to Ellen Nussey on April 5th 1849.

Anne had consumption and was hoping to go to stay at the seaside for her health. However, Charlotte was reluctant for her to go on such a trip - this letter from Anne to Ellen shows how determined Anne was to go. You have to remember that Emily had died in December 1848 and Branwell in September 1848 - Charlotte must not have known what to do to help her sister.

Charlotte, Anne and Ellen went to Scarborough on May 24th where they spent a few days. Anne passed away on May 28th 1849. She is buried at the church of St Mary in Scarborough on the hill overlooking the bay.

I went to visit her grave on Friday last week - a wind swept sight looking over the roof tops to the sea (most of the grave yard has been made into a car park - handy for tourists - how lovely). It must have been so painful for Charlotte to leave her sister there, away from the resting place of the other members of the family buried in Haworth. It is a beautiful plot though - and someone had left a posy of pretty flowers on the grave.

(Anne wasn't wrong about the weather was she - May is trying; June is cold and July generally wet... sounds familiar?)