Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Back to Chatsworth

 Last month we visited the Radical Horizons exhibition which is being held in the grounds of the Chatsworth Estate (link to my post here) and saw just under half of it.  Last week we returned to see the rest of the exhibition before it closes in October.

Above and below Transmutation by Arturo Gonzales and Maru Izaguirre.

The sculpture is a reflection on what might happen if we brought back extinct species through genetic cloning.

The sculpture is a larger than life manifestation of Alebriges, folk art sculptures which feature elements of different species.  It is made of fibreglass and metal.

 Above and below The Flybrary by Christina Sporrong.

This is a twenty foot high steel with book like birds flying on the top.  The birds are to show thoughts and the face is a representation of all races, colours and creeds.
 Above and below Wings of Glory by Adrian Landon,  It is a sculpture of the mythalogical horse Pegasus.

It is made from laser-cut or welded steel and hand hammered alluniminium.  It is powered by a 2-hp motor from a 1980s golf cart.  This allows the horse to gallop slowly and flap its wings.  

 Above and below Mum by Mr and Mrs Ferguson
Mum is made from polystyrene, concrete and fifty-five thousand US and Canadian pennies.

It is the UK's first 'penny' bear.
 Above and below Stone 40 by Benjamin Langholtz and Amihay Gonen.

 These are 'floating' stones gathered from a nearby quarry and chosen to match the stones used to construct Chatsworth House.   You can climb on the stones.

 Shrine: Elyssian Towers by Brent Allen Spears.

The artist worked with local young people to create a work from 'trash' and objects found locally.  Also from glass bottles donated by  Ardagh glass of Barnsley.

 Wings of Wind (W.O.W) by Bryan Tedrick.
A pair of steel wings with a 28 foot wingspan.  The wings rotate in the breeze.

They allow a person to stand inside the circular frame with arms outstretched in imitation of Leonardo Davinci's Vitruvian Man.

Murder Inc is by Charles Gadaken

Inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's film of The Birds it relates to a group or 'murder' of crows.

There are 100 crows in the small garden area near the house, you have to ask to enter a little way to see them.

They represent the unrepentant and unihibited power of nature.

They are made from mild steel from indvidual drawings.  Apparently the one in the top hat is moved to a new place every day and the volunteers and staff enjoy looking for it.

The weather was beautiful all day and I'm so glad we went back to see the rest of the exhibition


Saturday, September 24, 2022

Red Squirrels

It was lovely to see the Red Squirrels at nearby Peak Wildlife Park earlier this week.  


We have plenty of their grey cousins in and around our garden - usually hanging from the bird feeders or burying stones from the gravel path in the grass - but we have only ever seen red squirrels in the wild in Lancashire and in Scotland.  I remember seeing them as a child on holiday on the Isle of Wight.

These squirrels aren't truly in the wild of course but they are free to roam in a large enclosed area through which vistors can walk.

We spent half an hour, completely alone with two squirrels.  Watching them, taking photos and enjoyng their antics as they bounced around, scampering across paths and up and down trees.  It was all quite delightful.

These red squirrels are part of a national breeding programme to enable the build up of a good population for releasing into the wild or to other programmes to enable a growth in the red squirrel population.   These dainty little creatures are the only squirrel native to the UK. 

Red squirrels are small and agile with extremely good eyesight.  They are about 22cm tall and their tail is as long again.  They weigh about 300g.  

 Their luxurious tails, which become thicker in winter, are used for balance, warmth and signalling.

 They develop their distinctive tufty ears in winter.  They have a life expectancy of three to seven years in the wild up to ten in captivity as they receive regular veterinary care and are safe from predators and diseases especially those passed on by contact with grey squirrels.

At eleven o'clock on the dot the keeper arrived with food.  By this time there were other visitors too and the squirrels came to eat.  Apparently they can be quite picky with food and like lots of variety. 

It's Red Squirrel Awareness week from 10th - 16th October when there will be reports from areas that still have a red squirrel population and those groups who run conservation and breeding programmes.
Below are some links to learn more about these enchanting but endangered creatures.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Spotted in September

 A few photos of things that have caught my eye whilst out and about over the last few weeks.

A Painted Lady butterfly at a nearby garden centre.

Rose hips in Tissington, Derbyshire

Sloes at RSPB Consall nature reserve

Chicken of the Woods fungus at Trentham Gardens

Jew's Ear fungus at Trentham Gardens

Unknown fungus at Trentham Gardens 

Above and below Well Dressings at Hartington

Here is a - link - to the history behind the well dressings in Derbyshire.

Autumn Crocus or Colchicum at Hartington
Lords and Ladies at Trentham Gardens
A vintage Rolls Royce at Tissington
The local service bus to Ashbourne via Fenny Bentley passes through Tissington.

I will write more about the two Derbyshire villages we visited in a future post.


Saturday, September 10, 2022

On Harper Street

 A new area of the museum at Middleport Pottery was opened this summer just across the street from the main factory.

 I've written once or twice about the main museum and factory so I'll just write about the new project in this post.

The row of houses are typical of pottery workers' houses of  the late 19th Century and it is thought that they were constructed at a similar time as the factory which was built in 1888.  The houses first appear on a map dated 1889.

The refurbished terrace now houses a self contained community hub called Middleport Matters, studios and creative workshops, a collections store and research centre for the museum and last but not least at the far end of the row above, opposite the factory, the Lodgekeeper's house.

The back view of the row of refurbished houses.  You can see where ground floor extensions have been taken away.  These would probably have been kitchens or bathrooms.  The end three houses have been turned into a visitor experience.

They have been given bat boxes under the eaves which is good.  The whole area is of great industrial archaeological importance due to the nearby canal network. 

The factory stands at the edge of the Trent and Mersey canal.
Let's visit the Lodgekeeper's House or 113 Harper Street.
By 1950 the house was lived in by Mr and Mrs Hall and their three children.
The Lodgekeeper's house has been returned to the 1950s whilst the others have been turned into display and gallery space where you can listen to people's memories of living and working in the area and at the factory.
The house is available on the Heritage trail and you have to have a guide take you inside.  Our guide was wonderful and full of information and she also left us to wander around on our own.  We were there on a Bank Holiday Sunday but we had the place to ourselves.
Downstairs you can view the kitchen, scullery and parlour.

The detail in the rooms brought back lots of memories of visiting relatives as a child and indeed of my own home in the early 1950s.
The patterns in the wallpaper and curtains.  The ducks on the wall and the china display cabinets. The tobacco tins and pipes by a chair close to the fire.  Our guide did tell us that they needed a period sofa and chair for the parlour and were hoping eventually to acquire something of an appropriate age.

In the bedrooms the eiderdowns and trellis patterned wallpaper were very familiar.  I remember the wallpaper in my bedroom was a green trellis with yellow roses.
Dark brown wardrobes and tallboys too.  I remember I had a little dressing table with a pink brush and comb set on it.

The rest of the displays were photograhs of people and places in the area.  Local stories told by local people were activated as we walked around.  Itwas fascinating to hear how they lived and worked in the area.  Tales of school and childhood play.
It was time for a coffee in the canal side cafe and then a look around the shop before we went home.  By now there were a lot more people than when we first arrived so I'm glad we visited the 1950s house first.
Of course writing this now almost two weeks later we have seen changes which weren't thought of then or even at the beginning of this week.  I was born during the reign of the late Queen's father, George VI but I was not quite two years old when Elizabeth became Queen so I really have only known her as our Monarch.  It feels strange that she is no longer there, as if the mortar holding the bricks of this country together has gone and now it's all a little wonky.  
I'm sure all will be well.