Yorkshire Sculpture Park

I visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield for the first time this week. I was very impressed by the variety of exhibitions both inside and out. The Park describes itself as a 500-acre outdoor art gallery and there are over 80 sculptures to see outside. The area was originally the landscaped parkland of Bretton Hall and so the setting is very beautiful. There is much to explore including Lower and Upper Lake , Menagerie Wood, the Chapel, Boat House, Shell Grotto, various galleries and much more.

We didn’t see all of it so there is plenty to go back for. Outside there is a group of figures made by Barbara Hepworth called, The Family of Man. I had been to her house and gallery in St Ives and hadn’t realised that she originally came from Wakefield.This photo is just one of the group which has been on loan to the park since the 1980s.

Another very interesting sculpture was the Iron Tree made by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. He gained worldwide attention in 2011 when he was arrested for ‘economic crimes’. His arrest provoked an international campaign for his release. He is home now but under constant surveillance and banned from leaving China. The Iron tree is made from 97 elements cast in iron from different trees joined together with nuts and screws. The park also includes several indoor exhibitions in different galleries. These are time limited and the one that I was very keen to look at was, The Wish Post by Mister Finch. Mister Finch is a textile artist and as he puts it, he is a man who sews. I have seen photos of his work but never seen it in the flesh and it didn’t disappoint. The Wish Post is the story of a magical kingdom of woodland animals whose job it is to collect and sort other creatures’ wishes. These are breathed into envelopes and posted in toadstool postboxes. Badgers in blue jackets, hedgehogs playing brass bells, long eared rabbits, rats, mice, squirrels, moles, hares and foxes all play their part in this magical amazing story. These creatures will disappear from the park on September 23rd so you must be quick to make their acquaintance. I also really enjoyed the temporary exhibition called, A Tree in the Wood by Giuseppe Penone. Part of this exhibition was outside in the form of trees with large objects in their branches. At first I thought that these large pieces such as a box shape had been hoisted into the branches and wondered how safe they would be in a wind. It turned out however that the really realistic looking trees were actually made of bronze.I loved the metal tree outside the Bothy Gallery, it is a bronze sculpture of a split tree with gold leaf reflecting the light.Inside the Underground Gallery is a force of nature, called Matrice. It is a fifteen metre conifer which has been spliced vertically in half and laid tip to tip to measure thirty metres . The tree had been cut down in the Alps and the centre hollowed out.I was also very interested in the exhibition called, Beyond Time by Chiharu Shiota , a Japanese installation artist. This was inside the refurbished 18th-century Chapel.  It has been made with 2,000 balls of woollen thread, with pieces of sheet music suspended from the thread.Unfortunately this instalation is only there  until September 2nd.

I enjoyed my visit but am very aware there is still lots that I didn’t see so look forward to a return visit.

Community Spaces in the North East

I have just returned home from a few days staying in a cottage near Whitley Bay in the North East of England. During the visit I was very interested to see two community projects which were both in different ways a little unexpected. The first was a Community Garden in the walled garden area of a National Trust House and the second was made for the community by an open cast mining company. Continue reading Community Spaces in the North East

Adopt a Tree for Belper Arts Festival

This year as a new event for Belper Arts Festival, local individuals and groups were asked if they would Adopt a Tree on King Street.  The trees were decorated for the duration of the Arts Festival. The idea was suggested back in Autumn 2017 and was quickly taken up by a number of people in the town of Belper. Trees were installed on May 5th and taken down on May 28th. Continue reading Adopt a Tree for Belper Arts Festival

Woollen woods 2018

We have just taken down the Woollen Woods and 2018 has been an amazing year. The sun has been very good to us and more individuals and groups have joined in the fun. I have written about previous years on this blog and also linked to videos Woollen Woods 2015 . This one was created for us by a Derby company https://www.ablewild.com . We were written about on the Angel Eden Blog in 2016 and there are links to videos on their page. Continue reading Woollen woods 2018

Belper in Bloom

Once again this year Belper will enter the RHS Britain in Bloom competition. The competition is now over fifty years old and is entered by communities in towns, villages and cities with different categories for each size of settlement. Groups are assessed for their achievements in three core areas: Horticultural Excellence; Environmental Responsibility; and Community Participation. Over 1,600 communities around the UK enter each year, participating in their local region’s  “in Bloom” campaign. From these regional competitions, roughly 80 communities are selected to enter the national Finals of RHS Britain in Bloom.Last year ‘Belper in Bloom’  was selected to represent the East Midlands in the Large Town Category in the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom UK Finals.

Andrea Van Sittart, RHS Head of Community Outreach, reacted by saying: “Congratulations to Belper on reaching the UK Finals of this year’s RHS Britain in Bloom campaign. To represent their region on the UK stage is an incredible achievement and shows they are already at the top level of community gardening, going the extra mile to improve their local area and make it cleaner, greener and more beautiful for everyone.”

Belper has numerous  volunteers and groups who get involved with the towns involvement in Britain in Bloom. These include Belper Gardening Group, Transition Belper, the Open Gardens Team, Belper Goes Green, Friends of the River Gardens, Guides, Brownies, Scouts, local schools and for the first time this year St Peter’s Parish Community Garden. As well as volunteers, the staff at Belper Town Council and Amber Valley Borough Council, will be working to make Belper bloom. Once again this year they will be planting thousands of bedding plants in the parks and planters in and around the town, putting up hundreds of hanging baskets, keeping Belper Railway Station and the grounds of Strutts looking beautiful and keeping the Parks, Wyver Lane and other Nature Reserves accessible and well maintained.

This year as part of the town effort the Belper Woollen Woods are asking  local people who can knit, crochet or felt to make flowers which will be used to brighten up part of the route that the judges will walk along.Belper is a fantastic town full of residents willing to be part of Community events. So I am asking everyone who reads this to help make flowers for the Belper in Bloom Group. There are plenty of free patterns on the internet that can be used for events such as this.

I am a knitter so I am adding a few quick and simple knitting patterns to this blog post. However flowers can be crocheted or made out of felt.Flower OneOne main colour of DK Yarn (A) and a small amount of a different colour for the centre of the flower, (B). Needles size 3.25 (10)

Body of Flower Using Col A Cast on 60 stitches
Rows 1 –10 : K2, P2 across whole row. Row 11 : Knit 2 stitches together across the row (30 sts).
Row 12 : Slip 1 stitch, Knit 2 stitches together then pass the slip stitch over… repeat across the whole row (10 stitches).
Break off yarn with long tail and thread back through remaining stitches and pull tight. Join edges with mattress stitch

Centre of Flower Using B, cast on 20 sts, knit 2 rows, cut the yarn and thread through all the stitches. Pull the thread tight and sew base to the centre.

Flower TwoUsing 3.23mm (10) needles and DK yarn, cast on 160 sts, Knit two rows. Next row: Knit two together across the row (80 sts), Knit the next row.

Knit two together across the next row (40 sts), Knit the next row.

Knit two together across the next row (20 sts), Knit the next row.

Knit two together across the next row (10 sts)

Break off yarn with long tail and thread back through remaining stitches and pull tight. Join edges with mattress stitch.

The flower will naturally curl to make an interesting shape.

Flower ThreeUsing 3.25mm (10) needles and DK yarn, cast on seven sts

Row 1: knit,  Row 2: Knit 1, kfb k to last two sts, kfb, k1. (9 sts)

Row3:as Row2. (11sts),     Row 4: as Row 2. (13 sts)

Rows 5-8: knit,    Row 9: Knit 1 (knit two together through the back of the loops) twice,   k to last four sts, (k2tog) twice. (9 sts)

Rows 10-12: knit,   Row 13: (k2tog through the back of the loop) twice, k to last four sts, (k2tog) twice. (5 sts)

Rows 14-16: knit,    Row 17: knit 1, slip 1,k2tog, psso, k1. (3 sts)

Row 18: knit and then Cast off.

Make three or four more petals to complete the flower.

Sew lower sections of petals together by threading a length of wool through all five petals and pull up tightly.

Centre of Flower Cast on 20 sts. Knit 2 rows.

Cut the yarn and thread through all of the stitches and pull to make a circle, sew onto the centre of the flower.

Flower FourUsing DK yarn and size 3.25 (10) needles cast on 86 sts. Knit 2 rows.

Last Row, (Knit 2 sts, cast off 12 sts) repeat this across the row.

Cut the yarn and thread through the remaining stitches and pull up to make a flower that looks a bit like a daisy. Put in a few stitches to hold in place.

Flower Centre Cast on 20 sts. Knit 2 rows. Cut the yarn and thread through all of the stitches and pull to make a circle, sew onto the centre of the flower.

It would be fantastic if lots of people would help with this effort and we do not have very long before Britain in Bloom. The completed flowers can be left in a box in St Peter’s Church Chesterfield Road, Belper or given to me Anne Clark

If you would like to print off the patterns here is a PDF Flowers

Simple Patterns for Woollen Woods

The Woollen Woods are once again planned to come to the Parks Wood in Belper during May 2018. Lots of individuals and groups have already expressed interest in being part of the event. There are no set patterns and it is perfectly acceptable to make one item or to take on a whole tree. At the moment I am enjoying myself making woodland birds to install in the wood. Continue reading Simple Patterns for Woollen Woods

Belper Christmas Angels

I thought I would write an update about the Christmas Angel project. Knitters and Crocheters in Belper have been very busy this year making small angels as a Christmas Gift of Love for the people of the town. The project had been adopted by Belper Churches Together as their Christmas initiative but it has also been very much a community activity with hundreds of people getting involved. Continue reading Belper Christmas Angels

The Joy of Autumn

Autumn is such a special season. There is fun to be had walking along kicking the fallen leaves, searching for conkers and brightly coloured berries. The season used to start on September 21st and it can be a bit confusing these days as media weather people start talking about it starting on September 1st. Continue reading The Joy of Autumn

Adopt a Tree in Belper

In the town of Belper people are starting to think about next years Art Festival. Unlike many Art Festivals, the one held each year in Belper is a community event, a festival of inclusivity, not exclusivity and everyone is welcome to take part.Belper Art Trail has already posted on their Facebook page asking for ideas for next years trail which is one element of the whole Art FestivalContinue reading Adopt a Tree in Belper

Belper Goes Green Fun Palace

Belper Goes Green 2017 happened during the first week of June. This year the dates were June 2 – 4th. The Friday evening as always was filled with beer and music. During the day on Saturday and Sunday there was an amazing amount on offer, plenty of food, drink, children’s activities, adult information stalls, handmade retail sales, talks including Talking Books, a variety of performances, numerous workshops and places to be quiet and meditate. Saturday evening was once again full of musical entertainment. Belper Goes Green is a local Eco Festival which is part of Belper Transition Group. Next year 2018 will be the sixth event and will take place once again on the first week of June, June 1st – 3rd.  Continue reading Belper Goes Green Fun Palace