The Windermere Steamboat Museum team have been making the most of the good weather over the past few months and have been hard at work recording, packing and labeling all of the objects in the collection. The curatorial team has now relocated over 2,500 objects that relate to the boats, with enormous help from a team of volunteers. Whilst the new Museum is being constructed many of these objects will be cleaned and conserved ready to go on display and tell the stories of boating on Windermere. The conservation team has also been busy moving the workshop into temporary facilities where they will be able to continue conserving the boats ready for display both in the new exhibition space and on the water in the boathouse when the Museum opens. One of the most complex tasks the team has undertaken is the relocation of the boats in temporary storage on site, including the ferry Mary Anne pictured above. The collection has been moved to enable the construction of the new Museum to take place and to ensure the boats are away from all the activity. The store has only moved a short distance but the logistics of moving such a vast collection are not to be underestimated! We are thrilled to be moving into the next stage of the project and look forward to keeping you up to date with progress.
We are very pleased to welcome two new members to the museum team. Helen Parr joined us in May as our Learning and Interpretation Officer and has a key role in developing the interpretation that will be in the new displays as well as planning the exciting learning and activity programmes that we will offer in the Museum. Helen is talking to schools and community groups to develop our activities so if you are interested in being involved please get in touch.
We are also pleased to announce that Matthew Foot has been appointed as Conservation Assistant. Matthew has been completing an apprenticeship in Heritage Boat Building at the Museum for the past 12 months and will now continue to assist with the conservation of over 40 historic wooden vessels.
Making our way over the ‘Snake Pass’ to Sheffield, we meet contemporary craft artist Emilie Taylor, who occupies a top-floor space in the Yorkshire Artspace studio. We need some time to find the proper entrance, walking past the large graffiti work by Kid Acne, which spells the sentence ‘You’ll thank me later’ over the car park.
This meeting with Emilie Taylor is a prelude to the future plans of Lakeland Art’s engagement strategy, with aspirations to embrace current thinking and museum practice which promotes art as something that can be socially relevant, enhancing our wellbeing and happiness, and even changing lives.
Emilie Taylor’s work embodies these ideas. As a trained art psychotherapist Emilie has worked with people who use drugs and alcohol, with people experiencing metal health problems, and with people who are homeless, collaboratively producing work which is inspired by and engages with their individual stories, personal fates and experiences.
It takes someone approachable and charismatic to do this kind of work, and Emilie is all that. We meet her in her studio, drop our bags on the sofa so we don’t accidentally knock over any of her work which is spread out over windowsills and tables. There is a small set of soup bowls made for Grizedale Arts on the windowsill, and two large pots on the table near the door, which Emilie points out were too heavy for her to lift out of the kiln single-handedly.
Pinned to the wall above are photographs of Verrio’s painted ceiling in Chatsworth house, where she has been artist in residence until a month ago. Emilie is interested in the Renaissance figure grouping, studying and sketching the ceiling as inspiration for her artwork.
The figures currently populating her objects are local youths from the streets, sometimes wearing gilded deer antlers on their heads, for no apparent reason, dressed in hoodies and roaming the streets. Emilie’s work takes her out into those streets, approaching the individuals of the groups she chooses to work with, in their own surroundings, which both fertilises her work and is accommodating for the people she works with, many of which, as Emilie tells us, might not feel comfortable coming into a gallery space.
This blog post has been written by Corinna Leenen, a work placement student from Leicester University.