In the Moment ‘on the Lake’

In the Moment summer projects get better and better! This year, an August day out on Windermere, inspired by the lovely old boat ‘Branksome’ being restored ahead of the new Windermere Jetty opening in 2017.

‘In the Moment’ is part of Lakeland Arts’ Enriched by Moments programme of creative activity for people living with dementia and their carers. The group meets weekly in Kendal, drawing inspiration from Lakeland Arts sites, collections, exhibitions and displays, as well as local festivals and events. The sessions are a joyful blend of art and poetry, and have been described as ‘respite without separation’ – pleasurable and stimulating for everyone involved, and proven to support people to live well with dementia. Somehow, the process of immersion in experiences, the flow that happens during creative engagement has a transformative and beneficial effect that seems to extend beyond the sessions, for everyone involved.

In the lead up to the summer project, costumes from the Handling Collection and a photograph of Edna Haworth who lived at Langdale Chase and commissioned the building of ‘Branksome’ in 1896 were our starting points. Together, they provided ideas for us to create a really special day out and bring ‘Branksome’ to life in a completely new way. We shaped the day to include a visit to the Jetty conservation shed, experience an hour on the lake, disembark at Langdale Chase where we would see the boathouse built specially for ‘Branksome’ and then have afternoon tea close to the terrace overlooking the lake where Edna is standing for her photograph.

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It has been wonderful subject matter to be immersed in, enabling a relaxed and playful connection with the late Victorian era. The group created their own accessories, including appliqued capes, cuffs, choker necklaces, boater hats and false moustaches!

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Everyone enjoyed role playing their way into their costumes!

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The group also spent time thinking about the boat, making drawings and maps and two members of the group partipated in stitching the outline of Branksome onto white fabric.

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The visit to look at Branksome being restored was illuminating. Stephen, the Senior Boat Conservator, explained the process of finding just the right shaped piece of oak, known as grown crook of oak, to replace the original stem. This way of growing oak gives the wood the curvature in the grain which will follow the line of the stem. A brand new figurehead, inspired by some of the intricate carvings at Langdale Chase, illustrated how the boat is being restored to its former glory. Stephen also told us that an oak tree felled to make room for the development of the new museum is being used to create the steam bent timbers lining the interior of the boat.

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We left the Jetty Conservation Shed, amazed by the craftmanship and care that the conservation team are employing, and made our way to Waterhead for our picnic as we waited for our boat to arrive. We made a happy gathering, wearing our hats which were very welcome in the bright sunshine.

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We boarded The Princess of the Lake, our very own wooden launch for an hour! It was glorious to be on the lake, everyone so thrilled, the beautiful weather, landscape, sense of friendship and shared experience.

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As the boat pulled into the Langdale Chase jetty, we got our first view of the boathouse which was the original home of ‘Branksome’ and Bernice and John waiting to welcome us.

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Safely off the boat, we unfolded the stitched drawing of the boat and floated it into the water by the boathouse – a symbolic returning of ‘Branksome’ to it’s original home.

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Up on Edna’s terrace at what is now the Langdale Chase Hotel, we held up ‘Branksome’ to dry, creating another connection between the boat, the lake, its original owner and original home.

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The afternoon ended with afternoon tea and poetry readings. We’ve had two more ‘In the Moments’ since our wonderful day out and each time we’ve projected images of the day directly onto the studio wall which has had the effect of bringing that moment on the lake directly into the room again. Members of the group have created personal dioramas that create a visual sense of their moments on the lake, as well as prints and a large inked landscape of the lake.

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Get involved: our next big project with ‘In the Moment’ is the Creative Age Challenge in late October during the weekend of the Kendal Wool Gathering when knitters and crafters are Yarn Bombing the museum. We are working in schools and with community groups in Kendal to create a Hand Made Herd – a flock of small scale sheep that will fill the oval in the front of Abbot Hall Art Gallery. During the weekend of the gathering, sheep will be on display and then auctioned at 3pm on Sunday 30 October to raise funds to support the Enriched by Moments programme. Invite us to run a sheep making workshop in your workplace, school, community centre. Come to MOLLI’s Woolly Workshops during half term. Volunteer!

For more information about the Enriched by Moments programme check out the website at http://www.lakelandarts.org.uk/learning

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Summer of Rag Rugging

***UPDATE: The rugging will continue this October 22 & 24-27. Come to the museum during half term to take part in finishing this great textile project. Full details here.*** 

We’re creating giant rag rugs inspired by the rugged Cumbrian landscape! Sally Fallows is running drop-in workshops across Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House all summer long. The finished rag rugs and wall hanging will animate the learning centre at Windermere Jetty, Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories when it opens in 2017. Over 250 people have contributed so far – and there’s plenty left to do! So drop in and try your hand at traditional textile techniques with a contemporary twist.

 

Morning workshops at Abbot Hall Art Gallery
Monday to Friday until 2 September / 10:30 – 12:30 

Included with admission – children FREE 

Create an aerial view of Windermere in wool using a mix of hooking, prodding, crochet and pom-poms! Inspired by Winifred Nicholson’s views of Cumbria, on display at Abbot Hall Art Gallery until 15 October 2016. Nicholson designed over 180 rag rugs and commissioned local artists to make them. We also drew inspiration from Alexandra Kehayoglou‘s spectacular wool rug artworks.

 

Afternoon workshops at Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House
Monday to Friday until 2 September / 2:00 – 4:00
Included with admission – children FREE 

Help make a gigantic wall hanging inspired by the view from Blackwell – complete with fleecy sheep and boats sailing on Windermere. Enjoy an afternoon of crafting in an idyllic setting. Materials are locally sourced from William’s Wools and Faye’s Sewing Box – including local alpaca yarn from Town End Yarns.

 

Let’s Play

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We want visitors to Windermere Jetty to have a great time when they’re with us; to explore, engage and play in their surroundings.

Playing is important, honestly it is! Play is our brain’s way of learning and making sense of the world in which we live. There are emotional, social, physical and intellectual benefits to play, which is why it’s so important that we are all encouraged to play more often.

There are misconceptions around play and it is often seen as ‘messy’. Play should be messy. There shouldn’t be any limits placed on how we play, and children shouldn’t be afraid to experiment, even if this means getting dirty and making a mess. It’s creative!

For children, play can bridge the gap between the different environments of school and home; it can connect children with their peers and help them to disconnect from everyday life. It is this disconnection that helps children to fully immerse themselves in the activities in which they are taking part. It allows children to focus and explore. Children’s  identities develop through engagement with others and the early years of a child’s life are important in developing a strong sense of self. Nurturing friendships helps children to develop this sense of self and this can happen through play.

How children play and what they learn from their play has been the subject of research for Psychologists for decades. Jean Piaget believed that a child’s cognitive development is about a child constructing a mental model of the world. Each child goes through four stages of cognitive development in the same order, and no stage can be missed out. Some people might never reach the later stages and there are individual differences in the rate at which children progress through each stage. Piaget did not claim that a particular stage was reached at a certain age, although descriptions of the stages often include an indication of the age at which the average child would reach each stage.

Lev Vygotsky researched the role of social interaction on cognitive development and argued that development first takes place socially. Children observe parental behaviour, listen to parents’ speech, and then try to imitate them.  As children practice through imitation, parents will guide children, correct them, and provide challenges.  Through child-centered play, children take on different roles and experiment with language, which helps them to become internally regulated in cognition. Children become more competent in their language use and begin to regulate their own thought processes and this can all be developed through play.

Jerome Bruner’s theoretical framework is based on the theme that learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon existing knowledge. Learning is an active process. Bruner introduced the idea of the Spiral Curriculum, which refers to the idea of revisiting basic ideas over and over, building upon them and elaborating to the level of full understanding. Bruner believed that any subject could be taught at any stage of development in a way that fitted the child’s cognitive abilities. Eventually Bruner was strongly influenced by Vygotsky’s writings and began to adopt a social and political view of learning.

Current theories of play, from Psychologists such as Pat Broadhead, suggest that children should be encouraged to play and learn from their peers, with little if any interruption from adults. Recent research suggests that if left to their own play themes and interests, children will choose to do more challenging and satisfying things than an adult would probably have led them to do. This is also known as Free Flow Play, which allows children to play freely, without interruption from adults.

By understanding how important play is for a child’s development, we can ensure that Windermere Jetty is a museum that welcomes families and provides children with  a range of opportunities to play and develop in a safe environment.

Bags of Fun at Windermere Jetty

Behind the scenes at the building site, the Windermere Jetty team have been beavering away on interpretation for the Museum. The story that we will be telling at the Museum is an exciting one, capturing tales of the peaceful tranquillity of Windermere and daring adventures on the lake. These stories will captivate the imaginations of many of our visitors. What if you’re a family group visiting? How do you engage young children with a trip to the Museum? We asked ourselves these questions, and then set about developing activities that will help families to explore Windermere Jetty.

Interactive exhibits will explore different themes in the Museum, for example, how steam is created and what it’s like to travel at speed, something that our visitors will not be able to experience on Windermere today. Apart from the interactive exhibits, which will be dotted throughout the exhibition space, we are also providing activities that our visitors will be able to pick up and use during their visit. These activities will appeal to specific visitors, such as families.

To find out what families would like to see at Windermere Jetty, we researched family resources at other museums and galleries and we asked local families what they would use on a visit to the Museum. The list contained items such as:

  • Colouring sheets and crayons
  • Books
  • Trails geared towards families
  • Activity bags/Backpacks containing different activities
  • Low tech interactive exhibits
  • Objects that can be handled

We decided to have a closer look at how to develop activity bags to help families and children explore the Museum. We have similar bags at Abbot Hall and we know that they are well used by families in the Gallery.

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We’ve found out some interesting things about activity bags

  • The optimum number of activities is five, enough to keep children engaged without it becoming too arduous to complete everything that’s in the bag. This also allows room for activities to be swapped or added when needed
  • Make sure that activities are suitable for the youngest or least able in the group
  • Aim to have as little writing involved as possible, in terms of what’s expected in each activity and also the instructions. Activities should be as self-explanatory as possible. A simple guidance sheet for adults is a great idea to set out what’s in the bags, what’s expected of visitors and to reassure visitors that they will not need any materials not already provided in the bag to complete the activities
  • Make questions and activities open ended to encourage conversations to continue within family groups, leading to further exploration of the collection
  • There are several benefits to having such bags available for families to use. They provide a focus to the visit and allow us to highlight objects within the collection; they suit different learning styles and can be used at the visitor’s own pace; they are non-messy activities that allow families to work together to discover the collection; above all they’re fun to use!

 

Since we completed this research, we have come up with a name, Captain’s Duffel Bags, and decided that the bags will contain up to five different activities. We’re not telling you what’s going into them yet, we don’t want to spoil the surprise!

For more information about Windermere Jetty visit windermerejetty.org

Half Term Tree Houses @ Blackwell

We spent half term building tree houses at Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House. Our willow structures were inspired by this tree house Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott decorated for the Crown Princess Marie of Romania in 1897 – just a year before he started working on Blackwell!

Baillie Scott filled Blackwell with nature and whimsical details, making it the perfect holiday home for the Holt family and their five children. The minstrel gallery – with birds and trees carved into the woodwork – looks like an indoor tree house!

We started building tree houses by ‘planting’ willow rods into a polystyrene base. Then we used pipe cleaners, wire, and tape to bend and shape the flexible green willow into any structure we could think of! We decorated our tree houses with paper flowers – inspired by Baillie Scott’s description of the plants he hid throughout Blackwell. The resulting tree houses were impressive – the tallest reaching almost 5 feet! If you snapped a picture of your tree house, tweet @lakelandarts #Blackwell or post it on our facebook page.

A big thank you to everyone who joined in and helped out with this activity! We’re already looking forward to Blackwell’s Easter Egg Hunt, Family Dance Night, and Story Telling Week. Sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop!

– Shannon
Learning & Engagement Officer

Lakeland Arts 2016 and beyond…

Busy times are ahead for Lakeland Arts in Cumbria, one of the leading Arts and Heritage Organisations in the North West. Originally Founded in 1957, it has since developed a hugely successful artistic programme, which repeatedly brings the best contemporary and historical artists to the area. On an annual basis, thousands of visitors come to indulge themselves in visual feasts of consistently high quality exhibitions, held at inspiring settings throughout the Lake District and just outside. Yet this is only part of the story. For over the next few years, there are plans to raise the stakes even higher, with an ambitious strategy to significantly grow a diverse selection of attractions. Notwithstanding the realisation of an ambitious new Windermere Jetty project or the completion of new period rooms at Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House in Bowness.

Since opening Abbot Hall Art Gallery in 1962, the former Georgian town house has gained a national and international reputation for the excellence of its collections and programming. A wide-ranging collection boasts something for everyone, from iconic works such as the huge 16th Century triptych portrait of Lady Anne Clifford, to Cumbrian born George Romney’s finest society portraits from the 18th Century. Hung in elegant period rooms these magnificent works rub shoulders with a fine set of 18th & 19th Century watercolours from the likes of J.M.W. Turner, John Constable and Edward Lear. Highlights of a strong modern and contemporary collection include paintings by the St. Ives School, Graham Sutherland, L. S. Lowry and Ivon Hitchens, with three-dimensional pieces by Barbara Hepworth and Jean Arp. You can also find an important selection of works by German refugee Kurt Schwitters, who spent the last few years of his life in the Lake District, after fleeing to England in 1940. From its early days, Abbot Hall has regularly brought some of the most celebrated names in the art world to Cumbria, from: Bridget Riley, Lucien Freud and Patrick Caulfield to name only a few. The current highly acclaimed exhibition ‘Canaletto: Celebrating Britain’ is on the last leg of a hugely successful tour, which has already taken in the Compton Verney Art Gallery in Warwickshire and Holburne Museum in Bath. It offers a Northwest audience the unique chance to see a large grouping of drawings and paintings by the illustrious 18th century Italian artist. The works have been brought together from major collections including: the Royal Collection, British Museum and Dulwich Picture Gallery, along with a number of private lenders.

Lakeland Arts have also developed an extensive learning and activities programme of events, lectures, workshops, films and concerts across all of their sites. Giving invaluable access to their collections for families, schools, colleges and community groups. All galleries are free for children up to the age of sixteen, and young people receive further support with a variety of cross-curricula opportunities, predominantly in Art and Design and History. Engaging the local community is also another top priority. A series of projects aimed at meeting the needs and interests of individual groups include a programme entitled, Enriched by Moments, which delivers activities and events designed to engage people living with dementia along with their carers. These informal sessions often stimulate lively discussion, generating creative ideas and enhancing feelings of well-being. They have also established partnerships with organisations such as: Young Cumbria, the Leonard Cheshire Disability Trust, Riverview Day Centre in Kendal and residents and staff at the Leonard Cheshire Home at Holehird, Windermere.

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From March this year, Abbot Hall will become one of only three host venues selected to display a Masterpiece from the National Gallery Collection. Rembrandt’s Self Portrait at the Age of 63 will arrive during a UK tour from January to July 2016. This late contemplative self-portrait by one of the world’s most revered artists represents another major coup for the gallery. Helen Watson, Director of Exhibitions and Collections is obviously thrilled, “We are excited about bringing one of the greatest works of art in the UK to Kendal. Visitors will have a unique opportunity to spend time with this magnificent painting, study it in detail and learn about Rembrandt and his self-portraits.” Keeping a close eye on the Dutch master will be Lady Anne Clifford’s barn door-sized triptych from the same period, which is to be shown in an adjacent gallery. Looking forward to the pair meeting one another, Anne-Marie Quinn, Learning and Engagement Officer at Abbot Hall reveals, “We have designed a programme of talks and activities to encourage all our visitors to spend time with Rembrandt and Lady Anne. They are remarkable characters in their own right and both have used portraiture in very different ways to describe moments throughout their lives. Lady Anne’s portraits create a narrative about her status and power, while Rembrandt’s self-portrait is the intense almost spiritual scrutiny of an older man, reflecting on his image, and perhaps his whole life.

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Housed nearby in the old coach house and stable block at Abbot Hall, The Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry displays a significant and widespread collection relating to the social and industrial history of the Lake District and Kendal. This year visitors will be treated to a new layout with more interactive displays. Exhibits not to miss include the original sketches, drawings, photographs, mementoes and a pair of slippers once belonging to Arthur Ransome, author of the enduring children’s classic, Swallows and Amazons. Whilst there are further opportunities to step back in time with the Victorian photographs of the Lake District by Joseph Hardman, or by tracing the local development of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

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When architect MH Baillie Scott completed Blackwell in 1901, he built a beautiful holiday home overlooking Windermere for his client, Sir Edward Holt, a wealthy industrialist. Exactly one hundred years later, Lakeland Arts opened the house to the public in 2001, after stepping in to save it from an uncertain future. Initially securing a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a restoration project, this masterpiece of twentieth-century design now continues to present a rare opportunity for visitors to experience a breath-taking example of the Arts & Crafts Movement today. At the moment, plans to bring the Blackwell Project: An Arts and Crafts Story are close to fruition. This two-year project will eventually introduce new Arts and Crafts furnishings, objects and textiles to further enhance the period rooms, whilst telling the stories of some of the people who lived and worked at Blackwell.

Unquestionably, one of the most exciting future additions for the Lakeland Arts portfolio is the realisation of the new Windermere Jetty, Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories. Which replaces the former Windermere Steamboat Museum that opened in 1977. Thanks again to significant support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, an eighteen month build and fit-out programme started in a special Ground-breaking ceremony on November 20th 2015. Once opened, the new Museum will add a further dimension to Cumbria’s rich heritage and cultural offer. Windermere’s lakeshore history will come alive as it is combined with displays of steam launches, motorboats, yachts and other vessels. A new learning centre is a key feature of the design, whilst a new café will provide stunning views over the length of Windermere. Martin Ainscough, Chairman of Lakeland Arts is clearly delighted; “This is a major step towards opening the Museum to the public so that everyone can enjoy seeing the historic boats on display in the exhibition galleries and on the lake”. Local MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale (and leader of the Liberal Democrats) Tim Farron, also welcomes the latest addition to the shoreline, stating; “I cannot wait for the new building to open so I can have a look at Lakeland Arts’ fantastic collection of historic boats. I am grateful for the support the Heritage Lottery Fund continues to give to Cumbria”.

With the completion of the Windermere Jetty project expected in 2017, Lakeland Arts will grow significantly and boast one of the most far-reaching and diverse set of attractions. Incorporating a wide variety of collections with the potential to rival anywhere else in the UK. For nearly sixty years, they have cultivated an enviable reputation for exhibiting art of the highest quality. This has been achieved alongside the creation of inspiring spaces for the understanding and enjoyment of artists, the collections and buildings. Whilst the exhibition programme continues to celebrate artistic endeavour and imagination, it also engages and challenges audiences to fully experience all forms of art.

David Banning
Visitor Experience Coordinator, Lakeland Arts

New Expressions: Kendal Skies

We’ve had a bonus week of sky exploring, making cloudy labels, finding accidental clouds and drawing golden eagles in flight. Geoff drew his eagle in great confidence with oil pastel and then layered it over his painted cliffside. Kenneth used chalk pastels to create an atmposheric sky.

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During preparations for the workshop, a little bunch of pristine white labels had been dropped into a tray of ink! A happy accident! This was the inspiration for utilisng the paper that we had used to protect the floor from paint when we were painting the parasol. This was covered in drips and puddles of lovely paint and created a feeling of clouds! And so the group cut out ‘accidental’ clouds, printed weather inspired words on inky labels and continued to use paint to capture the swirling feeling of cloudy skies.

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Pat created the word ‘smog’ remembering her early life in London and Joyce selected areas of dripped paint to create an accidental cloud. Annette scumbled and blended sky and cloud with paint. John drew an image of the sky with language written into the swirling shapes.

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John loves the cloud book, and this led us outside to look at the skies. And back inside, the words to Somewhere Over the Rainbow filled the rooms and Annette and Pat painted rainbows.

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