The Crescent- A Stitch in Time

Nikki Anderson one of our Museum Attendants and Textile Designer has put together this blog about the 19th Century embroideries that are on display here at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.

To celebrate the reopening of ‘The Crescent’, the iconic hotel in the centre of Buxton, Buxton Museum and Art Gallery are exhibiting some rare and exciting art works dating back to the early 18th Century alongside some more contemporary paintings and prints.

The Crescent was built in 1788 and included a hotel at each end of the building and six town houses in the middle and was commissioned by ‘The 5th Duke of Devonshire’. Its purpose was to provide luxurious accommodation for visitors to the town. His vision, to create a spa town to rival Bath. Architect John Carr designed the building which was completed in 1788. It quickly became a popular visitor attraction and became a focus for artists whom would interpret ‘The Crescent’ in various art forms.

Embroidery 1
Embroidery 1
Embroidery 2
Embroidery 2
Embroidery 3
Embroidery 3

 

I was fascinated in particular with 3 pieces of embroidery on display. All 3 embroideries show the view of ‘The Crescent’ as the focal point from the slopes at St Ann’s Cliff. There is little known about the embroideries other than they were created in the mid 19th Century. The detail achieved in these works is incredible. You can see in the detail below the accuracy in very small detail. This photo has been magnified so the tiny stitch work can be seen.

FIG_2_JPG

These embroideries have been created from etchings by Henry Moore which were made in 1819. Often the etchings were printed onto the silk fabric and the free hand embroidery was used to create the painting. On close inspection it appears that most of the embroidery would have been done by machine possibly using a pantograph method to transfer the stitches. Silk became very popular in the late 18th Century and by the mid 19th Century it became a common pastime to make these silk embroideries. I love the different contrasting effects used by the satin stitch on the machine and the hand stitching using running and seeding stitch (embroidery  3) whilst still obtaining such a delicate nature to the works. The fashioning of metallic threads of the 18th century have also influenced these works alongside the popularity of satin stitch and long and short stitch. In the magnified photo below a method called ‘couching’ has been used. This is where threads are placed on the surface of the fabric and then sewn stitched on by hand or machine. If you look closely you can see where the couching has unraveled showing the loose yarn.

FIG_4

It is  interesting to note the fact these embroideries were worked upon in only 2 or 3 shades. Black and gold and/or beige silk. This may have also been influenced by’ Blackwork’, which was developed in the 16th and 17th Century and was incredibly popular.

These incredibly beautiful pieces of embroidery are on display alongside etchings, paintings and photographs until the 1st September at Buxton Museum & Art Gallery.

 

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Whispers in the Grass, event

Whispers in the Grass

Low Haymeadows 36

a day of words and art

Dove Valley Centre

Tuesday 9th July

11.00 – 15.00

write a poem, draw a picture, shape a story from a twig, 

a feather and a leaf….bring a picnic and relax

Low Haymeadows 37A breeze blows through the hay, a bumblebee buzzes, sun warms the old meadows of the Dove Valley and we all settle into an ease of stories and poems. Join the Creeping Toad and Borderland Voices team for a day of inspiration from the fields and wide skies of the valley

This event is planned as a day for casual creativity. Our artists will support you with ideas and materials and you can do as much or as little as you like. You can just take some time to simply enjoy the beauty of the Upper Dove Valley, chat to new friends or old mates and (maybe? hopefully!) watch the ravens tumbling in the sky over Pilsbury castle

Whispers is a free event: no booking or tickets are needed, just drop by and join in. If you would like to check anything out, contact Gordon on creepingtoad@btinternet.com

Dove Valley Centre: follow the link for directions to the Centre. When you arrive at Under Whitle, you can drive down the track to the Centre (right at the end of the track) but you are recommended to park at the top of the hill and walk, saunter or wander down the hill to the Centre and enjoy the views as you drop into the deep valley

Buxton Festival Fringe

This gentle event is outside Buxton so give yourself a day off from Festival stuff and come out into the Moorlands.

A BM125 event for Buxton Museum and Art Gallery in partnership with Creeping Toad and Borderland Voices

Fringe logo.18

The Lost Beasts of Buxton

The Lost Beasts

Lost Beasts strip

free family event

Saturday 29th June

1 – 4pm

at Buxton Museum

 

Making carnival masks and hats inspired by our very own scimitar-tooth cats,

cave lions, wild horses and mammoths.

 

Low Masks animal 79Once upon a time and not so long ago there were wolves in the Peak District hills, wild boars in the woods and beavers in the rivers. Once there were wild ponies here, and cave lions, reindeer and bears. There were scimitar-toothed cats and straight-tusked elephants.

 

Before that, long and longer ago there were strange sharks swimming in ancient limestone seas.

What wonderful animal would you celebrate?

mask-Small-lion copy

Join us at the Museum to make animal masks and hats to wear in Buxton Carnival – or just to wear and enjoy and relish the animals that lived here once (or, for unicorns, maybe “should have lived here once”).

Celebrate the ancient animals of the Peaks and join Two Left Hands in the Buxton Carnival Parade. A BM125 workshop as part of the celebrations for the Museum’s 125th anniversary

 

 

This event is free, no booking or tickets needed. Children under 7 should bring a grown-up with them and you need to allow 45 minutes to make an animal hat

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A mermaid tide is running…..

a Mermaid tide is running

half.fish

the events list – come on in for a paddle!

In the Water, detail

A swirl, a splash, the flap of a broad tail on the water or the silence where someone has vanished….we don’t see much of merfolk unless they want to be seen

A handsome pony stands on the bank of a highland stream, gleaming black and friendly, climb on my back, I like the company, I am safe, an easy gallop over the moors…Kelpies are notoriously tricksy shapechanging water folk

Kelpie, detail

 

Buxton Museum Mermaid

Rather wizened now, older than any of her visitors, her strange and marvellous features not quite as strange and marvellous as they once were but the Museum mermaid still has the power to fascinate and people come and stare. It doesn’t cost a penny any more to come and admire and the Boyd-Dawkins Room at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery is very different from the sideshow, freakshow tents where she started her career in show business, but the Museum Mermaid still draws her visitors…..

Water People enchant us: with their beauty or their power or their seductiveness or their danger or their grace and generosity – or with all of those at the same time. here in Buxton we are blessed with local stories of mermaids and water people (Blake Mere, Kinder Downfall, Redesmere) and with our own Arnemecta, the Goddess of the Waters

In celebration of the Museum mermaid, of the water people tales of the Peaks, of the water people stories from across our islands and of the spirit of water in general, we are organising a small festival.

half.fish

30th May – 1 st June

All events are free – for some of them booking is needed as spaces are limited

For all events, children 7 years old and less need to bring a grown-up with them (in case we have some hungry water creatures to feed)

The Land and the Sea, detail

THURSDAY 30TH MAY

1. Mermaids and monsters

Make a mermaid, a sea serpent, a fluttering sea horse or some wild and wonderful creatures no one has ever met before. Quick puppets of shimmering, sliding sea creatures with Gordon from Creeping Toad

Venue: Buxton Museum and Art Gallery* (venue details at foot of post)

Times: 2 – 4pm

Materials provided

No booking needed just drop by and join in – allow 30 minutes for the activity

FRIDAY 31ST MAY
2. Hand-made mermaids

Inspired by ‘The Buxton Mermaid’, recreate your own idea of this mythical creature, using a variety of art materials, then place her in your very own sea. A drop-in workshop with Artist and Educator Anna Spratt.

Venue: Green Man Gallery*

Times: 10.30 – 11.30am

Materials provided

No booking needed just drop by and join in

3. Interview with a Mermaid

Anita Jasso is a ‘professional’ mermaid, with a breath-hold of 5 minutes, who can free-dive to 40m. You may have seen her on the ITV drama, Butterfly. With mermaid clubs springing up all over the country, there has never been a better time to discuss this cultural phenomenon.

Venue: Green Man Gallery
Times: 12 noon – 1pm

No booking needed just arrive and listen with a smile

4. Mermaid CSI

How was she made? Where did the bits come from? Why did they make her? Solving the mystery of the mermaid! Listen to Conservator Anita Hollinshead reveal her research, after studying ‘The Buxton Mermaid’ for her MA in the Conservation of Historic Objects at the University of Lincoln.

Venue: Green Man Gallery

Times: 1.30 – 2.30pm

No booking needed just arrive and listen with a smile or maybe your best detective notebook….

5. Mermaid: the Movie

Former BAFTA Screenplay Judge, Rob Young, will give a one-hour crash course in how to write a movie. It’s Film School in an hour! A warm, witty and welcoming workshop in the craft of storytelling. Free, but booking essential.

Venue: Green Man Gallery

Times: 3 – 4pm

Places limited: booking through eventbrite

6. D E E P

The world premiere of a short story by award-winning writer Rob Young, inspired by The Buxton Mermaid and the ‘haunted’ pool at Blake Mere. D E E P tells the story of Jan, a Buxton boy who discovers that there’s something strange in the water. A darkly-comic urban fairy-tail for Young Adults (older adults welcome too). Performed by Buxton actress, Sarah Day.

Venue: Green Man Gallery

Times: 6 – 7pm

Places limited: booking through eventbrite

SATURDAY 1st JUNE

7. A Mermaid Museum

A Mermaid Museum: alternative mermaids, fierce mermaids, shark spirits and exhibitions: help us remember the origins of the Museum Mermaid by making our own Mermaid Museum

Venue: Buxton Museum and Art Gallery* (venue details at foot of post)

Times: 2 – 4pm

Materials provided

No booking needed just drop by and join in – allow 30 minutes for the activity

* Venues

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

Terrace Rd

Buxton

SK17 6DA

01629 533540

Green Man Gallery

Hardwick Square South

Buxton

SK17 6PY

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery is 125 this year and to mark that anniversary, the BM125 project will bring together experienced with new and emerging artists with 12 months of artistic initiatives

Whale rider, detail

Illustrations on this blog are extracts from bigger pictures by some of our Water people artists!

  • In the Water and The Land and the Sea are by Ruth Evans
    Sea dancer is by Jo Thilwind – visit her work at Dreamspaceart on Facebook
    Kelpie is by Gordon MacLellan from Creeping Toad
    Feral Mermaid, photograph by Rob Young
    Whale Rider is by Maria Strutz

Musical stones

Back in March, during British Science Week, as part of the ongoing BM125 celebration, artist Will Hurt set up in the Wonders of the Peak gallery.

 

There,screenshot-2019-02-28-at-17.37.08 he invited visitors to play a large interactive screen, with both hands, and as many fingers as you might like, to create crystalline patterns. Colours and shaped rippled across the screen in response to our action: pulsing, fragmenting, growing, changing. Crystallisation at an accelerated rate.

Low turntable

There was also a small turntable. Here we could choose a rock, a polished stone, the sharp shards of a crystal and, rotating gently, it would be scanned and the scanned profile turned into sounds. They were strange sounds. Not sure what any of us were expecting but these sounded like slowed down voices, rumbling, grumbled mutterings, rising and falling with the shapes of their scans. A fascinating experience that had us rummaging around for new shapes to scan and wanting a second turntable to see if we could play with those stone voices and, building an exchange, listen to the ancient, slow conversations of stones

 

At the end of the week, musician Oliver Payne joined Will and gathering the assorted “conversations” of the week, he improvised a performance, the music of stones.

 

Listen to Oliver’s performance HERE

 

This was an intriguing piece of work, both Will and Oliver’s. I have a background in geology and am used to handling rocks and finding ways of telling their long slow stories through poetry and dance. There were lovely firsts here for me. The speed and sheer immediate excitement of Will’s Mineral Abstraction screen was a delight. The sounds from the turntable work were inspiring and Oliver’s final piece was great fun: I could see dance moves and strange shadow puppet unfoldings to it. It also spoke to me of darkness, of pebbles knocking together, of the rocks of Poole’s Cavern settling to rest after a long day of Being Looked At…..or just the atmosphere of the cave when the lights were switched off

Poole's 1

BM125: Buxton Museum and Art Gallery is 125 this year and to mark that anniversary, the BM125 project is bringing together experienced with new and emerging artists with 12 months of artistic initiatives. Look out for

Mermaids

Scimitar-toothed cats

My sister’s scarf