Crystalline: British Science Week at the Museum

Crystalline

11 – 16th March 2019

Crystals copy
a glitter, a flicker, light off a crystal….

During British Science Week (9 – 16 March 2019), Buxton Museum and Art Gallery will be hosting the artist Will Hurt as part of the BM125 celebrations. Will’s work explores unusual ways of working with the minerals in the Museum collection

Abstractions
Abstractions

During the week (11 – 15th) Will will be based in the Museum galleries working with schools and other groups. If you are interested, contact the Museum who will put you in touch with Will.

email: buxton.museum@derbyshire.gov.uk
Tel: 01629 533540

On Saturday 16th, we are having a Minerals afternoon with all sorts of exciting things going on

 

With Will, you might:

 

  • Make Mineral Sounds. Place minerals from Buxton’s collection on to turntables and listen to them make music. Custom software and webcams translate the silhouettes of minerals into audible soundscapes.
  • Draw Minerals. Use an iPad to create images of your own virtual minerals. Draw geometry inspired by minerals into virtual space, choose sizes and colours then save and print your images.
  • Create Mineral Abstractions. Interact with a large touchscreen to explore an audio-visual composition created in response to electron microscope images of minerals.
Draw
draw unexpected new minerals

Musician Oliver Payne will also be joining us on the Saturday to do a short 20min sound performance using Will’s Crystalline software and some of his own contraptions.

Our regular event leader, Gordon from Creeping Toad will be on hand to help with other activities including

  • Growing Crystals Kits: prepare your own mineral mix so you can just “add water and wait”….when you go home, you can grow your own Borax sort-of-snowflake or a crystal garden
  • Make a mineral zoetrope: design and make your own flickering crystal magic lantern
Jess 3
crystals grown on our last mineral event – thank you, Jess!

Joining in:

Saturday 16th March

Times: 1 – 4pm

No booking needed, just drop by and join in: last new entries 3.30

Free

Materials provided

Sounds
the shape and surface of a mineral become sound and music

 

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A mermaid on the strandline

Mermaids and sea monsters

Mermaid swimming
a beautiful mermaid swims….

The tide washed in at two events in the last week at Buxton Museum. A deep water, wild sea tide that swept into the museum the most surprising array of wonders….

Lionfish

  • A dolphin,
  • A turtle,
  • A cuttlefish with tentacles,
  • A clawfish with poisonous spines,
  • Beautiful mermaids with hair glossy black or gleaming green

 

I like my undersea creacher because it has stripes like my little sister

There was a mermaid…

She has gorgeous hair and a lovely tail and beautiful tanned skin! What mo’r would you want!
There was

  • Squid the cuttlefish
  • An ancient, toothless Spinosaurus stealing teeth from the sharks,
  • Water crab Spheal, ice water fighting, triple powered undersea superhero
  • Miguel, the sea monster from Brazil with his 4 eyes and lots of legs
  • A tiny pink jellyfish whoe stole a girl’s shades when she was swimming because he was sure that shades would make him look cool. They didn’t.

Low Lobster 38

There is a friendly lobster who lives in a castle make of sand with all his family: his Mum, his Dad, his wife and their 6 baby lobsterlets. He runs fast, swims faster and eats seaworms and nips people’s toes when they come paddling too close to that castle built of sand.

Low Colourful fish 35

He’s wiggly and colourful and big and has scales and is very cool

There were fish that shimmered like rain in sunshine. There were creeping creatures and flapping rays. There were sharks with smiles wide enough to fit a whole child in. There was an octopus who quietly tentacled away before we could photograph him.

Lobster

 

With many thanks to all our artists young and not-so-young for their laughter and cheerfulness and being ready to have a go….our underwater wildlife films will follow

Making mermaids, mermen and monsters

Jenny Greenteeth’s Mother

Make a mermaid, model a monster,

shape a serpent

or simply love your water-people

February events the tide is washing in

Mermaids
one of our wilder Merfolk

Seapeople inspire us, it would seem….or water-people do, generally. Our Peak District “mermaids” are not saltwater folk but frolic in our cold spring-fed pools and stone-sprung, moss-spawned rivers. And looking wider, we meet Peg Powler and Jenny Greenteeth in their rivers, from Scotland come kelpies and water horses. There are spirits in streams and ladies in wells, hoary old river gods under bridges and strange monsters in lochs and lakes, tarns and llyns.

low sea puppets
a sea full of cheerful puppets, 21st Feb event

And then we get our feet wet as we go paddling and there are sea serpents and krakens, tritons and sirens. There are selkies and roane, fin men in their boats and the strong, sad, remorseless Blue Men of the Minch. There Shony in the western seas expecting his tribute to guide fish into the fishers’ nets. Just out from Liverpool, on the Irish Sea, we might meet Manannan mac Lyr riding in his chariot of seaweed pulled by horses made from the white foams of the largest waves. Or we might yet see the ghosts of the Children of Lyr who spent years living as swans on that same cold, wild sea.

Gordon MacLellan at Doxey Pool
Doxey Pool, the site of recent water-people stories

mermaid, buxton, faceAnd then there is Buxton Museum with our Victorian “mermaid” in her lonely splendour. She has a suitor, you know, a gentlemen (we think, with merfolk it can be hard to tell, and what does it matter anyway?) who spends most of his time in the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill in London. So if you are down that way, you might pop in and blow him a kiss from his northern lass…..

 

As part of BM125, we are exploring mermaids and our artist Rob Young is creating mermaid films and stories. You could have a look on this blog at some of his lovely posts about mermaids at the Museum, out in the Peaks and out of his own imagination

 

And still there is us at Buxton museum and we just enjoy our water-people….so we will have various watery moments over the next few months

 

Firstly, we have two events in February

low squid
Thursday: mermaids or maybe giant squid

Thursday February 21st: mermaids and monsters: 10.30 – 12.30, join us to make quick watery people. You might make a mermaid or a fish or a lobster or some dreadful creature no-one has ever seen before: the choice is up to you. This is a quick and cheerful activity making beautiful shimmery puppets

 

 

lower mermaids 3
Finfolk and merpeople….

Saturday 23rd, Wilder mermaids: and then we’d like to invite you to join us for an activity with a bit of fiddling, a bit of care, thinking and planning and building as we go to make fiercer, stranger, maybe more beautiful water-people….1 – 4pm

  • Details are still developing so times or event titles might change a little. Keep an eye on this blog, on the Creeping Toad facebook page or the museum events page on the BMAG website
  • Both events are free and materials are provided
  • No booking needed, just drop by and join in
  • Children under 7 need to bring a grown-up with them and these events are often busy so older children might well appreciate having their own adult nearby, too

 

Other BM125 events are coming for March and April, so watch out for more announcements – there should be minerals, sabre-tooth cats and some golden treasures. We are hoping that a mermaid tide will come in again in May!

 

 

 

 

 

Winter skies and shadows

Winter skies and shadows

Low W skies details

Shadow houses
shadow buildings

Public events in the BM125 programme are trotting on like reindeer across cold starry skies. In November, we took favourite things in the museum (the Bear!) or places in Buxton (the Dome) and turned them into laminated sheets of shadows and colour to put in our own windows at home

 

More recently, we made mobiles, asking visitors “what would fly in your winter sky”. Out of the comments came the poem below and a whisper, rattles and whoosh of drawings, ribbons and hanging pine cones

Low Winter fox
a fox from a winter sky

Rain clouds,

Become snow clouds in the sky above

My house with its garden giraffe.

There’s a cat sitting there,

Watching flowers and a yellow snail.

 

I live in a forest of green pointed trees,

An owl watches from a fir tree’s shelter

As the Grinch creeps down

To steal a snowman all in green.

Low Winter forest
winter wood and collage hedgehog

A star shines over the forest

As the owl spreads silent wings,

Into the sky where a bold red fox

Holds a bright blue star,

And a red castle floats in the clouds.

 

But rain clouds become snow clouds

And bright thoughts become sleep

As a star shines over the forest

And a jingling sleigh lands on my roof.

 

Words from the summer have been recorded and are posted as very short films on you-tube. Why not step into a moment of summer sunshine with the haymeadow spell, or pause for a longer wander across the fields of the Upper Dove Valley

Spell

Haymeadow

Buxton mermaid copy
Buxton Museum’s very own mermaid

Coming up in 2019, there will be a twilight walk in Buxton Country Park in February (planning still in progress – we’ll update soon!) and several mermaid events in half term. There will be a “beautiful mermaids and wonderful monsters” session on Thursday 21st Ferbruary. On Saturday 23rd, we’d like to challenge visitors to step away from their everyday mermaids and make some merfolk who challenge images and assumptions, using our own Buxton Museum Mermaid and our Peak District mermaid stories for inspiration

 

Mre details on those and some other very exciting BM125 events will follow soon!

THE MERMAID AS… QUEST

 

 

Introducing My Sister’s Scarf (working title)

If you had to leave your home at a moment’s notice and could only take one possession with you, what would you choose? For this blog, Richard and Amanda Johnson from Kidology Arts describe their current ‘work in progress’.

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery’s collection is made up of objects that have been chosen. Someone, at some point in time, has deemed them to be special and worth keeping. One of those objects is the Hopton hand axe. Around 350,000 years ago it was lost by its owner – probably a migrant hunter-gatherer following herds of deer north having crossed the land bridge that then connected what is now Britain to continental Europe. The axe would have been essential to its owner; its loss would have been serious.

Hopton Handaxe
The Hopton hand axe displayed in the Wonders of the Peak gallery at Buxton Museum

We want to make an artwork that draws parallels between the story of the people who first migrated to Britain and migrants who have come here recently. We hope to point out that migration is not something that has only happened in the UK in the last 50 years, but something that has been essential to its growth for millennia.

To enable us to hear first hand accounts of the journeys that migrants take and the choices they have to make we have recently begun a series of engagement workshops at Derby Refugee and Asylum Centre.

To make the artwork we will collaborate with choreographer Kevin Turner and emerging dance artist Maddie Shimwell from Company Chameleon in Manchester. The work will be inspired by real stories of recent migrants and will result in a 20 minute dance piece devised by Kevin and performed by Maddie, accompanied by Amanda on violin, performing a new piece of music she has written especially for the project. During the performance Maddie will interact with a piece of visual art made by Richard that, at this stage, we envisage will take the form of a large square of printed or painted material. As Maddie dances, she will manipulate the material into different forms: she might hide beneath it, wrap herself in it or bundle it up to cradle it like a baby.

The performance will be filmed and will appear on Buxton Museum’s web app, the Wonders of the Peak.

Funded by Arts Council England, this commission is a creative collaboration between Kidology Arts and Company Chameleon in celebration of Buxton Museum’s 125th year.