Making carnival masks and hats inspired by our very own scimitar-tooth cats,
cave lions, wild horses and mammoths.
Once 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?
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
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
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.
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)
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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, 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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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….
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!
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.
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.
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.
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