Creative Group Exhibitions

exhibition at Lopham; photograph by Andy Crouch
exhibition at Lopham; photograph by Andy Crouch
exhibition at Lopham; photograph by Andy Crouch
exhibition at Lopham; photograph by Andy Crouch
exhibition at Lopham; photograph by Andy Crouch
exhibition at Lopham; photograph by Andy Crouch
exhibition at Lopham; photograph by Andy Crouch
exhibition at Lopham; photograph by Andy Crouch
exhibition at Blo' Norton
music at Blo' Norton
exhibition at Thelnetham
LOHP Species Wall
exhibition at Thelnetham

Visions from the Little Ouse

October 2013

The Creative Group project culminated in a series of public exhibitions in October 2013, presented in three village halls in the project area. The exhibitions included painting, sculpture, textiles, photography, illustration and writing all inspired by the valley, the source of the river and the tiny details that make it a unique place.

Members of the Creative Group presented a range of work which gave new insights into the beautiful and subtle surroundings, the quiet atmosphere of the fens, the source of the river, its history and folklore, and the plants and raw materials from and about which creative work was made.

Over the course of the year we developed a programme of activities which encouraged and supported members to explore a range of subjects and materials in their work, and which were presented at the LOHP exhibitions. Drawing from the various interests, skills and knowledge of the group, we explored possibilities for using plants to make paper, thread and dyes, went on guided walks which inspired photography and creative writing in response to the landscape, and researched local heritage, industries and folklore through visiting museums and ‘Local Knowledge’ meetings.

In preparation for the exhibitions, we also conducted studio visits during the summer with some of the artists and makers of the group which gave us the opportunity to learn more about their individual practices, and discuss their ideas and plans for the exhibitions. These visits enabled us to get a better picture of the scale and scope of works being produced, how we could focus the presentations in the three different village halls, and present preparatory materials as well as inspirational items found in the valley including wood, fallen nests, and feathers.

The Visions from the Little Ouse presented work by every member of the Creative Group, as well as historical artefacts relating to the project, including Tim Holt Wilson’s leather marshman’s boots presented side by side with the finest jacquard woven 18th century linen made for Redgrave Hall, local historical maps, and examples of Lopham Linen kindly lent by Jenny Vere. They also featured the Little Ouse Species Wall, a mixed-media collective artwork that was developed especially for the project as a way to include a large number of people with a range of abilities in the project and to celebrate the rich and diverse wildlife and plants specific to the Little Ouse valley.

Each exhibition took a slightly different theme to reflect the diversity of subjects and materials explored by the group:

Lopham Village Hall -
Saturday 19 & Sunday 20 October  

At Lophams’ village hall, the exhibition presented works in watercolour, oil, textile, ceramic, wood, and printed text, which celebrates the subtlety of
this quiet landscape, its soft colours, and the beauty and range of the local species. The exhibition also displayed paintings and collages by pupils from
Hopton Primary School, who produced work in response to their site visits and workshops based on trees with artist Rosemary Humphries.

Thelnetham Village Hall -
Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 October 

At Thelnetham Village Hall, the exhibition focused on textiles, nettles and new enterprise, drawing on the linen industry that was produced in Lopham for several centuries. Loans from local collections relating to the industry and texts on Lopham Linen were on display, as well as research and explorations by the group with materials found locally to make paper, thread and dyes. Over the weekend, some of the group gave spinning and felting demonstrations using wool from the fens, including the Norfolk Horn Sheep.


‘Norfolk Horn Sheep graze the fens to help maintain biodiversity. This unique fleece is wonderful for hand spinning, but grey sheep are not acceptable for showing as coloured fleece is not readily accepted by the Wool Marketing Board. The Norfolk Horn breed was almost extinct, down to one pure ram, but saved by back breeding with Suffolks.’

M.Watkins 

Blo Norton Village Hall -
Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 October 

The exhibition at Blo’ Norton Village Hall featured painting, photography and writing produced in response to the local landscape and the source of the river, drawing on folklore, geology and heritage as well as highlighting the tiny details of the fens. We also hosted a celebration evening with readings, live music, dance and home made food with everyone who was involved in the project. The programme included readings by Anne Marie Clark, Ivan Clark, Steve Glason, Kenninghall Morris Dancers, and music from local bands Infinite Tapestry, Roger Gamble and Passing Wind.

Over the two weekends the exhibitions attracted more than 600 visitors, many of whom bought works and left positive feedback. When all the works were brought together for the exhibitions, the variety and quality of the work made by professional and amateur artists alike became apparent. Through these exhibitions the LOHP reached a new audience - who will hopefully be inspired to investigate further into the project. 

Little Ouse Species Wall

The Little Ouse Species Wall was a mixed-media collective artwork, made by members of the Creative Group and Lopham Art Group over the course of the project who were encouraged to make single works about single species from the Little Ouse Valley.

There are thousands of species in the area that is managed by the Little Ouse Headwaters Project. Many of them are small, rare or little known and can only be seen for short periods at certain times of year. Many people can explore the fens on guided walks, but as the landscape needs careful management and plants can’t be picked, we wanted to find a way to represent the rich range of species another way, through the eyes and talents of artists.

Members of the group were invited to make work in squares or rectangular formats to multiples of 12x12 cm in a range of media including photography, watercolour, handmade paper and felt to celebrate this rich and exciting area for wildlife. The Little Ouse Species Wall was presented as part of the exhibitions at Lopham and Thelnetham, and consisted of over 200 works depicting the diverse flora and fauna in the area, including the early marsh orchid, meadow buttercup, water mint, black bog rush, adder and damselfly.

 

 

Exhibition Publications

Visions from the Little Ouse

A collection of writings by the LOHP Creative Group

This collection of writings by members of the Creative Group has been put together as part of a project that celebrates the landscape, flora and fauna of the Little Ouse valley. The writings here, some of which are extracts from longer works separately published, reflect on the landscape, give us new insights into the beautiful and subtle surroundings, the quiet atmosphere of the fens, the source of the river, its history and folklore.

Contributions from: Lyn Bennett, Barbara Burrows, Ivan Clark, Anne-Marie Clark, Gill Farlam, Steve Glason, Tim Holt-Wilson, Rosemary Humphries, Sally
Mills.

Designed by: Adam Pugh, SCVA

Visions from the Little Ouse PDF

 

Trees
 
Anne-Marie Clark

Publication extract


‘Albion, an ancient name for Britain – meaning white, shining, invaded by many different peoples during the course of its long history. Bringing their culture, beliefs and folklore, peoples from Celts to Romans, Vikings, Angles, Saxons and Jutes, creating a rich heritage of stories and mythologies…. Alternative therapists, healers and those seeking a more responsible eco-friendly way to build homes, living in harmony with planet earth, are growing in number. We learn from the past, hopefully applying our knowledge and wisdom towards a sustainable future. Conservation work by the LOHP, is testament that many people care deeply about the natural environment, giving time and energy as volunteers to restore the valley fens habitat.’
 

Trees PDF

 

 

Information sheets
 
Lyn Bennet

PDF downloads


Stinging Nettle Fibre 
PDF


Woad Dyeing Shibori Style With Sally Mills 
PDF


Paper Making 
PDF

 

 

 

Sources
Tim Holt Wilson

Publication

A pair of 19th century marshman’s waders are a symbol of the centuries of labour which tamed the headwaters of the Little Ouse. Streams were reshaped and lowlying land was drained; water was considered a nuisance, best sent quickly seawards. Changes in the rural economy meant that peat and reeds were no longer cut, horses and cattle were no longer kept; water levels fell, peat wasted; trees and scrub grew; pollution entered the system. Many of the historic fens and damp meadows of the valley floor became neglected or reclaimed for agriculture.

‘Sources’ explores the ageless life of water in the valley and its tributaries, and its relationship to people, places, plants and animals. It is also a tribute to the ecological restoration and rewilding work of the LOHP in the five parishes.

 

Please contact Tim at timholtwilson@onetel.com for more information on how to order a copy. 

 

 

Quotes from exhibition visitors

Lovely displays – inspires one to get busy with nature’s treasures!

Lovely to meet the artist who painted those super oils!

Impressive displays and great creativity.

Very inspiring – beautiful photography and writing and artwork

Really inspiring exhibition, feels like you’re all so creative and inspired by the countryside and natural world on your doorstep.

Marvellous exhibition and so appreciative all you do.

Wonderful photography, peaceful location for such an exhibition.

Brilliant photographs.

Lovely, simply displayed and visually pleasing.

 ‘Its great to see a project being run by enthusiastic, energetic people, which is not just conserving wild places but bringing people and communities together, bringing in artists and looking at the countryside through a whole new set of eyes.’ 
Phil Rothwell, Heritage Lottery Fund

 

Exhibition Reviews - Links

EDP link: http://www.dissexpress.co.uk/news/latest-news/video-artists-creative-flow-helps-promote-little-ouse-headwaters-project-1-5626817

Press Release: http://cultureofthecountryside.ac.uk/sites/default/files/LOHP Press Release .pdf