This project is about bringing coppice workers and contemporary designers together to develop a series of new products for local production and distribution.
The workshop programme offers coppice workers the opportunity to works with contemporary designers to develop affordable and locally produced furniture.
If you are a coppice worker or designer, please get in touch for more information on taking part in the 5 day design workshops. They run from Friday 17th – Tuesday 21st February 2012.
SATURDAY 18th February
Join us for a full day of demonstrations, discussions and a conference on craft, design and the Utility Scheme.
10am – 2.30pm
A morning of demonstrations and talks at Witherslack Studios, led by Charlie Whinney. You will meet the coppice workers and designers working collaboratively on New Green Wood Work designs.
3pm – 7pm
Conference at Blackwell, Arts and Crafts house in Windermere.
With talks from:
Dr Kathy Haslam (Blackwell’s Curator) - The philosophy and politics of the Arts & Crafts Movement and its contemporary relevance.
Ray Leigh (chairman of the Gordon Russell Trust, and former Design Director and Managing Director of Gordon Russell Ltd) – Gordon Russell and the Utility Scheme.
Keynote speech by product designer, Michael Marriott.
Questions and panel led open forum
Saturday 25th – Sunday 26th February
Green Wood Working Weekend - follow up production workshops
10am – 5pm
Weekend workshop in collaboration with Brantwood Estate where we will be making from scratch, items designed in the Witherslack workshops.
For more information of to book a place, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 015394 41050
Ray Davies managed to make it to the Coniston Institute for the performance of his 'Child's Play' last night!
A great weekend in Coniston Institute highlighting much of the art, craft and local produce from the village and surrounding area. Overall, the weekend made £4,000 and raised over £400 for the Conistion Institute redevelopment fund. The Grizedale Arts handmade ceramic Christmas decorations sold very well this year, though we got a slapped wrist for the hand grenade. Weirdly, no one complained about the Marcus Coates animal turd decorations! The best sellers were the things that looked most homemade and it seemed there was a preference for the handwritten sticker as opposed to the properly printed and designed label. Bringing so much local production together highlighted just how much is missing from the shops in this area. It's crazy to see shops selling honey from China when there is some amazingly tasty honey produced locally which flew off the shelves at the Fair.
David Watt who ran one of the few useful shops in the village, just recently passed away. He ran the hardware shop and though he seemed to specialise in dog leads, he always had some magical item that you never knew you needed until you entered his shop. One of the last thing we bought from him was a cable peanut! Everyone seemed to warm to him and even just catching a glimpse of him walking his dog would put you in a nicer mood. He will be greatly missed by the village and by all of us.
The Christmas lights are all up an on in Coniston now and look fantastic (if a little creepy!) A surprising number of people came along to the switch on, nearly 200, which was well above my pessimistic guesstimate of 20. Richard Ryan, Manager of the Blackpool Illuminations was due to switch on the lights but as he was stuck in traffic, and with people getting bored of mulled wine very quickly, we had one of our favourite local ladies, Margaret Proctor, switch on the lights for us and pose for press photos. We were handed the job of organising the Christmas Lights from a committee of local women who have done this for 11 years. We have been quite anxious about their response to all the changes we have made but fortunately for us, they are very happy with them! Richard arrived just before everyone disappeared into the pub or to dominos night (one of the biggest club nights in Coniston!) so he was able to give his talk on Christmas Lights and the Blackpool Illuminations. We had bought a couple of lights from him and the big Peace on Earth sign, he told us, was originally made for a Robson Green Christmas pop video!
Seventeen volunteers showed up on Tuesday to get stuck into more revamping of Coniston Institute. The kitchen was the priority. Since the new units were put in a few weeks ago, we hadn't had a chance to add the finishing touches like putting up shelves and deciding which cupboard for cups and which for plates and where we should keep the tea towels. It's all looking great and working so we're looking forward to cooking a big thank you dinner for all the volunteers, committee members and funders.
We also had a massive clear-out of a general hoard found squatting in the basement. The mouse-nibbled shuttlecocks, broken Christmas decorations, rotting curtains and paint brushes gone hard, filled a trailer and three cars.
Then came the rubble.... a wall has come down to make a once overflowing storage room and dark corridor into a beautiful new library.... update to follow.
...As the rain lashes the window on a Friday night, I find myself wondering if Barry White was much of a gardener?
The big cakes and all date is SUNDAY SEPT. 2ND 2012 - save the date now and order your waterproofs.
But you can also contact me if you're in the area another time and if I'm around you'll be most welcome.
On Monday we took delivery of this fine
Rietdale Chair made by Harvey
Wilkinson, former curator at Blackwell. The chair is a hybrid
of the 1917 Red and Blue Chair by Gerrit Rietveld
and the Eskdale school of woodcarving, produced by itinerant
craftsmen in the valley of Eskdale in the English Lake District
around the same time. The Eskdale woodcarvers were never
recognised as a movement or driving force in arts and crafts , yet
their extraordinary designs in carved oak offer a proto-modernist
version of design evolved in this remote valley, like some lost
Harvey has not created this piece as an art joke, but as a genuine improvement on what he sees as a slightly clunky attempt at a chair. The frame is built in beech, the arms in oak and the seat and back in ply. The edition of ball and ring turning to the legs is conceived to give the whole thing 'lift' in the traditional manner. Further models with material variations are to be developed and it is surprisingly comfortable.
We celebrated Harvest Festival twice this year. The first was in collaboration with St. Andrew's church in Coniston where we received huge donations of locally grown produce. About ten or twelve volunteers came throughout the day to help with the preparation and cooking of a celebration dinner and ready meals. Thirty people came to the dinner and we made more than 120 packaged meals which were delivered to some of the elderly residents in the village. The second Harvest Festival was at Wysing Arts the following week. Wysing's base is a converted farm in Cambridgeshire and although the land is used for sculpture now and not food production, they still have some very productive fruit trees. However, we decided not to do an entirely fruit-based dinner and so managed to get a few things grown locally (onions and cabbage) before hitting the supermarket (where there was an excellent deal on squid). The Harvest Festival at Wysing consisted of a day of talks and films followed by a supper for the artists, staff, volunteers and visitors. The talks were mainly food related, including Erik Sjodin's research into the fast growing Azolla pond plant as a nutritious food source and Will Clifford's talk on the Miracle Tree (Moringa Oleifera) and it's nutritional and medical properties. Kathrin Bohm presented a project in Berlin with myvillages.org about approaches to sustainable food production and also made us a huge batch of sauerkraut (which we had to take back to Lawson Park and is still fermenting in buckets in the cold store).
For the past year the volunteer group (The Boon Day Group as we have been named) has worked hard to get Coniston Institute back into shape. Having raised more than £10,000 (with grants from Coniston 14 and the Rawdon Smith Trust), work began today stripping out the old kitchen. It was a vintage English Rose kitchen but fits of territorial behaviour resulted in padlocks being bolted to the fronts of many of the lovely aluminium cupboards, not realising that they were a British design classic! The company that made them, Constant Speed Airscrews originally made nose cones for Spitfires and parts for Lancaster bombers throughout WW2, but after the war, being left with a large workforce and a stockpile of aircraft grade aluminium, the company went on to design the English Rose Kitchen. This was quite possibly the first ‘modular’ kitchen range in Europe. We did managed to sell the units on ebay but only for about 5% of what a reconditioned one would cost. Never mind!
website design & build by theusefularts.org.