Writing / Grizedale Arts Blog

A Heavenly Kitchen


Grizedale Arts collaborated with the local church (St. Andrews) on the Coniston and Torver Harvest Festival. There was a lot of donations of locally produced vegetables and well as some shop-bought stuff (though hardly any cans, and no tinned mandarin segments in sight). There were some fantastic volunteers and together we made about 150 meals that day. Mostly packaged up to go out on a local meals-on-wheels round and the rest was enjoyed that evening at a sumptuous supper. It was a real collaboration with George McClure on design, including a great logo for the plates, Glenn Boulter playing some lovely music during the supper as well as taking the photos and waitering duties, Matthew and Hermione for making realistic marzipan vegetables and lots of people who turned up to help in the kitchen. DJ Sons of Birds gave the night some edge with his gospel vinyl. Sample playlist -Violinaires - Grooving with Jesus, Tommy Ellison - Let that be a Lesson to you (Drunk Driver), Gospel Keynotes - That's my Son Hanging on the Cross, 5 Singing Sons - Are you Lonely for me Jesus, Ziontones - Use me Jesus. We got sent a nice thank you card.

Posted by Maria Benjamin on 13/10/10 at 14:17

Mat Do Stronger than Ever


New resident artist and chipper Whitechapel geezer at large Mat Do currently has an exhibition at (AND/OR) at 171 Mare Street. The Ties That Bind Us are Stronger Than Ever features work based on his residency in Egremont. Mat is due back up in early November to develop a project with the goodly people of this vale.

'Go see' as they say in the print media listings these days.

Posted by Alistair Hudson on 05/10/10 at 15:42

International Village Shop Website Launch


The International Village Shop is a growing network of cultural producers who set up permanent and temporary trading places for goods that are rooted locally. The products range from horsemilksoap to porcelain Frogbutterspoons, Peter's Pots and Titschy Kitschy houses, single-village rice, music CD's, handmade arrows, etc.

Grizedale Arts, myvillages.org, public works and Somewhere have worked with shop formats, trade and collaborative production since 2003. During a myvillages.org residency at Grizedale Arts in 2007 the idea was born to join ventures and the International Village Shop began.

Since then the partners in the network extended and reworked their trading places which include amongst others the ongoing Honesty Stall at Lawson Park, an annual shop for the village fete in Höfen, a two day shop at the Royal Academy in London, a one hour shop at the Studio of Urban Projects in San Francisco and an afternoon shop in a supermarket in the Swiss village of Fanas.

During the harvest month of October 2010 the International Village Shop website will go online. The site brings the geographically dispersed temporary and permanent "counters" of this one shop together, and gives insight to products that are developed for and contributed to this shop.

Throughout October 2010 a series of live shop activities will take place across both urban and rural places in the UK and Germany.

03 October, a "Höfer Waren" 2010 Swap Shop as part of the village fete activities, from 14.00 - 17.00 in the village of Höfen in Southern Germany, to make and swap clay fruit

06 to 17 October , myvillages.org presents thee International Village Shop at the offices of Lower Saxony in Berlin, with the shop open on Thursday 7th October from 19.00 - 22.00.

08 October at 19.00, a Friday Session on Shops at the public works studio in London.

10 October, "Heaven's Kitchen" as part of the Coniston Harvest Festival, with Grizedale Arts making frozen meals and a harvest supper from donated local produce.

New products that will enter the International Village Shop during October 2010 include:

Potato Sleepers, a bag to store potatos in the kitchen, developed with residents from the potato growing village of Neuenkirchen and myvillages.org, designed by FUCHS + FUNKE & Michael Lehner and made from leftover material from the local felt factory.

Paramentenmeterware, a new fabric devoloped with professional embroiders from the Paramentenwerkstatt at the Monastery of St. Marienberg, Helmstedt, in the far East of Lower Saxony, Germany.

Clay Fruit, a new dish applying "Hausfrauentechnik" to local clay to process the fruit that grows on it in the village of Höfen, Southern Germany.

Art and Agriculture porcelain sets , a printed second hand dinner set used during the Art en Agriculture wedding reception at Kultivator in Dyested, Sweden

New partners and products to enter the International Village Shop network are welcome.

For more information:

Contact mail@internationalvillageshop.net

International Village Shop Partners:

Website design and build: Dorian Fraser Moore (the useful arts organisation), and Kathrin Böhm (public works/myvillages.org)

The International Village Shop website is financially supported by Mondriaan Foundation, Rhyzom and FondsBKVB.

Posted by Dorian Fraser-Moore on 02/10/10 at 19:44

Mechanics Institute is christened


Even before the Instituto Mecanico programme gets underway, our Sao Paulo classroom hosts a talk by Ann Gallagher of Tate to a collection of art patrons and Outset folks. As the rest of the Bienal is a cocophony of video noise and vultures squawking, Ann is delighted to find a quiet room in the exhibition, at least while Adrian Street pumps on the other side of the wall.

Posted by Alistair Hudson on 24/09/10 at 14:37

Grizedale Arts at the Sao Paulo Bienal

Grizedale Arts and Jeremy Deller have collaborated on a new commission for the 29th Sao Paulo Bienal, involving a film by Jeremy about the miner, wrestler and craftsman Adrian Street; an education programme, a YouTube site and the founding of a Mechanics Institute for the Bienal.

See project page or Sao Paulo Bienal website for more information

Project page/Eflyer

Jeremy Deller and Grizedale Arts at the 29th Sao Paulo Bienal

Foundacao Bienal de Sao Paulo
Parque Ibirapuera portao 3
CEP 04094-000
Sao Paulo


25 September - 12 December 2010

Opening 21 September 1900-2200hrs

So Many Ways to Hurt You, the Life and Times of Adrian Street

A new film by Jeremy Deller, commissioned by Grizedale Arts for the Sao Paulo Bienal, telling the extraordinary story of Adrian Street.

Adrian was born into a coal mining family in Wales in 1940, but at sixteen he fled to London to pursue a career as a professional wrestler. Hanging out in Soho with the likes of Francis Bacon and Leigh Bowery, he developed a persona that combined the camp of post war pop culture with the hard-as-nails attitude of his working class past. His increasingly exotic image took him to America where he now lives, still wrestling in his 70s and running an artisan cottage industry, producing bespoke costumes to the wrestling industry. (http://www.bizarebazzar.com/art.htm)

The film is not shown in a neutral setting, but set against a mural by Paulista graffiti artist Raphael and presented as the façade of a new educational facility for the Bienal based the Victorian Mechanics Institutes.

The Mechanics Institute
Grizedale Arts and Jeremy Deller

The Sao Paulo Mechanics Institute is constructed with historic material from Coniston and John Ruskin's followers in the village, with paintings by Collingwood and crafts made at the Coniston Institute around 1900. This classroom also features work made by Portuguese pupils from the Lilian Bayliss School in Lambeth who undertook a week's course in art, craft and nature study at Lawson Park farm, Grizedale in August 2010.

However this is not an installation, but an active classroom for the Bienal to extend their own education programme in new ways. This programme is designed to work from the ground up, inviting school groups, amateurs and non-experts to teach what they know to others, creating knowledge as a network.

As part of the project a YouTube site is being developed to pass this knowledge on, with films made by the participants.

This project will in turn feed back new ideas to the Coniston Institute, to help shape its future.

Supported by Foundacao Bienal de Sao Paulo, Arts Council England and The British Council.

Posted by Dorian Fraser-Moore on 21/09/10 at 21:38

Sao Paulo Installation


Nearly there, mural complete, film running, classroom set up. Just need to make a mess in it now. Meeting education team next to plan the education programme for the room.

Posted by Alistair Hudson on 20/09/10 at 18:17

New Greasy Pole Champion for 2010

Congratulations to Ben Carhart winner fo this years Greasy Pole at the Crab Fair, Egremont. Ben got the leg of lamb and runner up with the shortest ribbon was Zac Turner, who claimed his £5 prize.

Artist Jeremy Deller, who instigated the return of the Pole along with Alan Kane is currently partaking in the Sao Paulo Bienal. Private view is this Tuesday at 7 if anyone can make it.

Posted by Alistair Hudson on 18/09/10 at 14:12

Installing at the Sao Paulo Bienal


Jeremy Deller and I have been here for 5 days now installing our project for the Sao Paulo Bienal - a film by Jeremy about the wrestler Adrian Street, a mural of the same by local artists, a Mechanics Institute, an education programme, a school trip and a few other things rolled into one.

Posted by Alistair Hudson on 17/09/10 at 23:41

It's not on


Yesterday a helpful soul graffiti'd our honesty stall: "IT'S NOT ON THAT YOU LEAVE SCRAP METAL AND CARPET IN THIS LOVELY PLACE! TAKE NOTE".

Thank you for that. We are very sorry for any offence that this may have caused. What were we thinking, leaving such unnatural materials in this haven of purity? (Though I think carpet is Royal Coniston brand, so quite local.) We shall henceforth endeavour keep this idyl free of clutter and signs of non-wilderness; but where to start? Tractors, cars, spades, straight bits of wood, disposable barbecues, tourists, fudge, brightly coloured clothing, spruce forests, quarrying, honesty stalls, graffitti.....actually better take the washing in just in case.

Posted by Alistair Hudson on 03/09/10 at 16:31

Lilian Bayliss school in Lambeth


The school visit from a group of Portuguese speaking kids from the Lilian Bayliss school in Lambeth was great fun. Jeremy Deller came and did some drawing with them as these will be shown alongside his new film at the Sao Paulo Biennial.


Posted by Maria Benjamin on 27/08/10 at 10:18

São Paulo Art Biennial


It's getting closer to the Biennial install and Jeremy Deller is finishing off editing his film of the Welsh born coal miner turned wrestler Adrian Street (now living in Florida stitching lurid lycra). In a couple of weeks we have a bunch of Brazilian kids (Brazilian kids from London, well actually just some kids that speak Portuguese) coming up to make some work which will add the finishing touches to the exhibition. They will spend some days drawing and thinking about Ruskin, have a trip to Barrow to make some Noise with the collective Octopus and create a Tabletop Utopia from bits of nature that look good in miniature and represent the Lake District. It will all make sense soon enough.

Posted by Maria Benjamin on 03/08/10 at 19:52

Craft Salon at The Mechanics Institute


We ran a Craft Salon to run alongside the Coniston Arts and Crafts Annual Exhibition held in the village hall. The salon took place in the library where we tucked away the unsightly book carousels and Romance novels and displayed instead bits of pottery, glass, metal work and books from our collection and library. We had artists, craft people, and historians talking and showing. Charlie Whinney and his demonstration of how to steam-bend wood got the biggest round of applause though Adam's history of the Arts and Crafts Movement demonstrated by the throwing of pots came a very close second.

Posted by Maria Benjamin on 30/06/10 at 20:06

Recent visitors


We have been busy over the last couple of weeks with a group of German Architecture students and tutors who stayed at Lawson Park and Low Parkamoor and thought about issues of land use, commons law and access rules while helping tidy our messy wood pile. The left and another group of Extra Special People from Birmingham's Eastside Projects arrived. The weekend consisted of hard toil in the fields for some, and for the others, a social couple of days at the Craft Salon at The Mechanics Institute where we organised lectures and demonstrations in the library as part of the Coniston Arts and Crafts Society Annual Exhibition.

Posted by Maria Benjamin on 30/06/10 at 19:37

Late at Tate - You Tube can Double Dip

Yes for you folks who missed our spectacular at Tate Britain on June 4th, Jesse Rae has kindly youtubed his whole set with the Thistles and Skip Macdonald. Watch out for the Double Dip now.....

Posted by Alistair Hudson on 24/06/10 at 10:38

Hide and Horn Online


Long time Grizedale collaborator Peter Hodgson now has his own online shop. Do pay it a visit for finely crafted luxury goods in leather, horn, wood, ceramic and a variety of pet food supplies.

Posted by Alistair Hudson on 24/06/10 at 10:31

Coniston Arts and Crafts Society Annual Exhibition

Coniston Arts and Crafts Society
Annual Arts & Crafts exhibition
The Institute, Yewdale Road, Coniston, Cumbria
Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th June
10am - 4pm

Grizedale Arts presents
'Craft Salon at the Mechanics Institute'
Presenting an interpretation of The Coniston Mechanics Institute, a village education and social centre first established in the early 19th century, an historic centre
used for the local development of the woodcarving and lace making industries initiated by John Ruskin.
Craft demonstrations, talks and discussion happening throughout the day
Demonstrations include Web Design, Stone Carving, Wood Bending, Book Binding,
Pottery, Sonic sculpture, collage, vegetable sculpture
With Further contributions and workshops from

Charlie Whinney, Peter Martin, Naomi Kashiwagi, Dorian Moore, Glen Boulter, Liz Rowe,Chris Poolman, Rebbecca Bibby.

And an on the day publication on what Craft means to you with Harry Blackett and Robin Kirkham

With talks by Dr Charlie Gere, Adam Sutherland, John Bryne, Alistair Hudson
Admission at the door by donation, refreshments available
Posted by Adam Sutherland on 17/06/10 at 08:39

Cumbria Tragedy

Our deepest sympathies go out to all those affected by this devastating event.

Posted by Adam Sutherland on 03/06/10 at 05:54