Play your part in The Ropewalk’s Heritage

By janetuplin |

Volunteers are needed for the next stage of the latest Heritage Lottery funded project at The Ropewalk

Anyone with a connection to Barton’s former ropemaking factory, Hall’s Barton Ropery, or with a love of social history has the opportunity of becoming involved in the next stage of a Heritage Lottery Project at the Ropewalk Museum.

The highlight will be the production of an exhibition about the company which will take centre stage in Gallery One in March and April next year.

For the past few months the Museum’s Heritage Officer, Jonathan Holt, has been sifting through the archives of the Ropewalk which had been either rescued by the buildings owners, Ian and Mark Proudfoot, donated by former employers during an earlier Heritage Lottery Project or rescued from other buildings in the town where they had been stored for safe-keeping.

“We’ve now got to the stage where we are happy to welcome volunteers to help in the task of cataloguing company records, including sales information and information on the material imported for the production of rope as well as correspondence with clients such as letters and telegrams” said Jonathan.

“It is also essential that the archive material is repacked into the correct archival packaging to ensure the heritage of Hall’s Barton Ropery is preserved for future generations,” he went on.

“Volunteers will be able to research working conditions and practices at the company which will form the backbone of the exhibition,” he continued. “They will also be a part of this very exciting opportunity to ensure that the history of The Ropewalk and its workforce is accessible to as many people as possible

The £50,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has not only enabled The Ropewalk to secure the services of Jonathan for a year but also transform an area of The Ropewalk into a bespoke research area which will afford local historians far better access than enjoyed presently.

“Until now we lacked the necessary facilities to allow visitors or researchers to access our archives but thanks to the HLF this is now possible,” said The Ropewalk’s Managing Director, Liz Bennet.

The Ropewalk, which dates back early 19th century, is one of the very few surviving and the only publically accessible historic building which documents Barton’s significant industrial heritage providing employment for generations of families.

“Even though it closed its doors for the final time in December 1989 The Ropewalk continues to be a powerful symbol of the industrial roots of the town,” Liz went on.

Anyone wanting to help with the project, or wanting more information,  can contact Jonathan by emailing him on jonathan@the-ropewalk.co.uk or calling 01652 660380.

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Jill Stewart

Metal Clocks

There’s something about the contrast of textures of the different metals and etched parts that is so compelling. Metal is not always a hard shiny intractable thing – it can have a softer look, have variable colours created by the act of heating, can be a way of drawing in the air.

Jill Stewart was brought up in rural Northumberland, surrounded by nature and colour, always noticing the tiny details that surround us. After city adventures and unsuitable jobs, she started to make things, and developed unique ways of working in brass, copper, silver and titanium. The clocks developed after she was challenged to make larger items than jewellery, and to really develop a colour palette using the effects of heat on different metals. After cutting out the shapes, a large flame is used to solder parts of the design together, but also makes copper go beautiful unpredictable shades of dark red, and changes the look of other metals, especially the etched parts. The handmade look is important, that you can tell an actual person worked closely with their materials here, not absolutely sure how each process would turn out.

 

By devonb |

Luke Jerram

Harrison’s Garden

If John Harrison had a garden, how might it have looked?

In 2017, artist Luke Jerram took that thought and turned it into an amazing and imaginative exhibition that has been touring the UK. His idea was to create a ‘an imagined garden’ of clocks clustered into species, forming ‘flowerbeds’, ‘islands’, ‘pathways’ and borders’. Luke’s array of around 3000 timepieces has now visited the beautiful National Trust properties of Nostell Priory, Gunby Hall and Penrhyn Castle.

And in January 2019, Harrison’s Garden will reach its final destination at The Ropewalk. Bringing Harrison’s Garden home has been organised by the Better Barrow Community Project and Luke has kindly offered to donate the clocks to their fundraising cause to erect a statue of John Harrison. The clocks will be auctioned at the end of the exhibition – for further information visit betterbarrow.org

Harrison’s Garden was originally commissioned by Connect! and presented over 5 days at Devon’s Thelma Hulbert Gallery in 2015.

By richardhatfield |

Chrissy Collinson – Sites Unseen

The Tenfoot Series of paintings is a distillation of Hull’s hidden and unseen urban routes. These hidden routes have provided inspiration for me as an artist who lives in Hull and is intent on discovering the picturesque of the everyday, the roughness and irregularity of the mundane. My paintings are not though to be viewed as exploitative of the ‘down at heel’, but observation of this urban picturesque, and are paintings first and foremost.

As a keen walker of the Tenfoots I am never without my camera. I observe and record the fragility of rotting wood, holed by worm and beetle alike. I find the ad hoc nature of Hull’s Tenfoots fascinating: the make do and mend fences; the mock Tudor and Swiss chalet style garages; patched up boundaries and beguiling attempts at security. It would seem that Hull’s Tenfoots appear to be held together by flaking paint and rusting hinges. My paintings are as varied in subject matter and colour as the Tenfoots are in diversity.

Back in the studio I use photographs to compose and decide the subject matter to be painted. The resulting compositions are intended to concentrate the viewer’s gaze to a certain mark, form and/or structure of, or upon, a surface that initially caught my eye. There is no visual clue of a horizon or vanishing point. Nor are they meant as decorative shape and colour. The Tenfoot Series is an expression and first hand exploration of a familiar (to me) landscape through the concentrated and detailed process of painting in oil paint on an intimate scale.

By richardhatfield |

Studio Artists’ Show

The annual Ropewalk Studio Artists Exhibition features work from

David Alcock
Sally Beaumont
Emily Connor
Deborah Grice
Gill Hobson
Richard Hatfield
Judith Land
Tim Needham
Michael Scrimshaw
Reginald Swinney
Shirley Trumble
Keith Woodcock
85 Fathoms

By richardhatfield |

Fair Ground Fables – Michelle Forrest-Beckett

Michelle recalls a frightfully fascinating childhood memory of a former sideshow attraction in Whitby. Her recollection of witnessing a pickled dicephalic baby and the staked bones of Dracula began the blurring of the boundaries between reality and fantasy.

‘Fairground Fables’ was conjured to question the satirical and moral ambiguity of fringe entertainment presented behind the curtains of Vaudeville theatres and Victorian Side Shows. Michelle draws from idioms and fables that play with tales of tragedy and fortune as well as the traces of life that befall the discarded or well loved, by enlivening everyday objects with an air of uncertainty.  She assembles things left behind on dusty shelves, creating magnetic forms that encourage the viewer to take an encounter with the apprehension of things.  ‘Fairground Fables’ is bent with a nostalgic and melodramatic allure that bestows something provocative and enchanting.

 

On November 24 Michelle will be running a workshop teaching participants how to make their own Fairground Fable. Bookings can be made in the Craft Gallery.

By richardhatfield |

Richard Hatfield – Tim Needham

Richard Hatfield & Tim Needhams’ interest in painting stretches back through careers that began just one year apart. Working independently, both find common ground in their references to landscape, yet it is their divergent approaches which spark the dialogue in this show.

I paint out of doors and in the studio. Landscape embodies form, colour and light. Painting can reflect these primal elements and leave us with an object akin to poetry. I play with the picture plane and use paint on various surfaces, abstracted to convey feelings and form with a sense of the drama of the place.
Tim Needham

The subjects are the amalgamation of the remembered, the fleetingly observed and the repeated, emblematic motifs left, like an afterimage imprinted on the retina. I look for a sense of the unfamiliar in the ordinary – a gentle disquiet. Some pieces recall a particular moment or episode, often dramatic and transient such as the effects of light or weather, frequently in the extreme. It is at these times that nature can reassert itself into our consciousness and provide us with a taste of something that is awesome in the true sense of the word. Other paintings are less dramatic and conjure up emotions and associations of particular memories and universal fears from early childhood.
Richard Hatfield

By richardhatfield |