Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Time Will Tell starts ticking...

Our evolving programme of contemporary art, Time Will Tell, launched on 19th August with a series of fortunate events...

Ready to read your fortune?

We were thrilled that Croft Castle's Fortune Teller, the beautiful Cassandra Rainbird (a performance by Scary Little Girls) was there to herald us in with her lovely singing and exciting visions of the future.

There was soon quite a queue forming outside the atmospheric tower for eyelid readings (frighteningly accurate!), identification of your Animal Guide (Mrs Rabbit and Miss Squirrel in the case of Meadow Arts) and blessings.

We were soon reading signs and omens into everything, from the auspicious MEADOW cricket to the sunshine that arrived with Cassandra. And we didn't need the hoards  of colourful butterflies settling on the tower wall to tell us that it had been a magical day!

Cassandra Rainbird serenades from her tower at Croft Castle

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Time Will Tell

We have been so busy with our new contemporary art programme and evolving exhibition that we haven't had time to blog in ages....

Time Will Tell is on now at Croft Castle and parkland in Herefordshire, a fantastic National Trust property and a wonderful place to visit.

In a departure from our usual exhibition based programmes, Time Will Tell takes the form of a series of artists’ residencies: a range of artists have been visiting Croft to make work over an extended period of time in order to become more involved in the place, its history and its people.

The curatorial theme of Time Will Tell explores the tensions between history, stories and memories and the imprints of time upon Croft. Artists in residence are Justine Cook, Dorothy Cross, Rebecca Farkas, Ellen Harvey, Tanya Raabe, David Connor & Mark Richards, John M Robinson and Strange Cargo.

Some of the artists have already made their work at Croft and others are still in residence; working through their artistic processes before making the final pieces.

The whole programme is a fascinating insight into the way that artists make new work and there is also a huge amount of interaction between the artists and the people who work or live at or around Croft Castle (and its environs) and also its visitors.

There are lots of events and performances taking place as part of Time Will Tell, including performances by Holly Davey, Nathaniel Pitt and Scary Little Girls.

Nathaniel Pitt performs The Black Flags of Croft

See our Facebook page for regular updates on events and performances and follow us on Twitter as @MeadowArts. If you would like to add your own story or memory of Croft Castle you can put it onto The View From Here, a blog to accompany and continue the work of artists in residence Strange Cargo.

Artist in residence Tanya Raabe has been blogging as she makes her work at Croft too: you can visit Tanya's blog by clicking here.

Time Will Tell is taking place at Croft Castle, Yarpole, near Leominster HR6 9PW, UK until October 2013. See National Trust’s website for opening times and entry charges for the castle. 

Monday, 21 May 2012

Making Spawn

Spawn at Attingham Park

Those of you who have visited our House of Beasts exhibition at National Trust's Attingham Park will have seen the commissioned piece of work Herd by Susie MacMurray. Herd bursts through a door in the inner library of the mansion, bringing the realities of life in the deer park crashing into the mannered quiet of the library.

Meadow Arts invited Susie MacMurray back to Attingham to make a new temporary artwork on the front lawn of the house. Susie's idea was to make a piece of work that was like a giant frogspawn and to invite members of the public to help to make it: all with a lot of balloons and some water.


We all went to Attingham on Sunday 20th May to help to make the piece of work. Making work on site always involves some unforeseen elements and ours on this occasion were mainly to do with the water supply and hosepipe, which jumped off the tap a few times before we could get it sorted out. Luckily the Attingham staff were on hand to sort out the problem and once we got going we had a really good 'relay' system of balloon filling in place.

Carrying the water balloons (photo courtesy of J Cook)

Spawn at the end of the day

We all managed to pop a balloon and get covered in water at some point in the day and there was a definite knack to placing the balloons onto the end of the hosepipe, but we learned as we went along and I was only soaking every third member of the public by the end of the day!

We had a lot of help from Attingham's visitors and we even managed to persuade some of their staff to have a go too. We all left exhausted but happy, after Susie gave a great talk in the Steward's Hall of the mansion.

The sun will cause the latex of the balloons to deteriorate over the next few days and the balloons will either burst or wither, so the artwork will be gone in a few days time.

Thank you to everyone who took part, all of the Attingham staff and volunteers and especially to artist Susie MacMurray for a fantastic day.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Strange Cargo

Strange Cargo

Things are getting very busy now as our next project at Croft Castle in Herefordshire - Time Will Tell - has begun to take form after months of planning 

Time Will Tell will be a new way of working for Meadow Arts as it will consist of a rolling programme of contemporary art in 2012 and into 2013. There are going to be a lot of art events and performances beginning this summer and it will lead up to an exhibition next spring.

We have already started working with Folkestone based artist-collective Strange Cargo  at Croft. They came and stayed near Croft for several days and spent their time interviewing local people about their experiences and memories of Croft and its surroundings.

They also went to the local pub, The Boot in Orleton, to talk to the locals and were lucky enough to be there for the St George's Day celebrations, including some fine Morris Dancing!

Strange Cargo collecting stories at Yarpole Church

Strange Cargo collecting stories (at table) while BBC Hereford & Worcester interview people

Strange Cargo used the village of Yarpole's very interesting shop and cafe in a church for their venue when they went to collect stories from local people. We were also lucky enough to have an interviewer come over from BBC Hereford and Worcester, to put the event on the radio.

Postcards were left around the village and surroundings of Croft to collect more stories and memories too.

We are really looking forward to seeing how Strange Cargo's work is going to develop, now that they have collected so many Croft stories.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

House of Beasts Symposium

A fascinating exploration of the different relationships that exist between man and animal.

The House of Beasts Symposium: Enquiries into the Human and the Animal went down a storm at Shropshire Wildlife Trust's base, which was once part of Shrewsbury Abbey. A range of speakers, both academic and artistic, discussed a huge range of issues in a way that really brought the subject to life.

Each speaker brought something different to the discussion and the whole day was a really thought provoking experience, whether we were hearing about artwork, genetics, abbatoirs or any of the other of the subjects that came up. We hope to get some of the presentations and discussions on the Meadow Arts You Tube Channel very soon, so please keep an eye out for that.

So a big 'Thank You' to everyone who spoke on the day, all of you who attended the symposium and those who helped with the organisation and venue.

Anne de Charmant and Professor Joanna Latimer

Anne de Charmant, Meadow Arts' Director, opened the Symposium with Professor Joanna Latimer from Cardiff University. Joanna put a huge amount of work into the Symposium and came along with Professor David Kipling and Dr Mara Miele to see the House of Beasts exhibition in January, to prepare for the Symposium.

the Symposium in full swing

Curators' Tours

The next day we all arrived at Attingham Park bright and early to take the Symposium delegates and the academic speakers around the House of Beasts exhibition. We were lucky enough to have a beautiful sunny day, with a smattering of snow. A gorgeous day to visit this lovely part of Shropshire!

The front of Attingham's mansion before the tour
Anne de Charmant was joined by Attingham's Conservator Catriona Hughes to lead one of the tours and the second tour was given by Attingham's Curator Sarah Kay with Meadow Arts' Assistant Curator Louisa Mayor.

The start of the two Curators' Tours

The next thing happening at Meadow Arts is the reopening of the Attingham mansion for the summer season. The house has been partially closed over the winter, although the Attingham team have been leading a range of tours, including their special Beastly Tours. House of Beasts will be fully open from March 10th to July 2012. We have loads of exciting events lined up over the next few months, including workshops, talks and artist's performances so please keep an eye on our website for details soon.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

French Marie Claire Shoot

Louisa and Anne joined the team from the French edition of Marie Claire magazine on a photoshoot for a feature about House of Beasts

Things were all 'go' at Attingham Park when French Marie Claire magazine came over to the Shrewsbury National Trust property to photograph Meadow Arts' House of Beasts exhibition.

Marie Claire setting up to shoot Susie MacMurray's Herd at Attingham Park

If you happen to be in France in the spring (sounds very romantic) have a peep at the April/May issue and you can read the feature. 

You can also read Attingham Park's blog about the day here.

Tessa Farmer 'The Interlopers', currently part of 'House of Beasts'

Monday, 16 January 2012

All settled in...

The Meadow Arts office has moved since our last blog and we are finally settled in now after an extended period of phone-company induced turmoil.

The physical aspect of moving office went pretty well overall, particularly since we were only moving from one side of Ludlow to the other: about 10 miles from our old workplace! The new office is in the grounds of Stokesay Court, a manor house that was used as a location for the film Atonement. The views are wonderful and we should have a fine old time in the summer months when we'll be able to sit outside and have lunch in a very beautiful place.

Moving the phone line and broadband were a wholly different tale though. In spite of requesting it all in October, it took a certain phone company about six weeks to get us connected in the new office. It just about drove everyone completely nuts. It's no joke being out of touch with the modern world for so long, particularly in a rural area like Shropshire. So we were over the moon when the internet finally came on again.

Now we just need to get on with some work. There's tons to do at the moment. We've got a show coming up this year, which we are planning now and we'll be relaunching House of Beasts at Attingham Park near Shrewsbury in March, when the mansion reopens fully again after the winter. Next month we are holding a symposium as part of Shrewsbury's Darwin Festival. We've got artists from the House of Beasts exhibition in discussion with academics about the various relationships that exist between humans and animals. The symposium will be on the 18th February and you can book tickets now: see the flyer below for more details.

Happy New Year!