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Void landscape of waste packing by Andy Greenacre 2014 aldeburgh beach


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Thought-provoking artwork on the landscape of waste packaging

I went as far East as possible yesterday. That IS what Easter means, right? ;) I headed to the East coast in East Anglia and braved the coastal winds to enjoy a walk along the seafront with my family. I enjoyed a traditional fish and chips lunch and a cup of afternoon tea before walking the promenade and ogling all the gorgeous seafront properties with much jealousy. One of the more interesting buildings on Aldeburgh seafront is the South Lookout Tower, an art space owned by Caroline Wiseman Modern & Contemporary which plays host to artists-in-residence and presents engaging exhibitions.

Aldeburgh beach south lookout tower gallery

This weekend’s art offering included seascape photography in the very top of the tower (for those who could brave that spiral staircase in blustery winds!), an installation in the middle of the tower to represent how writer Laurens van der Post had used the lookout Tower in the past to write, and a though-provoking exhibition entitled Void – The landscape of waste packaging in the gallery space. The artist invited holiday-makers, visitors and locals to join in with the creation of a ‘landscape’ of waste by bringing their own used packaging to the exhibition in order to have it cast in concrete. The resulting sculptures formed an industrial landscape which grew over the course of the artist’s Easter residency and joined the existing waste landscapes that the artist had previously cast, painted and photographed.

Void landscape of waste packing by Andy Greenacre 2014 aldeburgh beach

Power Station 2014 by Andy Greenacre

This intervention discussed the levels of waste packaging in the UK and I was shocked to find out that we each create 38kg of plastic waste per year – the exact volume of concrete used in each landscape – in spite of our recycling efforts at home. I was certain that when I picked up every plastic bottle top, washed each piece of used foil and took my glass to the bottle bank, it would  actually be recycled and reused in the next incarnation of packaging, but it turns out that only around 25% of our waste is genuinely recycled. Whether this is our fault for not knowing exactly what can and can’t be recycled, or the council’s fault for incinerating perfectly usable materials, or the government’s fault for sending our waste plastic abroad, whatever the cause I’d rather that the items I put into the recycling bin are actually reused as intended.

void landscape of waste packaging by andy greenacre 2014 aldeburgh south lookout tower gallery caroline wiseman

Caroline Wiseman south lookout tower gallery installation by Andy Greenacre 2014 VOID - The Landscape of Waste Packaging

Despite the serious subject area, it was a playful exhibition and children were enthralled as they watched the artist popping concrete ‘sandcastles’ out of interestingly-shaped biscuit packaging and yoghurt pots. The fact that the installation grew over the course of the weekend was particularly captivating, and demonstrated how our own recycling waste would have grown over the same period of time. What do you think about waste and recycling? Did you visit this exhibition yourself? Please tweet me @Cassiefairy and we’ll carry on the discussion :)

Caroline Wiseman south lookout tower gallery installation by Andy Greenacre 2014 VOID - The Landscape of Waste Packaging sculpture

 

 

 

 

 

 

snape maltings Sarah Lucas public art Perceval bronze horse 2006


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Stunning shire horse sculpture in the Suffolk countryside

I recently visited a sculpture that I’ve never see before. That’s not to say that I’ve never been to the location before – I have been to Snape Maltings many times (only last month : see my blog post on the Henry Moore sculpture here) – and that’s not to say that it’s a new addition to their art collection. This public artwork has been standing in position for years and it’s not as if it’s easy to miss: Perceval is a life-sized bronze sculpture of a Shire horse pulling a cart carrying two giant concrete marrows (which looked like massive peanuts to me before I found out what they were). The piece is almost to the scale of a real Shire horse at 2.3 metres tall by 4 metres long including the cart. So how did I miss it before?

snape maltings Sarah Lucas public art Perceval bronze horse 2006

I guess I’ve just never walked that way around the reed beds before. I must have always stopped short of going into that field. Maybe the grass or reeds had grown so high that they had masked the sculpture in the past? Whatever it was, it meant that I was experiencing this artwork for the first time and I loved it. At first I couldn’t believe what I was looking at across the field -  a full-size version of the classic ornament that I’d seen on many mantelpieces over the years – and I sped up as I approached it. I literally skipped towards this massive monument. And that’s because I actually owned one of these china ornaments as a horse-crazy youngster. Quite an unusual choice for a 10 year-old’s bedroom I know but I was SO into horses that I loved it just as much as all the My Little Ponies on my shelves and my Horse Sense magazine collection. Back then I never could have imagined that I would one day stand beside a full-size version!

Perceval scupture by Sarah Lucas

The sculpture is by British artist Sarah Lucas, now a Suffolk local living in Aldeburgh. The piece I visited is one of 5 massive versions of the china horse made in 2006, which reflects Lucas’s fondness for British culture. Lucas regularly examines everyday objects in her artwork and I found this particular sculpture both amusing and heart-warming. Perceval is the artist’s first and only piece of public art and she claims that the idea came about when Damien Hirst saw the small version of the knick-knack at Lucas’s home and said, “You really ought to make that big”.

sarah lucas british artist sculpture 2006 perceval at snape maltings suffolk

 

It was quite surreal walking around the scaled-up ornament. Had I shrunk..? Or had my childhood china horse really grown?! I even patted the horse as if it was real – that’s how lifelike the size of it is. I thought I’d got away with doing this in secret but it turned out that hubby had captured the moment on camera.

sarah lucas perceval scupture

Perceval has been received with great affection and it’s nice to see a familiar item in a suitably rural landscape. If you get a chance to have a look at this sculpture, please do – it’s behind Snape Maltings Concert Hall in Suffolk. The concert hall itself is a fab venue to experience orchestral music (I’ve even seen comedian Tim Minchin perform there during the proms – read my review here) and The Pearl Fishers ENO production by the English National Opera is another performance not to be missed!

Another second Perceval owned by Damien Hirst was displayed near the southeast entrance to Central Park in New York and another is installed in Aspire Park, Doha, Qatar. There are 2 more Percevals out there, but I’ve not been able track them down – and now I know just how lucky I am to have seen this rare piece of art, and I can’t believe it was at a place that I’ve visited often before!


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Decorating my living room using personalised posters

In my living room there is wall which hasn’t been wallpapered and that doesn’t have a piece or art or mirror hanging on it, and every time I sit on the sofa my eye is drawn to the big blank empty space. I knew that I wanted to include some photos of my friends and family in my home (there are no photos of my favourite people anywhere, rubbish I know) and I liked the idea of hanging a photo collage. I’ve seen plenty of examples online - I am addicted to Pinterest, after all – and I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while but until last week I had no idea about how I could go about doing it.

I had loads of printed photos that have I haven’t yet got round to adding to an album or framing, but I remember making a ‘physical’ photo collage with my sister for her living about 10 years ago and it took days, maybe weeks, to add all the photos and frame it. I guess that if I don’t have time to frame one photo, I certainly didn’t have weeks to dedicate to the project! I thought about making a digital collage but I didn’t want to spend hours editing photos and using a program on the computer to create a photo collage, nor did I know how I would get it printed; I won’t be able to use my home printer as it will be too big; and I don’t want to spend a fortune on art printing or canvas wraps etc. I started to research the ways in which I could achieve this tiled photo look and one of the pins that I came across led to a review of PosterFriend. I hopped onto their website and found that all my requirements could be met by one company so I set to work creating my artwork.

posterfriend wall art photography

This website connected to my Facebook and Instagram feeds and allowed me to choose any of the photos that I’d ever uploaded. This made creating the artwork super-simple: it was just a case of opening an album on Facebook and dragging-and-dropping the photos that I wanted. Of course, I looked in the “Photos of Cassie” album first and made sure that all my favourite snaps of myself and hubby were included before adding loads of photos of our friends and family throughout the year. I shifted some of the photos around within the standard layout so that my photos were roughly laid out as Spring photos at the top moving down to Winter and Christmas photos at the bottom of the poster. A couple of clicks later and the poster was ordered – I couldn’t believe how quickly I’d managed to achieve exactly what I’d wanted, without having to faff around with uploading individual photos or formatting the layout myself.

decorating with wall art posters by posterfriend

During the following week the poster arrived and it was even better thank I’d expected – and bigger! Even though I’d ordered an A1 poster, I didn’t really realise how big it would be and how many photos would be on it, but it was just what I wanted and it does look excellent! I’m toying with the idea of buying a big frame to hang it in, but in the meantime I’ve tacked it up and it is proudly displayed in my living room. I no longer have to look at that blank wall and now I smile when I glance at the poster and see loads of photos of my family and friends all neatly displayed on one gorgeous poster!


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A sunny weekend – bargain hunting, art & digging

I had a rather outdoorsy Saturday planned for this weekend and thankfully the weather has stayed pretty good here. To kick-start the weekend hubby and I set out alarms for normal weekday times and dragged ourselves out of bed to go to the local carboot sale. I love rummaging for a bargain but my husband is much quicker at glancing over the stalls than I am. So inevitably I get left behind while he whizzes off to find lovely treasures, then we meet up for a cup of tea and he shows me all the bargains he has bought – usually nothing I’d ever choose but he only ever spends pence rather than pounds so he can’t get it too wrong! Our haul this weekend included some small half-pint pewter tankards, which we’ve taken a shine to since seeing lots appearing on the hooks of our local pub, so maybe I’ll get to have one engraved and have my very own tankard in the pub – however, I’ve heard that cider doesn’t mix well with the pewter so perhaps I’d better stick to having my half in a glass for now rather than going over the ‘the dark side’ and drinking ale from now on!

A normal feature of any sunny weekend is us going in search of an ice cream and stopping off for a country walk around the marshes. We like spotting artworks during our weekend jaunts and here are some snaps of the Henry Moore sculpture, entitled Large Interior Form which is located on the lawn outside Snape Maltings Concert Hall.

henry moore art at snape maltings

I also enjoy looking at the crumbling old malt buildings and we took been taking photos of the area for a few years, documenting their development – it’s interesting to see which buildings have been renovated and saved and which are continuing to crumble away.

The plan for the rest of the weekend was to head home to get on with our gardening work. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before but now that summer is approaching (and we can get out into the garden without getting rained on!) we have turned our attention to the garden and have drawn up some plans to make it into a little haven by the summer holidays. I’ll share more about our plans on the blog soon, but in the meantime I’ll just tell you that we’ll be spending the rest of the weekend shovelling wood-chippings and digging over the borders! I’ll share some photos of our progress with you soon and I’d love to hear what you’re getting up to this weekend so please leave me a comment below :)


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Have you wiped your feet on the Comedy Carpet?

Have you stomped your mucky boots all over the carpet? Have you laughed as you scuffed your trainers over the floor? Did you wipe your feet? I am of course referring to Blackpool’s Comedy Carpet, a seafront installation by artist Gordon Young which forms part of the seaside town’s regeneration project and is now a must-see feature of the promenade.

I visited this artwork/landmark/feature a while back (as you can probably tell from the photos it was very cold on the seafront during the winter and I was well bundled up!) but I wanted to share the photos with you and let you know what a great addition to Blackpool’s promenade it is. The artwork’s blurb reads as follows “the Comedy Carpet is a celebration of comedy on an extraordinary scale. Referring to the work of more than 1,000 comedians and comedy writers, the carpet gives visual form to jokes, songs and catchphrases dating from the early days of variety to the present. Sited in front of Blackpool Tower, the 2,200m2 work of art contains over 160,000 granite letters embedded into concrete, pushing the boundaries of public art and typography to their limits.” And I have to say it is a pretty amazing sight to behold. My friends and I spent hours walking over the comedy carpet, reading all the jokes and calling each other over “Have you seen this Tommy Cooper one?” etc.

comedy carpet blackpool peter kay eddie izzard chuckle brothers

I took the above photos because they are all my favourites: I got kinda excited when I spotted the Eddie Izzard birds quote and my pal Kerry and I had fun recreating the Chuckle Brothers’ “to me… to you…” with our invisible ladder! I photographed “Next Muffin” not knowing what comedy it referred to, but simply because my cat is called Muffin, so if you know what the joke is please let me know. We all had a really great time looking around the comedy carpet, even though it was dark and very cold by the time we started walking it. I’d like to come back in the daylight so I am planning on incorporating it in my trip up north this summer. Apparently there’s even a map and guide book to the Comedy Carpet and I’m sure I missed out on seeing 100s of quotes what with all the running from one joke to the next, so I’m really looking forward to going back and keeping myself amused for hours on end!