Saturday, 28 September 2013

Choosing: Green Beans

Thursday, 26 September 2013


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Plant Shaking: IDS 2012

Tuesday, 24 September 2013


Silvery Grey

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Yesterday was a particularly silvery grey day on which I made a silvery grey t-shirt in Hanley Park, Stoke-on-Trent.
The t-shirt has been made to wear whilst running in Hanley Park, Stoke-on-Trent.
It was made between 12noon and 5:55pm on Monday September 23rd in Hanley Park, Stoke-on-Trent.

1. Fabric purchased in Hanley town centre, along with needle, thread, pins and scissors.
2. Paper picked up from Airspace Gallery.
3. Went to the park and chose a nice quiet spot up at the top of the football pitches.
4. Drew round an old t-shirt I often run in.
5. Cut out template for back section, pinned and cut fabric.
6. Altered template to make a front section, pinned and cut fabric.
7. Hemmed sleeves, neck and along the bottom of each half.
8. Sewed the two halves together.

 It was a very quiet afternoon.
 There were lots of couples walking in the park, particularly at 4:15.

Oh wow.

This is the image for the wikipedia page on 'Pressed flower craft'...

Monday, 23 September 2013

Man's craving for the ideal grown to a fine lunacy

Sunday, 22 September 2013



Postcard with Glitter

Friends of Hanley Park

Yesterday morning I went for a run at 9am, and the weekly Parkrun was well under way... so I was accidentally almost joining in... but going the wrong way round. There were a good number of people taking park in the run, of all ages. Having a look online, it turns out I witnessed their 101st run. See the Parkrun website and course here. The route they run each week is a 5k, so I'll give that a go and report back.

At 10:30am I went to a meeting of the Friends of Hanley Park where people from the local area and the Park Liason officer discussed all matters on the park. This included maintenance projects, the Heritage Lottery Fund application, police reports, events and funding. Interviews have been taking place to find a suitable park restoration firm and hopes and aspirations of users of the park are bing compiled, which will all feed into the Heritage Lottery Fund application. A tree survey has been completed, looking at the condition of the trees, which trees obstruct the original design, the relevance of new planting etc. It's interesting the need for striking a balance between the original design of the park and it's contemporary functions. Also, not being too sentimental about old trees that might be in poor condition, even diseased and therefore detrimental to the park in the long run. There was discussion of opening up the canal area, which is currently densely planted and quite separate from the rest of the park, despite the fact it runs right through the middle. In Thomas Mawson's original designs he wanted to hide the canal as much as possible as he thought it ugly and much too industrial as it would have been a very busy stretch carrying clay and coal though the city. Now the function of the canal has changed and it's primary function is recreational.

In short, it was a fascinating meeting and there are many exciting things ahead I'd highly recommend becoming a friend of Hanley Park!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Berlin, 2011

Friday, 20 September 2013


Hanley Park on Google Maps

The Wood Between The Worlds

Link  à here à

Spode China Hall

Spode, the Stoke-on-Trent based pottery company founded in 1770 closed it's factory in 2008. Since then, the building has been pretty much empty, apart from being home to the British Ceramics Biennial for a few months every two years. This years Bienniel opens on the 28th of this month. I was lucky enough to get to have a nose around the China Hall as preparations were under way.




Thomas Mawson

The most useful book I found in the library was written by Hanley Park's landscape designer, Thomas H. Mawson. The book, simply titled Hanley Park, was written before the park was built and gives details of the proposed design of the park. See excerpts below:

The Public Park: It's use & beauty
"It may, however, be asked, "If planning or an arrangement of recreation grounds does not constitute a park what does? On this point there is something fascinating in the expressions of the late J.D. Sedding. He says of a garden - which is equally true of a park - " It is a man's report of earth at her best. It is earth emancipated from the commonplace... It is man's love of loveliness carried to excess. Man's craving for the ideal grown to a fine lunacy." Again he says, " So we arrive at these conclusions - a garden is made to express man's delight in beauty, and to gratify his instincts for idealisation."... Sedding's expressions may be rather too poetic, they nevertheless show that he had a very high conception of the possibilities of garden imagery."

Lawns and Plantations
"However much failure there may be in the Plantations owing to the smoke and fumes, there is no question at to the possibility of obtaining a refreshing green sward, and that is something to be thankful for."

"Respecting the Plantations I wish to repeat, that single specimen trees are out of the question altogether. It is only by planting in large masses of those things which have been proved to succeed in the neighbourhood, that anything like effect can be obtained."

"A straight row of trees or an avenue may give an effect the reverse to monotonous, and a mass of foliage may also be arranged so as to give the most pleasing variety; but it should be borne in mind that the very same ground outline may, through injudicious arrangement, give and impression analoglous to that produced by a piece of vulgar sculpture."

To be continued...

Hanley Park on Google Maps

Slide scanner test

The Hanley Park Horticultural Fete of 1897

Yesterday morning was spent at the City Archives in Stoke-on-Trent Central library doing some research on the history of the Hanley Park. The archive system itself is fascinating. The database from which you search for your required information is a chest of long thin alphabetised wooden drawers, each full of cards of paper that you flick through to find the reference of the book/cutting/microfilm/map/pamphlet that you want. You fill out a paper slip with the relevant details, and then give it to staff member who then brings you the corresponding article.

One of the articles I wanted to look at was from the Staffordshire Advertiser about a two day Horticultural Fete in Hanley park in 1897. The article was on a microfilm to be viewed on this reader...

The Hanley Park Horticultural Fete in July, 1897 sounds like a dreamland. Four large tents housed flower and vegetables displays and competitions including: orchids, hydrangeas, begonias, caladiums, ferns, lillies, roses, geraniums, bamboos, carnations, palms, cacti, gloxinias, table decoration displays and cut flowers including sweet peas, stocks, sweetwilliams, gallardias, strawberries, cherries, nectarines, melons, delphiniums, bees, honey, grapes, greenhouse plants, caladiums, fuchsias, pansies, gloxinias, carrots, potatoes, french beans, cucumbers, peas, cauliflowers, spring onions, onions, tomatoes, hanging baskets, bouquets and button holes.

There were luncheons, children's competitions (for which so many prizes had been donated that almost everyone received a prize), practical lectures on bee keeping, pottery demonstrations, pipers, the Hanley Town Band, dancing on the tennis lawn, carousels, acrobats and high wire performers who rode a bicycle along a wire 50ft off the ground. A Mrs Maude Brooks went up in a hot air balloon and parachuted down a few miles away.

"In the evening the grounds were illuminated with many thousand coloured lights and lanterns, and the effect was very pretty, particularly in the lower part of the neighbourhood of the lake. When it was dark, Messrs. Pain and Sons of Liverpool and London commenced a grand display of fireworks, which lasted for nearly tow hours. "

20,000 people were in the park on the first day, and almost as many on the second.

Imagine this happening today? It's easy go get lost in reading about magical days such as this in the park, but I don't want to lose sight of what's actually going on today. Looking at the past and days such as this, however, can provide great inspiration for things that could happen in the future.

Thursday, 19 September 2013


The Portland Vases

à  Link à

Park Traces Residency begins!

à à I'm in Stoke-on-Trent!    à à

Today was the second day of my two week residency at AirSpace Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent. My residency is part of a project called Park Traces à

'Park Traces' is a partnership project between Staffordshire University, AirSpace Gallery, and Stoke-on-Trent Council, to creatively document Hanley Park, and create a lasting record of the park as it is today. The artworks generated through the project will feed into the Heritage Lottery (HLF) project, starting April 2013 - drawing attention to the beauty of the park, and also exploring solutions for the areas of the park which need development.

More information here.

I'm very much looking forward to getting stuck into making new work and having the time to work through many avenues of thought and start to bring them together.

As a method of exploring the park and becoming familiar with it’s landscape and functions I will also be running every day. I’m interested in repetition as an important element in learning and running through the park daily will be a repetitive exercise, and therefore my knowledge of the park will be increased. I also like that running is a really normal way of using a park.

Me after this morning's run. So vibrant. à

After my first couple of days in Hanley park, walking, running, sitting, taking photographs etc. I'm interested in the design of the park in terms of it's planting. The park was designed by Thomas Mawson and opened in 1897. This afternoon I went to the Stoke-on-Trent city archives at the library to find out more about the history of the park and I'll definitely be spending a lot more time up there. More on that story later. So far I have learned that the park was designed as a 'breathing space' from all the pollution and noise of the potteries. The trees were planted to hide the industrial surroundings from people in the park and there are so many trees as they had to be planted in clumps to protect each other from the heavily polluted air. In the past, planting had to consider the damage from pollution and today vandalism is a major consideration. Tomorrow I'll be heading back to the archives and then getting on with some drawing in the park. And going for a run.

Yesterday I saved this worm that had found itself in the middle of an astroturf pitch in the park and was making a confused yet valiant effort at burying its head in the ground. I put him on the real grass. Good deed done.

Sunday, 8 September 2013