Cheeseburn Sculpture 2019

Every year Cheeseburn has a sculpture festival and this was the first time my Dad and I went along to check it out. Spoiler: it was amazing! If there’s one thing we love its a big old stately home, and although we couldn’t go in this one (it’s privately owned), the expansive lands around it filled with amazing art made do.

The grange has over 70 pieces of art by dozens of artists and there was so much in terms of style and variety; truly something for everybody. I don’t really know how to talk about everything we saw so I guess I could just go by favourites, both mine and my Dad’s.

First up, mine: the first thing we saw, because I saw it through the doors as we went to go get a map from the lady, was the lovely Erin Dickson’s amazing Authentic Venetian Chandelier, which we talked about a bit in our Abject Gallery Double-Bill episode a couple months back. It was cool seeing it irl, all lit up in an old stable.

The story behind this is fab: Erin was visiting a museum or gallery somewhere in Italy and when trying to take a photo of a stunning Venetian glass chandelier, she was told she wasn’t allowed. However, one thing she learned she was able to do was to use a mobile 3D scanning app, so she scanned this then printed the whole thing. The result is obviously very unlike the original piece, and goes to show that new technologies aren’t the pinnacle of contemporary ways of making. I do love this chandelier though and would love to have a house big enough that I could have it in a grand entryway or something.

Next up is one of my Dad’s favourites. Following the trail around we went into the game larder, where glass artist Ayako Tani was showing some of her remarkably delicate and detailed glass ships in bottles, which were also available to purchase. These things are absolutely amazing, and one of those things (like most sculpture tbf) that I’ve got no idea whatsoever how you’d go about making. We said hello and goodbye to Ayako, and on our way out she told us she has an exhibition on in the chapel as well, which I for whatever reason assumed was going to be a really large glass ship in a bottle. What’s much more impressive than 1 large ship in a bottle, however, is like 150 small ships in bottles, covering almost every surface of this cute little chapel. I mean just look at this:

Here’s a quote from my Dad: “I’ve always had a fascination with ships in bottles, but this was on a whole other level. It was amazing. It must have been so difficult making it all with glass, even the little ropes and everything.”

We followed the trail around and came to another favourite of mine:

These little monkeys are Brigitte Jurack’s Scavengers, and there were a whole bunch of them they were fab. The parts of them covered in yellow look to be some kind of wax, and like at most exhibitions I go to it was all I could do not to touch them and find out. The rock in the foreground there is called The Oxton Rock and reminded me a bit of Elmer the Elephant which was pretty neat.

This next piece is a definite favourite of both myself and my Dad; it’s ‘Enlightenment?’ by Peter Hamner. Anyone who has visited Baltic recently to check out Digital Citizen (or at least anyone who’s listened to our episode about it), would recognise these mildly disturbing figures and dystopian scenes. They’re awesome.  

“It was weird like. I know art’s a subjective thing, everyone gets something different out of it, but to me this one showed just how crazy the world is.”

Another fave of mine was ‘Nostalgia de la boue: Plastic Friend’ by Clare Townley. Townley is the winner of last year’s Gillian Dickinson award which enabled her to make this and install it at Cheeseburn. It’s made up entirely of waste and repurposed plastic and transforms this delightful copse of trees into a dystopian installation that makes you consider the impact of plastic on our environment. There’s even a swing you can sit on to do this contemplating, looking out onto the untouched landscape nearby (which my Dad is doing here).

I’m gonna finish up by sharing a favourite of my Dad’s, and something we both had a bit of fun with. It’s this cool glass piece by Cate Watkinson (I’m pretty sure anyway), and we both thought that the little bubbles in the glass were raindrops, however we loved this little convex lens aspect of it because it made our faces look funny from each side.

So that just about does it for this blog post. Cheeseburn is free to go to (however they are a charity and rely on donations), so it’s absolutely worth a visit. The only thing is that you pretty much have to drive there, I’ve got no idea how you would even nearly get a bus to this place. If you do head along though let us know, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

-Alice

Cheeseburn is open somewhat sporadically over the summer:

  • June 29th / 30th
  • July 6th / 7th
  • August 24th / 25th / 26th
  • August 31st / September 1st

Here’s some more information.

Location: Cheeseburn Grange

Episode 49 – The Auxiliary & hun

This episode continues from last week, where we were talking about our last visit to Middlesbrough and the Creative Factory arts trail on the 24th May. Here we have a chat about the opening of The Auxiliary’s brand new space in an old converted warehouse, and the lovely Hun event, ‘The Summer One’.

You can listen to this episode on SpotifyiTunesGoogle, and Soundcloud!

You can find hun on Instagram, and you can check out The Auxiliary here.

The documentary Alice was talking about at the beginning of the episode was Romantic Comedy by Elizabeth Stankey (find it here on IMDb).

Episode 46 – Worth It, part of Women of Tyneside

For this week’s episode Rosie takes a moment to remember Ewan Brown, and the girls have a chat about their recent visit to Vane Gallery to check out ‘Worth It’, a fab exhibition that explored textiles, fashion, and what it means to be a women in Tyneside today. (Part of ‘Festival of Women’, from the Women of Tyneside project).

You can listen to this episode on SpotifyiTunesGoogle, and Soundcloud!

The exhibition actually ends today, the 25th of May.

More information about Women of Tyneside, and the Festival of Women brochure.

Location: Vane Gallery

Opening Times: 12:00 – 17:00

Episode 44 – Liquid Crystal Display with Laura Sillars

For this episode, the girls popped down to Middlesbrough to have a chat with Laura Sillars, Director of the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (Mima), all about one of their current exhibitions ‘Liquid Crystal Display‘. This exhibition looks at crystals in a range of different forms, namely ‘liquid’, and the different contexts in which we as human beings interact with them on a daily basis. It was awesome having a chat with Laura and great to get some further insight into the show and how it was put together.

You can listen to this episode on SpotifyiTunesGoogle, and Soundcloud!

The exhibition runs until 16th June 2019.

More information: here.

Location: Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art

Episode 43 – Live from Thought Foundation

This week’s episode is a bit of a special one! Recently we went along to the wonderful Thought Foundation down in Birtley to host a live podcast and discussion with some amazing ladies all about art and being in the North East, in front of an audience and everything! We sat down with Leanne Pierce, Director of Thought Foundation, Michaela Wetherell, curator at Thought Foundation and Platform A Gallery, and local artists Ciara Lenihan and Erin Dickson. We discussed what it is about the North East that has drawn / kept us all here, and the implications of cultural capital and how institutions like Thought Foundation work to tackle it.

You can listen to this episode on SpotifyiTunesGoogle and Soundcloud!

Episode 41 – Middlesbrough Double-Bill: Platform A & Pineapple Black

This week Alice and Amy talk about their trip down to Middlesbrough where they checked out ‘Major Conversations: The Industrial Narrative’ at Platform A gallery, and three new exhibition openings at Pineapple Black (‘Through Sound’, ‘Nights are Not Asleep’ & ‘Girls World’).

You can listen to this episode on SpotifyiTunesGoogle and Soundcloud!

Find out more info about Platform A and thesymposium on the 25th.

More info about Pineapple Black here.

Episode 39 – Holly Argent: Interleaving The Archive at Projections Tyneside

For this week’s episode the girls went back over to the Tyneside Cinema to check out what’s on in the Projections programme. This time Holly Argent, known for starting the Women Artists of the North East Library, gave a ‘performative lecture’ about here archival findings of the Polish art duo, KwieKulik. This was a really amazing and unique experience, and a fantastic taste of what you can check out at Projections.

You can listen to this episode on SpotifyiTunesGoogle and Soundcloud!

More information about Projections and Interleaving the Archive.

More information about Women Artists of the North East Library.

Episode 37 – Erin Dickson & Georg Óskar: An Abject Gallery Double-Bill

For this week’s episode we’ve got a double-bill! Abject gallery currently has two exhibitions going on so we thought we’d check them both out! First up is Erin Dickson’s awesome multi-channel video piece ‘More Gnarly Illusions’, and next is Georg Óskar’s body of paintings, ‘I felt bad but I feel little bit better now’. They’re radically different and we loved them both, let us know what you thought!

You can listen to this episode on Spotify, iTunes, Google and Soundcloud!

Georg Óskar’s ‘I felt bad but I feel little bit better now‘ is on until 23rd March 2019 (today!) and Erin Dickson’s ‘More Gnarly Illusions‘ is on until 6th April.

Location: Abject Gallery

Opening times: Wednesday – Saturday, 10:00 – 17:00

Episode 35 – Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, and the Sunderland Museum

For this week’s episode the girls went along to Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens to check out the Da Vinci drawings, but we were blown away by other exhibitions that were available to see as well! Specifically we loved the body of work by Andrew Tift called ‘One Day You’ll Be Older Too’, which was commissioned by the museum and features remarkably realistic hand-drawn portraits of local care home residents and their stories.

(You can check us out on Soundcloud, iTunes and now Spotify!)

Exhibition runs until 6th May 2019, cost is £2.50 (or free for under 16s).

More information about the Da Vinci drawings and ‘One Day You’ll Be Older Too’.

Location: Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens

Opening times: Monday-Tuesday, 10:00 – 15:00, Wednesday-Thursday 10:00 – 19:00, Friday-Saturday 10:00 – 17:00, Sunday 12:00 – 16:00

Exhibition Further Thoughts: using a 100-year-old camera

Hey there, Alice here. As you all may or may not know I am an avid photographer, and my main medium is that of analogue photography. Now, a lot of the analogue cameras you may have seen look pretty recognisable, like compact cameras, disposable cameras and slrs, however they didn’t start out like this. After seeing the subject of this week’s episode ‘No Man’s War’ at Bishop Auckland Town Hall, and an old Kodak Vest Pocket Camera in a display cabinet, I was inspired to write a little bit about using the oldest camera I own.

So this camera is a Kodak Brownie No.2, and it’s literally a cardboard box with a spring shutter and a couple of bits of glass/plastic. This model in particular hails from all the way back in 1917 (ish), which coincides with the First World War and the subject of much of the exhibition. Back in the day this type of camera was the everyday camera for families, much like the disposable camera. When you shot a roll of film with this camera you’d just take the whole thing back to the shop, and they would take the film out, develop it, print it and load up a new roll of film, making it ready to use immediately.

Despite its age and ridiculously simple design (its very much the definition of a point-and-shoot camera, there’s nothing by way of settings or adjustments to make), the photos this camera makes can be pretty amazing. A quirk the images have is a really sharp centre, however the edges can be pretty blurred, which I imagine is because of the quality of the super old lens. The negatives you get from this camera are also pretty ridiculous in how big they are: a whopping 6x9cm. To see the comparison between this size and 35mm film, here’s this handy-dandy diagram.

One of the main reasons I fell in love with shooting film was the fun you can have trying out old cameras like this, the ones that you don’t really see anything like anymore. Also you can find them for real cheap on eBay so that’s always a plus!

I hope you liked this little look into my little world of photography, and if you’re thinking of taking up film photography I’d really recommend having a go of a box camera like this – it’s so much fun!

-Alice