Friday, 23 October 2009

Peter Randall-Page at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

I'm lucky enough to live half an hour's easy drive from the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, to my mind the finest sculpture "gallery" in the UK. This Autumn sees a major exhibition of the work of Peter Randall-Page, a UK sculptor whose work explores natural patterns (probably one of his most famous works being the his sculpture Seed at the Eden Project in Cornwall.
The majority of his sculptures are in indoor galleries and therefore I could not get photographs or - however tempting - touch them (some of the stone used such as the limestone is fragile enough to be damaged by the touch of numerous human hands). The bronze above is one of a series and is called Bronze Dreaming Stone. The sculpture below, definitely one of my favourites, is Secret Life. One of the fascinating things about it is the way in it changes with the effect of light.

I've been fascinated by nature's patterns for some time now and had decided, even before seeing this exhibition to make them the focus of my textile work for the moment so this exhibition was very timely for me. Luckily it's on for a couple of months yet so I shall have chance of several revisits. Highly recommended if you get the chance (only a mile off Junction 38 of the M1 and well worth the detour - you can also avoid motorway services and have a good meal in the Visitor Centre restaurant).
If you can't get to Yorkshire Sculpture Park you can see the sculptures (plus drawings and prints that are also on exhibition there) on

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Blog Action Day: Great Tits, Tulips and Funny Weather

What do these three things have in common? They all give us reminders that climate change is here with us now, and accelerating rapidly - not something we can afford to forget about since it'll be so long coming that we can be sure it won't affect us.
The Wytham Woods Great Tit population is monitored for climate change research: nesting times have been getting earlier year on year. Planting tulip bulbs at the traditional time of year results in the pushing their heads up just in time to be killed off by the first frosts so gardeners are having to plant later, and in this country snow has become such a rarity that a heavy snowfall last year brought many areas to a standstill, including the capital city!
So what can we do about it. Well one of the things is to try to influence those in power: if climate change were a top election issue, changes really would start to happen - it's getting there in this country but a bigger push wouldn't harm. Influencing those outside the political arena too would be useful: for example persuading those in charge of public transport facilities to improve services to encourage people to use them instead of getting in their cars.
And there's lots of opportunity to influence those in the retail trade: they're beginning to dawdle in the right direction, but they need to up the speed. Sending stuff twice round the world before it reaches the shelves needs to be seen as no longer the sensible option in business terms.
As individuals there's a lot we can do. Maybe leaving the car behind for journeys within walking distance for a start (we'd all be a lot fitter; I've been doing this for a while now and have been rewarded with getting several inches thinner and a lot healthier. Asking for local produce in the shops, not using plastic carrier bags, recycling, minimising waste and so on. Inidivdually it may not seem like much: multipled by the whole population it would make a vast difference.