Tuesday, 26 June 2012

June Update: Arts, Parks and High Hills

As usual I've been bombing it round like a mad thing, mainly trying to get my drawing deadlines done before I move house this Friday.  I like to be occupied which is good as this June there are boxes to be packed and cleaning to be done, and life going on in the meantime.  Things to do, people to see, opportunities not to be missed.  I just want to take a post to stop and get my ducks in a row.

End of Year Show
So, another academic year is over, and I may be a two-year graduate but in a town like Loughborough and with so many student friends thanks to church it's hard not to notice.  I almost feel sorry for next year's students - they've missed out on some great people.

The main milestone here is of course for the students, but one of the ways the town gets involved is through the annual Art and Design show, where each graduating class must orchestrate a display of their best work.  They're great for the upcoming students, the leavers and their friends and family, and potential employers and stakeholders in the university to get an overview of the kind of work the course produces.  My particular interest is for Visual Communication (Illustration, my old course, and Graphic Design), Printed and Woven Textiles, and Fine Art so my friend and I did the rounds.  All art students are encouraged to leave business cards so if I see something I particularly like and there are some lying around I'll scoop one up.

Zoe Marshall - www.zoemarshall.co.uk    Emily Creative - www.emilycreative.tumblr.com    Anya Raczka - www.anyaraczka.com    Sarah Lynn - www.sarahelizabethlynn.tumblr.com    Josephine Munsey    Sophie Hargrave - www.hargrave.blogspot.com    Heather Lee Durrant    Tamara Webster - www.tamarawebster.co.uk    Anniestration - www.annabrown.moonfruit.com    Abigail M. Cooper    Jessica Griffith - http://www.jessicagriffith.co.uk/

This year's Vis. Comm. show was excellent.  There was some very strong work in the mix and the show itself was much better well planned and facilitated than my year's was.  This turns out to be partly due to better relationships being fostered between the Graphics and Illustration classes, which in my year were a bit separate, and of course a stellar show planning committee.  They've really made the most of their beautiful new display space and overall I was very impressed and jealous, in a proud older-sisterly sort of way.

Bradgate Park
I am loving this park more and more.  It's becoming such a saving grace, even in this June's inclement weather (Interesting note: Norfolk and then the Midlands were declared in drought around March this year, following two dry winters, I prayed once, it began raining in April and hasn't really stopped since.  I'm not saying this fixes everything - we still need winter rain- but just throwing that out there :)  For that reason I'm also refusing to complain about the weather)

Mostly I go with my mid-week group from church.  Our common feature is enjoying the Outdoors and finding it part of how we naturally connect to God.  We're a varied group and this takes a lot of forms; birdwatching, climbing, biking and sitting, so the simplest thing for us all to do is go together is go out wandering.

The first time we joined up with another mid-week group from the campus and kept to the low path.  Nevertheless this took us past the stream so there was wading and splashing and running about ( discovered I do like to run, just barefoot and on grass.  So much more comfortable than running in shoes on pavement.  I was flying along!), and my friend Rachael and I indulged in a spot of deer stalking.  Rach is much better at it than I am.  I'm content to sit there and watch but she can literally sneak up on a deer to get a photo.

We took Communion together, breaking break outside with our mates in a public park.  Somehow doing it outside of a formal church setting added to it rather than taking away, grounding an act of ritual remembrance that can sometimes seem distant in the dirt of reality and everyday life.  Sometimes it's good to do something differently one in a while just to give you a better perspective on your normal actions.

This second time we abandoned the path immediately and forged uphill.  I brought a kite which did ok in some very indecisive winds, although my steering needs a lot of work.  Some of us sat in trees while others hunted for geocaches, and then we all clambered up to the top of an outcrop to see Leicestershire in the twilight and spy on grazing fallow deer.

Even my workplace has been getting in on the outdoor action.  As part of WaterAid's Walk for Water campaign some of us decided to walk Kinderscout in the Peak District.  It seemed a good walk for a mixed-ability group, but the weather had other ideas. 

Even with bleak clouds overhead the scenery was beautiful, and the constant pelting rain we could have put up with, but as we reached the top of Jacob's Ladder we were met by 50mph winds which had the effect of forcing the rain through our waterproof gear.  My coat held out admirably but my waterproof trousers did nothing after the first half hour and my legs were soaked to the thigh.  Some fared better than that, a few fared worse, I was dry on the top half so in good spirits and warm as long as we kept moving, but we would have been up on that ridge for at least another hour in that gale. 

The ridge smothered in cloud

Even after a five minute discussion some of us were feeling the wind chill and as soon as you start getting cold it's easy to become despondant and lose your concentration.  Another hour might have proved too much for the well-being of the group so we decided to cut our walk short.  It was a shame but there's no point taking chances.  The weather is bigger than you.  It wasn't until we changed clothes back at the cars that I realised the rain, which has only come into my coat at the collar, had soaked through three layers of clothing.  We retreated to the nearest pub for hot chocolate, all keen to come back and try it again. 

You win this time, Kinderscout, but we'll be back!

All Grown Up
My youngest sister is 18 years old.  There's a funny aching, loving nostalgia that comes with it.  Milestone birthdays are always a bit strange, accompanied by a sense of something a bit like loss, she felt it too.  I loved being at home though, sharing the birthday morning tradition of piling onto my parents bed to open presents.  I've not done that in years.

At her request we went to Linton Zoo (another nostalgia thing I think).  It's just a small zoo, and as usual the fun of the trip was made by the company you take as well as the place you go, but it did lead to a little upset and a big discussion about zoos in general.  Are they right or wrong?  Is it better to inspire and educate children about the natural world at the expense of caging a few animals?  What if the animals have been born into or rescued from captivity, or are beeing kept for conservation breeding?  How much space should they have, and does that change with different animals (e.g. it seemed worse to keep a leopard in the equivalent of a living room like a house cat, but ok to keep a zebra in a field like a tame horse).  Why does this gut instinct only seem to apply to non-domesticated animals, and not to pets or farm animals?  It's a big issue and we didn't really decide on a definitive answer.  I did enjoy seeing the tapir though.  Half pony, half rhino, half pig, and with a nose like a baby elephant.  Tapirs are awesome.

We went out for dinner and she made me watch The Woman in Black.   I CANNOT DO SCARY MOVIES!!!

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