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Dragonflies at The Willow

Dragonfly poster

Dzintra’s next workshop at The Willow Gallery in Oswestry is coming up at the end of this month. It’s a creative, drop-in session between 11-2pm, so stay for as long as you want. Great for kids – but parents need to stay and supervise. And if you’re wondering how this connects to the Hillfort, check out the most recent BioBlitz report from Turnstone Ecology detailing the extraordinary range of species the hillfort supports. There are plans for English Heritage and Turnstone Ecology to work with the Hillfort community group to do another full-scale evaluation report in eighteen months’ time, but anyone interested in the ecology of the site should get in touch with the community team via Facebook and find out about art and creativity can contribute towards interim recording projects (like Graham Mitchell’s “Hillfort Watch“).

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Dzintra has been busy at Oswestry Library this month with her butterfly project – and, following on from discussions about the BioBlitz at our last meeting, she has included Old Oswestry Hillfort as a recommended butterfly spotting location!

Next time you’re in the Library, check out her display:

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NATURE AT YOUR DOORSTEP

Butterflies and Moths

Hand drawn and hand painted by Dzintra Bernsaida

Through my displays in the library, I like to encourage people to go outside and explore nature.  This time it’s butterflies!

Do you see how colourful they are and how just watching them can cheer you up?  Maybe some of them are in your garden, local park or even our very own Old Oswestry Hillfort.

Just sit quietly and wait to see what will happen. Maybe one of the butterflies will land near you and you can see all their beautiful colours and patterns.  If you can spot some of the butterflies I’ve shown here and say the name to your family and friends you will sound like a cool nature expert!

Dzintra Bernsaida is a Community Artist, a member of the Oswestry Makes team, a member of the Hillfort Creativity group and a good friend to Oswestry library. 

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Diana’s Hillfort activities and exhibition of art at Oswestry Library – the kind of thing we’re planning to repeat later this year for Heritage Open Days.

A great meeting yesterday! There was a lot of creative thinking in the air, and it feels like we all came away not just inspired and enthusiastic, but with some solid ideas for upcoming projects and exhibitions. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, here are notes on the meeting: 

After a quick round of introductions to make sure the new members got to know everyone, we started with a discussion of exhibitions and other events. Here is a complete calendar of upcoming events from now through October. The first exhibition on that list is:

Oswestry Nature Festival

Dates: July 6th – August 28th

Type of Event: This is an Oswestry-wide collection of events and exhibitions under the above banner. We have been offered some space for an exhibition in the Willow.

Co-ordinators: Debbie – She is putting together a group application for the exhibition, but will be circulating it to everyone in the next week or so for them to add details of work they would like to submit.

Timetable: Deadline for taking artwork to the Willow Gallery June 29th

Notes: Although this isn’t our event, it feels like a good opportunity to forge creative links between the hillfort and natural/earth/green art happening elsewhere.

Next, we had our inaugural “expert knowledge” talk. The idea of these talks is to have someone with some expert or inside knowledge on the hillfort give a short 15-20 minute creative talk on some aspect of the hillfort. For this inaugural talk, John told the story not of the “hillfort” – but “The Hill“; the 358 million-year-long story of Old Oswestry as a place, of which The Hill as a human place – a “hillfort” – is only a part. Here are John’s notes in case people find them useful.

Afterwards, the idea of the hillfort as a “hill” prompted all sorts of discussion, both about the way this idea allows one to better understand Old Oswestry as a landscape place, and as a place with a history that stretches back (and forward!) into Deep Time. It also makes it easier to separate out “The Hill” from the erroneous martial implications of the term “hillfort”, and easier to look specifically at the geological and natural information about the place and then, in a different way, at the archaeological and historical information about the place. We talked for a long, long time about the way the hill would have looked at certain points in time, its relationship to the Coppie, how geology, topography and history affect present-day flora and fauna – indeed, about the temporal and spatial context of the hill and the hillfort that often gets overlooked as we focus on “the monument” itself.

The upshot of all this wide-ranging discussion was two-fold:

  • First, we all came away thinking more about “the hillfort” as being just one aspect of “The Hill” that is Old Oswestry and how this would impact on our own work; some interesting ideas for making work that both explores context and makes links.
  • Second, these thoughts coalesced into plans to develop a range of activities that we could lead at Oswestry Library for our contribution to Heritage Open Day: activities that would look at “The Different Ages” of Old Oswestry, and focus on bringing together geology, stratigraphy, archaeology and history.

Along the way, of course, our discussion veered off into a hundred little byways and diversions: from Dorothy’s “flatbacks” on the theme of “Save Our Setting”, to the historical weaving activities Dzintra will also be doing at the library during Heritage Open Days, to John’s illustrations looking not back, but forward, to the “future history” of Old Oswestry, to Diana’s waste plastic art, Pam’s woodland management and Rob’s fauvist designs on the hillfort (possibly soon to get a digital upgrade?). Talk of Iron Age re-enactment as another focus for community art projects prompted Debbie to mention an upcoming Textile Stories Study Day at the Guildhall, Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury, Sat. May 11th – more information via this link:  http://dwtextilestories.blogspot.co.uk/ And Dorothy and Pam’s mention of a Radio 4 programme about the value of art as an environmental recording tool (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0004sdb) prompted discussion of our work as a form of social archive of changing conditions and attitudes towards Old Oswestry – something we’ll work on more in coming months.

So, as you can see, a highly creative meeting, filled not just with ideas, but a goodly array of plans for onward projects, both individual and collective. Our next meeting is scheduled for 11am on Wednesday, June 19th at the Oswestry Library meeting room again. During the meeting we might get an opportunity to trial some of the proposed Heritage Open Days activities various of us will have been developing. See you then!

Hillfort Creativity Group Meeting

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The next meeting of the Hillfort Creativity Group will be on Wed. May 8th at 11am in the Meeting Room at Oswestry Library (not Hermon Chapel, as we thought). All creative-minded people are warmly invited: visual artists, musicians, writers, makers, crafters, etc.

We’ll start with some brief information about upcoming exhibitions and events, and then short updates from anyone who has been working on creative hillfort-related projects. We’ll then have our inaugural “creative talk” – not a lecture or a presentation! – from local historian, archaeologist and illustrator John Swogger about the hillfort’s long life-story. These talks are meant to be a spur to creativity, so you are invited (encouraged!) to write, sketch, knit, doodle, etc. during the talk, as well as press the speaker with creative questions.

Look forward to seeing you all there!

Butterfly Workshop

Hillfort Creativity Group member Dzintra, from OSMakes, has sent info about an upcoming butterfly workshop she’s holding at Oswestry Library, Sat. 18th May 10-1pm. Contact Oswestry Library (01743 250351) for more information.

The 2018 Old Oswestry Bioblitz – which counted a whole range of species on the hillfort – recorded both Large White and Wall butterflies, both of which are on the Butterfly Conservation Red List of most at-risk British butterflies. You can read the press release for the Bioblitz here.

Butterfly Workshop 18 May

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This Inside Out blog will be hosting posts and information for the “Hillfort Creativity Group” for the next few months. This group is a newly-formed hub for visual artists, creative writers, poets, musicians – indeed, anyone whose creative endeavours have been sparked by Old Oswestry Hillfort’s history, archaeology, wildlife, natural beauty or spirit of place. The group is a way for those of us inspired in some way by the hillfort to share our endeavours, find new collaborative partners and come together for events and exhibitions. Some of us are public artists, keen to pursue outreach projects that bring the community into our art – some of us will be pursuing more individual, introspective creative practices. The group will be using this blog and the Inside Out Facebook page to share that work.

Those of you who are new to the Inside Out blog – click the “Subscribe” option on the side menu to receive all posts and information about upcoming meetings, events and exhibitions. We will also be cross-posting that information on the Inside Out Facebook page, so you can check there as well.

Our next meeting will be in May – and we’ll be posting the date, time and venue of that meeting soon. Whatever kind of creative soul you happen to be – writer, sculptor, photographer, dancer, musician, gamer, crafter, knitter, painter, illustrator or maker – you’re welcome to join us!

Book Launch!!Not to be missed!

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Cockaygne: Land of Plenty

 

Cockaigne was a mythical land of plenty, but Bruegel’s depiction of Cockaigne and its residents

is not meant to be a flattering one. He chooses rather a comic illustration of the spiritual emptiness

believed to derive from gluttony, sloth and the other 7 deadly sins.

 

“Not only the Willow” by Diana Baur

one of the 2D entries depicting Cockaigne in much the same way that Bruegel did, but with a 21st Century environmental twist.


 

 

Portrait and Figure Drawing & Painting- new course starts Monday 7th Jan 2019

NEW_YEAR_2019_booking_form_pdf.pdf

 

NEW_YEAR_2019_booking_form_pdf.pdf

 

NEW_YEAR_2019_booking_form_pdf.pdf

Popup Art Gallery in Leg St. Oswestry

Through Joods

On for two weeks 10.0-4.0 daily next to the Framers. Some interesting works.

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