Friday, October 31, 2014

Well Folks  I have tried on many occasions to  get down to simply thing of writing this blog?
I not to full of confidence that it will happen,
Why I have not been able to do this simple exercise !I am not able to explain.

So bye for now yours Bu-cket

Monday, March 24, 2014

Visit to Manchester Gallery Thursday 20th of March 2014

Joana Vasconcelos - Time Machine
This exhibition by Joana Vasconcelos is absolutely huge; the first sculpture we looked at covered an area from the second to the ground floor. The exhibition organisers even had to suspend a man from the ceiling in order to secure it. Natasha, the curator, who was telling us about the exhibition handed out items of fabric and similar items have been appliquéd to the sculpture by Joana's large team of staff. Had these items been looked at in isolation they would possibly have been regarded as pieces of tat but under Joana's direction and artistic ability they transformed the sculpture into an item which made you want to touch it.
The next sculpture we looked at was what Joana called 'the war machine'; it was an old-fashioned boxy car very neatly covered in toy rifles. Inside the car were lots of lovely cuddly toys who looked as though they were going out for a happy jaunt.
The next sculpture we looked at was a helicopter; it looked as though Joana had dipped it in pink ostrich feathers and gold leaf. The interior had also been beautifully upholstered and dressed. Natasha the curator told us that Joana called it 'Marie Antoinette's escape pod' it was absolutely beautiful to look at.
We moved on to yet another amazing set of three sculptures, these were the result of a three year consultation by Joana with an engineer and the manufacturer Bosch who had supplied all of the steam irons. In this sculpture the steam irons were arranged to represent flowers growing from the ground and the power of the steam activated the flowers beginning to bloom. It was an astonishing idea which had been so cleverly constructed by everybody concerned.
We were unable to look at other sculptures by Joana which were dotted around the museum because our visit was at an end. We had a hot drink and biscuits in the education suite and there we gave our thanks to Anne Hornsby for her superb descriptions of everything we had looked at and to all of the gallery staff for making it possible for us to enjoy this most extra ordinary exhibition. Thanks to our volunteer drivers who look after us so well and also to Mary for her wonderful visits that she works so hard to organise. Many thanks to everybody and we look forward to our next gallery visit.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Visit to Jack Chesterman's exhibition called Boat Stories at Oldham Gallery on Thursday, 27 February 2014

We had a very lively visit on Thursday to Gallery Oldham and the exhibitor Jack Chesterman is a printmaker, painter and sculptor. There were a number of very large canvases all quite dark but one of the gallery staff had taken photocopies of these and my driver Bernie was able to describe the detail to me. The sculptor had also made models of the various boats under discussion; some were copies of war boats and others were copies of transportation and trawler boats. My driver Bernie is a very skilled carpenter, he even makes his own ukuleles, and he understood the construction of the boats and told me about the way the planks were laid and the screw and the propeller. There was a story about each of the boats we viewed; many of them harrowing war stories and the number of lives lost in hand-to-hand combat was very very upsetting. Anne Hornsby's inspired descriptions of the very dark canvases was able to hold everybody's interest as she did in her descriptions of the sculptor's boats. After a lively conversation about all of the exhibits we retired to the education Suite for a hot drink and biscuits, Dinah had arranged for some new pots recently purchased by the gallery for us to look at but unfortunately because we were running late we were unable to have the benefit of a description of them and their source. Jack Chesterman is based in Leeds and also has studios in Halifax but as Dinah explained to us at the beginning of our tour he has a very deep interest in everything to do with boats.
Thank you as always to Mary and the drivers for helping make this visit happen.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

To Manchester Museum Thursday seventh of November 2013 ancient Egyptian exhibition we were greeted by Andrea and her colleagues in the education swee we went to the education sweet things Andrea and her colleagues were on hand to assist us in handling the ancient Egyptian artefacts the majority of them were original and there were 12 reproductions obviously great care has been taking in the selection of items everything was an indication of the type of life lived in ancient eejit t

The curator and assistance always make extra sure that our Henshaw's group and enjoy our visits our sincere thanks for the extra Kelly Tate for the extra care Day telly and our thanks to them all thank you Mary and you're willing volunteers who take such good care of us and see you safely home posted by Elaine Had been given to Manchester University by a Mr Howarth who was a Victorian benefactor We went to a newly refurbished Gallery this has been opened up considerably a number of columns removed to enable us to see the original Gothic architecture it was always map also much lighter and the artefacts on display with so much clearly visible in their glass cases curator Campbell price is so enthusiastic about the collection it is such a pleasure to enjoy his descriptions he told us that the original collection One of the items was what looked like a rattle this has been used in the Temple to please regards to please the gods there was a tiny vessel which had been used to contain call it was There were so many items I don't think I need to describe all of them after the handling session known that call was an in anti septic and used for this purpose as well as Unfortunately the University refused to accept the gift until Mr Howard said I will build a building to put them in this was wonderful news for Manchester the collection was managed by a Mr Perry Mr Perry was also an enthusiast of ancient Egypt Campbell Davis wonderful descriptions of everything selected for us to view and and Hornsby was on hand to give us her wonderful animated descriptions of everything we saw it was such a delight to be able to see items exhibited previous visits had been slightly disappointing because the gallery had been so much darker after the handling we had cups of tea and coffee and biscuits it proved to be an absolutely wonderful and rewarding visit and I so enjoyed embracing everything you that I learn The museum as usual decoration

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Manchester gallery visit 23rd May 2013

Artists Between the Wars.
When we arrived,  we were greeted by meg who had helped Mary to arrange our visit to this exhibition.  We were introduced to Kate Jesson, the curator and the first item we looked at was a bust of C.P Scott, by Charles Epstein. Scott had been the editor and then the owner of the Manchester guardian and is a well known benifactor of Manchester for many years.  We were allowed to touch the bust and clearly feel the strong features.  There was another item,  this time the mother and Child by Henry Moore and again we could touch this sculpture.  We moved on to look at a painting by Raymond Coxwain which depicted women knitting.
The next painting we saw was by Duncan Grant and was a Window showing a scene in France.  A quite strange portrait of medussa by Edward Barlow was very interesting and seldom seen by the public.
Between the wars,  many artists moved to the south of France where they lived and worked and were known as the bloomsbury group. They painted in what was called a simple style. Another two paintings were abstracts and Ann Hornsby did a wonderful job describing in an animated fashion what I thought looked like shavings dotted around.
Many of the paintings had not been exhibited for a long time and form a part of the huge number of works owned  by the gallery.  At  the end of the tour,  we went to the education room where we enjoyed cups of tea and coffee and munched on a very nice selection of biscuits.
Many thanks to Ann for her audio descriptions and to Mary and her dedicated volunteer drivers who always ensure that we have an interesting morning out.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Visit to Manchester Museum Thursday 24th of April 2013

Living culture

When we arrived at the Museum we were greeted by the curator of this particular exhibition Mr Stephen Welsh who presented the exhibition Living Culture. I didn't see very much because it was all very dimly lit and because the artefacts are all very carefully preserved.
The first thing Stephen told us about was the high density of twins born in East Africa and when one died the mother carried with her and the surviving twin a wooden replica of the baby who had died. In today's modern age the wooden doll would be replaced by the usual plastic toys which are manufactured all over the world. The next items he described to us were facemasks which are mainly white with large staring eyes and used during celebrations. There was a large wooden figure which is the spiritual leader of that particular village and is revered by everybody there.
After further discussions inside the exhibition we went to the education centre where there was a handling session made available to us; Andrea Winn and two volunteers Neil and Collette helped Stephen to explain and describe the items we were handling.
In the 19th century wealthy industrialists, in particular a local man from Rochdale called Charles Heap, brought back souvenirs which were in the main donated to universities up and down the country, and Manchester was the recipient of very many. We were happy to learn that many of these important historical artefacts had been repatriated to their originating country. We looked at a shield which was made from a crocodile skin, it fitted over the arm and had been dried out to form a very hard protective shield. A very large shield in the shape of a face would have covered the torso as protection during battle. We handled a long-handled weapon that was topped by a spiked mace and another interesting item was a wooden paddle with carved ridges down the side which would have been used to beat bark from a tree in order to form materials.
We handled two boomerangs; one was very large and we understand was used to stun animals the other was about half the size and was used to flush out any animals in dense forest. There were two surprisingly small metal circular shields which were used in Japan as a hand shield to protect the Warriors using their samurais.
After our handling session university staff showed us some sketches which had been made in an effort to enable the visually impaired to look at the picture by feeling the raised outline. We were asked to give feedback on what we thought about our ability to identify the picture, I felt that the picture was much too complex and there was too much detail in it. It would have been easier to identify if the main features such as the ears and shape of the face, nose, and mouth had been more clearly accentuated.

We enjoyed some very nice biscuits and hot cups of tea and coffee after all our deliberations and would like to thank the museum for enabling our visit, Stephen the curator and Ann Hornsby for making our visit extremely enjoyable by the clarity and melodious delivery of their voices describing and explaining the items and artefacts that we looked at and handled. Our thanks to Mary and her very willing volunteers who collected us from home, escorted us around the exhibition and safely delivered us back again.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Visit to Platt Hall costume gallery - Thursday 4th January 2013

Victorian Fashion Era 1850

The curators at the gallery selected contrasting costumes more or less relating to an upstairs and downstairs reflection of the people who would wear them. One of the displays was that of a lady's riding habit; the jacket was beautifully tailored with bones in the jacket to make the lady sit upright and the skirt was voluminous containing a great deal of material and was tailored to fashion the skirt to fit over the lady's knees as she sat side saddle and to keep it in place. The beautiful pork pie hat finished off the ensemble and was of the very highest quality material and construction. The other item was the uniform of a gamekeeper. We saw the gamekeepers waistcoat which was bright red and of a very heavy woolen velour material. His jacket was quite generously made with huge pockets both back and inside which would fit small items of game and possibly the paraphernalia he used on his game-keeping rounds. The hat was a beautiful bowler hat, quite heavy, and again very well made. The buttons on the waistcoat and coat contained impressions of animals such as a fox, a deer, a hound and various other animals related to game keeping. Very high quality materials and indicative of the way society confirmed their wealth by their ostentation display of their material goods.
One of the other displays was that showing a high class lady's evening gown; again beautifully made in very heavy satin material, red and black, and trimmed at the neck and sleeves in a beautiful lace. Her evening coat  was trimmed with a white downy fur and was obviously made to keep the lady warm. The contrasting costume was that of her coachman. His breeches were a heavy woolen material with buttons at the ankle which enabled him to keep his trousers securely in place inside his boots. The boots were very heavy leather and would have come to mid calf. His jacket was of a fine woolen material to the front but a coarser material at the back of the waistcoat which was not on display when worn. Very distinctive qualities in the contrasting upstairs/downstairs separation. The lady's boots were tiny and would have fitted possible a size three foot today with many tiny buttons fastening them down each side.
By contrast, the next display we looked at and handled was the uniform of a left tenant in the Lancashire rifles. His topcoat was bright red with tails, double-breasted, with highly decorated guilt buttons and surprisingly fastened by concealed hook and eye rather than functioning buttons and button holes. His appalettes were very heavy, completely covered in fine gold wire embroidery with large rigid tassels covering the soldier.
We handled three different hats, each possibly used on different ceremonial occasions. The first was quite large, almost completely covered in heavy gold embroidery, and the other two a little smaller with just a 2-3 inch wide band of gold embroidery to one side. The larger buttons on the dress coat resembled what I thought was the Lancashire Rose and was a theme throughout the decorations of this uniform. It was obviously very costly and would indicate that only the wealthiest of young men could afford to join one of the Queen's battalions.

Our thanks to the curators for the obvious time and care they took in selecting these very diverse costumes from this era. They are possibly an indication of the beginning of the wealth produced at the beginning of the industrial revolution and the desire of the new rich to show society their wealth, hence the building of magnificent mansions like Platt Hall, and the dramatic changes brought about in society during and after the 1950s. It was most rewarding to be able to handle all of these items and discuss with the lovely curators their place in our history.
Our thanks to Mary for organising this very nice visit and for our very welcome tea, biscuits and chocolates on a cold morning, and bravo to all of her volunteers for getting us there and safely returning us to our homes.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Visit to Manchester Gallery - Thursday 13th December 2012

Exhibition - First Cut

This exhibition is of sculptures made entirely of paper, much of which has been reclaimed from books, maps, ordinance servey maps, flower pictures from seed catalogues, and even seaweed collected from around shellfish. This was used to create the illusion of a leaf by being dried out and then shaped almost in the size of a dinner plate. It was displayed in a forest which consisted of trees and branches suspended from the ceiling, and these leaves hanging from the branches. The public is allowed to walk through this forest and the gentle friction causes it to sway gently as you pass through.
The very first sculpture we saw was a chandellier type creation in white paper with icicles folded into a gentle bend. The paper had a shiny surface and reflected the light as it again shimmered in a gentle breeze as visitors passed by.
There are 31 sculptures created by artists from eight different counties and it is quite astounding to see what the result of fine papercuts can create. One was a display of birds in a flock flying across the wall and it was suspended from the wall by mere dressmakers pins which were totally concealed within the cuts and shapes of birds' feathers in flight.
There was a flower bed, which must have measured about 8ft by 4ft. laid on the floor of the gallery and the illusion of flower beds came from flower pictures on seed packets propped up and forming a huge flower bed.
There were far too many sculptures for us to see and have described to us by the curator ... and Ann Hornsby. We understand that as many as five members of staff halped to put this exhibition in place and it is going to travel to three other cities. It takes many months to dismantle, transport, and recreate, and all of the artists concerned have worked for years to be able to make such wonderful images from nothing but reclaimed paper, books, and maps.
It was our final gallery visit for 2012 and we all happily munched delicious mince pies and quaffed steaming mugs of tea and coffee.

Many, many thanks to the gallery for enabling our visit and to Mary and her army of volunteers who ensured that we reached our destination.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Oldham Gallery Visit - Thursday 13th November 2012

175th Anniversary of Henshaw's Society and Blue Coat School

Oldham Gallery have compiled a special exhibition to celebrate this remembrance of the great gift given to us by Thomas Henshaw, when after his death, and thanks to his charity, these institutions were created. Shaun Baguley lead us through this very special exhibition they have mounted in celebration of the work carried out over the years by Henshaw's vision to create care and education for children and the blind in his asylum and school.
There is a portrait of Henshaw in the galley together with a bust, and also a stone-carved model of his asylum. He himself started life on a farm and was lucky enough to become an apprentice at a hat factory in Oldham where he trained for seven years. After this training he worked in Manchester as a journeyman and after a number of years he returned to Oldham and set up his own hat factory with his brother. Sadly his only son died at the age of ten to be followed by the loss of his wife also at a young age. He lived as a widower for 25 years and then married a much younger woman. Sadly after eleven years of marriage he was found drowned in a local reservoir and it has been assumed that he committed suicide.
Shaun had obtained a copy of his will and he had gifted amounts ranging from £200-1000 to many people. Also an annual sum of £200 to his wife with the request that the remainder of his fortune should be dedicated to the creation of a school for the blind where training could also be given enable them to work, and also to open a school for ordinary children which was on a par with the very expensive public schools.
These institutions were not built until 23 years after his death because his wife contested the will and it would appear that the wording of his will had been carefully constructed to ensure that his charitable works were continued. At this time his fortune continued to increase due to the expansion of the industrial revolution. His intervention for the blind and poor had a resounding effect on society as a whole and it is from this period of time that many advances were made. Moorfield's eye hospital in London was opened, and after a number of attempts to create an alphabet which could be discerned by touch the most successful system was widely accepted and created by Braille who was himself blind.
Shaun had a walking stick which Henshaw had owned and the top of this was the head of a deer with antlers. He also had a wooden letter opener which was about a foot long and two inches wide with an owl's head on it. Oldham's coat of arms includes an owl and it is thought to have come about because Oldham at that time was pronounced 'Owl'dham.
The exhibition contains numerous items especially created for use by blind people to assist them in their daily functions and also indications of the progress of increased knowledge both medical and social relating to the blind.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Visit to Gallery Oldham, Thursday 13th September 2012

Liam Spencer Exhibition

This artist is a local man who has, in recent years, become a very successful painter, and the exhibition covered his work from his early days as a student to date.

The first pictures we looked at were charcoal drawings. One the figure of a man with a beard sitting in a chair with his arm resting on the back, and the other was of the figure of what looked like a nude bending forward to pick something up in what was almost a running position. These were very large pictures and very effective when looked at from a distance. He drew these in 1999.

The next painting we looked at in detail was of his two young sons which he did in the early 1980s. As Ann described it the youngest boy was on a settee and a slightly older boy leaning against it. They were watching television and the picture was that of the Teletubbies and painting in considerable detail. By contrast his paint stroked of the rest of the painting were very relaxed; effective from a distance, but quite blurry if looked at very closely.

A quite large painting was the scene of surfers on a beach: quite bright contrasting colours carrying their surf boards, and they and their boards were reflected in puddles. As Ann quite vividly described it she felt as though she could dip her finger into the water reflected, it was so very realistic. Liam has managed to perfect this particular skill by his use of translusent paint and the way he uses them; a very individual signiture in his paintings.

The curator Dinah Winch was fortunate enough to visit Liam in his studio and had the time of her life rumaging through a large number of his paintings quite varied in subject matter. During his work Liam had seen a panoramic photograph of a Lancashire scene which was very industrial with many mills and chimneys. He learnt that a modern photographer was going to take a photograph of a similar scene from a cherry picker and was lucky enough to be invited to join him when he himself took panoramic photographs of the scene which was now quite devoid of the industrial buildings and chimneys. He then joined these photographs together and we saw these displayed in a case at the exhibition and he has then painted his own panoramic scene which is huge, about 14 feet long, absolutely beautiful, and colourful.
There was another of the paintings selected for us to view which was of Picadilly and very reminiscent of the painting we had seen by Lowry at our recent visit to his exhibition.

Liam Spencer is a prolific painter and the exhibition contained a lot of his own work as well as many borrowed from other galleries, and also private collectors. We don't very often talk about prices but one of our group asked Dinah if she knew how his paintings were selling and she said that when he announced a forthcoming exhibition of new work people were queueing to have first dabs at the new work.
His current paintings are sold for anything between £3000 and up to £100,000, and he is a wonderful success story for this part of the world.

Ann's descriptions, as always, enabled me to really visualise what was in the paintings and Dinah's background information about the painter himself and the history of a particular work made this visit very special. We had a lovely hot drink and lots of munchy biscuits at the end of the visit and our greatful thanks to Dinah and Ann for their attention to detail and to Mary and her merry band of volunteers who make it possible for us to enjoy these gallery visits so much. Thank you everybody.

Monday, July 30, 2012

visit to Lowry Gallery Thursady 26 July 2012

Lowry Summer
The visit to the exhibition was lead by our old friend Brian Dunk who with his delightfully melodious voice took us around the paintings that he and Henshaws had selected for our viewing. Brian usually enhances his talks with some appropriate background music but on Thursday the gallery technology failed him. The paintings represented Lowry's depiction of industrial life in and around Salford and Manchester as well as a most interesting one of Piccadilly circus which showed hourdings of old well known products such as Bovril and Schweppes and several others. My driver and guide Ray who is a draughtsman, pointed out to me that the Stockport viaduct arches when looked at closely showed that they were far from uniform in size and shape, something I had never noticed before. Dotted around the many paintings were comments made by Lowry at various times. When asked why he didn't paint smiling faces, he said that he painted them as he saw them in his minds eye and there were few smiles to be seen.
Most of the paintings contained his usual stick leg dogs and a amn or woman pushing a pram. The figures generally appeared to be rushing about in opposite directions and leaning forward slightly as if against a wind. The painting which brought him to prominence was one of a footbal match and the main match supposedly played by professionals was squeezed in on the left hand side of the picture but the majority of the space was taken up by groups of young boys playing their own matches with their coats placed on the ground as goal posts.
At the end of the conducted tour with Brian, Ray and I watched a 20 minute video in which we shared a conversation with Lowry whilst he continued to paint. By the mearest stroke of his brush, he created the illusion of his stick leg dog and this is how he tended to create his figures by the minimalistic stroke of his brush giving the illusion he wished to show. During his conversation, he had just completed a large painting when the gas man called to empty his gas meter and he said to the gas man, 'the paining is more or less complete but I feel that there is something missing'. The gas man replied 'that is very similar to the area where I live but where you showed the row of terraced houses there would be lines of washing hanging out in the back yards'. Lowry then added washing which can be seen in that particular painting. He was also asked why he didn't paint shadows and he said 'I have tried but they never look right so I don't attempt to do them at all'. Apart from the industrial landscapes and towns Lowrys exhibition included many many other aspects to his work. There are many portraits in the exhibition as well as nude models, still life and pencil sketches which were the basis of many of the work to follow. We could have spent many more hours looking at the exhibits but unfortunately ran out of time. We were fortified by pur usual delightful hot drink and delightful selection of biscuits and would like to thank Ann Hornsby for her very vivid descriptions of all that we looked at, Mary's band of willing voluntees once again looked after us and brought us safely home again and out thanks to everybody involved in organising this truly delightful visit
Posted by Elaine

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Visit to Gallery Oldham Wednesday 30 May 2012

New Exhibits
We have continued our consultation with Gallery Oldham on debating which exhibits can be appreciated by people with varying degrees of visual difficulties. Dinah unfortunately had to leave the meeting and it was continued to be led by Liz, curator, working with Dinah. I worked with Andrew, a gallery volunteer who helped me to handle some very valuable items of pottery and other members of our group worked with Hilary and Zainab. We looked at 4 different items and the charming young sculpter ... explained to us that the gallery had arranged for him to make some prototype copies of the exhibits we would not normally be allowed to handle because of their considerable value. We handled a pot which had been thrown but stood on a flimsy base making it easy to be knocked over. The prototype had a wider base and offered itself to the visually impaired as more easily handled. 
We also looked at a very delicate eggshell thin piece representing a flower and the petals had been defined with dots which we could not see. The prototype had ridges in place of the dots and this enabled us to appreciate the design of the piece. There was a piece made by a Japanese sculpter which resembled a bag and was the inspiration which Glynis used at our previous meeting when we all had a go at making a bag with strips of clay. 
The other 2  items were a teapot with handles and spout which resembled branches with thorns sticking out and then a petrol can with a figure of Britannia on the top. 
During out break, the gallery treated us to a delightful buffet lunch followed up by drinks and cake. 
At the end of the meeting, the artist expressed his appreciation of the greater depth of understanding he now had relating to the difficulties encountered by people with varying degrees of vision and how their appreciation of exhibits could be greatly enhanced by having the opportunity to handle a copy of the exhibit and a detailed description of the work and the artists inspiration.
Our thanks to the gallery and staff for having given us the opportunity to have some input into their decisions for exhibiting certain pieces. Also, many thanks to Mary and her sterling volunteers who pick us up from home and take us to the gallery so that we can enjoy this day.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Manchester Museum visit 26/4/12

Unearthed, Ancient Egypt

We were shown around the first part of our exhibito harvest food and prepare soiion visit by Merika Monroe who, after Ann Hornsbey's description of the items we were looking at, the curater told us about the communities of workwers who lived on the banks of the Nile and who built the pyramids. The exhibition cases held interesting household items such as a huge container for water set on a rough pedestal what could have been a small wooden roughly hewn stool with slightly wobbly legs and tools used to harvest food and a rake to prepare soil. There were small pots which had contained the minerals used to colour household items and also the khol which was used by both men and women on the upper and lower parts of their eyes. The main use of this application was as a disinfectant to keep nits away and various other bugs which prevailed at that time due to the climate. The Egyptians produced very sharp blades with whci to shave their bodily hair which was the only way they could keep bug free and the majority of ose seldom seen such as people wore wigs. This possibly explains why most Egyptians shown in pictures had straight dark hair. After looking around the exhibition we adjourned to the education suite for a handling session which was conducted by Andrea, Campbell and Irit. The items selected were those seldom seen such as a tiny pot which would have contained Kohl and a pestle base in the shape of a turtle and also a fish. These were made from slate and were very fragile. They had tiny holes in them which suggested that they were perhaps strung with string and carried by the owners. There was also a panel taken from a larger tablet containing hyroglyphics which these days can now be translated due to the huge progress made in deciphering ancient writings. All of the curators had infectious enthusiasm for their subject and all of the members of our group said how much they had enjoyed their visit and how much more they had learned about the everyday life in ancient Egypt. The items we had the privilege of handling were between 5 and 2000 years old and all very fragile. We were treated to cups of tea and coffee and home baked biscuits from the cafeteria which were most welcome. Our thanks to all of the museum staff and to Ann for her very detailed descriptions and also to Mary and her army home. of volunteers who collect us from home, look after us and guide us around the exhibitions and deliver us safely
Posted by Elaine

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gallery Oldham - Visually Impaired Collaboration Group

Wednesday 21st March

A group of eleven members of Henshaws visited Gallery Oldham and were accompanied by gallery members and volunteers in order to look at and discuss appropriate items of pottery for display. We were offered a mug of tea or coffee at the beginning of the visit and having enjoyed our drink were told that each mug had in fact been made by an artist. It was generally agreed that to drink out of porcelain was more enjoyable than out a slightly rougher pot.
We worked in pairs and each examined an item together with the assistants of our gallery partner, and then took it in turns to describe our interpretation of that particular item. Members of Henshaws described how it was necessary in the main to be able to look at an item contrasted by either light or dark depending upon the object. Our helpers had been given a description of the artist concerned as well as a definition of the item and we discussed how modern day technology could be employed in the help of displaying and describing the items, for instance the use of a pen pal.
It was a very lively discussion and we all felt that both the gallery and the partially sighted Henshaws visitors had gained a lot of information about the difficulties a gallery might encounter when trying to mount an exhibition of chosen art. We were treated to a most delightful lunch and afterwards all had a lot of fun making a pot out of clay prepared by Glynis.
Our thanks to Dinah and Lisa for taking such trouble to organise this visit and discussion which we hope will enable them to continue to go that extra mile when catering for the visually impaired.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Hi Folks Just to let you know that the wekend away with the church was enjoyable.
We were at Cromford in Derbyshire, the time went by very quickly.
And very soon it was back home.
Bye Don B.

Monday, March 05, 2012

A lovely sunny morning

It is a lovelv sunny morning , but cold!
So here goes at putting a little article onto the zoomers site!
Here at Henshaws the room is almost full < at the moment we are all conentrating on what we are doing.
We hope that in a little while our good friend and helper wil be getting the drinks for us.
Our thanks Tony

Bye Don-(Bu-ckett

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Visit to Gallery Oldham 09/02/12

Chameleons & Shape Shifters II
Michael Shaw

On arrival at the middle glass-walled gallery curator Shaun Baggaley introduced us to the artist who had created these sculptures, Michael Shaw, who stayed with us during the duration of our visit which was a great treat.
The first item we looked at was the huge inflatable which took up the whole of the space of the gallery and was suspended from the lighting gantries so it moved freely when touched. The sculpture looks like a pair of lips or maybe a doughnut in bright orange and a long snake-like dark blue tube entwined itself around the outside and finally through a central aperture like a snake's head. The air was pumped in by a fan and because the sculpture was created from material used in parachutes and stitched together the air escaped slowly, creating what could almost have been a living, breathing thing.
Michael Shaw had created the sculpture with the aid of computer 3D software and this he also used for the other shapes displayed in the gallery. One of the materials was a plastic acrylic; one surface fragmented and the other smooth, and these had been vacuum pressed onto the mould and then sealed onto a stainless steel base to enable it to be fixed to any surface for display.
There were a number of shapes which had been lighted creating a sense of movement as the fragmented surfaces reflected the lights of the spectrum. Another set of three different shapes were smooth and merely reflected the light as it changed during the day when both dull and sunny.
Ann Hornsby gave us an inspirational description of all of the sculptures we looked at and must have spent a great deal of time researching the exhibition in order to portray the images created by the artist.
We had an opportunity to look at each item closely before we adjourned to the education suite where Dinah Winch and another member of staff were waiting to give us hot drinks and biscuits. It had been a tad chilly in the gallery due to the glass walls and we all clasped our drinks to our bosoms in order to thaw out!
Michael Shaw joined us again in the education suite and gave us the opportunity to handle some of the prototypes of his work in progress and it was fascinating to learn how these forms could be created with the use of computer software.
As well as a water-based and a powder-based sculpture we were able to handle some fragmented acrylic shapes and a number of the ladies in the group said they would love to have one of these as a lampshade cover on their wall. It was fascinating to realise how today's artists were able to avail themselves of new technology and materials to create beautiful, tactile and pleasing shapes.

Many thanks to Michael, Shaun, and Dinah for helping us to enjoy the handling session and to Ann for bringing the items to life with her descriptions. Mary as usual had done her sterling job of gathering together her willing volunteers to take us to and from the gallery. Many thanks to everybody involved for giving us a remarkable day out.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Visit to Platt Hall Gallery - 19/01/12

Intervention: 62 group review of fabric and textiles.

The learning and education curator Kate Day had helped put together the items we were to look at during our visit to the gallery but was unfortunately unable to join us because she was attending a conference in India.
However, we were shown various displays and given an audio description of each one by Naomi, and then Rosie gave us the artists explanation and interpretation of what had inspired the artist during their research of items held in the gallery.
One of the displays was of what appeared to be thigh length boots or stockings in a cobwebby material displayed by being hung from the ceiling.
These were free moving and their shadow also create a part of the display. Another item was a parasol, again suspended and free moving with various texts added to it and indicating a modern take on young people and their activities in the 21st century. We were able to handle some items of the most intricate stitching which created what appeared to be a checkers board and draughts. It must have taken hours to create such perfection.
After looking at a couple of other displays we had the opportunity of handling some items of the early 20th century in the education suite. There were corsets with the most decorative lace creations and of the very tiniest waist size which must have been torture to wear. Also, two pairs of ladies boots which were tiny in size, probably a today's size 3, and very narrow.
Adam who was helping us with this handling session showed us a card with shoe buttons, sets of up to as many as 40 being used on a pair of ladies boots. We also had a look at some hats; one looked like what could have been a school hat but was defined by some feathers and a ribbon. Also, a most delicate lace child's bonnet which could have been a part of a party outfit. A fun hat probably used for dressing up had a face and ears and a hole at the back for a ponytail.
We were able to hold a dainty parasol which was intricately embroidered, and a piece of fabric with different textiles stitched onto it in various patterns which displayed the various arts of stitching and embroidery.
The gallery furnished us with hot drinks and biscuits at the end of our visit which were most enjoyable and we thanks Mary and her volunteer drivers for taking us to this exhibition and guiding us during our tour.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas 2011

To any one who happens to tune in to this zoomers site!
I wish you well this Christmas time.
And wish you new year greeting for 2012.
Bye for now with Christian greeting. Bu-cket.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Visit to Manchester Gallery - 01/12/11

Ford Maddox Brown
Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer

This artist is renowned in Manchester for the murials he painted in Manchester Town Hall and only just managed to complete this particular work before he died. There is also a huge murial painted by him which was exhibited extensively but which is now owned by New South Wales and is one of their permanent exhibitions.
Although he and his parents were English, he did grow up in France and started his career as a painter in Paris and other European cities before returning to England and coming to Manchester because he had found it difficult to exhibit and sell work on the Continent.
The curator of this particular collection of paintings, ............... , took over 2 years to gather together many wonderful paintings, obtaining them from private collections and also many art galleries throughout the world.
Meg Parnell gave her usual unstinting support to Mary Gifford and Henshaws to enable our group to enjoy a smooth and very pleasant visit to the gallery. We looked at 6 different paintings, all of which showed the greatest detail that an artist can portray on a canvas. One of the paintings was of his wife and baby standing outside in a landscape with sheep and lambs. He was one of the very first painters to depict people in natural environments and landscapes.
Ann Hornsby enhanced our visit with her vivid and detailed audio descriptions of all of the paintings we looked at and enabled us to visualise what the artist had portrayed. The curator also had some postcard replicas of some of the paintings we looked at which was a great assistance to those of us with some vision to see in greater detail the painting itself.
At the end of the tour we adjourned to the gallery cafe and enjoyed being waited upon by the gallery staff, giving us a choice of tea or coffee, and Mary had provided mince pies all round as a parting gift from her group budget to celebrate our Christmas break.

Many thanks to Mary and her volunteer drivers for once again ensuring that we were safely taken to and from the venue which we might not otherwise have been able to visit.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our thanks to Elaine

Well once again we owe Elaine a big thanks for her report on the latest visit to the Lowry a little while ago.
If this piece of nonsence gets through the system it will a laugh as I could not get through on the comments section!
So here goes bye Don.