Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Apple Day = Fun Day!

On Sunday 16 October we took part in Apple Day at Bromham Mill. We brought an activity inspired by the wonderful varieties of Laxton’s Apples. Children invented new names for varieties of apples and then drew pictures of those delicious new varieties.

What a fantastic day it was! More than 100 children joined in. We had: Pink Higgins Spitfire by Hannah age 3, Champion Pink Delight, Royal Polka Dot Victory, Stunning Ruby, Brown Custard Epicure by Mathew and Strictly Crimson Duchess. Emma awarded herself first price for this last one.Apple seed growers take notice; for naming future varieties contact us; we have a long list of apple names to choose from!

We also took some artefacts from the Art Gallery & Museum handling collection. The sugar snips were a real conversation piece. Generally speaking people thought they must be for something much more gruesome and scary then they were.

We had a great day, and we hope everyone that joined in had a great day too!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Working in Partnership with Bedfordshire Carers Group

Mother Nature is the title of a mini Exhibition of work by the Bedfordshire Carers Group at the Town Hall, Bedford, from 23rd August – 20th September 2011. The exhibition will then move to Bedford Borough Hall from 20th September – 18th October 2011. The exhibition is the result of a six week creative course put together by Cecil Higgins Art Gallery & Bedford Museum in partnership with Bedfordshire Carers.

Photographs of the Bedfordshire Carers Group with their exhibition at the Town Hall, Bedford

The Art and Photography classes offer carers a unique opportunity to socialise with others who share similar experiences of looking after a family member, sometimes for twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. The experience provides an invaluable break from the duties of caring and is of great importance.

Bedfordshire Carers is a not-for-profit registered charity and a member of the Princess Royal Trust for Carers.  The charity, founded in 2004, specialises in supporting all family carers and past carers aged 16 onwards.  People who care for a family member are often hidden away by the continuous work of caring for a family member. Time spent away from the cared for is rare and therefore very special. Angie Millar, one of the participants, said ‘Carrying out new projects is so interesting. I forget all my worries when I am here’.
The Art Gallery & Museum has been working with Bedfordshire Carers for several years. We have hosted classes in photography, drawing and painting.   In a series of artist-led workshops, the Carers have learned new skills, brushed up old ones, made new friends, shared experiences and exchanged ideas.  In 2009 at Bedford Museum we hosted the Carers first exhibition ‘Treasures’, this was inspired by the Treasures Exhibition that marked the opening of Bedford Gallery.

The success of that first exhibition encouraged us to run a further series of classes on card making, printing and box-making (the latter inspired by our Lace Collection).  Great fun was also had making Christmas tree decorations for the Tree Festival at St. Paul’s Church.  Meanwhile the photography class has documented the start of the Art Gallery & Museum’s redevelopment by taking portraits of members of staff.  

I was surprised and pleased to be presented with a collage of these photographs at the opening of the 'Mother Nature' exhibition.

Carmela Semeraro
Community Historian

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wootton filmmakers bring the 40s and 50s to life

Wootton Village Hall became a film studio for a week when local young people brought the past to life. The group - who were aged between 12 and 17 wrote, starred in and art directed their own short films using costumes, props and oral histories from Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and Bedford Museum.

Evacuee children from the 1940s, families fleeing air raids and courting couples from the 1950s were brought to the screen in record time. With hair and make up by Sarah of Doo-Wop Dos and expert advice on camera angles and shooting from Bedford College, the finished films should be fantastic. As soon as the editing process is complete, the films will be premiered here with a screening for families and friends in Wootton.

In their own words.....

"It was a lot of fun to do but very hectic. Being able to dress up in authentic clothes with the correct era hair and make up made the experience even more enjoyable and the films realistic, especially the props. Learning about the camera and techniques was also very interesting. It was good to create our own pieces instead of reading from a script. All in all it was a great way to spend a few days in summer."
Jess, Charlie, Kirsten

What did you learn?

"More about WW2"
"More about the trauma of war"
"I've grown more confident about speaking out."
"If you don't have exactly what you want to wear you can improvise [costumes]"
"I have learnt that I am good at organisisation."
"I like acting and I've learnt how films are made."
"I've learnt that you can show people and things from different angles and that a film can be done in a different order from the actual story then put together afterwards."
"Putting vaseline on teeth makes them shiny."