WHAT THIS BLOG IS ALL ABOUT: a journal and compendium of where to go and what to do for those who love to travel ...

Monday, 14 May 2012

Touring Tales: Journaling on the Move

On the move (and thus taken through the windscreen - and no, I wasn't driving!)
Well not literally 'on the move' - though if my husband is driving, I do scribble words in my notebook, and have taken lately to snapping images through the cab windscreen (usually all blurred, but fine for shape and colour of landscape when I come to create my mixed-media journals.

Layout for two pages in my Malvern Travel 'Altered Pages'
(created one evening in the motorhome, which I sometimes use as a studio)
Which I started whilst we were staying on the Showground over the four days we were working at the Malvern Spring Gardening Show. I always begin with some sort of pre-conceived idea of what I want to create - this time, it was to use as a background some pages cut from a 1927 gardening directory, which seemed appropriate, given the venue and subject. The old pages had a hint of nostalgia, and by the time they have added sketches and embellishments, will convey (to me at least) my feelings for the time away,  the people I met, and the many aspects of the Show that captured my imagination.

Part of the 'best in show' children's garden designed and created
by 8- and 9-year old pupils (image copyright Ray Quinton)
For me this year particularly it was the Children's Show Gardens. They had a freshness about them that is so often lacking in the manicured world of the national circuit. There were fourteen gardens in all, each telling a story, quirky and loveable, and making extensive use of recycled materials. The work involved was far more than that which you saw within these imaginary worlds: all aspects of the curriculum, plus determination to produce something under exceptionally difficult condition (the weather had been terrible) and of course, the dedication of teaching staff and parents.

These children were bubbling over with enthusiasm for the garden they had created
(see above)
(image copyright Ray Quinton)
This is something that so many visitors to any show or exhibition so often forget: months of preparation to bring pleasure to visitors. The children who talked to me about their winning school garden were brimming over with enthusiasm and confidence. Not only about their garden, but the amazing scrapbook they had also created which explained to visitors - very visually - exactly what 'George's Marvellous Garden' was all about (based on Roald Dahl's book 'George's Marvellous Medicine'. Entrepreneurs as well, were these children - they recycled seed packets into little pin-on lapel badges which they were busily selling to visitors. (The School: Burlish Park Primary School.)

This photographic 'installation' was quite amazing (one of a number at the Show)
Soon I will be on the open road once more, relishing open spaces, the scenery, and discovering what make a place alive, what makes it 'tick'. Is it landscape or people? Or the way people shape (or destroy!) their environment. My other abiding memory that dances in my mind as I write these touring were the ethereal photographic banners that drew you towards, and into, the 'Plants & People Theatre'. Described by their creator, artist Helen Burgess, as "exploring the paradoxical relationship between time and the photographic process", I was continually drawn towards these gigantic suspended hangings; they seemed to resonate with my own 'passion for place'. I felt privileged to be able to discuss them with Helen and learn that she is "concerned with an experience of place and how it can be translated through a visual arts practice.

This, too, was mind-blowing - sinuous metal curved with text cut-outs in
'Florilegium' - a gathering of flowers: the upper part of the show garden
designed and created by Kasia Howard and based upon the relationships
that have evolved between people and plants over the centuries.
There was so much else that inspired me - but then how do you encapsulate into a few words and images all that is offered at any Showground? Malvern: June 15th-17th - Three Counties Agricultural Show' - and if Malvern inspires you, why not join the Three Counties Showground Membership Scheme which gives you three days free entry to main events, and other beneficial facilities.

The motorhome my husband and I use on our travels (which doubles as
a working studio when we are away - Raymond with his photography,
and me with writing and my mixed-media journals.
P.S. For more on what you missed if you couldn't visit, click on 'Random Jottings' (top bar) and my other blogs (see left). More shows and exhibitions are listed right - click on them for details. Indeed, click on any topic that takes your fancy, for this is on ongoing enterprise (my labour of love, and in no way sponsored or paid for) to bring to you items that will interest and appeal, alongside my own 'touring tales'. (And if you are a 'provider' please get in touch so that I can include you as soon as I have a spare moment; either as listings or a preview post. My contact details can be found under 'About Me'.)

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