WELL-DRESSING 2016

Posted: July 9, 2016 in Chat
Tags: , , ,

This years’ theme is History in Petals.

It’s a title that takes in international commemoration, national commemoration, date of birth, and of death, even in one instance date of publication.

I arrived as the opening ceremony was underway. Why change the habit of a lifetime, and be there for the start?
I don’t know who the announcer was, but she seemed to have an issue with the mayor. She was continually trying to outdo him — with the time she spent on helping out on the displays as opposed to the time he spent, and… well, small-town bickering. The microcosm of Brexit Britain, perhaps? No one ‘out there’ to argue with now, so they just argue with themselves?
And here am I, doing it as well!

All the displays are wooden frames with a layers of wet clay smoothed on, and then the design picked out in natural products. Traditionally it was the petals of flowers from the district; now they are developed techniques, explored designs, and using other products such as nuts, seeds, imported flowers etc.

This first display commemorates the Death of Shakespeare. Four hundred years!

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There was a cartoon a short while back: Shakespeare had been brought through a time portal onto a stage. ‘Who’s the bald guy?’ he asked of the classic picture we have. The host said, ‘Oh that’s how Ben Jonson described you.’ Pause. He stormed off through the portal shouting, ‘Jonson! You bastard!’ Loved it.

The side panels  — the left (not shown) is similar to last year, the Mount Hall Nursing Home, around the corner from this well. The right side panel commemorates the
Battle of the Somme. One hundred years this month.
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The crowd arranged themselves around a performance space for a group of local school children who made a display, to do a prepared dance for the Grand Opening.
They were waiting for the music to start when our beloved bickerer was still announcing the dance and advising the people to make room.
They gave us a lovely country dance — and then the rain started. A shame; it was heavy rain as well. The children danced on, through the rain.

As last year the next display is a school display. This time the school is a local Community School. And the design commemorates

the Birth of Roald Dahl.
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One hundred years!
Here we have the BFG in the centre, Esio Trot and many Dahl characters (but not the Twits, I notice!) around the corners .

Our bickering councilor was examining this fine display, said ‘I didn’t realise that glitter was a natural product.’ The children who worked on the display were present: thanks for that, so considerate.

Esio Trot: his back is made up of panels of different shades of brown — I hope you can see that here. His neck is of pumpkin seeds.  I love this craft aspect.

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The well here is the close vicinity of Ash Brook.

This next display is in the Memorial Gardens. And here is a very orderly, but well executed commemoration of the Queen’s Ninetieth Birthday. All the regimental regalia.

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This next display is of The Battle of Hastings, 1066. The design is based the Bayeux tapestry, and is particularly fine. This well is also a river:the River Dean.

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The next day an Artisan Market kept the display good company.

This next display is always the most difficult to find; it is way off on a side road out of the centre and winding up into the hills. Not only that, but is always my favourite.

It is a display of two unequal-sized panels. The concept is always original, and the skill that goes into it uses unexpected materials, and has a huge impact. The creators have a narrative take. Last year the theme was The Battle of Waterloo, this year they give us
The Great Fire of London, 1666.

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I particularly like the smoke effect: they used sheep wool, from hedges, fencing. (There is a term for this cast/lost wool — I can’t bring it to mind.)

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The final display, and once again, as last year,  a triptych.

Here is our date of publication: the Publication of Winnie-The-Pooh!
1926: ninety years of Winnie the Pooh!

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Charm, and English twee-ness. But a twee-ness we all need at some point (various points?) in our lives.

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The display is in the back yard of a house which has changed owners since last year, and is also undergoing part-renovation.

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There are tables set out by the well, and the display. The owners provide tea, coffee and cakes for the weary  pilgrims who, like me, have travelled the Well-Dressing Route.
Unlike me, they will arrive when the refreshments are available.

Too late for the start, and too early for the end!

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