Tag Archives: bodelwyddan

Bodelwyddan Castle-Whats on at the gallery..

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Watercolours and Drawings: 18th to 21st Century

“This exhibition is the third to be brought to Bodelwyddan Castle from Hastings by Caroline Gee, a Sussex art dealer who has been specializing in Watercolours and Drawings for over thirty years. It will follow a similar format as her previous exhibitions, beginning with the early years of the watercolour school in Britain, moving through the early nineteenth century, the ‘Golden Age’ of British watercolour, and finishing with delightful twentieth Century examples.” Watercolour is an interesting subject for me as it is an area I would like to develop and explore. As an expert in that area Caroline Gee would be an ideal candidate for information! Caroline Gee Caroline Gee, a dealer in early English and 20th century watercolours and drawings, is particularly excited by the potential of watercolours from the first half of the 19th century by John Varley and David Cox. Both were among the earliest members of the Old Watercolour Society, the founding of which in 1804 saw watercolours starting to be considered an art form in their own right. She says: “In the late 19th century, Cox was considered to be on a par with Constable and was only marginally less expensive than Turner. So what’s on display? ” Featured works on display include some of the most prominent artists who exhibited with the Old Watercolour Society (formed 1804), among them David Cox, Peter de Wint and John Varley. The Victorian Age is mainly represented by those artists who followed in the tradition of the early landscape painters, and will include two large and splendid views of North Wales by William Evans of Bristol. In the twentieth century section there will be another group of the wildlife drawings by Eileen Soper which so delighted visitors last time.” I have to be honest, I am not very familiar with these Artists! So I am going to do a little research 🙂

A Short History of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours

“The beginnings of the RI can be traced back to 1807 with the formation of the New Society of Painters in Water Colours. The New Society was inaugurated as an alternative to an existing society (now the RWS) which had been founded in 1804 and which exhibited only the work of its own members. From the start the New Society showed the work of non-members’ alongside that of members, a policy still followed today. Both societies were started at a time when the Royal Academy was refusing to accept watercolours as a suitable medium for serious artistic expression despite its use by many highly regarded painters including Cotman, Turner, Cox, de Wint, Bonington and many others. The New Society changed its name in 1808 to the Associated Artists in Water Colours. The exhibitions attracted some of the foremost watercolourists of the time including: David Cox, Peter De Wint, William Blake, Samuel Prout, Paul Sandby and Joseph Powell. Even so financial problems caused them to fold in 1812.” (www.royalinstituteofpaintersinwatercolours.org/)

16 Old Bond Street Gallery of New Society of Painters in Watercolours, 1834 George Scharf (1788-1860)

How amazing is it to look back to how, just one aspect of Art, was used? And  how it has developed over the many years until now! I love how all the paintings in the picture are all bunched together across the walls.

David Cox 1783–1859

Cox was born at Deritend, near Birmingham, the son of blacksmith. In around 1798, aged fifteen, he was apprenticed to aminiature painter named Fieldler. Following Fieldler’s suicide, Cox was apprenticed around 1800 as assistant to a theatre scene-painter named De Maria. In 1804 he took work as a scene-painter with Astley’s Theatre and moved to London. By 1808 he had abandoned scene-painting, taking water-colour lessons with John Varley. In 1805 he made the first of his many trips to Wales, with Charles Barber; his earliest dated watercolours are from this year. Throughout his lifetime he made numerous sketching tours to the home counties, North Wales, Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Devon. Cox exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy from 1805. His pictures never sold for high prices, and his earned his living chiefly as a drawing-master. Through his first pupil, Col. the Hon. H. Windsor (the future Earl of Plymouth), who engaged him in 1808, Cox acquired several other aristocratic pupils. He wrote several books, including Ackermann’s New Drawing Book (1809); A Series of Progressive Lessons (1811); Treatise on Landscape Painting (1813); and Progressive Lessons on Landscape (1816). The ninth and last edition of his Series of Progressive Lessons was published in 1845.”

Rhyl Sands c.1854

I live in a small village right next to Rhyl, So to see a painting from the 1800’s, of Rhyl Beach, is amazing. I think the sky looks quite realistic but I get a grass feel instead of sand. I can see it is sand and the longer I look I wonder if it is windy right there by the sea and so the sand is moving?

PETER DE WINT, OWS
(British, 1784-1849)
Hastings from the East Cliff

Peter de Wint, OWS (British, 1784-1849) Hastings from the East Cliff watercolour heightened with bodycolour 38.5 x 56cm (15 3/16 x 22 1/16in).

“The son of a Dutch-American father and Scottish mother, Peter De Wint drew on the British landscape for his subject matter. Whilst working as an apprentice to John Raphael-Smith, De Wint met William Hilton, who was to become a life-long friend. Stylistically, De Wint was influenced by John Varley and Thomas Girtin whose sweeping brushstrokes and subdued blocks of colour were introduced to him by his patron Dr. Monroe. During the summer months, De Wint visited his patrons at their country estates in order to sketch the landscape and work as a tutor to the children of the family. He was to teach throughout his career in order to supplement his income and this resulted in numerous pupils working in his style. “(www.bonhams.com) Although this is a very beautiful piece of work, painted by a very talented Artist, to me, it feels old and the colours feel dark and dull. Maybe Peter de Wint actually used colours the colours of what it actually looked like on that day? I do like the visual lines running and swirling through the grass and I think the tiny detail of the people and buildings is very clever.

JOHN VARLEY OWS (1778-1842)

John Varley was a central figure for the watercolourists of the early nineteenth century. A founder member of the Society of Painters in Water Colours, and its most prolific exhibitor, he was also a highly significant teacher of both professionals and amateurs, and a writer of instruction manuals. He encouraged his students to paint in the open air, but also promoted the Picturesque theory of adapting nature to the requirements of composition. Of Lincolnshire descent, John Varley was born in Hackney, Middlesex, on 17 August 1778. He and his brothers ‘were said to have been born at the Blue Posts (formerly the Templars’ house), after their father had converted it to private use, although the building was still an inn in 1785’ (T F T Baker (ed), A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney, London: Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research, 1995, pages 10-14).”

KILCHURN CASTLE ON LOCH AWE

Whilst scanning through the Chris Beetles website, this is the painting, from Varley, that first caught my eyes. Varley has used dark and dull colours as I said about Peter de Wint’s piece, but he has added contrasting colours to the dark greens with brighter yellow tones. And the, as a further compliment, he has added a soft toned sky which I think makes the trees and land stand out very well. WILLIAM EVANS

William Evans of Eton (1798-1877) was a late-Georgian and early-Victorian landscape artist of real distinction, who painted exclusively in watercolour. Further qualification is needed, however, to explain why he was remarkable. Numerous watercolour artists augmented their income by teaching privately, including his own teachers William Collins and Peter de Wint, as well as his rival at the Old Watercolour Society, JD Harding. But as a Drawing Master teaching at Eton, then the premier public school, he stood above most of his peers, occupying an office which had been held by that innovative teacher Alexander Cozens in the previous century. He came second in a painting dynasty which through four generations lasted over 120 years.

He was the ardent supporter of institutions, both of his own school and of the Old Watercolour Society, where he never quite achieved official recognition. His signature, William Evans of Eton, was developed after 1845 when another member with the same name joined the Society. Throughout his life he remained loyal to watercolour painting, finding that the medium was capable of everything he wished to express, and considering those who experimented in oil renegades. His quarrels became bitter and absolute, and few of his artistic friendships remained intact. It was a period when the inventive quality of the British School of watercolour painting gradually ossified, and critics such as Ruskin damned the annual formula exhibition pictures which were sure of their market. By the 1850s William was himself producing ambitious, large pictures which lack the freshness of those painted in the 1830s and 1840s; but he reacted with a rush of inspiration to the south of France in a group of pictures painted in 1867-8, which have since been lost. As ill health inhibited his output, he became more and more involved with the administration 0f the Old Watercolour Society and was one of those who insured it retained its elite exclusive character, keeping out the more progressive ideas emerging in the mid-century.”

Evans. Cricket on the College Field. 1830s

It feels like there is a lot of white area in this painting, in everything there is white space. It feels a little hollow to me. I do love the circles that make up the trees on the left.

Eileen Soper

                                                      “the enchanting world of the Famous Five illustrator – Eileen Soper “Eileen Soper sought success at an early age, and was considered a child prodigy when she was the youngest artist ever to exhibit her work at The Royal Academy in London – at the ripe age of just 15. She was fantastically well received. But Eileen was not new to art at that age – she had experienced a lifetime of top tutoring from her father, George Soper, also a well-accomplished artist.

He drew out the creative side in both his daughters.

Eva, Eileen’s elder sister by less than two years, was a skilled potter, producing many designs for Royal Worcester – whilst Eileen and their father were more focused on etching and painting. Eileen produced around 180 different etchings, two of which were bought by Queen Mary. Her set of etchings of a specific group of children are particularly popular. The same set of children appear numerous times, enjoying different games and activities, and all these drawings were produced during the 1920’s, but they are still hugely well-liked today.”

Brush strokes – Eileen Soper painting.

The Famous Five & Eileen Soper

The Famous Five are among Enid Blyton’s best-loved creations and countless children have gone adventuring with them since the publication of Five on a Treasure Islandin 1942, the first of twenty-one full-length adventures and numerous short stories. Enid Blyton’s original books were charmingly illustrated by Eileen Soper but there have been numerous interpretations and adaptations of the Famous Five over the years including continuation novels written by French author Claude Voilier, cinema films, stage plays, two television series and, more recently, a Disney cartoon series featuring the children of the Famous Five.

First edition: 1944 Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Illustrator: Eileen A. Soper Category: Famous Five Genre: Mystery/Adventure Type: Novels/Novelettes

THE BOAT SWING

EILEEN SOPER   I absolutely adore this illustration, the movement that is illustrated is beautiful. I like how the drawing shows a small section of what is actually happening but it leads the viewer to imagine the rest. I think the overlapped lines work well for the movement and the lack of colour makes  no difference at all.

ETCHING ON LAID PAPER 6 X 4 INCHES FINAL STATE

This illustration also moves me, the child really is sad about her broken doll and Eileen Soper has illustrated that very well. I really like her use of sketchy line work and again although this is not a moving picture it still gives the viewer a feel that the image is alive. Round Up That’s all I have time for today but I hope I have given a good insight to the exhibition now showing at Bodelwyddan castle! There are always exciting pieces being shown so be sure to keep an eye out for new exhibitions! keep a look out either by facebook, twitter or via their website!

During feeds and nappy changes…

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Time is flying quickly and baby is growing fast!! Its the summer holidays and I have been entertaining my eldest with Alton Towers and Loom Bands, whilst thinking about new uniform and baby grows! It was a nice surprise to receive mail from Gareth Whitley (Bodelwyddan Castle), again offering the chance for my family and I to view the latest exhibitions in return for a few mentions right here at my blog 🙂

Just to give you a preview, here is my introduction..

Some exciting work will be shown at this exhibition during 23 July – 28 September!

Watercolours and Drawings: 18th to 21st Century

“This exhibition is the third to be brought to Bodelwyddan Castle from Hastings by Caroline Gee, a Sussex art dealer who has been specializing in Watercolours and Drawings for over thirty years. It will follow a similar format as her previous exhibitions, beginning with the early years of the watercolour school in Britain, moving through the early nineteenth century, the ‘Golden Age’ of British watercolour, and finishing with delightful twentieth Century examples.”

Thomas Miles Richardson, Landscape with Distant Hills

“Featured works on display include some of the most prominent artists who exhibited with the Old Watercolour Society (formed 1804), among them David Cox, Peter de Wint and John Varley. The Victorian Age is mainly represented by those artists who followed in the tradition of the early landscape painters, and will include two large and splendid views of North Wales by William Evans of Bristol. In the twentieth century section there will be another group of the wildlife drawings by Eileen Soper which so delighted visitors last time.

An additional feature to this exhibition will be a section of works by contemporary artists from East Sussex, which will include a few oil paintings and acrylics, with one by Royal Academician Gus Cummins who lives just down the hill from Caroline.

You have the opportunity to purchase pieces from the exhibition, as all of the works are for sale. Prices will range from £100 to £10,000, with many for under £500.  We hope that there will be something for everyone, and we will be offering various instalment plans that will help you with the purchase.”

Paul Sandby Munn 1773-1845 Bala Lake with Cader Idris in the Distance Signed and dated 1833 Watercolour

I am looking forward to diving straight into the exhibition this coming Saturday and hope to take lots of pictures whilst learning all about the history of the Artists 🙂 It will be interesting to take a close look at works that have been painted of locations that are local to me, and places that I have been to such as Bala Lake, North Wales.

I have been experimenting with watercolour to bring my latest drawings to life so I am looking forward to exploring how other Artists have used it to colour their work.

 

More exciting work showing now at Bodelwyddan castle…

 

Bob Collins: Shooting Stars

Eric Sykes, 1959 © estate of Bob Collins / National Portrait Gallery, London

“As part of our Summer special exhibitions programme, we will be showing Bob Collins: Shooting Stars inGaleri 3. This is a really enjoyable display that consists of 23 informal photographs of famous faces from the 1950′s/60′s.  As well as offering a welcome dose of nostalgia, we feel that the exhibition will highlight Bob’s skill at capturing spontaneous moments on film.”

 

After my visit on Saturday I will be blogging within a few days to tell you all about the above works..dont miss it!!

 

see you soon 🙂

Francesca Woodman- Bodelwyddan Castle

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Yesterday I was kindly offered tickets to the Francesca Woodman Opening event at Bodelwyddan Castle!! I am so Excited that I thought I would share with you all!! As Francesca Woodman is not somebody I am familiar with I am taking a moment to have a look at who she is and what she does.

So, who is she?

Francesca Woodman

The photographer Francesca Woodman only lived to be 22 years old, but her remarkable body of work has continued to garner increasing renown in the world of contemporary art since her suicide in 1981. Born to an artistic family in Denver—her mother, Betty Woodman, is a sculptor and ceramicist and her father, George Woodman, is a photographer and painter—Woodman moved in New York City in 1979 to begin a career as a photographer. While her work would remain unknown for the entirety of her life, today she is widely celebrated for her black-and-white depictions of young women, frequently in the nude and blurred by slow shutter speed and long exposure. Many of her photographs are self-portraits—though you rarely can see Woodman’s face unobstructed—and men are an infrequent presence. Woodman made a number of short films as well, along the same aesthetics of her photographs.

Yet another leaden sky, Rome, Italy, by Francesca WoodmanFrom Angel Series, Rome, Italy, by Francesca WoodmanFrom Angels Series, Rome, Italy, by Francesca Woodman

Photos from artspace.com

Encouraged artistically by her family from a young age, Woodman received her first camera, a Yashica 2 ¼ x 2 ¼, as a gift from her father, and she used it to take most of her photographs. Though the family lived in Colorado, they traveled to Italy each summer and Woodman developed a love for the country. While attending the Rhode Island School of Design, she traveled to Rome independently to study art for a year. Woodman was also deeply interested in the Surrealist movement and neo-Pictorialism—as seen in the work of fashion photographer Deborah Turbeville—and both movements are evident in the abstraction, motifs, and ghostly air of Woodman’s work.

Her photography was first exhibited at Wellesley College in 1986 after it was discovered by Ann Gabhart, the director of the Wellesley Art Museum, in the Woodmans’ family home in Colorado. Woodman’s first retrospective opened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2011 and traveled to the Guggenheim in 2012. Additionally, C. Scott Willis directed a documentary on the Woodman family, The Woodmans, which came out in 2010. Woodman’s photographs are in the permanent collections of both the Whitney Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and prominent artists such as Cindy Sherman continue to cite her as an inspiration for their work.

After taking a look at who Francesca Woodman is I have discovered a whole story about her very short life and some of her family and I feel grateful to have been introduced to her and her work. It is such a shame that the life was short for such a fantastic photographer who clearly had the mind of an Artist 😦 As an Artist myself, in different matters of Art, I  do feel at a loss when I read such things about others artists, like I am compelled towards them in an artistic way.

I find her work very creative and questionable, which I love when I look at work as It draws me in and I enjoy that I find myself interested. By that, I mean that sometimes I can look at images and carry on flicking through to the next but it is intriguing when you actually stop and take an interest and want to know more.

I am looking forward to the opening to the Francesca Woodman exhibition, even more so now and know that I will appreciate her work all the more.

Bodelwyddan Castle and Park

art gallery and historic house in a family friendly heritage attraction

5 April – 13 July ARTIST ROOMS: Francesca Woodman,

the STUDENTS STUDIO and Liberated and Lost (Vivienne Rickman-Poole)

Book your free visit in advance

Creative futures 2014 continued….

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I am now 30wks pregnant and due to that reason (and feeling like the size of a baby whale) I could only manage 2 of the 4 days of creative futures!! 😦 So I don’t totally miss out on the exciting people who have come to visit Glyndwr I have decided to have a look at the schedule and research the speakers anyway.

Wednesday 5th March/ Thursday 6th March

Bex Raven

BA (Hons) Fine Art and History of Art and Material Culture 2002

PGCE Art and Design 11 – 18 2009

MA Fine Art Engaging the public with Art 2011

Bex has always loved Art and has a wide background in many disciplines.

It was her vision that founded Funky Aardvark based on her MA research into making Art accessible for everyone. She is a great believer that Art and Craft should be inclusive and welcoming, but most importantly fun!

Bex creates work with a wide range of techniques yet the thought behind the pieces is often similar. She draws inspiration from her own life experiences to generate quirky, often mixed media artworks. Bex loves to create work which actively involves the audience and often asks them to join in with the pieces in some manner. She often generates interaction via text and encourages the viewer to share their own experiences. Look out for lots of her work in the interactive exhibitions and out on the streets.

Bex plans to further her own knowledge with another return to academic study and write her PhD. She is also working on publishing her first book that will bring out the artistic side in anyone. Most of all Bex continues to pioneer a way through the modern world of Art convincing everyone that really it should be all about having fun.

Bex Raven

I like the way Bex has thoroughly portrayed her unique style and personality within her dress sens and her artwork, she seems to find inspiration in many different areas and I really like her interest in stitching. When I sew, I tend to try and hide the stitching but with Bex, she openly displays her thread which I think gives a different feel. I also love the way she has created hearts differently above by using an actual heart aswel as different shapes and texture.

CAROL RAMSAY

Illustrator turned Installation Artist, responding to site and working with recycled and found objects. I deconstruct forms of everyday life, as such creating and fabricating unusual or delicate works of art. I have a strong belief that contemporary art can be aesthetically pleasing, yet still viable.

“I base my practice in contemporary installation and community based artworks and would call myself an accidental artist activist. I choose not to work in one media, preferring first to discover site through research then also through the art of conversation, breaking down boundaries between artist, place and people. These conversations can then define the media used. The collaboration of ideas can make creativity ever more powerful.”

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Title: It’s a Jungle out there

The exhibition title was ‘Inhospitable’ so taking a book entitled ‘It’s a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments’ I made a play on words and took certain quotes from the book out of context thus making feminism inhospitable.

Again, a totally different artist with another style and views on how she likes to portray art and for her own reasons, I was taken by the book page idea here as I have had a go at something similar myself. I didn’t really have anything that specific in mind, more the fact of how to use old books and incorporate them into another form, artistically, and I can safely say my outcome didn’t look half as interesting as Carols!!

TONY CLARKSON- PUSH CREATIVE

Push Creative Ltd.

“Since Push Creative began over a decade ago, we have gained creative diversity and the ability to create work that is aesthetically, physically and commercially successful. Whether we are working on large or small projects, our approach is the same: original thought, clarity of message and simplicity of implementation.

We are considered a small agency, but it feels like the right size for us to stay close to our clients and build a network of real partnerships with other creative people. All of our clients can enjoy the benefits of a project that has been tailored to their exact needs and we build our team around the project rather than the project around our team. With Push Creative, you’re only billed for what you need and we’re 100% transparent with all our clients.

We work across a wide range of disciplines and we ensure the right creative specialists are working on your project, and you can have direct contact with them, not a third party. We pride ourselves in the close working relationships we develop with all our clients, and we endeavour to make the process as rewarding as the end product.”

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“We had been working with Google on the Line of Site project, a web based architecture competition. They asked us to design an advert for them to be used in series of publications promoting the competition and their software, Google SketchUp. We were happy to oblige and used their actual software to create the 3D lettering model used within the ad. We also included one of the competition

participant’s works that was especially talented in the use of SketchUp to help promote the capabilities of the software for Google.”

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“Deutsche bank needed a series of icons that would sit within specific sections of their website. They had to be bright, busy and striking and all be of consistent size. The client was happy with the result and they were used for many years on the main Deutsche Bank website.”

From the digital perspective I respect the fact that Push Creative have met the customers needs in the above picture for the Deutsche bank. I love the bright, bold colors and also how they have merged different images into the media in an abstract style.

Whilst I was looking for information on Push Creative, I did come across a few other companies with the same name so it was slightly difficult in finding the correct one and making sure that I didn’t mix the information!! But, on my travels through Google, I found a Push Creative website that I thought was pretty cool so I thought I would share it! It is the sort of website that you can interact with, there are even actual moving people doing different things and the back ground music is fun! Ironically this is a branding and design website, check it out!!

CLARRIE FLAVELL

Clarrie Flavell studied at Glyndŵr, graduating in Applied Arts in 2002. Taking full advantage of the ideas – led course, she produced four light-emitting portrait sculptures for her final piece. Since then, having acknowledged her theme, she has based her next steps upon the chance events that have come her way.
                                                               
                                        The Blue Earthworm is a purpose built studio/workshop, owned and run by Clarrie Flavell.
Clarrie has exhibited some of her pretty artwork at Bodelwyddan castle at some point during 2013 and also has her workshop situated right next door!!

Alexander Adams and Portraiture

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Firstly I would like to thank Gareth Whitley for his kind offer of a free visit to Bodelwyddan Castle and also giving me a Quentin Blake poster AND a signed book containing the works of Alexander Adams-who is being exhibited at the castle gallery right now!!! So thank you Gareth!

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Alexander Adams and Portraiture 23 Nov ’13 – 30 March ’14

Bodelwyddan Castle and Park is rounding off the year of special anniversary exhibitions with Alexander Adams: Portraits. The exhibition is showing from 23rd November 2013 to 30th March 2014.

Alexander Adams: Portraits will be the first time that many of the works on show will have been seen in public, making this exhibition a great opportunity for people to see something new by an internationally recognised artist. Originally based in Denbighshire, Alexander studied at Wrexham Art College and now lives in Berlin.

The Alexander Adams: Portraits exhibition includes Martin Bormann’s Skull, a painting that compares a recovered skull thought to be of Bormann, a notorious Nazi official, with a photograph of him while alive, as well as, Girl, based on a picture found in an old Sunday newspaper supplement. The exhibition will also feature his first line portraits and nudes.

Traditionally working from photographs to make his paintings, Alexander has begun to paint straight from his observations of life, improvising more. Alexander says, “The exhibition at Bodelwyddan Castle is an ideal opportunity to look back at my representations of identifiable individuals and faces by displaying works which have never been exhibited before.”

I found the exhibition at the castle very interesting, by the time I had finished looking at his displayed work I felt inspired and had lots of questions to ask, for example- Why did some of the people he had pained have no faces? I came to learn, from Gareth and his oartner, that there were various reason depending on the picture itseld, it may have been that Alexander did not feel the head or face worked for the picture or even that as an artist who copied from photographs, Alexander liked to make his own interpretation on the peron he was painting and exercised the fact the he could change any part he wished to. I liked the fact that I wanted to ask questions after seeing the exhibitions, the want to knw more, I also like the bold black and white to some of the paintings, it m ade them feel strong and kind of powerful.

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And the visit is still not over!!! Check out the next post!!!

Bodelwyddan Castle family day out…

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Last year Bodelwyddan Castle held an exciting Quentin Blake exhibition to display some of his most important illustrations within their own gallery. As a huge fan of his work I took my family to visit the Castle and also made use of the other facilities available there, it really was a fantastic day for myself, my partner and the children( see the day further down my blog).

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Photo: My own photo from the exhibition

Gareth Whitley

Since the visit I decided to follow the Castle on Facebook and twitter so that I could find out about any more up and coming events. Gareth Whitley, volunteer at kids museums, editor and publicist of the sites had taken notice of our interest and has kept in contact through out the year and more recently had made me an offer I really couldn’t refuse. As he is part of a team who have been making some changes to the castles visiting facilities he has been looking for different ways to spread the word and to let the public know about the exciting new changes he has made, he also needed volunteers to test the said changes!! That’s where I come into it..Gareth kindly offered my family and I a FREE day out to tour the castle, view the latest exhibitions and basically give feed back on the new editions to the castle guides and touring system.

I was over the moon with his offer, obviously as I got to have a free day out with my family at an educational venue but I also felt very grateful for his offer, I could see that Gareth was keen to update the castles visiting facilities, had a general interest in the public’s views and he was willing to do what ever it took to meet both needs of the castle and the customers I thought it was very refreshing to be part of that and hopefully help him on his mission.

So what are the changes??!!

The first thing I noticed when I entered the reception was the ‘Children’s Explorer Tools’. The brightly colored tools have been specifically introduced to enable children up to age 5 to explore each historical room easily whilst having fun interacting with them, and whats more is that whilst the children are having fun exploring, Parents and guardians get their time to join in with them or take in the sights themselves. The explorers tools include magnifiers, torches, toy cameras and tape measures. (To be returned after use)

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(Photos were taken by me unless stated otherwise)

*Getting the children involved*

There was lots of other ways that Gareth and other members have thought about to encourage children’s to become involved in the gallery and history of the castle and so he has introduced drawing and coloring sheets designated for each historical room. (might I add that it is not just that children that enjoy drawing and coloring 🙂 .)

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Whoops!! I don’t have the best camera skills!!

Whilst at the main entrance, children can take some pencils and a clip board so that they can take their activity sheets along their journey with them or even fill their sheets in before they set off.

Activity and Educational Booklets

Cute little activity booklets have been created to specific parts of designated rooms for children to enjoy and to easily learn about the works and history of the castle.

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Mini Signs

Something else I noticed on our tour was the really cute illustrated signs which have been placed around the building, illustrated to tell a cat and mouse story for the very young children (just the right height for them too!!) to enable toddlers who cannot yet read or write and take part in the activity booklets, to feel part of the experience.

At this point I was wondering if there was anything that hadn’t been thought of! I felt that lots of different areas had been explored within the castle personnel to ensure people and children of all ages were considered to maximize an enjoyable and educational visit.

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Extra fun

So there is already a few new changes to aid children on their visit but there is more! More educational features have been placed in the historical rooms themselves just waiting to be discovered!! They have been carefully selected to tie in with the room itself for example, the library has been adjusted to enable visitors to access some drawers and also toys have been placed in there, like prisms and looking glasses to show what kids of historical people are associated with that room. People such as scientists and astronomers. I think the Library was just one of my son’s favorite rooms, as you will see in the following pictures.

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The following photos will show what is new in some of the other rooms for children  to get hands on with 🙂IMG_5870 IMG_5871 IMG_5895 IMG_5896 IMG_6041

Guided tours

Bodelwyddan castle have recently updated their touring system so not only is there some lovely people spotted about during the tour, who are fully educated within the history of the castle itself, and the younger generation are covered with everything I have talked about so far, they now have some really cool handheld media guides!! iPod styled media guides that are packed with everything you will need to learn about the castle and aid a relaxed tour environment!! My son was very excited about having the use of one of the new gadgets and even more so that he could wear one around his neck leaving his hands free to interact with all of the activities.

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The red media guides are available at the main entrance for a deposit, which is understandable considering the cost them, and they give access to the new app which is also downloadable from your own phone or device!!! I was curious about the app so I downloaded it to my own iPhone and I have to admit, as somebody who grew up in Bodelwyddan I was surprised and very interested in the past history of the village and castle!! Do check it out!! And don’t forget to leave a review!!

All of this wasn’t just down to Gareth, The deputy director, Morrigan Mason was responsible for the trails and toys and the coloring in sheets, Whilst the visitor services manager, Laura Verga-Birtles was responsible for the media guides. Gareth Whitley, whose job role within the castle is also directed at Learning and audience development, has been busy researching visitors comments, how they use everything and finding out views and people’s opinions for future services. Further aid came from CyMAL, Museums Archives and Libraries Wales, providing funding/money from the Welsh government.

I have pretty much covered what’s new at the castle where guides and children’s learning is concerned but our day didn’t end there!! My next post covers the rest of our visit, the latest exhibition and what’s coming up. I will always be talking about the illustrator behind the new children’s activity books so keep a watch out very soon!!!!!

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Bodelwyddan Castle

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I will be taking my family to Bodelwyddan Castle this week as we had such a fantastic time when we went to see the Quentin Blake Exhibition.

What’s on?

23 November 2013 – 30 March 2014 Alexander Adams and Portraiture

5 April – 13 July ARTIST ROOMS: Francesca Woodman, the STUDENTS STUDIO and Liberated and Lost (Vivienne Rickman-Poole)

23 July – 28 September Bob Collins: Shooting Stars (NPG) and Watercolours and Drawings: 18th to 21st Century

4 October to 14 December Fire and Fibres by Anna O’Higgins (fibre art), Sue King (pottery) and Ruth Bitowski (watercolours)

That is just a small portion of thing that are happening at the castle,

Bodelwyddan Castle and Park presents a series of special exhibitions throughout the year.

Admission to these exhibitions is included in the cost of a Castle and Park ticket.

For people who live locally, or other people who enjoy visiting us from further away, an annual ticket is a great way to see all the exhibitions at a low cost.

The castle also covers weddings, occasions, learning workshops, gallery, hotel and much, much more. take a look on their website for more information and exciting events or contact them via email or even twitter and facebook!!

Find the castle here.

 

Remember to keep an eye on my blog to see my report after visiting the venue this week!!!