Sunflowers and Bulbs

I’ve been spending some in Pinchbeck, following up on conversations I’d had with the Glen Crafters and the Guides, which led me to go and see George Slinger founder of the Bulb Museum, at Birchgrove Garden Centre. George was very generous with his time, and gave me great insight into the history of the local flower growing economy –  the tulip growers rise and decline and books about the local Flower Festivals. This led me to find some of the nurseries and flower fields still growing around Pinchbeck, and I was lucky enough to come across a sunflower field on Gallery Walk as it was harvested.

 

 

 

 

On the buses …

Met with Will Smith from Norfolk Green buses at the Kings Lynn bus terminal today. The company’s been really supportive of the project. I went to measure up the interior panels of the buses where we’ll be able to exhibit some of the postcard images on vinyl panels throughout August. We’ve got 1 double decker and 2 single decker buses that run the No. 505 route from King’s Lynn to Spalding –  serving both Moulton and Whaplode villages.

The postcards will be available on board as well with a tear off section for people to respond to questions about place and identity, and the use of the buses as creative spaces. Once completed they can then hand them in to the driver, and I’ll collect them and post the responses here…

Introducing our mobile galleries:

Walks and Windmills

Spent the weekend camping in The Fens. Great to be able to scoot around the villages without having to dash back to Nottingham. Had a wonderful tour of Moulton Windmill and found out how the community were absolutely key in its restoration to the impressive working mill it is today – the tallest in the UK. The hundreds of white slats of the sails were actually made by local people working collectively, each person taking wood and a pattern home to cut each piece and bring them back to the mill. The sails were completed and installed in 2011.

I then drove over to Pinchbeck Woods after the Pinchbeck Guide leaders had told me about how they and other community groups had helped to design and plant this new small woodland to celebrate the Millennium. The pathway tracks a much older thoroughfare that took villagers from Pinchbeck over the River Glen to Spalding over 400 years ago. 14 years on fro its planting it was quite a magical experience to wander through it.

On Sunday I took a long walk to explore Cowbit Wash – this place holds so much history that’s very specific to South Holland. In the winter it was where the national speed skating championships were held, it’s the site of an iron age salt works and it’s where the fenland punt gunners hunted for wildfowl. Now it’s been drained it boasts fantastic soil for supporting crops and wildlife – and the skies are just amazing!

 

Popping Up

We had a meeting with the South Lincolnshire Highways Agency who’ve now given permission for Manya and I to go ahead with the Bus Stop Pop Up events in August – which is great news!

The stories I’ve been gathering from local people have inspired us to transform the shelters into mini exhibition spaces.  We’ll be popping up and dressing a bus stop in each of the four villages at the beginning of August, using these public spaces to engage with bus users and villagers about the postcard project and ideas around using buses and bus shelters as spaces for sharing art in the future.

Here’s our schedule for August – hope to see some of you there!

5th  – wooden shelter on Church Street, adjacent to the Bull Inn, Pinchbeck

7th  – brick shelter on High Road, adjacent to Stockwell Gate, Whaplode

8th – wooden shelter on High Road, adjacent to River Lane, Moulton

9th – brick shelter on Barrier Bank, opposite St Mary’s Church, Cowbit

Tots and Carers and Pop Ins

Another great week scooting around The Fens in the sunshine stopping and meeting interesting people along the way… including the Tots and Carers group in Cowbit – big thanks to Allison and Betty for sharing her wonderful memories. Moulton Tots and Carers – thank you to Hendrina, and then popped in to the Pop In across the way at Moulton Community Centre – thanks to Irene and Margaret for their insight and history of the village.

I took the chance to take a few images too – discovering some of the places people have told me about over the past few weeks – a blue field of Flax just outside of Pinchbeck,  the Elloe Stone at Moulton marking the Saxon meeting place of the Court of the Wapentake,  and then I got a bit carried away at Moulton’s historic Harrox Sports Field with its majestic memorial oaks. This ground belonged to Moulton grammer school established in 1562 by local philanthropist John Harrox – it is still in the stewardship of the Harrox Trust today…

 

 

 

Village Visits

Over the last few weeks I’ve spent time meeting up with local groups and getting to know the features of each village. I’ve been asking about what makes their village special to them, with people sharing both personal and social histories along the way. I’ve been using large maps of each location as a starting point for our conversations. Big thank yous go to all those who’ve helped me so far. Have a look at some of the more recent contributions below…

Whaplode: Nicky and Whaplode Youth Club, Janet and the Coffee Pot Group, Lee Morris and Jackie Ford.

 

 

Moulton: Anita, Sue and Moulton Cubs, Hayley and Moulton Guides

 

Cowbit: Carol and Cowbit Brownies, the Cowbit Village Hall Committee

 

Pinchbeck: George Stringer at the Bulb Museum, Jane and the Pinchbeck Guides and the young man fishing on Two Plank Bridge

In between dashing round South Holland between appointments I’ve had snippets of time to find some of the places people have mentioned and take out my camera. Images include St Mary’s at Whaplode – the oldest church in The Fens;  Whaplode Village Green – the site of Whaplode’s bustling Medieval harbour; poppies and cabbages – the landscape around Whaplode has been transformed as tulip fields have been given over to cattle feed and vegetable crops; Two Plank Bridge over Vernatt’s Drain, Pinchbeck – a local spot for fishing and wild swimming.

 

 

Handmade in Moulton

I had a really positive start to the project last Saturday with a visit to the Handmade in Moulton craft fair.

The sky was blue, the ice cream van was shining in the sun and the deck chairs were out. I invited people to help me start gathering information about Moulton using a large map of the village. I had some wonderful conversations, with people sharing facts about the area and their personal stories of living, playing and working in the village that we added to the map throughout the day.

Thanks to Mary and Lauren for their support.

There were tales of proposals at the Eloe Stone, catching tiddlers behind the Church, memorial oak trees on the Moulton Harrox  sports field, VE day celebrations on Broad Lane and speed skating championships on Cowbit Wash.

It was late in the day when we packed up, but I managed a quick scoot around the village with my camera to find the locations of some of these places…

Welcome!

Welcome to the Village Postcard Project online.

This summer community artist Jo Wheeler will be exploring the identity of four villages in South Lincolnshire; Pinchbeck, Whaplode, Moulton and Cowbit.

I’ll be spending time talking with local people about their village, finding out about the folklore, the economy, the history, the landscape, the architecture, the geology, the wildlife and the characters that make each place unique.

In response to these conversations I’ll use photography to create a series of six postcards for every village, selected with the community, to reflect and celebrate the uniqueness of each location.

I’m also keen to use local buses and shelters as spaces to exhibit the images – and with the villages, explore their potential as creative spaces for the future.

You can follow the project’s developments here.

I will be posting images and updates on my progress, and hope that you’ll contribute by sharing your comments, photos and stories too. If you’d like to follow the project’s progress please click on the ‘follow’ tab and you’ll receive an email whenever there’s a new update.

The Village Postcard Project is commissioned by Transported – http://www.transportedart.com – a three-year, community focused programme which aims to get more people in Boston Borough and South Holland enjoying and participating in arts activities. It is funded by the People and Places fund from Arts Council England.

If you’d like to get involved, or just find out more information, please contact Lauren Williams on 07747271824 or email TransportedLauren@litc.org.uk