Hartlebury Castle (The Bishop’s Palace)

The land that Hartlebury Castle sits on was granted to the Bishop of Worcester by King Burghred in the late 9th century, although the foundations of the building that now stands here are believed to date back to the 13th century. 

Since the 12th century, it has been a centre of ecclesiastical and administrative power in Worcestershire with its resident bishops involved in some of the significant events of British history from political and military guardians of a frontier with Wales to active participants in political decision making in modern times.

The building is grade 1 listed and it contains the famous Hurd Library was built by Bishop Hurd in 1782. It still contains his extensive and unique collection of books including works from the libraries of Alexander Pope and William Warburton. The copy of the Iliad from which Pope’s translation was made is among them.

The grounds include a period cider mill, A Transport Gallery which has amazing Romney Gypsy wagons and The Worcestershire County Museum which houses the servants’ quarters of Hartlebury Castle. The house also has the period rooms which displays including a schoolroom, nursery and scullery, and Victorian, Georgian and Civil War rooms. The exhibits focus on local history and include toys, archaeology, costumes, crafts by the Bromsgrove Guild, local industry, and area geology and natural history. You are now able to walk along the old moat and enjoy local produce at the shop. 

We had a fantastic time, and hope you will take a trip to Hartlebury Castle too.

 

Woman’s weekly research

 

 

Grandparent stalking:

image image image image image image image image image image image image image image imageWoman’s weekly research

Task = follow someone in the age range that we are aiming to research (60+). Look at their behaviour, demeanour and what they look like and make a short life bio on your observations.

Struggled to do this task I felt like a criminal; And I’m guessing must have looked like one because the security guard in M&S became very interested in me. I think he was worried that I was going to mug the old couple I was stalking.

So… I changed it to interviewing some of the older looking people who were willing to talk to me.

  • Janet and Elizabeth:

Met them in the cathedral café. Jan is 52 and her mom Elizabeth is 81.

Q) how did you make it to 81?

A) well, my farther always told me you first priority should be your health so you can be a good parent by being here on earth to do the job. So he always made us eat our vegetables especial the green ones and we were not to over eat we have to have lots of walks before we sat down to dinner on an evening and then we were not allowed to eat after that until the morning. – Elizabeth

Mom has always been very active. She still likes to get her own shopping and likes to buy from the farm shop. – Jan

Q) did you know that the average life expectancy in the UK is 82

A) oh you morbid child! Is that what you’re learning about at school? – Elizabeth

(laughing) I think my mom would out live us all she has no intention of slowing down – Jan

Q) what to do think about being considered old?

A) I am. I know it in my bones. But I’m not stupid I didn’t get this far and not learn anything about life and how to be good at living it. I don’t mess about like you lot I get on with it I got to work soon as I could and started paying my mom keep. My children were expected to do the same and they did mostly. If they were not out earning they would help in the house, that how it was. – Elizabeth

We could work though mom; they didn’t ask for so many bits of paper as these kids have to have to get a job.

(she talks about her own son for a bit and asks me what I am studying.)

It’s very sad that kids nowadays don’t know how to work for a living they get no sense of value for themselves. All they can do better than us is fill in all the blasted benefit forms.

– Jan

  • Judy and Paul:

Meet them shopping together in the Worcester high street. I offered to help them carry a practically large item back to their car in return for help with my assignment. They were a little confused by the offer until I explained I just wanted to ask a couple of questions and they didn’t have to answer if they didn’t like the question. Judy is 60 and Paul is 64 they have been married to each other for 40 years.

Q) How did you meet?

A) Fell in love in our 20s. Paul was working for his father, and I worked in the shop front. We’d seen each other at school and we’d grown up in the same town so we knew of each other. He was a handsome man and was very tall, he had thick black hair a one time. – Judy

She was always very pretty. I was very glad when my dad hired her I said she would do well and she did he didn’t know that I fancied her. – Paul

Q) how do you feel about being considered old?

A) I guess I know that I’m because I have grandchildren and are like being a grandma and liked being a mother. It was okay to not be working and just be a mother back then. I know I’m old because I can never find glasses without my glasses actually being on my head. I don’t worry about being old it’s just something that happens to you it comes with experience which you can give that to other people. – Judy

I don’t feel old except for in the morning I feel very old then. The bodies old but the mind is not old. – Paul

Q) what do you think about today’s youth?

A) do you really want me to answer that? Well they are certainly not all as polite as you… (he thinks for a few moments) With phones being wireless and car keys being keyless and food being fatless this is all their youth being jobless and their relationships being meaningless making babies fatherless and me being speechless about it all. – Paul

Q) So are things hopeless then?

A) very cleaver. No my hopes for the future youth are endless, special in those nice girls and boys like you around. – Paul

What I think about today’s youth is that they do have an awful lot to say without really knowing what they want firstly. Majorly about what rights they have. before thinking about what right they have to any of those rights. If you get what I mean. To think that they haven’t even considered the people who fought for those rights in the first place. Aren’t you disappointed in your leaders too? – Judy

Listening to Alexis Deacon

Listening to Alexis Deacon

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born in New York this award-winning illustrator and writer loves storytelling

“I always knew I was going to be in illustrator because sharing and trying to communicate was so important to me. understanding of the stories help us to do that”

Alexis’s number one tip for writers: “start as close to the end as possible”

Alexis read some of his stories to us and took us on a very cleaver memory trail which turn out to be completely made up. Why? To teach us in his own words… “imagination and forgotten memories, like my best friend being a chocolate rabbit are boundless sources of stories and images.” Alexis encourages us to live our imagination out and play with our own imaginary friends in our heads

We transport imagination through line drawing and image making.  “make it as real to you as you can and thoughts can be shared. draw and draw all your life children do this without being told as we get older we stop drawing and stop imagining but true illustrators don’t, so keep going nothing you do is a waste.”

Alexis went to art college at Brighton he found it hard to make drawings for other people thus he tells us his first book – monster zoo- was a big learning curve.

Watching a couple of Slow Norris’s one day gave him great pleasure and started his imagination going. “the two were just wondering towards each other down the same rope. They met in the middle had a staring contest, they both made a face and went the other way. This one moment inspired my first published book – Slow Norris” Alexis advise us to take moment like these and let your imagination go wild if you find it entertaining the chances are it will engage your reader too.

What is illustration? He asked us then answered “It is universal communication. The face is universal and universally understood. looking at the face we filter out other things and we see just the expression we only need simple values to tell this story. we are hardwired to understand expression from an early age. You need to keep that in your mind when you produce your character’s form on to the page.  just like the face gestures transporter and give us information too. Learn to love gestures as the context is strong. this gives you a good story and an expansive narrative from these simple ingredients of image.”

Alexis closing advise to us who are studying illustration this year – “By illustrating you give your story to someone else so you need to leave enough space for the reader to imagine too”

  
 

Tara Books visits Worcesters Hive

Tom and I were fortunate to get an invitation to join Worcester universities Illustration students in meeting an inspiring woman named Gita Wolf. Tara books was set up in 1994 its founder Gita Wolf has been traveling around Europe to raise awareness of the project.

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Avid supporters of the children’s library at Worcestershire Hive will know how the university’s English and illustration departments are keen to bring a wide range of new and attractive projects to young people in the area. This new project comes to us from India. Gita is a publisher who goes out into the rural and small towns in India to seek out artist and cultural stories. Her aim is to exchange these for education and money for the artist and the town or village they live in. Gita herself was born in India and then moved to Germany to study retuning to India to begin this new project. Artist and stories are not the only part of this bold project. Tara Books is also an environmentally sourced project and supports local business and training in hand published books with in central India. Part of the fair trade organisation with 25 artisans they produce 3,000 books at a time screen printed and bound by hand.  That’s a 110 screen prints made a day; every page is screen printed including the words and cover art. 

 Talking to Gita you get a real feel for the love and passion in this project. “It’s not just by vision anymore its organic. The artist and community take it up and really infuse their traditional and imaginative energy into each part. We know we are a publishers who straggle two worlds and we love to share the benefits and diversity with both. We are honoured to enable creative voices to be heard. Independent publishing really helps to encourage diversity and awareness in communities.

Our stories are for all walks of life and we love tactile materials. It really matters to us the sense of craftsmanship and quality of production we want some focus to come back to that in today’s industry. There is room for both the digital and the handmade; I myself own an tablet for reading and writing but I truly value what I can hold in my hand. What it feels and smells like a sense that it has be touched by its creator and their own personal spirit is in it.” – Gita Wolf 2015

 

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LE GUN @ Worcester University

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We were so lucky to get invited to join third year illustration students at Worcester University in working on a collaborative 20ft (!) piece with artists from LE GUN.

The illustration collective LE GUN was founded by Neal Fox, Chris Bianchi, Bill Bragg, Robert Rubbish, Matthew Appleton, Alex Wright and Stephanie von Reiswitz. The graduates of Royal College of Art produce a magazine and work on commissioned projects. They recently had a hugely successful installation and prints for an exhibition opening at London’s V&A Museum.

We were guided into a new and strange world by Neal and Robert the theme was following on from their exhibition about Mexican dream creatures called Alebrije.

Neal and Rob Nealandtibias

While I worked away I was able to ask Neal Fox a couple of questions:

Q, What inspired you to become a collective?

“Well we knew we wanted to become a magazine when we saw the New York mag RAW and we were coming to the end of our studies four of us were mixing regularly with other graphics’ students and we just bound together. We came up with the long black and white collaborative when we were raising money for the Mag idea. We had these parties with the walls coved in paper that people could doddle on and say what they want. It was so popular we realised we had hit on something.”

Q, Don’t you ever fall out or struggle with seven different minds pulling a project?

He shakes his head amused at the question “No, not really, for a start we are well practiced at living with each other’s passions. Also we talk about it lots before we start. We always start with developing a story or fictional history to the exhibitions so everyone knows where the theme is going and then we trust each other. It has not failed before and we enjoy it.”