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Friday, 22 June 2018

Time and Tide Bell June 2018 Newsletter


Happy summer solstice to all the Friends of the Lincolnshire Time and Tide Bell.

Some while ago we had, rather optimistically, hoped we might get the Bell installed on the beach at North End, Mablethorpe, on the Summer Solstice. We’re nearly there but not quite. We still have one or two bureaucratic hurdles to jump but we’ve now pencilled in early September for the grand launch. We’ve had some very positive help and support from Natural England, the Marine Licencing Organisation, the Environment Agency and others to complete the job and we’d like to thank all those involved.

We have taken delivery of the Bell itself and we are building its oak and stainless steel frame. When struck it sounds beautiful, Sheffield Brass Founders having done a brilliant job of casting and tuning almost 700 kilograms of bronze.



Many of you will have visited our first big art exhibition, ‘Across the Seas’ at the Sam Scorer Gallery in Lincoln in May. Thanks to all who made it such a success. For those who didn’t make it, we do still have a handful of the exhibition booklets left over. Send a stamped addressed envelope to fit an A5 document and it’s yours.

We were very pleased to be shortlisted for the Lincolnshire Environment Award. We didn’t win, but that wasn’t the point. (A very worthy project in the Deepings deservedly won our section.) But we did get some good publicity and put on a nice display with eight of our #200Fish works of art on show.

Our next exhibition is #200Fish, a project that has involved a great many artists each picking one of the 216 species of fish found in the North Sea and creating an artwork. You can see images of all the fishy pictures completed so far at http://bit.ly/200Fish The exhibition opens at the new North Sea Observatory on Thursday 23rd August and runs till Monday 3rd September. We hope to be publishing a rather lavish full colour book showing all the amazing artworks that this project has generated along with pieces of writing authored by the artists. It’s all part of our aim to draw attention to the biodiversity in our seas and the threats that human activity poses to the marine environment.

Our third major art exhibition of 2018 will also be at the North Sea Observatory. ‘By the Sea’ is our show of contemporary artworks reflecting the wild and natural landscape of Lincolnshire’s coast. It takes place in the last fortnight of November. If you are an artist who might be able to offer something for this exhibition, please do get in touch.  See more at http://bit.ly/BellBytheSea

And we have various ideas developing for 2019, but more of that anon.

Meanwhile. If you feel you would like to help in organising our projects please do get in touch. We are particularly looking for someone to do the press officer job, someone who is good at making contacts in the media and getting publicity for our activities both locally and nationally.

Finally, we have organised a music gig for Friday 29th June at the Town and Country Club, Louth. Partly a fund-raiser, thanks to the generous support of the band, Itchy Fingers, and mostly to have a fun night out. Get your tickets from Off the Beaten Tracks.

Biff Vernon










#200Fish Newsletter June 10th 2018


#200Fish Newsletter June 10th 2018

Firstly, apologies for the length of this rambling newsletter. If you haven’t time to read it all just now, please skip to the end where I have summarised the key points.

As you may know, we have confirmed dates for our main exhibition of the fish art: open to the public on Thursday 23rd August and every day to Monday 3rd September. We will set up the exhibition on Wednesday 22nd August and have a preview party that evening for artists and friends. Tuesday 4th September we take the exhibition down.

We need to have the artworks in the gallery as early as possible on the 22nd. That means you either have to bring your work on that day or you get it to my house any time before that, delivered personally or sent in the post. (Address at the bottom.)

For 2D works to be hung on the walls, we have to have them framed and with a string on the back – there will be a rod and hook hanging system (I believe!). I realise that if you live far away and intend to post your work, sending framed stuff can be tricky, especially if it involves a piece of glass rather than plastic glazing. If it really can’t be helped you could send me work on paper and I will put it in a frame. We don’t have a budget for this so it will be something I find in a charity shop and the time and work involved means I can only do this for a few works so please don’t rely on this.

3D works we will accommodate in the best way we can. We will provide plinths. The sooner we know how big your work is the greater the chance we will have of getting a plinth that fits it.

Insurance. We do not have any insurance cover for your artworks. Of course we will endeavour to take care of your work but please arrange your own insurance if you feel it might be appropriate.

Publications. As you know, we’ve been putting your pictures and writing on our website as soon as you send material to us. We’re now in the process of converting all this material into a print. The current plan is to produce two things, one a small format, cheap, catalogue, which has your pictures and the names of the fish and artists but not a lot more text. We hope to produce this for about £3. We also want to produce a much more lavish book in a larger format that really does your images justice and includes all the informative text, poems, songs and so on. It will probably cost nearer £20 but it should be a nice thing to own and keep.

Part, and it’s an important part, of this project is to get artists to learn a little about their subjects and to communicate to their audiences what they find out, not just through images but also in words. We’ve asked you to do a little research, find something out about your fish, factual, scientific information, the fishes place in culture and folklore perhaps, and your own personal relationship with the subject. You might feel moved to versify or write a song. On the website I added a few links to information sources to get you going.

Now some of you have produced some excellent pieces of writing. Thankyou. Some of you, in the light of the idea that your words will be lying on the nation’s coffee tables for years to come, might like to review what you’ve done and change it. Easy, just email me an updated version. And some of you will prefer not to write anything at all. That’s fine; there is no compulsion about this; it’s entirely up to you. For fish that we don’t get much text, we might add something ourselves. We do want each page to be individual and reflect the work of you all, our multiple authors, rather than appear to be a book written by one person. That said, we reserve the right to edit your work to improve readability where we feel appropriate or add information where interesting stuff may have been missed.

Copyright. Now, forgive me for getting a bit school-teacherish here but while it’s fine to get information from books and online sources, what we can’t do is publish material that is somebody else’s intellectual property without their permission. So please don’t just copy and paste a paragraph from Wikipedia or wherever; it has to be your own work. If you do quote somebody else’s words then you must acknowledge the author with a reference to the source. By sending us written material you declare that are the copyright owner and that you give this copyright to the Lincolnshire Time and Tide Bell CIC which will then have the right to amend and use in any way.

Could you please check, by looking at the webpage that shows your fish, that I have your description of the media used and the dimensions of the work. If this information doesn’t appear could you send (or re-send) it to me, please.

The actual artworks. The exhibition will be set up on Wednesday 22nd September and we aim to have a party that evening. It’s going to be a rush, hanging 200 pictures in less than a day so we really need your works in the morning or earlier. Either get your works to my house any time, by post or call in yourself, or try to come to the gallery as earlier as you can on the Wednesday.

It’s entirely up to you whether you wish to offer your work for sale or not, but if you do I need to know the price you want beforehand, so I can print a price list and labels etc. We won’t be charging any commission but the gallery may charge a commission. They have still not decided this. It might be worth assuming there may be, say, a 25% commission, so set you price accordingly. Tell me the price you want to receive and then I’ll add the commission, if any, onto the list price when I know it.

Collecting your work, or not. The exhibition ends on Monday 3rd September and we have Tuesday 4th to take down and clear out. If you want your work back then, please come and collect. That, of course is tricky for those of you who have sent works from the far corners of the planet. We’ll make individual arrangements. However, we have plans to take the #200Fish on the road with exhibitions at various venues. We have ideas but nothing definitive yet. It would be great if, unless you particularly want your work back immediately, you could leave it with us, to exhibit again. Fantastically, some of you have sent us your artwork saying it is a donation to our company and we can keep it or sell it if we can and keep the proceeds to further future projects. Thank you very much. Needless to say we would welcome further such generous gifts.

For 2D works please ensure they are framed and with D-rings and string, as we will be using a rod and hook hanging system. If it is really impossible to send us your work in a frame (it’s on paper and you are posting it from Mongolia) then we do have a few frames that we found in charity shops and will do our best to present your work as best we can, but we don’t have a budget for this so don’t rely on us! For 3D works, we’ll just treat each piece as best we can.

If you want to try to sell prints, priced and cellophane wrapped, that’s fine, though we only have a limited display space.

Please make sure you have given us your contact details in the real world, rather that just an email address. You may wish to see our Privacy Policy: http://transitiontownlouth.org.uk/bellPrivacy.html

If you have signed up for doing one of the fish, but now find that you won’t be able to produce an artwork after all, please let us know so that your fish can be allocated to somebody else. It would be a shame if somebody gets put off painting a picture because they think somebody else is doing one and then it turns out that they don’t.

Finally and in other matters, the Time and Tide Bell installation on the beach north of Mablethorpe is now scheduled to happen a bit later in the summer, hopefully just after the #200Fish exhibition closes.

Later in the year, lightly pencilled in 14th to 28th November, we will be holding another art exhibition at the North Sea Observatory. Called ‘By the Sea’ it will be a contemporary take on the wild coastal landscape of Lincolnshire. This is not quite the mass participation project of #200Fish but we have still a little space available so if any of you would like to submit a proposal of work to be submitted for this show, please e-mail me. http://transitiontownlouth.org.uk/bell3.html


Summary:
Set up day: Wednesday 22nd August 2018.
Party night (vernissage, for those who like such things): evening of 22nd August.
Open to public Thursday 23rd August to Monday 3rd September, inclusive.
Take down day Tuesday 4th September. Collect your work then if you need it back at the end of this exhibition. Leave it with us if you want it shown again.
Either send or deliver you work to my house in North Somercotes before the 22nd August or bring to the North Sea Observatory on the 22nd, earlier in the day the better.
2D work should be able to be hung on a wall with hooks. This probably means framed and with D-rings and string fitted. 3D work will be displayed as appropriate.
If you want to offer your work for sale make sure you tell us how much you want, net of any possible gallery commission, in good time so we can print the price list. (We don’t take any commission ourselves – as a community arts organisation we’re on your side!)
If you would like your work retained by us for the next exhibition of the #200Fish that’s excellent.
If you want to donate your work to us so we can sell it and support our future projects that would be marvellous.
We do not carry any insurance for your works – leave it with us entirely at your own risk.
Have you sent us your writing about your fish? We intend to create two publications, one a cheap, brief catalogue and the other a more lavish, more expensive, book. We don’t have a print deadline set but send your written material soon or you may miss out.
Please confirm that it is your own work and does not infringe any copyright or other intellectual property rights. Understand that by sending us written material you agree to give copyright to the Lincolnshire Time and Tide Bell CIC and that we can then use the material in any amended form and publish in any medium.
If you are interested in our next exhibition, ‘By the Sea’, let me know.

Biff Vernon
Artistic Director, Lincolnshire Time and Tide Bell Community Interest Company
Tithe Farm, Church End
North Somercotes
Louth
Lincolnshire
LN11 7PZ
01507 358413








Monday, 21 August 2017

Gettogether at Trinity Buoy Wharf 3rd October 2017

All the different Time and Tide Bell communities from around Britain will be meeting together at Trinity Buoy Wharf in London on the 3rd of October. Here are some details:

Time and Tide Bell get-together, 
celebration and planning day October 3rd 2017 at Trinity Buoy Wharf 

Objectives of the day are to: 
1. Find ways in which people responsible for different bells might be able to help each other (bearing in mind that no-one is getting paid….) 
2. Provide inspiration as to exciting ways the bells can be used as the heart of new activity – artistic, educational…… 
3. Achieve a better sense both of the strong individuality of each installation and the fact that they are part of a network. 
4. Come up with many ideas about what needs doing next, including a website upgrade. 

Download Programme details here.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Bell and Refugees


Impression of the Time and Tide Bell at Mablethorpe


Detail


"There's no refugee crisis, but only human crisis. In dealing with refugees we've lost our very basic values. In this time of uncertainty, we need more tolerance, compassion and trust for each other since we all are one. Otherwise, humanity will face an even bigger crisis."Ai Weiwei.
From the National Gallery in Prague.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Art, Science and the Sea


People interested in the meeting of arts, science and the sea may like to explore the work of Scarborough-based Invisible Dust.

Invisible Dust works with leading artists and scientists to produce unique and exciting works of contemporary art and new scientific ideas exploring our environment and climate change.



Invisible Dust are behind the current show, Offshore: artists explore the sea, at Ferens Art Gallery and Hull Maritime Museum, as part of Hull's Year as City of Culture.

1 April – 28 August 2017



Linked to this is the Sounding The Sea: Symposium 2017 in June.

Celebrate our cultural and physical connections to the sea with artists, writers, historians and scientists at ‘Sounding the Sea’ a symposium as part of Hull UK City of Culture.

Organised by Invisible Dust and Steven Bode – Sounding the Sea is taking place at Ferens Gallery and The University of Hull, 15 – 16 June 2017.


Nekton Mission and VRTÜL: the submersible that took author China Miéville on a 300m descent into the deep ocean, Bermuda expedition, 2016


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Introducing the Time and Tide Bell Project.



A permanent installation around the U.K. of bells rung by the sea at high tide.

Marcus Vergette has designed a bell with a new harmonic relationship, which can sound different notes from the same strike, and is played by the movement of the waves creating a varying musical pattern. This bell has been installed at the high tide mark at a number of diverse sites around the country, from urban centres to open stretches of coastline. To create, celebrate, and reinforce connections, between different parts of the country, between the land and the sea; between ourselves, our history, and our environment. Additionally as sea levels rise as an effect of climate change, the periods of bell strikes will become more and more frequent, and as the bells become submerged in the rising waters the pitch will vary.

The first bell was installed in July 2009 at Appledore, Devon: the second on Bosta beach Gt. Bernera, Outer Hebrides in June 2010: the third at Trinity Buoy Wharf, London in September 2010.  The fourth installed in Aberdyfi, Wales August 2011, and the fifth Anglesey, Spring 2014.  Lincolnshire will host the sixth.



The integrity of the Time and Tide Bell project nationally is in the choice of the sites and how they connect.  Each site brings something particular and unique to the whole group.

Appledore, Devon (installed May, 2009), in North Devon, on the Taw and Torridge estuary, an ancient shipbuilding town with connections east and west, through export of domestic ceramics to the West Indies as part of the slave trade, to ball clay still being shipped to Russia. Here are some of the highest tides in Europe, the base of the bell marks the moment the water is over the bar and ships may leave or enter the estuary.

Isle of Bernera, ( installed June 19, 2010) on the northwest fringe Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides; is some of the oldest rock/land on earth, and has been resisting the ravages of sea for 3 - 400,000,000 years, from before the fossil record.  This island has a complex history of courage, and independence in the face of resource depletion and oppression, with barely a tree now left on the island. Bosta beach has been the point of arrival and departure for many different groups and cultures from the Vikings to the clearances.


  Bosta Beach, Great Bernera, Isle of Lewis

Trinity Buoy Wharf, (installed Sept 19, 2010) London, on the embankment wall of the Thames, 28 seconds east of the Meridian Line.  One of this bell’s potential meanings is as a time-piece or time-marker, both in the way the bell is rung by the movement of the sea at high tide daily, and as a long time marker of sea levels and present shoreline.  Here Michael Faraday built a lighthouse to experiment with electric lighting for lighthouses, lighthouse keepers were trained, and navigation buoys were made.  This site is the confluence of the Lee and the Thames rivers which twist and turns between walls and embankments, through factories and houses as it winds its way from the central heart of England to the sea.


Trinity Buoy Wharf, London


Aberdyfi, Wales ( installed August 2011) clinging to the rocky edge of Snowdonia, on the estuary of the historic river Dovey, flowing down the mountain Arran Mawddy to Cardigan Bay, the dividing line between north and south Wales.  Aberdyfi is referred to in ancient Gaelic legend and song as the former kingdom of Cantre’r Gwaelod now submerged beneath Cardigan Bay, and its bells which, it is said, can be heard ringing beneath the water.  Here the tree stumps from the post ice age forests are revealed at low tide. The ancient Gaelic legend perhaps referring to ice melt at the end of the last ice age and the formation of the bay.


Aberdyfi, under the pier. 


Cemaes, Anglesey ( to be installed Spring 2013) Cemaes Bay is on the north coast of Angelsey and is an area of outstanding natural beauty, with a unique history and some of the most geologically important shoreline in Britain, whose signifigance has been recognized internationally.  Local legend insists that St Patrick was shipwrecked on Ynys Badrig, where he founded a church in 440 AD.  However this project is not only to connect with the past but also to engage with the present and future.  Around Cemaes there is a long history of varied land use, with farming, industry, and mining, and more recently wind farms, and a nuclear power station.  The Time and Tide Bell has become a way for residents and visitors to connect with their own history and environment, as an instrument of measurement, as a musical instrument, as a sculpture, and a focus for music, events, exchanges, etc, both locally and between the different bell sites. 


Cemaes Bat, Anglesey 




The Bell at Mablethorpe North End will be the sixth in the series and two more are planned for Morecombe Bay in Lancashire and Happisburgh, Norfolk. 

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Foreword by the sculptor, Marcus Vergette


The Time and Tide Bell Project background and history and why Mablethorpe North End

I first became interested in bells at the end of the Foot and Mouth epidemic in my Parish in 2001, when the movement restrictions were lifted and we could leave our farms for the first time in six months.  My neighbour, the captain of the tower, went up to the church and rang the church bells all day. I hadn't noticed that this sound had been missing all that time. I was drawn up the hill to the church where he showed me the bells in the bell tower.  I was amazed to discover these enormous bronze sculptures secreted away in my small rural parish.

I was asked by, and made with, the residents of my village of Highampton, a commemoration of the hardship endured by the people in the parish, and the terrible slaughter of the animals during the Foot and Mouth epidemic. We made what is thought to be the first public access bell in the UK.  In order to create a democratic bell that could be rung by anyone, there were many legal and social obstacles that were successfully overcome.  The bell now celebrates the community's survival and strength, and is rung by many people, for their own reasons.

This bell was cast at Whitechapel Bell Foundry, where bells have been cast in essentially the same way on the same site for 600 years. While I was watching the tuning process of this bell the seed was sown for this present work.  I used new computer modelling techniques for understanding wave-form and vibration in materials to invent a new bell form with new notes and harmonies within the bell.  In exploring a new bell sound I explore a shape, and in a shape a sound.

The new bell and choice of installation sites draw a different map of our island. Each site brings something particular and unique to the whole group. Bells tell stories of the past very easily, but it is not the intention of this project to only mark and connect historic events, but also to look forward. Narrow horizons and short time frames are always misleading and make it difficult to understand the dramatic changes we have seen over the last few years and whether they will lead to chaos or a better future. These bells are designed to work for a long time. For me the character of each site, both in the people and their stories and the movement of the water, are directly related to, and are results of, the shape of the land. Although we are shaped by our land, we also shape it.

The first bell installation was Appledore, in North Devon, on the Taw and Torridge estuary. Appledore has some of the world’s highest tides; this ancient shipbuilding port has connections to the west, through export of domestic ceramic wares to the West Indies during the slave trade, and to the east with ball clays which are still regularly being shipped through the Baltic to Russia.  The estuary is surrounded by fertile green fields with hedges and livestock.  Each day up to 9 metres of water flood into and out of the estuary. This rhythm is echoed by the dairy cows in the fields as they are milked twice daily. The bell sounds when the water is over the sand bar at the mouth of the estuary and the cargo ships and fishing boats may leave or enter the estuary.

The next site was Great Bernera in the Outer Hebrides. The island largely consists of Lewisian gneiss, it is some of the oldest rock and land on earth, which has been resisting the ravages of the sea for approximately 3000 million years, before the fossil record began. There is no sand on the beach, only crushed sea shells. There is barely a tree now left on the island. Even without knowing the age of the rock you feel the primitive power of this landscape. This seems reflected somehow in the people on the island; a place that has a long and complex history of courage and independence in the face of hardship and resource depletion. Where the bell is on Bosta Beach has been the point of arrival and departure for many different groups and cultures from the Vikings to the Clearances. Paradoxically, islands seem to be made larger by the sea that surrounds them. The element that might reduce them, which might be thought to besiege them, has the opposite effect. The sea elevates a few acres into something they would never be if hidden in the mass of the mainland. They become gardens in the world of water.

One possible function of this bell is as a time-piece or time-marker, both in the way the bell is rung daily by the movement of the sea at high tide, and as a long time marker of sea levels and present shoreline.  The bell at Trinity Buoy Wharf, London, was installed on the embankment wall of the Thames, 28 seconds east of the prime meridian. Trinity Buoy Wharf now is an interesting development in urban planning, combining living accommodation, arts and creative industries, and business. Historically, at this wharf Michael Faraday built a lighthouse to conduct experiments with electric lights for lighthouses, lighthouse keepers were trained, and navigation buoys were made. Here is the junction of the Lea and the Thames, both of which twist and turn through grassy banks and fields, between walls and embankments, through factories and houses, as they wind their way to the sea from the central heart of England through the capital, out past the further control of the Thames Barrier.

Aberdyfi, Wales, where the fourth bell was installed, contrasts with the constantly reshaped and controlled landscape of the Thames. Here is one of the oldest legends of bells under the sea. Aberdyfi is referred to in ancient Gaelic legend and song about the kingdom of Cantre’r Gwaelod, a kingdom now submerged beneath Cardigan Bay. The origins of the legend are lost in the mists of time, but perhaps the ancient Gaelic legend refers to ice melt at the end of the last ice age, the inundation of the land, and the formation of the Bay. It is said that its bells can be heard ringing beneath the water. At low tide sometimes the tree stumps of ancient forests are revealed, radio-carbon dating suggests that these trees died around 3500 BC. On one side of the estuary are dunes, on the other, Snowdonia. The historic river Dovey, carves down Aran Mawddwy and flows into Cardigan Bay.  Locals call The Dovey the dividing line between north and south Wales, but it also connects them.

The fifth bell in Cemaes Bay, is on the north coast of Anglesey. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty, and some of the most geologically complex shoreline in Britain, whose significance has recently been recognized internationally by UNESCO  as a Geopark. Here in Cemaes Bay there is a long history and varied history of land use evident, with signs of farming, industry, and mining and, more recently, wind farms and a nuclear power station visible. Standing beside the bell one can see and consider our relationship to our environment and also the connections across the water; Dublin is closer than Cardiff, and local legend insists that St Patrick was shipwrecked on Ynys Badrig, where he founded a church in 440 AD.

Mablethorpe North End Beach, Lincolnshire, is critical in the constellation of the Bells, and brings something unique and particular to the whole project. Most of the west coast of Britain is unchanging stone cliffs and estuaries, whereas this stretch of Eastern coastline is some of the fastest changing coastline in Britain. Here people have been dealing with changes in sea level for hundreds, even  thousands of years, and have much to offer as the rest of us begin to confront these problems. Now in some places near Theddlethorpe and Mablethorpe the land behind the sea defences is 3 m below sea level at high tide, and in others the old sea defences have already been allowed to be breached and the sea reclaimed some of the land in front of new defences built further back. The tide peaking at different places at different times of day, means that when the other bells are silent the one at Mablethorpe North End will be ringing.

In the places where the Time and Tide Bell has been installed it has become a way for residents and visitors to connect with their own history and environment, as an instrument of measurement, as a musical instrument, as a sculpture. It has also become a focus for music, events, exchanges, etc., both locally and between the different Bell sites. Every Bell has its own inscription on the wave catcher, written by the community around the Bell; in this way the bell says what those who experience it regularly want it to say. Bells speak in celebration and in loss; they are a mouth piece for our culture. I would like to thank all those people in the communities where the Time and Tide Bell has been, or is going to be installed. Without their support, vision, and enthusiasm no Time and Tide bells would have been installed.

Marcus Vergette