A solo display of Barbara Nicholls’ large-scale watercolours will be shown at Windermere Jetty Museum this summer.  

Barbara Nicholls’ watercolours, inspired by the presence of water in the landscape, are reflective of the dramatic environment of the Lake District. Monumental in scale, her works emerge from a process of manipulating pigment in large quantities of water. The pigments behave in a variety of ways; some gather in dark, opaque pools, others are translucent, lapping at the paper to form gentle tidal marks.  The results evoke the sight of earth from the air, organic life through a microscope, ancient geological formations or the lineaments of the human body.  

Nicholls describes how she makes work and the importance of using walking as a way of immersing herself in nature. ‘When I create my watercolours on paper, I recall places I have experienced and others I imagine as the work forms. Some seen and others sensed. I remember ancient meandering pathways; natural and man-made dams and bridges across rivers; the controlled carrying of water in aqueducts and canals; flooded fields with lines of debris left behind after the water has retreated; tide marks on beaches; cumulus clouds over hills reflected in ponds; coloured mineral and sediments forming lines on the banks of rivers; varying depths and shapes of geological layers in cliffs and quarries revealing past events and movements of the earth.’  

This display will add another dimension to the experience of museum and its collection, one of four cultural organisations run by arts and heritage charity Lakeland Arts.  Helen Stalker, Senior Producer at Lakeland Arts comments, ‘These immersive watercolours have found the perfect space in proximity to beautiful Windermere. Barbara’s work brings the awe experienced when engaging with this landscape and allows us to imagine what lies beneath, in the hidden depths of this incredible body of water.’ 

The display will be hosted in the exhibition space at Windermere Jetty Museum and is free with museum admission. The museum also boasts a variety of activities including a dynamic augmented reality (AR) experience, heritage boat trips, family-friendly workshops as well as a lakeshore café and museum shop. 

The display runs from Friday 27 May until Sunday 4 September 2022. 

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Dovetailing is an immersive installation inspired by luthiery (the making of stringed musical instruments).  It is a collaborative project which was developed remotely during lockdown between sculptor Juliet Gutch, filmmaker Clare Dearnaley and composer Sally Beamish.

Responding to the shapes and forms of stringed instruments, Gutch has created a series of suspended wooden mobiles.  Using film, Dearnaley weaves together the movement of the mobiles, natural sounds, elements of the workshop process and original music by composer and viola player Beamish.

Stringed musical instruments have evolved over many hundreds of years, their shapes and forms developed from natural materials through a transfer of skills from luthier to luthier. This collaborative project began as a creative response to this history.

Gutch resides in Ilkley, West Yorkshire where the local fells serve as inspiration for her work.  Windermere Jetty Museum is part of Lakeland Arts, a charitable organisation that reflects the inspiring culture, heritage and landscape of the Lake District.

Describing why this installation has been chosen to be displayed at Windermere Jetty Museum, Helen Stalker, Senior Curator Lakeland Arts comments, ‘Dovetailing demonstrates the relationship between precise craftsmanship and the natural world, echoing the processes of boat building and restoration that take place in Windermere Jetty Museum’s Conservation Workshop. The title of the project describes the interlocking dovetail joint in carpentry which makes a strong and seamless union of separate pieces of wood. The word has also been used in orchestration, describing the technique of overlapping musical lines between two instruments. The multiple layers of meaning resonate strongly with the museum setting which is a hub for heritage boat conservation, art and outstanding natural beauty.’

 The installation is free and can be seen in the Old Fire Station at Windermere Jetty Museum from Monday 16 May 2022. Visitors can learn more about the traditional boat building techniques used at the museum with Conservation Conversations which are informal talks running daily at 11am.

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Read more about Windermere Jetty Museum, our Shipshape Network North Hub.


Dovetailing Region North