The Raisbeck Pinfold

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Before we went up to Orton for our walk around the limestone pavements I’d spotted that there was one of Andy Goldsworthy’s sheepfolds not so far away near the small hamlet of Raisbeck.

SHEEPFOLDS is Cumbria County Council’s major county-wide sculpture, landscape and environment project by the internationally renowned artist ANDY GOLDSWORTHY. The project started in January 1996 for the ‘U.K. Year of Visual Arts’ in what was then the Northern Arts Board region. Beginning as part of this programme Andy Goldsworthy has created a body of environmentally responsive sculptural works across Cumbria using existing sheepfolds, washfolds and pinfolds.

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Although each fold is an individual piece, the project should be seen as a single work of art .

The one at Raisbeck is one of the artist’s cone pinfold’s. Pinfold appears to be a northern term for a pound, where stray animals were kept until claimed by their owners who would have to pay a release fee. If unclaimed, the animals would be sold.

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In each of his cone pinfolds, Goldsworthy has built a conical stone structure – hence their name. On the project website he explains how the shape of these structures was inspired by the Nine Standards, stone cairns on Hartley Fell near Kirkby Stephen, and describes how they were constructed. He tells us that

The form is full and ripe – an optimistic expression of the power of growth and that even out of stone comes life. They are strong yet the form appears precarious – not unlike the nature of growth itself.’

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Their are nine cone pinfold cones around Kirkby Stephen, reflecting the Nine Standards

The Raisbeck cone features in a book about the sheepfold project. In it we learn that it was an existing, ruined structure that Goldsworthy rebuilt over a period of two weeks in May 1996 using stone from a redundant wall from a nearby farm. The cone took three days to construct, using limestone and sandstone from local sources.

In the 20 years since it was built a number of trees have started to grow around the structure. So, although it is located very close to the narrow road, we managed to drive right past. But we realised pretty quickly so stopped, parked up on the verge and walked back to take a look

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A short distance down the road, next to a disused quarry, there’s another interesting stone structure – an old lime kiln – a fairly intact relic of a bygone age.

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This leaflet about the limestone landscape on the Orton fells tells us that

There are 23 small quarries and 20 lime kilns recorded in the local area. Most of these were used over the course of the last 500 years for processing lime for agricultural and domestic use.

The limestone, calcium carbonate, was “burnt” in the kilns to form “quick lime” (calcium oxide) which was then used in mortar, to render stonework and decorate walls (“whitewash”), to improve the fertility of acidic soils and to improve land drainage.

Looking at the project website, there’s a number of other Goldsworthy sheepfolds in the area around Tebay and Kirkby Stephen. Another reason to revisit the area.

Tilberthwaite Sheepfold

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One of our objectives during our walk around Wetherlam and Tilberthwaite was to see the sheepfold in the bottom of the valley, near the old quarry. It’s not an ordinary sheepfold but was built by Andy Goldsworthy as part of his Sheepfolds Project

SHEEPFOLDS is Cumbria County Council’s major county-wide sculpture, landscape and environment project by the internationally renowned artist ANDY GOLDSWORTHY. The project started in January 1996 for the ‘U.K. Year of Visual Arts’ in what was then the Northern Arts Board region. Beginning as part of this programme Andy Goldsworthy has created a body of environmentally responsive sculptural works across Cumbria using existing sheepfolds, washfolds and pinfolds.

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Although each fold is an individual piece, the project should be seen as a single work of art .

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It’s possible to access the structure and get inside for a closer look. (This Herdwick sheep was wondering what we were up to!)

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Goldsworthy creates six different types of sheepfold. The one at Tilberthwaite is A Touchstone Fold

A series of folds with artworks built into the fold’s wall, rich in texture and using slate and pebbles as in earlier stone works

He uses traditional drystone walling techniques, the same as used by the farmers who built, and continue to build and repair, the drystone walls that are found all over the Lake District, and other parts of Britain for that matter (we’d seen an example of drystone walling techniques used to build a bench on the Chatsworth Estate the previous weekend). But he incorporates “artistic elements” into the structures. So, at Tilberthwaite, in the centre of each of the walls there’s a rectangular section of dark slate which incorporates a circle. For each of these circles the slate is laid in a different direction, catching and reflecting the light in different ways

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The effect will vary depending on the time of day and the weather.

There are directions to the accessible sheepfolds on the web. The directions to the Tilberthwaite fold is here. It’s also large enough to be seen on the 1:25,000 OS Map

In the grounds at Chatsworth

Here’s a few more photographs that I took in the garden and grounds during our recent visit to Chatsworth

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Autumn colours were very evident

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Besides the Beyond Limits exhibits, there are a number of permanantly sited contemporary sculptures in the Gardens.

We reckoned that this piece is by David Nash

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A quick Google revealed that we were right. It’s called Oculus Oak and was only installed in October last year (2015).

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We came on it by accident and as we are both fans of David Nash it was a pleasant surprise.

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This work (Forms that Grow in the Night (2009)) is also by Nash, but we had seen it during our previous visits.

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We hadn’t seen this retriever before, thoughDSC00853

Walking. Madonna (1981) by Elisabeth Frink

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and Richard Long’s Cornish Slate Line, an attractive work by another favourite artist.

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I don’t know who created this sculpture of a wild boar – well sited in the woods near one of the small lakes.

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Outside the gardens in the grounds of the estate, walking back to our B and B we passed this bench. It was built by younger members of the Derbyshire branch of the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain (DSWA) using dry stone walling techniques.

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Last year there was a different bench in this location. It seems that building a bench is an annual event as part of the Chatsworth Country Fair.

A little further down the path we could see a structure out in the field – in fact we’d spotted it in the morning while we were making our way to the house and gardens from our B and B. So we went to have a closer look.

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It’s a sculpture made from oak and lead, by Tim Harrison entitled Pegasus

Sculpture in the Forest

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Grizedale Forest lies to the east of Coniston Water and south west of Hawkshead. Owned by the Forestry Commission (still state owned thanks to the campaign that stopped the ConDem Government from partially privatising it – for now, at least). It’s  a mix of pine forest and broadleaf woodland extending over hills and valleys. There are marked walking and cycling trails through the woods of varying difficulty.

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We drove the short distance over to the forest, parking at the visitor centre, on the first full day of our holiday, which turned out to be a fine and generally sunny day. Ideal for walking. One of the attractions for us was the 40 or so sculptures that are scattered throughout the forest. Art works started to be installed in 1977.  In most cases (but not all) they use natural materials such as wood, stone and earth, and can be considered to be examples of “Land Art”. We visited some 30 years ago and enjoyed wandering through the woods locating the various sculptures. Many of those made from natural materials have degraded over time, but newer ones have been installed over the years.

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Arriving late in the morning we followed one of the shorter, easier trails starting at the visitor centre which wanders around and under the “Go Ape” tree adventure course, before returning to the cafe to get something to eat. We only spotted a couple of works (there may have been another, but we didn’t locate it).

Boat Race by Keith Wilson:

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After eating we looked around the very interesting photographic exhibition – ATKINS CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year 2014 – in the Visitor Centre before setting out for another walk. First of all we followed the Ridding Wood trail, probably the easiest, which has a good concentration of art works

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Larch Arch (1990) by Jim Partridge & Liz Walmsley, :

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Stag Herd Roof by Andy Frost:

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Clockwork Forest by greyworld – a world renowned arts group that make art for public spaces:

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We carried on through the woods linking up with the longer and more strenuous Bogle Crag trail. The art works were more thinly spread out.

Light Column by Charles Grey Bray:

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Cloack of Seasons by Walter Bailey:

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These two rather sinister steel sculptures comprise Mea Culpa (2006) by Robert Bryce Muir:

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Information on the works was quite sparse. We bought the trail map from the Visitor Centre (it can also be downloaded from the net) which gives a rough indication of the location of many, but not all, of the art works, but no details are provided on the artists. There were some photographs at the Visitor Centre with some details and also on the Big Art Mob website, but not all the works are included and even then details on the artist and individual works are not always available.  That didn’t spoil the experience – it was enjoyable hunting out the art – but it would be good to be able to locate more information after the visit (not that I could have done that until after the holiday given the lack of Internet access where we were staying!!).

We only saw a small proportion of the works. They are too widely spread out over the forest to get round them all in a day and some of them are in locations that are relatively difficult to access. So there is an incentive for another visit – after all it’s less than a couple of hours drive from home. And although not all the family will necessarily agree, combining viewing some art with a walk through the forest is an enjoyable experience. I don’t think I’ll wait another 30 years.

Uncommon Ground: Land Art in Britain 1966-1979

Uncommon Ground is a touring exhibition of works drawn from the Arts Council Collection. It’s showing at the Longside Gallery at the Yorkshire Sculpture until the middle of June, so we took the opportunity to visit while we were over at the YSP the other Saturday.

The YSP’s website tells us

In the late 1960s artists on both sides of the Atlantic turned away from the enclosed space of the gallery and went out into the landscape to forge a new form of art. This art was made in radically new ways often using earth, water, sun and even fire as raw materials, and went under several names: land art, earth art, process art, and conceptual art. Drawing largely from the Arts Council Collection and supplemented by important loans from artists and major public institutions,Uncommon Ground: Land Art in Britain 1966 – 1979 takes a fresh look at the art of this period and considers what was particular about the way land art developed in Britain.

The exhibition featured works that reflected the main aspects of the movement – moulding the landscape itself, using materials taken from the environment, creating a temporary impression and even walking.

We’ve seen numerous works by Richard Long, Anthony Gormley, David Nash and Andy Goldsworthy over the past few years and have become “fans” so it was interesting to see the early examples featured in this exhibition. And, as is often the case, there were works by artists who I’d never heard of previously and so I was able to make some new discoveries.

The works were very well displayed in the Gallery. The long view of the parkland through the windows which extend all along one side of the building really complemented them and provided an appropriate context – almost like an exhibit itself.

No photographs were allowed in the gallery, so the following pictures of some of my favourite works on display have been sourced via th’Internet.

This is Fallen Tree (1979) an early work by Anthony Gormley, best known for his figurative sculptures based on his own body.

The work was created by taking slices from a tree trunk and then arranging them in a spiral starting at the centre with the smallest piece and then working outwards, increasing in size.

It reminded me very much of the work of Richard Long, one of whose works, Stone Circle (1972) consisted of stones laid out in a circle

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Richard Long made his mark (literally) with A Line Made by Walking (1967) he walked back and forth along a straight line in the grass, leaving a track that he then photographed in black and white.

Richard Long, ‘A Line Made by Walking’ 1967

The idea of creating art by walking, where the act of walking itself can become a work of art but where the artist leaves a mark on the landscape in some way, some more ephemeral than others, was, and remains, a trend in Land Art. A number of examples, including A Line Made by Walking, which we had seen before, were featured in the exhibition. The act is usually recorded in some way, usually by photographs, but sometimes by leaving a mark on the landscape – sometimes temporary (although often photographed to record for posterity) or more permanent, like the piles left by Richard Long on another of his journeys that was featured in the exhibition.

Another aspect of Land Art is the use of materials taken from the environment. This is typified by David Nash, the master of using wood harvested from “wood quarries”. There were examples of his work on display, including Silver Birch Tripod, 1975.

and Ash Dome a ring of 22 growing ash trees into near Nash’s home in North Wales, bent to form a living dome.

An early work by Tony Cragg, New Stones – Newton’s Tones (1978), took materials from the environment too, but in this case they’re pieces of plastic waste recovered from the Rhine and displayed in the order of the colours of the rainbow.

Andy Goldworthy also uses materials from the landscrpe, in many cases for on-site installations that use  only the materials available on site such as rocks, leaves, branches, snow and ice. These works are often ephemeral, eroding, decaying, crumbling or melting and the only evidence for their existence are the photographs that he takes. There were several examples in the exhibition including Snowball 1979

There were several more permanent works by Roger Ackling, who used sunlight to burn patterns into wood or paper, creating primitive photographic prints. One example was  ‘Night and Day’ (1 hour), 1977.

There were films too. Sometimes constituting the work itself, like Dereck Jarman’s A Journey to Avebury 1979, or a record of an event, like the Anthony McCall’s  Landscape for Fire II, 1972.

Photographs featured quite heavily in the exhibition – sometimes to record ephemeral works, as a record of an event or to show dramatic landscapes (I found the selection of photographs Sea Horizons by Garry Fabian Miller of the Bristol Channel under different conditions particularly affecting – pity about the reflective glass that made it difficult to view them properly). But they were used in other ways too. An example of the latter was John Hilliard’s Across the Park 1972. This is a series of pictures where a single shot is cropped in different ways providing very different interpretations of the same scene. Very clever, I thought and demonstrating how images can be manipulated and how “truth” depends on editing and perspective.

The exhibition provided a good opportunity to explore the origins of Land Art. It was particularly interesting to be able to see early works by artists we like, to see their early ideas and the beginnings of trends that they developed further during their career or, in some cases, abandoned to take other directions.