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Friday, Aug 26th

Last update:24 Aug 14:54 GMT

You are here: Out & About Art


Northamptonshire open studios


Northamptonshire Open Studios is the largest visual arts event in and around the county; now celebrating it’s 15th year. Artists invite you into their studios during the first two weeks of September to witness the inspiration and motivation that drives them to create. Step inside a pottery, discuss carving or watch demonstrations; the free full colour brochure will show you the huge range of activities featured.

Each year the event begins with a Launch Exhibition, this year hosted by Northampton Museum & Art Gallery. The Exhibition begins on 27th Aug - 9th Oct. This is an ideal place to view the range of work available. For details please pick up a brochure or visit the website at to get the latest information.

Celebrate our heritage open days at Leamington Spa art gallery & museum throughout August

art_cart_activity_participantsChildren of all ages can take part in a fun free Art Cart activity at Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum where they can make a postcard sized artwork inspired by their favourite building in Leamington Spa. This will then be on display in the Royal Priors on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 September as part of a special “Heritage Open Days” exhibition. Events Officer Nadia Wazera, says „We hope that children will enjoy creating pictures of their favourite buildings and seeing them as part of this exhibition. There are so many beautiful buildings with stunning architecture in Leamington Spa that they will be spoiled for choice!‟ The mobile Art Cart is available during normal opening hours. Children of all ages can create their artwork using free craft materials. The Art Cart is also used to offer families free art and craft sessions in the galleries on every last Saturday of each month. Heritage Open Days takes place from Thursday 8 – Sunday 11 September this year and celebrates England‟s architecture and culture giving visitors free access to interesting properties that are either not usually open, or would normally charge an entrance fee. Visitors have a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy these sometimes hidden, often curious places in Warwick district and across the UK - completely free of charge. Heritage Open Days in Leamington Spa are always incredibly popular. The highest number of visits was recorded in 2010. Again for 2011, the event offers both pre-booked and drop in events that demonstrate the cultural and historic diversity which exists in Warwick District which are free of charge. Heritage Open Days leaflets will be available to pick up from locations such as the Royal Priors exhibition, tourist information centres, libraries and Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum.

Students forge ahead!

clement__clock1Blacksmithing students at Warwickshire College’s Moreton Morrell centre showed their spark in a recent competition.
Fifteen students on the blacksmithing diploma took a sweep of awards at the recent Malvern Three Counties show, winning prizes in the live competitions, scooping first, second and third places in the ‘student static’ competition and prizes in the ‘traditional static’ and ‘contemporary static’ competitions.
The students made a range of designs, all individually inspired by heritage, art and their own interests and passions. The designs included; sculptural pieces, tables, a clock, a fire pit, a staircase, a mirror, candlesticks, gates and wall hangings. Some students sold their pieces at the show, whilst others had already been commissioned to make pieces to order.
Student Clement Dubessay became the Overall Reserve Show Champion, for his clock. He also came first in the student competition and second in the professional contemporary competition.
He said: “My clock is an old, traditional design with a contemporary twist. I have designed it as a gift for my parents, as a thank you for helping me get through the course. My hard work has paid off, I’m surprised, but really pleased to win this award.”
Blacksmithing tutor Michelle Parker commented: “The group have been excellent this year, they have worked really hard, even coming in on their days off to get the work finished. I’m very proud of them, they have achieved a really high standard of work for the level of course.”
There are still places on the blacksmithing course, starting in September 2011 at Moreton Morrell. Visit for more information

Rounders on demand - book your free game!

If you’re looking for something to do with work colleagues, pub mates, family or friends this summer then try Cherwell District Council and GO Active's Rounders On Demand service.

GO Active can provide all the equipment and a trained leader for any suitable venue. Games can be in the daytime or in the evening, depending on availability. You'll need to have at least ten people, with a minimum of five adults, taking part. Children need to be at least 8 years of age.

Rounders on Demand is perfect for office team building, pub team fun, big family events or even summer fetes. You just need to contact the team and check availability then we’ll come to you, teach you the rules and help you enjoy this activity.

Councillor James Macnamara, Cherwell's lead member for environment, said: “The rounders on demand service is totally free and flexible, making it a great way to keep fit and healthy. I’m sure lots of groups will take advantage of this offer. And because GO Active receives national funding this service costs nothing to the council tax payer.”

For more information, or to check availability, phone 07817 616701 or email
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For general information about GO Active phone 01295 221715 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For more details about local activities try the GO Active website

10th Biennale Quenington Sculpture Exhibition


patricia_volk_blue_headThis wonderful piece of sculpture - Blue Head - by Patricia Volk, can be seen at the Quenington sculpture festival from 19 June - 10 July.

FRESH AIR 2011, one of the leading outdoor contemporary sculpture shows, takes place at Quenington Old Rectory, Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

Over the years, at each FRESH AIR exhibition, new patterns emerge and this year is the increasing use of colour in the garden landscape.  103 artists are exhibiting, of which 45 are new to the event with young emerging sculptors showing alongside the more established.

New dig at Shakespeare's birthplace

portraitDig for Shakespeare open daily 11 April-30 October 2011
Archaeologists will be delving into layers of Tudor soil untouched for 400 years as they resume the 'Dig for Shakespeare' on the site of the playwright’s last home at New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon.  For the next seven months, visitors to Nash’s House and New Place will be able to watch the team of archaeologists and volunteers as they dig deeper every day into the mysteries of Shakespeare’s later years.
The live archaeological project will explore foundations and other remains thought to date from Shakespeare’s era, which were uncovered shortly before the Dig was put under wraps for winter.  Dr Paul Edmondson, Head of Learning & Research at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said, “We are now down to virgin ground which has not been excavated by previous expeditions.  This is where we have the most exciting potential to shed new light on Shakespeare’s life and times.”
The Dig for Shakespeare has already unearthed evidence which is challenging the historic interpretation of how Shakespeare’s house would have looked, and how the property was used.   Paul Edmondson said, “The so-called ‘bay window’ identified by the antiquarian archaeologist Halliwell-Phillips in 1862 was thought to belong to the 18th century house at New Place.  Halliwell stopped short when he reached the foundations, but we are now going deeper to excavate the underlying medieval features which could tell us much more about the house that Shakespeare bought and renovated, and how it related to Nash’s House next door, where his granddaughter lived .”
Finds so far include roof tiles, pottery and animal remains which suggest that New Place was at times a high status household, with venison, and salt and fresh water fish supplementing the diet of meat from cows, pigs, sheep, geese and chickens.  Shakespeare was a wealthy and famous man by the time of his death in 1616; his daughter Susanna is known to have entertained Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles, at New Place in 1643.
New Place  was also a hive of activity; features dating from 1500-1700 include a possible oven or kiln, a brick-built storage pit, and a possible quarry pit, together with evidence of bone working and lace making suggest that the site was used for a wide range of cottage industries and crafts for a long period.
An exhibition of key finds from the first phases of the Dig for Shakespeare will be on display to visitors at Nash’s House, together with new artefacts unearthed this year.  Visitors to Nash’s House and New Place can also play a hands-on role in helping the archaeologists to sieve through tons of spoil from the excavations.  Dr Diana Owen, Director of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said, “This is probably the most painstaking sieving exercise ever undertaken, and it has already proved invaluable in recovering artefacts which were either discarded or overlooked by Halliwell.  From fishbones to beads, or perhaps a quill tip, even the smallest finds will help us unlock the secrets of Shakespeare’s final years, and of the house which has played an important part in Stratford’s history for seven centuries.”
Volunteers and visitors will be closely monitored by trained members of the Birmingham Archaeology team, based at University of Birmingham, who are undertaking the Dig on behalf of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the charity which promotes the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s works, life and times. Some 200 volunteers have contributed to the excavations so far, and more than 65,000 people visited the site last year.
The Dig for Shakespeare is open to the public seven days a week from 10.00am to 5.00pm (extending to 6.00pm in July and August). The archaeological team works in shifts, with a break between 1.00-2.00pm.  Admission prices are £12.50 for adults, £11.50 for concessions and £8.00 for children, which also includes entry into two other properties owned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Hall’s Croft.  The ticket is valid for 12 months, so visitors can come back as many times as they like to see the progress of the Dig, which continues until 30 October.  Income from ticket sales helps the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to keep the five Shakespeare Houses and Gardens open year round, care for the world’s largest Shakespearian collection open to the public, and provide world-class educational programmes.

The story of the trainer

‘Sport to Street’ follows the lifespan of the training shoe, from its early beginnings as a soft-soled tennis shoe worn by Henry VIII to the iconic footwear of choice that it has become today.
Northampton is home to one of the world’s most famous shoe collections and has the oldest known running shoe worn in the early 1860s by the then Lord Spencer.
Sport to Street looks at the rise of rubber-soled footwear for sports in the 19th century and the early sneakers manufactured by legendary US companies Converse and Keds.   By the 1970s trainers were still predominantly worn by sportsmen and women for their comfort and performance-enhancing design.  This only started to change with the craze for aerobics, health and fitness and improved trainer technology that helped move them away from being simply practical items to footwear that makes a fashion statement.
The exhibition, which features leading brands including Adidas, Nike, Puma, Reebok and New Balance, delves into the relationship between brands and sub cultures as well as brands and celebrities.
It is part of a wider trainer project paid for by the Heritage Lottery Collecting Cultures fund to enhance collections in a specific field.
Rebecca Shawcross, Northampton Borough Council museum’s resident shoe expert, said: "The story of the rise of the trainer from its humble beginnings as a simple sports shoe to its status today as one of the coolest items of footwear is fascinating.  We are lucky to have what is fast becoming the best trainer collection in the world, and this is the first time we have ever showcased so many in one place at one time.”
Sport to Street will be showing at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery from 15 January to 3 July 2011.  Opening times are Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 2pm to 5pm.  Admission is free.