All the children took turns to work with a mixed media artist, Jacqui Smithson, using coloured merino wool to make leaf designs and trees. These will eventually be put together to form a colourful display in the school’s entrance hall.
The children were very focused and obviously enjoyed the experience.
Our society supported this project which involved more than 500 primary aged children from Leamington Spa meeting together to link by Skype with the school in Bo, Sierra Leone. The funding provided art materials for work inspired by a Sierra Leonean artist. The children also learned about the culture through music, songs and traditional stories from Sierra Leone.
This was a competition open to all the societies in the West Midlands. We are very pleased that Rosie Taylor, an A-level student from North Leamington School had her work selected; it was one of 14 from a total of 37 entries. The piece, ‘Lungs’, will go forward to the final judging in May 2017. Her work will be on display at RBSA in Birmingham during the national Society’s AGM.
Members enjoyed an excellent visit to Hellens Manor in Herefordshire. This is one of the oldest buildings in England with some 12th Century foundations and Tudor, Jacobean and Georgian architecture. After an informative guided tour, the day concluded with afternoon tea and cake in the sunshine.
The day also included morning coffee, a guided tour and lunch at Weston’s Cider Museum.
This excursion was to Renishaw Hall, a grade 1 listed country house in Derbyshire. It was built in 1627 by George Sitwell but has been altered over the centuries. It has remained in the Sitwell family and in 2009 the 7th baronet, the nephew of Edith and Osbert, bequeathed it to his daughter, Alexandra.
It featured in the 1980 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and is said to have been Lawrence’s inspiration for Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
The house is only open to groups by private arrangement but the gardens, including a highly regarded Italianate garden, are open to the public.
Thirty seven members stayed at the Bristol Hotel in Avignon and visited the Petit Palais, the Palais des Papes and, of course, the Pont d’Avignon.
One of the major, though not most elegant attractions was the tram lines being constructed around the town walls – a service that nobody seemed to want and one which will assuredly detract from the beauty of the medieval walls. From Avignon we had days out to:
Aix-en-Provence, Cezanne’s birthplace, where we saw where he lived and the landscapes that inspired him.
Arles, home to the magnificent Cathedral of Saint Trophime where Van Gogh is said to have lost his sanity. A highlight for many was the Carrieres de Lumieres show at Les Baux de Provence.
Nimes, and had a day steeped in Roman architecture visiting the 2,000 year old Pont du Gard and the stunning Roman Temple known as La Maison Carree. We were blessed with a brilliant guide, Lawrence, who knew all the best places to eat in town!
The Volunteers have now been working at the Church for over a year. During that time they have carried out repairs and conservation work to the Church’s wonderful collection of ecclesiastical embroidery, ranging in size from small collection purses to large altar frontals.
Because many of the items are still used, they are vulnerable to further damage and our Textile Conservationist has recently given the group a training session on the use of specially dyed netting which covers the areas most at risk. This process will take some weeks to complete.
In the meantime, we have taken some items from the church and they are now on display in the Leamington Museum in the ‘Spotlight’ position. The items include a cope, an altar frontal and a burse and stole. It is hoped to hold a larger Embroidery Exhibition at the church in 2018.
The work will occupy the group for a considerable amount of time and if you would like help or to see the volunteers at work, do visit the church on a Wednesday morning after 10.30am when the church and café are open – but not on an Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa lecture day.
On the 17th February 2017, we are in for a treat with a day of Special Interest on Riviera Paradise – A Fusion of Art, Design and Pleasure on the Cote d’Azur in the 1920s by Mary Alexander who has been highly rated on her previous visits to us. While it may be grey and cold in Warwickshire, she will take us on Le Train Bleu, with its newly commissioned windows by Lalique, to the blue skies of the Cote d Azur in the 1920s and 1930s. The story will fuse the art of Picasso and Matisse with the music of Cole Porter, the designs of Chanel, the writing of Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway and the work of many other fascinating and talented people.
Tickets costing £40 will be on sale on the 30th November.
On the 1st March 2017, Jane Tapley, another “old friend” whom we highly esteem, will be talking about the Social Life in spa towns. Any member can "bring a friend for free" to the lecture which they would normally attend on that day. In this we are following the example of other societies and I hope it will compensate for you not being able to bring a guest to our lecture in the Spa Centre’s Studio on the 30th November.
Finally can I urge you to think of taking on, in July 2017, Lesley Rayner’s role as our RLS DFAS secretary (and not any individual’s secretary) as I mentioned at our last lecture.
Felicity Furber (Chairman)