'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

The Cottleston Art Gallery - a bit about how it came about.

This house of mine no doubt had a name at some stage.  Most older houses did - this one must be about 120 years old - but if it did, the records are lost in the local council fire in the 20's or 30's.
When we first came here almost exactly 23 years ago I had every intention of calling it "The Last Visible Dog" as it was an idea that had always been very dear to me. But someone said that either sounded like some kind of dog-food factory, or worse (in that person's mind) some weird hippy commune. So as I didn't have any other idea, I didn't give it a name.
After my P.G.Dip in 2011 I was starting to produce art seriously and wanted to work towards an exhibition.  One thing led to another and I began to think that since the last child had left home, rather than lease a vacant shop in town, or try and get into an art gallery (very tricky without some exhibition history - Catch 22) the best option was to have an exhibition or two at home here. So, to cut a long story short, I combined a big renovation (new ceiling in the kitchen and dining, two new sets of skylights, new paint in the lounge, dining and kitchen,) with banks of rheostatted spotlights throughout the whole house, gave the old dear a name (something that hadn't been used before, and was 'whimsical and cottage-y and English-sounding'), and the Cottleston Art Gallery was born.

In August 2014 I had my first solo, and since then have shown my and others' works on a fairly regular basis. The current exhibition, 'The Bee Appreciation AGM, my second solo, is the tenth show.

Opening night of my solo 'Kuaka the Godwit' August 2014
'Our Bees' joint show Kate Steeds and Yaniv Janson December 2015
'Our Bees' Kate Steeds and Yaniv Janson 2015
 
Gallery visitors to Viv Davy's solo 'Daily Voices' November 2016
Deborah Forkert talks to gallery visitors during her January 2017 solo 'Remains of the Day'

Artist in Residence Sheena Mayer's show 'Decision', monotypes. December 2016
 
Sheena Mayer's encapsulations, 'Decision', December 2016
Visitors to my solo 'The Bee Appreciation Society AGM' currently showing.



Cottleston in the spring when the wisteria is out.
If you want to know more about these shows, here are some links.


Why 'Cottleston'?  As I said above, as a word, it seemed to suit the house, which is like an unfussy large cottage, and has modifications that are typical of the Arts and Crafts movement, including tapered door jams with wide lintels, an inglenook, high stud, black beams and cross-beams, and five matching lead-light doors. A google search showed no other competitors for the name either. I liked the idea of being, if not unique, at least the first location to use the name. I see there is now a child-care centre.

My son James found a pleasing, unusual, yet clear font for the name and also came up with an idea to use part of the house's lead-light door design as the logo for the gallery.  I'll write another post about this because I think it was really subtle but clever.





Many may also be familiar with A A Milne's Pooh Bear's poem 'Cottleston Pie' which seemed just the right degree of humour and humbleness, that I revere as a life philosophy. 

Here is a  link to a new website of the same name and one explanation for the words.  Perhaps the poem means 'It is what it is'.  Or perhaps it's a way, as Henson thinks, of avoiding tricky questions. Maybe you have a different idea. Answers on the back of a postcard.

Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie,
A fly can’t bird, but a bird can fly.
Ask me a riddle and I reply:
“Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie.”

Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie,
A fish can’t whistle and neither can I.
Ask me a riddle and I reply:
“Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie.”

Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie,
Why does a chicken, I don’t know why.
Ask me a riddle and I reply:
“Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie.”


Here's Henson's Rowlf's cute version. The original didn't have a melody of course.
 
 

7 comments:

  1. To me it has the sound of an English West Country village.

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    1. Oh good. As in 'Caarrtillston' with a soft burr?

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  2. I love it! The logo your son made is especially inviting. As is Rowlf doing Pooh!

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  3. So glad to have You back again. I have missed You.

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    Replies
    1. Aw, thanks Kirsten. I love blogging but something had to Go.

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    2. Thanks for giving me an uppercase Y.

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