Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Micheline Robinson exhibition and a Wednesday in Whitby

For my readers in New Zealand, and I know from my stats that there are
a few from time to time, I would like to invite you to visit the Arts In Oxford gallery on South Island this month. I discovered artist Micheline Robinson via a randomly-spotted tweet, loved what I saw, and supported her Kickstarter campaign to get her work framed and transported ready for her first solo exhibition, Essence Of A Landscape, which is being held there. In return I received these four gorgeous cards. (Thanks to Gemma for posting them on.) The green works represent what Micheline is currently creating and I have put the one top-left, entitled Italian Garden, up on Bailey's wall. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, we are unable to visit Essence Of A Landscape ourselves, but if you are more local, please drop in and pass on my regards! The exhibition started today, June the 10th, with its Gala opening this Saturday coming, and continues until July the 1st 2015.

We unexpectedly revisited the New Zealand theme in Whitby today, at the
20th century printed Tapa fabric from Fiji 
Captain Cook Memorial Museum which is a restored town house on the town's harbour. The young James Cook stayed here while he was apprenticed to the house's owner, Captain John Walker and the building is now an excellent small museum and reasonably priced at £4.80 for me. We were warmly greeted by an enthusiastic guide and enjoyed exploring the house. The museum contains lots of letters to and from Cook as well as fascinating early maps of the Pacific and Americas from when much of the coastlines was unknown. Two rooms are furnished in 18th century Quaker style. Best of all for me is the 2015 special exhibition in the attic of Polynesian and New Zealand traditional fabrics which included this finely woven cloak made of tree bark! The Polynesian Tapa fabric is also made of plant fibre, beaten to tissue paper thinness by hand and coloured by a process similar to delicate bronze rubbing. Amazing in a culture that had no metal tools, simply wood, bone, stone and plant fibres and good to learn that the skills are being rediscovered by artists such as Jo Torr.

Hand woven bark cloak 

Before the Cook Museum, we marched up the famous 199 steps and
Whitby Abbey 
through the grounds of St Mary's Church to reach the iconic ruins of Whitby Abbey. Another for our collection of places-destroyed-by-Henry-VIII, Whitby Abbey has a wonderful presence. Its skeletal remains tower far above visitors and I loved the way the sandstone pillars and blocks have eroded. The site is maintained by English Heritage and paying to get in is compulsory as the high stone wall all around obscures any good view otherwise! I didn't mind the £6.80 though as this is one place I very much wanted to see. The audio guide is informative, if a little twee, and I now want to learn more about the one-time Abbess, Aelfflaed and her mother, also a Whitby Abbess, Hilda. A few finds are on show in the Visitor Centre and we could walk freely around the Abbey where only the towers were blocked off. I can easily see how Bram Stoker could have been inspired here and plentiful copies of Dracula were on sale in the English Heritage shop!

Whitby Abbey 

I was disappointed not to see a single goth in Whitby, but it was a
Eroded pillar at Whitby Abbey 
gorgeously sunny day today so perhaps wouldn't have suited them! We took advantage of the new Park and Ride which has only been open since last year. The fare was £4.60 for us both - there is a bus pass concession if you know to take your card - and this was equivalent to four hours' parking in the town centre, but without the hassles of clogged streets and actually finding a space. Whitby is somewhere we decided we definitely don't want to live! It was very busy and I can only imagine the chaos on a sunny weekend or during high season. Our plan originally was to sample the Whitby fish and chips for lunch. There are many chippies to choose from, but most involved queuing or were large establishments that I wasn't sure could be as good as they claimed. We ended up in a pretty cafe called Crumbs and Cobbles where I had the rare treat of a veggie All Day Breakfast. It was delicious and so massive that I am still no hungry now and it's gone 9pm!

In 'other news', an email from Go Outdoors could well be of interest to other Camping And Caravanning Club members. If you have a Go Outdoors discount card and are a CCC member, you can now get an extra 10% off the discounted price and that's online as well as in store. Get shopping!

Poppies and cow parsley by Donkey Road, Whitby 

1 comment:

  1. Lovely message from Micheline Robinson on the 1 year anniversary of her Kickstarter campaign: "I have just received a message from Kickstarter telling me that it has been a year since this campaign was successful and thought I should thank you once again and post an update!

    Since this solo exhibition, I have definitely had the next step to my career I had hoped for. I am now represented by a Vancouver gallery, am about to show my works at the Hong Kong art fair and am also listed on, the leading online resource for the international art market. I've had many calls for interviews and exhibitions, one which was at the NZ Academy of Fine Arts in January, and many more solos to come later this year."
    Congrats on a fabulous year Micheline!