What a joy Nottingham’s Light Night Festival is! Every year for the past 11 years, for one bracing Friday evening in February, families descend on the city to enjoy the illuminations – from fire juggling to lasers, projections onto public buildings to lantern parades, it’s a feast for the senses and the light shows are complemented with musical accompaniment and warming food and drinks.
This year, Team Curious took part in two distinct halves. We were commissioned by Nottingham City Council to send our Curious Paraphernalia Perambulator out on its first public outing and it was a proper perambulation across Nottingham’s fair city, entertaining the public on the way! We must have stopped a hundred times for photographs and videos – when we finally arrived at the historic Brewhouse Yard there was barely time to set up and folks were in and at the zoetrope, kaleidescopes and stereoscope! It was a joy to see the wonder on the faces of everyone from tiny tots to significantly older individuals as they hand-cranked the zoetrope and the lace-inspired pierced pop-up lanterns cast multicoloured shadows across the vegetable patch and warmed up the very chilly Light Night evening.
Meanwhile, back at Curious HQ on Sneinton Market Avenues, the Peacock Parade was in full effect – teaming up with Burt and Joyce, City Arts’ magical magpies and drummers and wonderfully lit carnival costumes from our neighbours ABC Dance School and EMCCAN, the Curious Peacock led our lantern-wielding friends on a parade around the Avenues and the outdoor Sneinton Market area, delighting the gathered crowds.
It really was a fabulous night all over the city, but there was a very special feel to Light Night at Sneinton Market Avenues this year, with a light show, live music, crafts and street food market, the tenants’ windows decorated with shadow puppets, lanterns and lights, workshops, cabaret and of course, the Peacock Parade – it just shows you what can happen when a community comes together.
No doubt, the theme of light will continue as we tiptoe amongst the remaining snowdrops into the first days of Spring…
It’s been all about the lights over the last few weeks; Lantern making, light switch ons, super moons and fairy light adornments. I love lights in the darkness. They’re magical and I sometimes forget this in the busyness that is preparing and creating community projects, public events and welcoming workshop spaces, as well as trying to plan festivities with family and friends.
But the light is on at the end of the tunnel, we’re speeding past the projects, ticking off the tasks and I’m looking forward to wallowing in the soothing glow of some ‘down time’ over the festive period (preferably with a cosy duvet and a glass of something else soothing!)
I hope you also reach the end of the tunnel safely, remember to take a moment to gaze into the candle flame, lose yourself in fairy light or wonder at the moon before taking the magic with you as a shield against any excessive festive excitements.
Time is moving on, seasons are flowing one to another and there’s a shift of pace. As summer finally succumbs to mists and the golden glow of leaves before a lowering sun Curious got busy digging into pumpkins and delving into a world of clocks.
We spent the Halloween weekend down at Nottingham’s Market Square working at the City Council’s new event where, along with Artist Annette Waterfield, we helped the public to carve their own splendid pumpkins. There was much scooping of slimy innards, prodding of holes and sawing of shapes to create an amazing array of fantastical carved characters and designs, hopefully all scary enough to see off the Halloween spirits as they slip between our worlds.
After the hustle and bustle of the Halloween Fair our visit to the British Horological Institute at Upton near Southwell, for their Time Lines: Fall Back event, was a very different way of marking the shift in time as the clocks went back. Their collection of timepieces, volunteers knowledge and stunning venue were just wonderful, as was the cake from the adjoining tea rooms! The Museum has been doing great work in opening up the collection to the public through exciting events such as this one which was connected to the National Big Draw project and it was great to see all ages engaging with time keeping in a variety of creative ways.
Curious were happy to contribute with ‘A Stitch in Time’ activity where people could use simple stitches to add time related stories, memories or decorations to a patch of fabric. Once completed these patches will be joined together to create a patchwork of time and returned to the BHI museum for future work. It’s not too late to join in with your own stitched time piece (instructions here BHI – A Curious Stitch in Time – How To ) or follow the panel’s progress on our Facebook page
We really enjoyed our time with the pumpkins and clocks, it was good too to pause briefly and enjoy the view out of the big bay window (we could get very used to running activities in a ballroom with the chiming of clocks and succulent cake!) and we’ll hold onto that fleeting time slip as we now start building up to the excitement of the coming festive winter season.
You can almost smell the anticipation of ‘back to school’ time, but why should the kids have all the fun?! It’s ‘back to Curious? school’ time here (it’s like school, except there’s tea and cake, laughing in class is positively encouraged, everyone smells lovely and there’s no detention!)
We’re up to the gunnells with fabulous new skills to learn, with workshops in Silk Painting, Willow Weaving, Stained Glass, Wet Felting, Kiln Fired Enamelling, Printmaking, Copper Embossing, Lino Cutting, Paper Clay, Free Machine Embroidery and more sessions being added all the time. Did you enjoy your taster workshop and want to take things further? We have courses coming up to expand your skills in Stained Glass, Felt Making and Embellishment, Silk Painting and of course our ever-popular Ceramics courses (get in quick, the next one starts this Tuesday!) … Sign up now and treat yourself to a creative boost – you deserve it!
Never have so many had so much fun with feathers, sequins and glitter! We’ve spent the last week putting the finishing touches to the brightly coloured costumes of the Baianas, to join the City Arts Carnival Troupe at Nottingham’s Carribean Carnival, which took place on Sunday, 20th August 2017.
The ladies of Nottingham City WI created some fabulous headdresses and were joined by some creative volunteers from City Arts at our Curious? studios to complete the gloriously glittered outfits! There are loads more photographs of our preparations and the Carnival itself on our Facebook page and rest assured, we’ll be back doing it bigger, better and with more glitter again next year!