17 December, 2010
16 October, 2010
14 October, 2010
13 October, 2010
The towns were twinned in April 1984 in Bideford and this is a photograph, by Angel Khoury from her historical book Manteo A Roanoke Island Town 1999, showing the American flag flying from the town hall during the ceremony. Like the colony the details of this twinning were lost with a change of administration. In 2008, after an embarrassing prompt in the form of a gift brought to Bideford from Manteo and international press coverage (which did no harm at all to the towns' tourist industries) a delegation left from Bideford to make amends.
Here is the Harry Juniper traditional sgraffito harvest jug brought to Manteo at the time on the lap of Mayor Andy Powell, because it was deemed too fragile to travel in any other way; and the other picture shows the reception area come council chambers at the Town Hall in Manteo where Harry's jug is displayed in a cabinet and two of Graham Hobb's panoramic photographs of Bideford adorn the walls.
I talked with Kermit Skinner, Manteo's town manager, about the importance of art in the town and he agreed with me that it is related to culture and heritage and tourism and so to the whole economy of the town. Manteo is built on it's heritage but also it's art and the same is/could be true of Bideford. It's interesting that gifts exchanged at a twinning ceremony are gifts of an art/craft nature, something handmade or unique reprosenting each town.
06 October, 2010
Sunshine brings it alive, the first for 5 days put the last farmers market of the year in the shade of trees by the waterfront. There are no farmers in Dare County, except for the Island Farm, the oldest building on Roanoke Island dating from the 1850's and now a historical interpretation rather than a producing farm. The market is made up of artists and craftspeople, everything has to be handmade including bakery, coffee and lemonade. The work on sale has a regional, Outer Banks (OBX) flavour jewellery with shell motifs, concrete slabs embossed with starfish or in the shape of giant flip-flops decorated with genuine recycled Manteo glass fragments. We were attracted to the old hard-backed books that had been taken apart and reassembled with the addition of note making pages. And also to the work of Mike Tames who works in the antique business salvaging obscure items to make new art items; a similar process to Bideford's Rachel Sumner.
Warren had invited us to see him at the wonderful reproduction Elizabethan ship, the Elizabeth 2, made here in Manteo 20 years ago. The original 55 tonne ship of the 1585 voyage would never have docked in Manteo as the waters of the Roanoke Sound are too shallow for a ship of it's size. Smaller, partly assembled boats, were part of it's cargo and these took the 55 crew from the ocean to the Island. This ship is hugely popular and the 'flagship' of the Roanoke Island Festival Park, which also has an Indian Village based on John Whites drawings, and a recreation of the original settlement with historic costumed interpreters. There's an army of costumed interpreters in the summer but we learned plenty from the few that were left in October; the lone Scotsman manning the fort performed a fine blacksmithing demonstration and made Sadie a square sided nail.
One of the eye-catching, photogenic, enhancements of Manteo's waterfront is the 2008 reproduction lighthouse, based on one which used to stand on stilts in the marshland. This genius piece of town planning replaced the town's water treatment plant (I'd call it a sewerage works) with the most photographed building in Manteo.
01 October, 2010
30 September, 2010
This trip has been so long in the dreaming, imagining, planning and organising that a reception for Sadie and I on Tuesday 28th September 2010 was a little daunting. We had blogged, emailed and even phoned people in Manteo prior to the visit, but nothing beats face to face contact. Sharon Enoch, restaurateur and potter at the Full-Moon café/gallery had offered to organise the reception some time ago, originally at her own premises, but the venue changed to the new 'Dare County Arts' gallery and offices in the old courthouse across the road from Full-Moon. Sharon laid on a wonderful seafood based buffet, wine and local beer; enough to attract a good number of local artists, crafts-people, arts administers and culturally interested locals to attend. I was so busy chatting between 6pm & 8.30pm that I didn't get to sample any of the food but luckily there was a doggy bag to take 'home' afterwards.
Sadie gave a short speech:
thanks to Sharon for organising, Laura Martier and Dare County Arts Council for hosting, Carl Curnutte for various finding us accommodation and for Fort Raleigh NP for providing it.
Churchill travel fellowship proposal and what Sadie is doing, where we have been already
Pottery / arts connection
Bideford / Manteo shared history
Bideford 500 – who we are and our plans
Heritage Day 2011 plans – Elizabethan theme, joint activity with Manteo, live web link?
Artists exchange programme – what we'd like to set up between Bideford and Manteo
and I followed talking about:
Bideford Bay Creatives (BBC)
Networking Artists Network (NAN) bursary that partially funded my trip
Bideford size, population and relationship with Northam, Appledore and Westward Ho!
postcard project – artists and exchange with school looking towards the Appledore Visual Arts Festival in May 2011
my own work
There was a very optimistic air to the reception, a good positive reaction to Sadie's and my suggestions.
The biggest regret is that I didn't get a photograph of the reception but hopefully in future posts here and at http://www.sadie-green.blogspot.com/ you'll get to meet the people, hear what they have to say and see some of our proposals coming into fruition.
The rain started earlier in Wilson NC, we'd checked in early at a Jameson Inn with a coupon and were driving downtown towards our destination Golden Corral 'all you can eat buffet' (excellent food from Raleigh based national company), when the first rain for 6 weeks came. We had earlier read about the drought that the Eastern States were experiencing; record breaking high temperatures and the risk of Alabama's peanut crop being ruined. There had been early warnings on the TV and we'd heard rumblings of thunder, but nothing could have prepared us for the ferocity of the downpour. I managed to park less than 30 feet from the entrance yet still everything but our waterproof jackets were soaked.
Great weather for frogs, they were all out over the roads when we got back to the motel. Deep fried frogs legs is one of the many Southern delicacies on offer at the Golden Corral.
The journey to Manteo on the old Albemarle Highway 264 was a slow one with rain sometimes so torrential that I had to find somewhere to pull over, windscreen wipers just couldn't cope with the deluge.
Leaving mainland USA for Roanoke Island on the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge which must be at least 5 miles long is a sight to savour even on a dull, rainy day. The low, long, straight bridge suddenly peaks in the middle, to allow ships to pass underneath, and it's at this point that you realise where you are.
Our home, where we'll be based for 4 weeks, is a detached wooden 3 bed cabin, all on one level. It's at the North End of the Island in Fort Raleigh Historic National Park, surrounded on 3 sides with thick forest, the other having some Nat Parks service buildings. This lovely gift of fruit was left for us from our 'friends at the Lost Colony'. It's very quiet hear in the evenings except for the continuous drone of insects and the rain, of course!
Speaking of which, it's just stopped so here's a picture of the outside of the accommodation. I'll show you the inside when the sun comes out. Thanks to the Park's Service for such a good rate on this and to Carl Curnutte for getting us the deal.
25 September, 2010
I went in search of art while Sadie took care of her official business. One encouraging place was Art Space, originally a livery, then Ford car dealership; it's now a large artists' studios, exhibition space and workshop/education facility - just the kind of place we were/are hoping for in Bideford.
With a little help from the State and City and lots of patronage from annual sponsors Art Space survives and flourishes. There were no empty studios, in fact there's a waiting list. Artists pay a rent for their studio to the not-for-profit 'art-space' organisation, but the individual artists can make a profit personally. Part of the deal is that they have to use their studio for a certain amount of time and that they must allow the public into their studios to see what they're doing, answer questions etc. It's based on a similar art space at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria near Washington DC.
There is a really good, free, arts magazine in Raleigh, or the Tri-city region with Durham and Winston-Salem. artsee premièred this year with it's July/August edition. You don't often see a new magazine coming out in a recession especially a free one.
22 September, 2010
The closest international airport to Manteo is Norfolk Virginia, a 2 hour drive away. We decided to fly to Richmond VA instead, a 4 hour drive but close to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Trail (AT). The AT runs the length of Virginia and the western edge of North Carolina and much more, it's over 2000 miles long. We just hiked about 12 miles of it, staying in a cabin 2 miles from the trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of Americas most 'scenic' drives. I now understand the lyrics '...on the trail of the lonesome pine' - there aren’t any pine trees, or very few; it's all deciduous trees here and starting to change colour in the early 'fall'. Blue Ridge Mountains - I was expecting hard grey slate pinnacles, but instead of this there are trees, you see the blue as the sun sets, all of the shaded areas are blue. (the picture, one of Sadie's is of some locals making pastel pictures of the sunset) Trees, lots and lots of them will be a lasting memory of VA. We drove for 4 miles from the 4000 ft peaks to America's first 'permanent' settlement at Jamestowne, down tree lines roads for almost the whole journey; and by tree lined I mean driving through deep forest.
You can read all about the pottery in Jamestowne in Sadie's blog: sadie-green.blogspot.com
Left are some full-sized replica ships in Jamestowne.
We've now arrived in NC's state capital Raleigh, a 3 hour drive from Jamestowne once we'd crossed the James river on a free 15 minute ferry ride. We could have avoided the ferry, knocked 1/2 hour of our journey and taken the free-way but our route took us through a quiet, rural part of the 2 states full of romantic colonial houses, often partially in ruins.
11 July, 2010
02 March, 2010
23 February, 2010
I have done lots of research on where to go and who to meet with, but I am sure there will be plenty more to add to my list. So far I am planning to visit Manteo based artists, galleries and arts organisations, Manteo First Friday Committee and the Artrageous Extravaganza Committee; Dare County Arts Council; N C Arts Council; historic sites and museums in Raleigh; Historic Jamestowne and Colonial National Historical Park (including its collection of Pottery; The Lost Colony Production; Roanoke Island Festival Park; Fort Raleigh National Historic Site; arts communities in the Outerbanks area; Seagrove potteries;
I am in the process of writing an itinerary for the 6 weeks and am open to suggestions of other places / people who would be able to help me with my research and also who would be good to connect to, whether they run an arts or heritage organisation/programme; are historians, archaeologists; or are an individual artist, potter or gallery owner. If you are reading this and think you can help please email me at email@example.com.
The travel fellowship is an award that is open to any UK citizen to apply for and the focus is very much on being able to bring information back to the local community and to disseminate it on my return.
I hope that this fellowship will be a catalyst - a starting point to enable the relationship between both Bideford and Manteo as new sister cities, and the wider relationship between North Devon, NC and VA, to flourish. It will be an opportunity for the local communities and arts communities to begin to get to know each other and for future joint projects and programs to be devised and executed.
12 January, 2010
Artrageous! is a new venture in Bideford in the run up to Christmas. I'd be interested to know what 'Art happenings' will be taking place in Manteo over the Holiday Season?
[Photo]Artrageous! Art for under £100 is now up and running in Bideford Town Centre. It features work by members of Bideford Bay Creatives and artwork can be viewed at Lacey's Ale and Cider House, Cafecinoplus, Froot Loop and the window of Glover, Stanbury and Co.
This follows on from the success of Culture Show, where local businesses were keen to develop their relationship with us and to continue to support local artists by offering their venues for free. In particular, Wendy Johnson, Manager of Cafecinoplus thought it was a good idea to have artwork for sale under £100 inthe run up to Christmas and so the idea was born.
Artwork is on display and is for sale from November 28th through to January 8th 2010 - except for Lacey's where work comes down on December 30th. There is also a special art and craft sale night at Lacey's on December 3rd from 5-7pm where artists will be present to chat about and sell their work. Everyone is welcome to come along and meet us and to find out more about Bideford Bay Creatives and what we do.
Have a look at http://www.bbcdevon.org/ for more information and for details about artists taking part.
Labels: artist, Bideford, business, ceramics, Christmas, craft, exhibition, mixed media, painting, photography, prints, sale, town centre