Art/Museums/TheatreChallengesMiscThe Pica Pica Project

The Pica Pica Project: York, Leeds, Sheffield

Donna Brown1032 views
The PICA PICA project
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I’ve pretty much abandoned the whole concept of a Discovery Day, since I’ve just been going out whenever I can, to wherever I can. It’s just a Discovery Project now. Despite the title of this post, this week was York, then back to Barnsley, then Sheffield, then Leeds, then Wakefield (yes, yes, The Hepworth again – twice).

I finally, after much dithering, booked tickets to London for two nights at the end of the month but in the meantime, the adventuring continues. This week is going to be less discovery and more work but I’m already eyeing up Manchester for at least one of the days. A conversation about Berlin has made me so, so nostalgic to be back in Germany this summer, if only for a couple of nights but we’ll see. The real world still beckons away from adventures and back to responsibilities! Even so, I’m enjoying dreaming and researching in between my actual wanderings…

Monday: York and Barnsley

York Castle Museum

Clifford's Tower, York
Clifford’s Tower, York

I love the Castle Museum but it has been a long time since I have been so it was lovely to go back. There were a couple of extra exhibitions on to do with fashion and also sixties culture and I really enjoyed both of those. Here’s my contribution to the collaborative ‘tree’ of responses about ‘What do you think of your body?’ although it’s a bit blurry (my response, not my body…):

It's not perfect

Tim Minchin fans may recognise the line:

York Art Gallery

Then off to the gallery but not before having to hunt down a new dress (long spillage related story and not the only impromptu clothing purchase and change of the week as it would turn out!). I loved the gallery because there was a massive amount of different work to see but by the same token it was a bit of an information overload so I was happy to go and have a coffee and a think after I had been. I really hope to go back before the summer is over.

York Art Gallery: Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA)

Barnsley Electric Theatre

Then back to Barnsley and a private view of some Barnsley College students’ work at the Electric Theatre. A great mix of work and although there was lots of it I really liked, the couple of pieces I really, really loved have left an impression. Hopefully these artists and designers will go on to do some more great work.

Oh and at Leeds Station on the way back from York, I saw this fantastically decorated barge, which made me smile and seemed to be making lots of other people happy too:


Tuesday: Wakefield

The Hepworth Wakefield

I wasn’t needed at college beyond the first two hours so I had an early lunch and went to see the hairdresser and then headed back to Wakefield and The Hepworth. It was raining but I still took some time to sit and look at a building that, frankly, just brings me a sense of peace and calm just from seeing it now. I think it’s because I anticipate the loveliness of that inside space and how calming and peaceful it is.

The Hepworth plus rain!

Despite having been only a few days earlier, I still found myself awed. It strikes me that every time you see an artwork it is going to be different. The light may be slightly different, the shadow, the fraction of a millimetre’s difference in where you stand. I went to see certain pieces again, including Richard Smith’s Logo Suite but, really, it was nice just to see everything again with that view that it was all going to be ever so slightly different in some way.

Wednesday: Sheffield

Let me quickly gloss over the slight shadow of the day: getting very lost, getting so wet I had to buy new socks, pumps and a mac and taking 45 minutes to get from the station to a location which was actually 5 minutes away and then almost another hour to get new clothes, dry off and have a much needed cuppa to restore me before I could start seeing things. Other than those things, it was a lovely day. That’ll teach me to wear these shoes without checking the forecast:

Lovely but completely impractical as it turned out…

Anyway, eventually dry I did manage to visit Millennium Gallery, the Winter Gardens and Graves Gallery before having to had back because I was due at college mid-afternoon. I really liked all three and will definitely go back when more time allows.

I was very taken with the Shaped from the Earth exhibition at Millennium Gallery and, as some of the work was for sale, had to keep reminding myself that I have cats and they are not good company for beautiful but quite fragile things…

Thursday: Leeds

I changed my plans on Thursday and decided to go to Leeds to visit the Craft Centre, along with the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, Munro House and The Tetley.

Craft Centre

Having seen so many pretty things this week that I had resisted buying, I couldn’t stop myself from purchasing a beautiful coaster by Justine Nettleton. My hope is that it is sufficiently flat to avoid being knocked or wobbled by the cats, not to mention me:

Coaster: Justine Nettleton

Munro House

Munro House was a lovely interlude featuring some recently completed work from Geo Law so it was a nice spot for the obligatory cake and cuppa that these days seem to require (particularly as I seem to be developing a bit of a bad habit of skipping lunch… oops).

Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery and Man Made Fibres

Then a bit more getting lost before I realised that the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery is in the Parkinson Building at Leeds University and I could have saved myself a lot of meandering had I just read the address properly. Oh well. That’s another lovely space with quite a lot on show and they had an exhibition of Michael Lyons’ work, entitled Freeze Frame. They also had a lot of information about Mitzi Cunliffe, so after I visited I was able to return to the campus and seek out Man Made Fibres, which served as another reminded to look up and not just around on these visits.

Man Made Fibres

The Tetley

Then I headed down to The Tetley for the ‘No Quiet Place’ exhibition.

The sound-led artworks and mixed media installations within No Quiet Place examine the environmental and incidental noise that proliferates the physical, sensorial and psychic spaces within our 21st century world.

There was a lot here to make me think and to question my assumptions and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything similar so I’m glad I got to check it out.

Saturday: Wakefield

The Hepworth (surprise…)

After a brilliant day at Northern College for the Teach Different 2016 day, I really wanted some quiet space to reflect so, once again, back to The Hepworth. Before I went in, I had my very first stabs at sketching it. You don’t have to laugh, I already know they’re terrible, that’s not the point. The point is that it didn’t seem enough to see it, or photograph it; I wanted to try and see it in a different way. It says something about the building that I really, really wanted to do this and thought it would be a lovely, quiet way to also do something whilst sorting my thoughts from the day before.

Hepworth sketch

I had a very long, leisurely breakfast enjoying the view and then went to the gallery. I thought I’d probably see something new or at least see something in a different way and, sure enough, one of the wonderful attendants pointed out some drawers I had manage to completely overlook with a lot of extra information about Barbara Hepworth’s work, including these amazing plans showing that a creative mind can also be beautifully analytical and mechanical:

Barbara Hepworth: plans for Winged Figure

And that was the week. Some old things, some new things but I really loved it once again.

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Donna Brown
Avid reader/audiobook listener, fan of podcasts, prone to the odd Netflix binge. Mum to six crazy and incredible rescue cats. Occasional writer of short stories and poetry.

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